During a, shall we say, compromising moment with a friend recently (sorry mum, dad, grandma), he suddenly asked, “is this going to be in the blog?”
See it’s a problem writing about dating – this blog’s very nature is personal, what with the whole auditioning people for sex thing (see Post #1). In fact, I’ve been struggling with this subject for weeks. What can I write about now? One can only go so far discussing first online dates, I mean it’s kind of a one-note wonder, going something like this:
There’s been something wrong with all of them. Job done, nuff said, case closed.
Admittedly the different varieties of mentalist available online have amused me so far. There’s been sad guy, geek guy, psycho guy, hideous guy, straight-up-stupid guy, whore guy, bigot guy, sweet-but-dull guy…but now I’m bored. Are we there yet?
And then there’s my secret, other life. The real one. Where I go out with people because I like spending time with them, or they’re hot, or funny and sometimes all of the above. The life I can’t write about because, although Lauren Conrad has made a fortune, a clothing line and a three-bloody-awful-book deal out of exposing the intimate details of her life in an Ed TV sort of way (only with a crappier script), I don’t wish to join her. I also don’t have that kind of swishy blonde hair that looks good on TV. So what to do?
As a girlfriend told me, “you need to find a way to sometimes just write about normal people, maybe tell them about the blog for full disclosure and incorporate their reaction into the post.”
This seemed scary and a mile away from my love of secrecy. So far I’d been incognito. A journalist under Deep Cover. Every time I entered a bar or restaurant to meet an online date, I felt like shouting, “I’m going in!” Or to quote the doomed Captain Oates:
“I may be some time.”
But before I orchestrate a date with a mutual friend and then advance warn him that everything he says will be subject to publication (so looking forward to that), I had another match.com date.
Harry was a 35 year-old film maker. We met at a very cool little bar in Echo Park. But then he let me buy my own drink. I know I know, I’m a modern woman, but he invited me, plus I went to his neighborhood. He was also a teeny bit sniffy that I was late – I was stuck behind an accident on Sunset, then got waylaid trying to catch a stray dog (I know, I wouldn’t have believed me either). He said it was alright but it wasn’t. He was definitely sniffy. If I wanted passive aggressive, I’d be dating my college room mate.
After ten minutes, he said, “God! You’re such a great conversationalist!”
I’d said about three words.
“Oh I love other people’s stories, that’s all,” I said.
And he was off again.
He also had this air of uncertainty or sadness, or something. After two beers he’d mentioned his father eight times, including how his dad was disappointed in him. I opened my mouth to try and make this better for him somehow but then shut it again, having realised, beyond the delusional age of 22, that nice words don’t help that stuff much.
Then there was the multi-mention of his best friend, who also happened to be a “beautiful, amazing” girl who was about to marry “a total dickhead.”
We swapped match.com-from-hell stories. His involved a last-minute phonecall from the woman asking if he’d bring his vacuum cleaner over. She then cleaned the entire house in sweatpants, before inviting him to retire with her to the bedroom, where she flicked on CSI and told him about her crystal meth addiction. (No kidding, obsessive clean much?)
“You want another drink?” I asked.
“Ok, but only if you’ll go out with me again.”
I made some vague affirmative noise, all the while plotting the honest e-mail I would send if he asked again. He was a good-hearted guy, a smart guy, but I didn’t feel even a flicker of attraction.
He walked me to my car and then he asked again.
“Let’s talk later in the week,” I said.
My e-mail two days later said, “I had a great time, but I’m looking for chemistry, even if that sounds unrealistic, I’m holding out and I didn’t think we really had that going on.”
Three days passed and he responded: “Totally understood. But I enjoyed hanging out with you. Maybe we can be friends?”
In my limited experience of this official dates business, when the guy asks to be friends after you’ve given him the soft brush-off, what he means is, “let’s go for a huge amount of drinks, after which I will lunge at you in the hope of winning you over.”
Sure enough Harry did ask me to go to a concert with him soon after (romantic, classical). I was busy.
Then just as I was hoping I hadn’t hurt his feelings, because he didn’t deserve that, he sent me something truly genius:
Dear Antonia, after our conversation about worst Match.com experiences ever, I just had to show you this e-mail I received yesterday from a 48-year old woman. I have never seen this woman’s profile, clicked on it or had any contact whatsoever. But she sent me this:
I unlike you do not have grey, nor do I look my age due to being an athlete all my life.
You act like a person who is “politically correct”, yet you drive 5 miles to cycle, wasting gas.
You’re not a very nice person and you have a long way to go before you can gain entry to the kewl club I belong too. Maybe your lack to want a child makes it difficult for you to care about a generation in need of help. Have fun trail riding on a bike made for one.I suggested he report her to the admin people at Match, but he said,“Why? When I can start a dialogue with her, publish it in an award-winning blog, get a book deal, a movie deal, then retire?”Good point.