My Third Date with Pete

If I tell you this story with Pete is a trilogy, would that be a big enough hint about how this thing goes down?

Most of my friends, when I told them about our two dates, flipped out. I’m not usually a two-date girl, definitely not a three-date girl, and they could see the potential for another date as well as I could. And I guess that my storytelling skills are better than I thought, because when they asked about it, when I was going to see Pete again, my noncommittal shrug totally baffled them.

Didn’t I want to see him again?

Didn’t I? Did I? I wasn’t sure. We had fun together, post-bowling that is. But at the same time, I wasn’t thinking about kissing him anymore. And when I realized it had been three days since our date and I hadn’t heard from her, all it garnered was a thoughtful, “huh,” and a shrug. Look, I’m all about letting love have time to grow, but I wasn’t even sure if I liked the seeds I was about to plant.

Maybe it WAS the bowling.

My friends blamed my hesitation on my poor sportsmanship during the bowling game. They warned me about the shrinking pool of Dateables our age. They tried to argue the logic of at least seeing Pete one more time. And I could acknowledge that at least, so when he finally texted me after a week and a half of nothing, I played along.

He asked about my plans that weekend, and I gave him a run down of the scheduled events, expecting him to pick a time that was free.

Except, he didn’t. He invited himself to the movies with my best friend and her boyfriend.

That’s cool. It could be like a fun little double date. Besides, a third date is as good a time as any for a guy to meet Anne. If she doesn’t approve, it’s over anyway. Most likely at least.

So I agreed to this. Except I TOLD him, VERY clearly, that we had to be at the movie theatre a half an hour before the movie started. Movies are very important to me and I hated missing previews.

You know what’s coming, right? A text from Pete a half hour before the movie starts, telling me he’s just leaving his apartment, and could I buy his ticket for him to save time? A phone call telling us to go ahead and get seats and that he’ll let us know when he’s arrived. A text five minutes AFTER the movie starts letting me know he’s there and needs his ticket.

An ENTIRE movie spent trying to focus despite the hair playing, “cute” elbow nuzzling, and finger plucking that he must have thought was cute.

Oh, and he TALKED during the movie. Gag on a spoon.

When the credits began to roll and the lights came up, I didn’t know whether to comment on the movie first or introduce Pete to Anne and her boyfriend. It didn’t matter much, since Pete barely gave them more than a head nod.

As we were walking out of the theatre, Pete rested his hand on my elbow, “Can I walk you to your car?”

“Please,” I said. As in, Please, escort me out of this unimpressive situation and thank you for not asking me out to coffee now, or a drink, or some other night-extending waste of time.

When we got to my car, I could tell he was trying to draw me in. And to be honest, I was trying my very hardest not to even look him in the eye. I was disappointed. What happened to the interesting guy who so coyly convinced me to give him my number? What happened to the fun guy who could surprise my expectations by drinks at Applebee’s? What happened to the vulnerable guy who could open up about his emotions in the middle of the bowling alley?

And as I was opening my car door and slipping into my seat for a pucker-free escape, Pete grabbed the door.

“Wait,” he said. — No no please, I thought. — “Let me pay you back for the movie ticket.”

He opened up his wallet. “I’ve only got five bucks.”

He handed me the bill, and I took it like a golden ticket. A guy who waits ten days to text, shows up late for the movie, and barely pays for his own ticket, let alone mine? He sounds just as uninterested as I am. Another promising beginning proved as just the typically unsensational experience. My optimistic side is hardly disappointed–though my cynical side is feeling vindicated, once again.

Maybe we can just be friends. If either of us can ever muster enough motivation to break out our texting fingers again.

My Second Date with Pete

Pete didn’t kiss me on that first date. And it wasn’t that I was surprised or disappointed. Well, actually, I guess I was surprised. So many times guys have lunged at me without even a thought of a date in their heads that the lack of a goodnight kiss kept me thinking about him.

If that was intentional, it was VERY well played.

When Pete texted me a few days later, I was a lot more excited than I thought. And my anticipation was answered with, “sup?”

