Thursday, June 19, 2008
How to Date: The Boys on Your Computer
How to Date:
1. Get on the internet.
2. Type in some stuff.
3. Find a guy.
4. Email him funny things.
5. Go out with him if he isn't nuts.
I hate online dating. Hate it. I'm not talking just a little bit of dislike here, like the way I dislike iceberg lettuce and wearing pantyhose. I'm talking a lot of full-on ketchup levels of hatred. (Yes, I hate ketchup. Shut up! It's my life!) It's that kind of hatred I feel when I take a bite of something and realize that there is, in fact, ketchup on it and know that 1) I'm going to have to spit it out and 2) My sandwich is not salvagable, and now I'm going to be hungry. Because you can scrape and scrape and scrape at that ketchup, but it has sunk into that bun and is there to stay.
I've tried it twice, online dating. Both times, I immediately went home and canceled my account.
The first time, I went through Match.com. I had just been through a miserable and very long break-up and thought to myself, "Hey! I'm too good to dwell on someone who treated me poorly. I need to get back out there." So I went out with this 35-year-old English teacher who did stand-up on the side. "OH! A comedian! I could use some laughs," I thought to myself. And he was very entertaining. He entertained me the moment I walked in. And entertained. And entertained. And entertained. And when the date was over, I realized I hadn't even said anything. I decided to not see his repeat performance.
The second guy I met through the Onion personals. He had a cat. I have a cat. To him, it was our destiny to meet and talk about what a crazy coincidence that is. He was a comedy writer who dabbled in filmmaking. How creative and interesting, I thought. So after three weeks of exchanging emails, I agreed to meet him. Here is how our conversation unfolded:
Dude: So, we both have cats. How long have you had your cat?
Me: Oh, a few years. Lucy. She's insane. I think she's secretly plotting to kill me.
Dude: How old is she?
Dude: Oh, Sammy is 19. She's really old.
Me: Yeah, that is old.
Dude: One day, I know she's going to die. And it will be really upsetting. But for now, at least she's with me.
Me: So...you're making a film? What's it about?
Dude: Two people in love.
Me: Oh? Interesting.
Dude: Yeah, and they make out on New Years.
Me: So, I'm going to get more vodka. Do you want anything?
We went to dinner. After a great deal of sniffing (which I thought clashed well with his chain wallet), he picked out a wine. And drank the entire bottle. The date took a turn for the worst. He launched into a long drunken tirade about the ill effects of Johnny Damon on the Yankees lineup. (Fucking Cubs fan...) I launched my exit strategy.
Booze can be a good thing on a date. It calms your nerves. It eases the flow of conversation. But at the level of an entire bottle of wine and several beers, the effects can be annoying, even disastrous. Drunkeness makes you bolder. It can make you ask someone if they want to make out with you. And when that person says no, you might ask again. You might make that person stand there until she agrees to a second date.
I finally escaped my date by dashing off the subway before the doors closed.
When it comes down to it, what I really hate about online dating are the profiles. Because when you write a profile, you sit there for two hours coming up with the most hilarious and interesting stuff about yourself. "I'm a writer! Who bakes cookies! And reads classic literature!" But it doesn't factor in those times when you go home, watch Law and Order, eat cereal in your underwear, and go to bed at 8:30. That's the stuff that really defines who we are. Not the big, elaborate, "Look how much I can impress you" shit.
And profile pictures! They are, in essence, the best available physical representation of yourself you can offer. But is it really you? Or just that angle and the lighting?
You never get what you expect, and you feel shallow and kind of horrible for not being into it. I think we should just post the most ridiculously boring stuff about ourselves and the worst pictures and let dates be pleasantly surprised. Who's with me?
In my next post on dating, I will be posting my own realistic online dating profile. Stay tuned.