At 4:00pm on Friday afternoon, I found myself in a bit of a conundrum: I had failed to schedule a date for the evening. To be honest, I didn’t really care. I’m worn out, I’m breaking out and if I continue going out the blisters on my feet are never going to heal. But this does not bode well for my experiment. If I’m to reach twenty first dates by the end of the month, I needed to go with someone Friday night, plus Saturday night, and every other evening I have free until the beginning of October.
Unless I manage to snag a first date for next week’s tap jam, the launch of Apiary Literary Magazine or an old co-worker’s housewarming (none of which seem terribly conducive to a first date, especially since I’ll be performing at the first two), I’m screwed.
It’s all Date #9’s fault. We’ve been so busy chatting since our first date last week that I’ve fallen behind on my Match.com correspondence. I suppose that this is the entire point of Match.com— you’re not meant to spend the rest of your life trawling the waters, you’re meant to find someone!— but I feel as though I’ve been negligent in my duties as a proper social scientist.
(Of course proper social scientists don’t actually conduct experiments these days; importing Inuit from Greenland, for example, and housing them in the basement of the Museum of Natural Science is now frowned upon. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure that Margaret Mead would be rolling over in her grave if she knew of my “anthropological” endeavors, although she wrote and talked an awful lot about sex so who knows.)
I used to spend hours composing charming little Match.com emails— just the right balance between wit and flirtation— in order to snare myself first dates with the likes of sophisticated men like Date #4. I used to scroll through my Daily 5 religiously. I used to “wink” left, right and center, and I used to stumble upon new faces and new profiles every day.
My last search, however, pulled up several hundred matches; these were displayed on my screen in rows of three, page after page after page, but there was something wrong with the first three photographs. The men looked familiar… oh, that’s right: I’d already gone out with two of them.
Whilst slaving away at the library, I decided to take the “Love at First Sight Quiz.” This is one of the many “strategic” devises put together by the Yentas over at Match.com. My buddy Dr. Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory would call these complete “hokum” but according to the headline at the top of my browser, I’d be more likely to meet men I want if I took the quiz.
And since I was sick of revising my manuscript anyway (I’d been working diligently for an entire hour and a half if you include the thirty minutes I spent chatting with Date #9), I click away.
The first question comprises an entire smorgasbord of celebrity photographs (I am so proud of myself, by the way, for spelling “smorgasbord” correctly on my first try!). I’m prompted to click on the one that I like best but I’m already pissed off. For starters, Matthew Morrison is not on the list. Obviously the Yentas are unaware that Glee’s Mr. Schuster is way hotter than Tom Cruise. Furthermore, only two black men are depicted: Denzel Washington and Will Smith. Would it kill Match.com to, you know, diversify? On the Latino front, my options are Enrique Iglesias and Antonio Banderas and although I am embarrassingly and shamefacedly enamored of Enrique’s new single, I scroll over to Harrison Ford. I’m a longtime fan of Indiana Jones but after some deliberation, I decide that there’s a difference between older men and old men, and Harrison Ford is, to my eternal dismay, the latter of the two. After some time, I settle for a snapshot of a man who might or might not be Matthew Maconahay (I’ve never been very good at keeping track of celebrities) and click to the next question.
Here, I’m presented with another photo collage. My task is to sort through the snapshots of male torsos (no heads or legs, just torsos) and select which would be the most likely to catch my eye. I pass the bronze Adonis with the six-pack because “most likely” suggests that I’m supposed to devise a hypothetical situation in which I’d be likely to encounter lots of good looking who wander around topless. I’m not terribly keen on the beach, or nudist colonies, so I figure I should stick with someone who’s wearing clothes.
The clothes, of course, present another problem. I gravitate towards a colorful snapshot in which the man is wearing a tweed jacket with a funky sweater vest and a bright tie but then I start to second guess myself. He looks… well, let’s just say he’s dressed entirely too well to be straight. I select a toned-but-not-too-toned man wearing a clean tank top (as opposed to the toned-but-not-too-toned man wearing a clean tank top and holding a soccer ball—mustn’t get too sporty now!).
I’m just about to click through the next question when the low battery message pops up on my laptop. Now I’ll have to go through the whole Enrique Iglesias vs. Harrison Ford ordeal all over again if I want to reach my goal (although I still don’t see how this quiz is going to help).
I grab a DVD on my way out (seeing as I’ll be spending a valuable date night in) but just as I’m about to call it quits, my phone buzzes. A text! It’s only 4:30, I realize; plenty of time to schedule a date. I could just dash home, grab a quick shower, and get right back on track… but it’s Mr. Long Legs, and even I am not that desperate.