Really? The entire English language is at your disposal, you’re trying to impress a girl [I’m assuming, of course], and you choose — sup? To the nines, Pete, really.

But I had spent the last three days imagining how warm his lips were, so I just rolled with it. A very short, uninspired text conversation later, we had a Friday night date planned.

Things I did not do that Friday night. I did not try on half the clothes in my roommate’s closet. I did not straighten then curl my hair. I definitely DID NOT paint my toenails. What sort of time do you think I have on my hands? [But if I had been doing all those things, it would make my delayed posts understandable.]

Pete wouldn’t tell me what we were doing, but he seemed pretty excited about it when he picked me up. I was excited too, as long as we weren’t going to the morgue–but when we pulled in at our destination, I would have picked even that.

We were going bowling.

Look, I know–EVERYONE likes bowling, right? No, false. Everyone likes mini golf. Or the movies. Or anything else, I don’t know. I just have a particular problem with bowling, and that particular problem is that I suck. I average about 32. The last time I had an extremely emotional outburst it was at a bowling alley. I think the setting greatly influenced my emotional stability at the time.

But you know, I tried to be–excited–about bowling. Pete was obviously into it, and as long as he was cool with the fact that I sucked, it could still be fun. This is what I always tell myself–it COULD be fun. And I find out every time–no it can’t.

As we’re waiting in line to get our shoes, I casually mention, like I always do at bowling alleys, that I’m terrible and wouldn’t bumpers be so much fun?

Pete’s look told me exactly what he thought of that idea.

The sweet irony of this all is that I always start out strong. I threw a damn strike with my first ball. And Pete was impressed.

“You were just trying to get my guard down,” he said. “Telling me suck only to start out perfectly.”

“Those are all my points for the entire game,” I said.

And they pretty much were.

But you know, it still could have been fun. I was looking forward to hanging out with Pete. Maybe he could give me some pointers. Maybe he’d be super sweet and encourage me the entire time. Maybe he’d be the first person to relent and let me have gutter bumpers. But I realized very quickly, Pete is extremely competitive. I was trailing by 80 points and he was still trash talking me.

Boys, I’m sorry, but giving a play by play sports announcer style about a girl’s fifteenth gutter ball in a row is NOT a turn on. I’m already pissed at myself–don’t give me an excuse to blame shift.

We played two games. He was about ready to fire up a third, when he looked over and saw me wilted in a far seat. I had already decided, enough was enough. A second date so consistently miserable is the end of the line for me.

Except then he stepped away from the scoreboard controls and sat down next to me.

“I’m a little extreme about bowling,” he said.

I just sorta smiled and grunted, because I know when I’m about to be nastily scathing and I do try to hold that sort of thing in. Most of the time.
“I was actually on the bowling team in high school,” he said.

“Makes sense,” I muttered.

“We weren’t exactly cool,” he went on. “In fact, we were pretty much the most socially unacceptable people in high school.”

“High school is dumb,” I say. Deep wisdom, I know, but I was starting to soften.

“I don’t think I even realized it until I went to ask this one girl out that I had had a crush on all year. She wasn’t even that popular, but when I asked her out, she laughed at me and said she’d never date a loser on the bowling team.”

Alright, I’m not going to lie, I was drawn in at this point. I have a weakness for stories of past rejection.

“I got really defensive about it then. I really liked this girl, but I also really liked bowling. I knew I wasn’t cool, but at least I was having fun some of the time, which is more than most high schoolers can saw. We started calling ourselves the Gutter Ballers and we even got jackets.”

I laughed and forgave him then. Because I’m defensive about some stupid stuff too. Like how bad I am at bowling.

“You weren’t that bad,” he said.

“I’m a better bowler than you are liar,” I shot back.

We left the bowling alley then and went out for drinks, because both the winner and loser have a reason to drink after a game.

And still he did not kiss me.

My Date with Pete

I think you can tell a lot about a person by the place they pick for drinks.

Pete chose Applebee’s.

I enjoy Applebee’s for late night half off appetizers with my friends or an inexpensive dinner. But I live in a college town, with a plethora of unique and interesting places to drink. And the boy who I could have sworn was wearing eyeliner when I first met him chose Applebee’s.

