Strange how most of these encounters were done at Coffee Bean. Whether the oak-paneled walls or free Wi-Fi of this common spot had any role hindering my dating atmosphere, I doubt it.
Sitting there, both of us one foot apart starring in one direction talking about John Steinbeck, I knew this would end with a crotch-apart hug in the parking lot.
Like most of the people on Match.com, I could see myself divorcing this person. This all seems to fit the understanding of my profile’s dating headline: ‘More of an experiment than a cry for help,’ which in actuality is the complete reverse.
But I figured compared to eHarmony- or Chemistry.com, Match would yield more ‘compatible’ results (as well as low sign-up prices). So, beside me, starring into the void of lost conversation was this girl, Amber (or ValleyRunner_2475).
She was ‘spiritual but not religious,’ ‘black and part Italian,’ ‘athletic and toned,’ and her best feature were her ‘legs.’ She liked jogging in Venice Beach, and was a ‘sucker for sushi and sake bombs.’ She worked as a nanny for rich families, and filled her leisure time with books.
Knowing all this already left very little to ask.
‘So you are a nanny?’ I asked, pretending to be shocked when she said yes. Our date carried on in the same way, reciting each other’s profiles. And although we were able to ‘wink’ at each other and post emoticons in our e-mails, we couldn’t meet eyes for more than five seconds. (Go figure, we’re shy.)
And just like you thought, we gave each other a despondent yet relieved hug; the encounter was over.
If one thing did make me a Match-hopeful person, it was the correspondence between the Tina Fey look-a-like before our date. She packed a dry wit and a Mona Lisa smile. In our first e-mail, she asked me about my username Kitties In My Butt. Asked if I liked spelunking.
Each of the e-mails afterward contained at least one subtle flirtation jokingly nabbing at our profiles. Sixteen e-mails later we met at Coffee Bean near her place in Brentwood.
Sheilin (or AtmosphericSpecs) was reading ‘Babylon by Bus,’ which was about some American, urban-boy adventure and boozing it up in Iraq. On her profile, she said she drinks ‘regularly,’ and so almost every anecdote led with ‘This one time we were drinking at’hellip;’
The whole night she asked me to turn around, as she was an avid people-watcher, and stare at someone’mdash;guys with sideburns reaching their shoulders, women with mock ’80s hairdos and White Snake jean jackets.
Judging people seemed to be her one strong point as she told me about the purple spandex ‘Robo Fag’ guy at her gym, or the ‘Suicide Wigger’ that bought her a drink. Needless to say, I’d had enough hate for one evening.
I thought Match.com might offer the chance to meet someone less analytical and more genuine. But how much compassion can online dating really offer?
Winking at someone doesn’t count as interaction.
A month later I joined Facebook, and swore I would never use the poke function. (And I still haven’t.) But through friend searching I came across a girl, let’s call her Amy,’ I was once attracted to. In the past, things never seem to sync up as she was either getting out of one relationship or beginning another.
But I invited her to a Halloween party where she would know several people. Amy dressed like Marie Antoinette, and I, like a conservative Bill Cosby with Gene Simmons’ face (last minute catastrophe.)
Admittedly, I tend to admire one thing about myself around others, and that’s that I don’t pretend or put up a fa’ccedil;ade. And so when I showed Amy my back-pocket book of ideas and all the colloquial words I’ve heard from people all over America, that was really me. I’m a geek. And to my surprise, Amy likes the nerdos.
The two of us found each other through the night, intermittent with gin shots, Brain Hemorrhages, New Castles, and Coronas’mdash;idly making inebriated chit chat.
We were sloshed; and that night we passed out on the same mattress on the floor. When I came to, my head rang like an alarm and my skin was dried out. We spent the morning lying apart from each other, talking with only the pitter-patter of raindrops accompanying.
We found ourselves at Millie’s diner on Sepulveda starring at plates of undercooked French toast and half-assed pancakes. (At least it wasn’t at Coffee Bean.)
I walked her to her car and asked her out. And when we hugged, it felt real’mdash;even genuine.