So I got ready with trepidation. Since I’ve become a firm believer in giving every date a fair shot no matter what your first impressions might be, I curled my hair, threw on some eye shadow, and actually tried on more than one outfit. But as my roomie said, “Have fun!” my response was–

“One can only hope.”

When I arrived he was waiting, looking a little less grunge but still with striking eyelashes. He suggested we sit at the corner of the bar instead of at a table, and I agreed, thinking that if this went from disappointing to disastrous, it’d be easier to get away from a bartender than a waitress.

When we sat down, I reached for the drink menu, but Pete stopped me.

“You’re not going to need that,” he said. “Hey, Paul!”

Apparently Pete was friends with the bartender. Apparently they went through bartending school together. And apparently Applebee’s can serve more than your standard mojito.

Pete asked me what I liked to drink and made suggestions that I had never even heard of. Since we were both driving, Paul served us in sampler size glasses. The last one was a drink Pete and Paul had made up on their own, and I would share the recipe with you but they made me promise not to tell anyone. It was good.

I was having fun, I’ll admit it. I mean, drinking for free with two attractive, reasonably funny guys? We spent the first half hour just joking around, swapping stories of irresponsibility [like the time I woke up after a night of excessive drinking and found a phone number in my pocket–my phone number–except for the last two digits. Oops?]. But as Paul was serving up their signature drink, I asked Pete, “So are you a bartender too?”

“Not really,” Pete replied. “I bartended for a couple months, but most of the bars here cater to the undergrad douche bag.”

“So what do you do now?”

This should be an easy question, right? RIGHT?

“I work for an undertaker,” Pete said. Very casually.

“You’re an undertaker?” I was still making the connection between man I was sitting next to and the cartoon hunchback carrying a lantern and a shovel through a graveyard.

“No, I’m his assistant.”

“So,” I started slowly, because I was unsure whether or not I really wanted to utter these words, “you’re an undertaker’s assistant.”

“Yeah, I’ve been there for almost a year.” Pete was momentarily transfixed by a playoff game. It might have been a move to give me sometime to think this through–stunned silence is probably something Pete encounters often–and if so, it was to his credit.

Because I took the minute to consider the job, decide to stop considering the job, and to make the choice to forge ahead on this date. Yeah, it’s not the most…conventional of careers. But a man is not his job. Sometimes you just have to pay the bills. And we’d have time to talk about it [assuming I wanted to know more about it]. If I liked Pete enough to go on a second date with him.

And you know what? Through the next hour of conversation, laughter, and maybe just enough alcohol, I decided I did like Pete enough to go out with him again.
And he decided the same.

#19 Don’t Look in Unexpected Places

You know how they say you find love when you stop looking for it? You remember how I wrote a post calling fate a tart? You know how I started this blog a mere six months ago because I thought my misadventures might be amusing to someone, and since they had been going on so long they were sure to continue even longer and would provide a creative outlet for years?

Don’t get excited–because I’m for sure not–but I’ve met someone…intriguing. And I actually have a pretty good feeling about this.

I have a good feeling about THIS. Except, when I met him, he was wearing a shirt. Probably because they have rules about that in most places.

I was at the library the other day (yes, I go to the library. When I don’t have outstanding fines, which I usually do. It’s pretty embarrassing having to pay any library fine over $10), perusing some classic literature titles (ok, I was looking at the newest chick lit) when I noticed this guy wandering down the aisle toward me. I staunchly ignore guys when they get close to me because 1. I am too cool for that and 2. I get nervous. But it’s one thing to ignore someone inching their way toward you and another to pretend you’re deaf.

“Any suggestions?”

I took a quick glance over–cute, a little young looking, a bit of a grunge thing going on (or is it emo?)–but only for a second because I had to make up something more male appropriate than “Good Enough to Eat.” Unfortunately, I’m surrounded by Brontes.

Luckily, the A’s are on the bookshelf behind me. I pluck out Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

“Well, Douglas Adams is a sure bet,” I said. “But you’ll have to wait until next time–this is the last copy, and I’m taking it.”

I think I attempted a coy smile at this point, but I’m always pretty awkward at these things. Might have come out as a mean-spirited smirk.

“They made a movie about that a couple years back, didn’t they?” he asked. And as I’m nodding, he reaches over and takes it from my hand, flipping through the pages. As he studies the book, I study him. Definitely younger than me, but people often under guess my age. No backpack or anything, so hopefully he’s not a student. And cute. But is that mascara? Or just naturally gorgeous eyelashes?

Eye makeup? Or no eye makeup?

“Do you read a lot of science fiction?” he asked.

“I used to. I sorta grew out of it.” He closed the book and fixated on me. He didn’t give it back to me, though. He has dark dark brown eyes.

“I just read The Hunger Games, actually,” I continued. “They skew young adult, but it’s a really excellent trilogy.”

No joke, I wasn’t saying that just to be all scifi-y. They really are a great read.

“Good suggestion. Maybe I’ll check them out since you’re stealing Douglas Adams.”

“Ah, I believe the technical term is ‘borrowing’,” I corrected him.

He smiled–and it’s a boy next door smile. Not a creeper smile.

“I’m Pete.” He had to switch which hand the book is in to shake hands.

“Judy.” And then I looked pointedly at my book. Which I really do want to read now.

“Oh, you want this back?” He held it up, considering. “How about…I give you back this book if you give me your number.”

I was flummoxed. This is atypical for my life. Boys have asked for my number, it’s true. But after I’ve drunkenly made out with them or something even more audacious.

“Well, I–” I think I actually stammered at this point.

“Pretty simple trade,” Pete said, dangling the book in front of me.

So I did it. I gave him my number. And a couple days later he texted me to ask if I wanted to grab a drink (and while I usually applaud guys who call instead of text, I stuttered so much in giving him my number I barely trusted myself having a phone conversation with him. I’m awkward to the max on the phone). And while I don’t normally hit it off with rando strangers, while I don’t normally find connection in a chance meeting, while I don’t normally find the odds of meeting someone I’m actually compatible with by chance at all attractive, I decided to do something a bit bold for me.

I said yes.

#15 Drink and Deflect

PART TWO

I’ll give anyone at least one date.

In fact, I’m not sure I’ve EVER turned down a first date. Maybe strongly discouraged people from asking me out, but once it’s out there, usually I’ll take the offer up.

The thing with Rick is, I’m not used to the people I make out with taking me on dates. Even the repeat offenders, make out buddies, Ethan the Fireman (we’ll get into that, don’t worry), we would rarely go on DATES. Even if we hung out together, the boy would never pay. And because I used to think dating like a boy was a good idea, I’d let this slide by. Because I was that cool girl who didn’t force labels.

Anyway, I decided that in order to give this date the best shot, I’d not be my naturally ambivalent self about it. I picked a cute outfit, I curled my hair, I plastered my make up on all nice. Rick picked me up on Tuesday in the middle of a blizzard. Excellent, Midwest, thank you for FINALLY getting your winter act together.

Because of said blizzard, Rick was a little late in picking me up. This might not have been so bad if my roomie wasn’t having her own dinner date in our apartment and I was trying to find the right balance between not be a recluse creeper and giving them their privacy. When Rick finally arrived, we spent a few minutes kissing in the car before he pulled away and said, “We’d better go, or we’ll end up staying here in your parking lot all night.”

No one has ever buckled a seat belt faster. Girl’s gotta eat.

He held my hand, which was nice. He ordered margaritas, which was excellent. I was hoping that the lack of sparks between us was MY fault, my reluctance to open up, and not an actual reflection of the relationship. I was hoping that what I had interpreted as clinginess before was simply a nice guy who was being genuinely interested.

Margarita. Always a good choice.

Except… There were a few moments that stuck out as winners in an otherwise pretty blasé conversation.

The Too Forward Thinking Moment–

We were talking about places we had traveled to, and Rick’s only European conquest was the only Western European country I hadn’t been to, Germany. I, of course, went on and on and on about how I’d love to go.

Rick: Well, maybe if you play your cards right, I’ll take you.

Me: Hahaha—WTF? Is that something you really say to someone on a FIRST date?

The Too Clingy Moment–

Rick: So, since you’re not working, there’s no reason why you can’t text me all day long.

Me: I hate texting.

I DO dislike texting, for many reasons which we talked about so he wouldn’t feel like I was shutting him down, and the one reason we didn’t talk about. Namely, just because I’m not WORKING doesn’t mean I can just fritter my day away texting. I’m not that accessible. I have stuff to do. I have a blog to write, dammit!

The too Intimate Moment–

My birthday was that weekend, which I mentioned to him as I was turning 25 and it had been been kinda dominating my thoughts.

Rick: Oh man, now I have to do something nice for your birthday!

Me: No you don’t.

Rick: Of course I do!

If he wanted to do something extra for me in an attempt to woo me, I get it. But there’s zero obligation for a guy I’m on my first date with to do anything special for my birthday. I hadn’t even invited him to my party yet.

Rick. Not as mysterious as Bob.

After dinner we went back to his apartment to watch a movie. I picked Iron Man because he had it on Blu-Ray and he had an HD-TV and I’ve never actually seen such high res in action, but also because I had seen the movie before and knew I wouldn’t be missing anything while we made out. Which was what happened.

And then he pulled back and said, “At the party you told me you wanted to kiss me from the first time you met me.”

I froze. “No I didn’t.”

“You most definitely did.”

“No way.”

“Yes way.”

And I started to laugh. “I did, I did.”

This is what was really going through my head–OH SHIT.

It’s true. I did want to kiss him from the minute I met him. But this is why. It’s complicated and probably more than just a bit shady.

Rick used to be good friends with Ben. The Ex. The Engaged Ex. I never met him when he was friends with Ben, but I knew about him. And when I was in my angry revenge mode post breakup, Rick was one of the guys that I thought would be a perfect revenge date. And even though it’s been years since I’ve had that thought or felt those feelings, this instinct to want to kiss Rick remained. So what I really meant when I told him that was that I had wanted to kiss him for YEARS. And THEN I met him.

But that’s not something you tell someone. Especially when you’re in their bed and they’re saying, “Don’t be embarrassed, I had basically the same thought too.”

Um, I don’t think you did, Rick.

Maybe this should have been a sign to me. Maybe I should have realized that I’m not meant to date this guy. Maybe the lack of emotional connection should have tipped me off. But I think if you haven’t been bored, creeped out, or emotionally scarred in a first date, if the guy asks you on a second date, even if you haven’t felt the fireworks yet, it’s completely acceptable. First dates are awkward, and everyone deserves a second chance.

Except, I almost felt bad about going out with him again. I felt like I’m leading him on. But I also really wanted to give this time to develop. I wanted something to work–with a NICE guy. If only he realized that his strong statements (like, “What do you like about me?”) are actually pushing me in the other direction.

I went with him to his friend’s birthday part. And this is exactly how our night went down [don’t worry, I’m just cutting out the boring bits. Which I think is ALSO a sign]–I showed up at Rick’s apartment as soon as he got back from work, SuperSmash Brothers, make out make out make out, quick dinner, party, back to Rick’s where I completely ruined him at Mario Kart even while drunk, make out make out make out, break up.

Only, as I pointed out to him, we weren’t really breaking up because we never really dated dated.

Here’s the thing, the most astonishing thing of all, and how Rick went from a level three (out of five) clinger to a really respectable guy. We were all snuggled up together, and he says, out of completely nowhere–

“I don’t think I’m what you want.”

And it was so completely honest and out of the blue, that I didn’t really know what to say. Besides, “What?” I think I said “What?”

Ad naseum discussion about what that really means aside and whether or not we were far enough into knowing each for it to be accurate, never ever has a guy who’s been getting what he wants out of me thought enough about what I want to even discuss it.

Once Rick realized that he and I wanted different things in our relationships and our lives, he had two options. He either could have continued to take me out on dates, pay for dinner, then manipulated my emotions to get what he wanted out of me. Or he could just man up and break it off clean. I don’t know why he did it. Maybe he was protecting me. Maybe he was protecting himself. Maybe he was scared of what Matt would do to him if I got hurt. But regardless, it was the right decision, the decent choice, and the most hopeful outcome.

Because, Rick, you restored a little bit of my faith in guys, that some of them actually want real relationships and that some of them see me more than just a pretty girl to spend the next few hours with. So for that, and the giant margaritas at Casa de Fiesta, I thank you.

#15 Drink and Deflect

PART ONE

Since LoveAddict recently posted about her “favorite” Mr. Smother and Lizzie regaled us with her non-prostituting love slave, I thought I’d chime in with my own recent story.

My platonic friend Matt works nearby, and when I’m not working I try to get lunch with him every week or so. A few months ago, when I was feeling very single and a bit desperate, I followed him back to his office to meet his coworkers. I only met Rick very briefly, but long enough to believe something could work out there if pursued. I would see him once or twice in the following months, but never more than a “hello” was exchanged.

Until Matt texted me one night to see if I was interested in going to a party at Rick’s apartment. Rick was trying to get rid of all his New Year’s Eve alcohol. I, of course, was a more than willing helper.

Somehow, I convinced myself from the onset that Matt only invited me because Rick wanted me there. I blame the fact that my first recollection of Matt was his arrogant “I don’t call people; they call me” life mantra. This, perhaps, influenced my actions for the rest of the party.

I went to the party and had a great time. Did you know that Jenga can be played as a drinking game? My mind was completely blown. As for getting rid of that New Year’s Eve alcohol–let me say, I can handle my liquor, but it was amazing even to me just HOW non discriminating I am when it comes to kinds. Vodka? Yum yum. Rum is a fav. Gin is an excellent palate cleanser. Bring on the tequila!

Each tile has a rule written on it, and you've got to play the rule you pull. Also, there's no way the game would be this advanced if it was drinking-Jenga style.

Suffice to say, I was most definitely not driving home. Matt offered to drive me home, but the complication of leaving my car at Rick’s and the fact that Rick was obviously too eager to keep handing me drinks with a certain ulterior motive made my decision very easy. I think Matt was barely out the door when Rick leaned over and kissed me.

Let me tell you something. Other people were staying over, but I was the only one who got to sleep in a real bed.

BUT, before you get ahead of me, no sex was had. Just four hours of making out. Until SEVEN AM, people.

The problem was, is, that I meant to stop drunk making out. Without getting into my philosophy now, I usually just feel like I’m getting used, and I’m finding it less and less, ahem, fulfilling. HOWEVER, that did not stop some very memorable moments.

Like when Rick kept saying, “Oh, girl, oh girl.” I mean, I’ve heard using babe or baby to avoid mixing up names, but can we get any more generic than girl?

Or like when Rick said that he liked me, I laughed in his face and said, “You don’t even know me.” This might have happened more than once. I may have intimacy issues.

Or like when Rick said he’d like to take me out I said, “Well, then DO IT.” Like a dare. Because most people like to be challenged into taking someone out.

Or like when Rick said, “I told Matt you had a HUGE crush on me” I tried to think up a less honest answer than, “Only in the same way I have a HUGE crush on a bottle of vodka. Nominally interested but surprisingly desperate.”

Or like how when I woke up at 8AM, after only an hour of sleep, I tried unsuccessfully to sneak out and was delayed an hour and a half.

And then, after I had finally detangled myself and navigated the passed-out partiers in the living room to find shelter in the cold fresh air of a Michigan morning, Rick sent me a text message that simply said, “I think you’re really cute.”

Ok, I liked that.

I'm going for similarities in hair style here, not musical talents.

A few days later it was Sunday, the day we had tentatively set for our date after I said, “Well DO IT,” and I received a shy little text asking me if I was still up for “hanging out.” I pushed it back. I was exhausted from getting seven hours of sleep the entire weekend and knew that going on a date in my glazed-eyes state would be a disservice to everyone. He accepted my excuse gracefully and said that while he really did want to take me out, if I wasn’t interested that was fine.

I had just needed to buy myself time. The only proper dates I’ve been on recently have been eHarmony dates that have gone…so far into nowhere they’ve gone backwards. Add in the complication of my current feelings for Logan, and I was just unsure if I wanted to pursue something with Rick.

But then I called myself out as a coward and made myself woman up. I had kept following the comments on LA’s Mr. Smother post, and a few commenters had suggested that we dismiss genuinely nice guys as being clingy and smothery because we’re scared. It’s true, while I had plenty of physical sparks with Rick, I hadn’t felt any emotional fireworks, but maybe I was too busy protecting myself from wombats to see a truly nice guy. I don’t want to be my own best sabotager, so on Monday I texted Rick my free nights to see when he wanted to go out.

And he picked Tuesday.

#8 Limit Your Options

The other day the girls from my church and I were discussing boys–or our lack of [this actual causes a near crisis of faith for young Christian women. A loving God allows poverty, war, crimes against humanity, and singleness? Yeah, it seems petty of us. It is. We’re far from perfect.]

At this point my friend Rachel raises her hand.

“I have a confession,” she says. “I joined eHarmony.”

Rachel and I might soon be having eHarmony coffee dates together, complete with our laptops.

When I so recently decried the difficulty of meeting available boys, when is it time to bite the bullet? Time to succumb to the tear-jerking commercials of people finding their true love and giggling on the beach? Is there a magical age where you give up on meeting any potential man as they all appear to be already married or they disqualify themselves for some reason? A time when finding a boy who’s age appropriate and dateable becomes like a treasure hunt. After I bemoaned the difficulties of even meeting a single Dateable male, the next logical step is moving on to online dating. Welcome to the virtual meat market. I’m sorry, I meant to say village market square.

Listen, maybe the matchmakers of old didn’t have it so wrong. What’s the point in getting yourself all primped up, handshaking and flirting with a half dozen men, giving and taking phone numbers, going on risky dates, JUST to see if someone’s compatible? Especially when someone else can do all the dirty work for you.

When I turned 23 and was still single, I signed up on eHaromny–the free version, just so I could see my free matches. I just wanted to see what it was like. A little experimentation never hurt a girl. But what starts as innocent interest soon spirals into something bigger. Don’t be deceived–they, just like any old matchmaker, are a business selling a product–and it’s a big one. Love. It’s an easy web to get caught in.

So I scan some matches, see some that are intriguing, and then, there are the free communication weekends. Sometimes I get in touch with these guys. Maybe I’ve gone on a date once or twice.

But there is something that makes me hesitate about online dating. Rachel articulated it perfectly. She is also a literature lover, captivated by life stories, and she confessed that she doesn’t want to look at her future children and say, “Well, honey, Daddy saw Mommy’s profile picture, and he thought she was really cute so he sent her an Icebreaker! So she sent him some multiple choice questions back, and before we knew it we were emailing!”

Blech.

And then there’s my friend Sofia, who we tried to cheerlead into signing up on eHarmony, but sat to the side texting the entire time my friend and I tried to engage her on the process. But Sofia has never had a boyfriend and wants one, so it stumps me as to why she’s so cynical a road as of yet untraveled.

Is that person you're texting going to date you? Let's get flexible, Sofia. Life is not a romantic comedy.

And honestly, how is an online website meet-cute story any worse than many other stories? Anne and Tim recently told me excitedly about a guy they had recently met–“He’s tall, a law student, and his name is… Graham? Graham!” I know less about Graham than I do after reading anyone’s profile on eHarmony, and yet I’m just as excited to meet him. Will that be a better story? “Mommy’s best friend knew she was desperate, so she kept thrusting her at any single man she met along the way.” Or how about the guy I stalk at my completely platonic guy friend’s office? “Mommy asked her friend Harvey if he knew any single guys, then she dropped by their office every week for six months until Daddy asked her out.”

Then again, I’m still on the free version of eHarmony. See, for those of us who can’t commit to ordering a subscription to an online dating website, maybe we’re just not ready for a real committed relationship either.

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