HELL: The shiksa's lament
Most of the men on Match.com write to me because I am a tall blonde, and I write back because they say that they are the things I really like -- liberal, tall, smart, funny, employed and often Jewish. I am not Jewish -- I'm sort of a neopagan hybrid -- but in general I love Jewish men. It's superficial, but true. I just love men with prominent noses and liberal attitudes. I won't consider a man without a big nose, Jewish or not.
So last year I got an e-mail from a guy with an OK profile and a distant but attractive picture -- and he was Jewish. Yay! I couldn't tell much about his nose but hoped for the best.
I responded positively and then he wrote back, making sure that I was aware that he was Jewish -- he didn't want any misunderstandings. Huh? It was in the profile; if that bothered me, I wouldn't have responded. But he said he'd experienced religious discrimination in the dating world, so I let it drop.
Then I called him to set up a meeting at a coffee house. His personality was supremely lame on the phone and he asked me flat out if I was thin. That's rude, but sometimes people lie, so I quoted my weight and let it go. Then he actually said, "I'm Jewish, I hope that's OK."
He hopes it's OK? OK with whom? OK for what? Hadn't we covered that twice?
For some reason, I still agreed to meet him that afternoon, even though I was somewhat disgusted by his seeming lack of self-respect. He was about 15 minutes late, which is a big turnoff to me, and the place we were meeting was closed, so I waited in the parking lot. Then he pulled up. I walked to the car and he looked sort of like the picture, except for one thing: He had had his nose operated on so many times that it was all but gone.
A Jewish guy with a Michael Jackson nose. It was awful. We agreed to drive down the street to the next-closest coffeeshop, but I just drove on home.
-- Chris S.
HELL: How to lose a girl in ten minutes
Why is it that after you turn 30, your friends begin to believe that the only thing two people need have in common in order to make a love connection is being single?
It's not that bad, you think. You're just being defensive, you think. Well, the following is a true story:
I was 30, an attorney working at one of those big faceless corporate firms, and had just used all of my vacation days for a three-week surfing trip to Baja. When I got back, I had lunch with a married friend.
Here's what she said: "Why are you wearing Reef flip-flops and a toe ring with your suit?"
I told her about my weeks in Southern California and Mexico, my new love of surfing, sand and slacking -- and my new hatred for my overly air-conditioned corporate prison. Her response to my complaints about my employment? To solve my love-life problems, of course.
"You know, Jason [investment banker husband] has a friend who brought this friend to our Fourth of July cookout -- he was kind of cute, and he surfs, I think, and he lives on the Cape -- and, he's single."
Soon after, I got an e-mail from the friend of the friend of the husband of my friend. I can't even remember his name now, but let's call him Dave. For a few weeks, we e-mailed back and forth, and he seemed normal enough. But I avoided going out with him and avoided giving him my phone number -- but somehow he got it and called me at work one day. Here's our conversation:
"Hi, um, Lisa? Yeah, um, this is Dave. I got your number off your company's Web site -- um, I also saw your picture, and yeah, you're really hot -- so, um, why are you single and willing to go on blind dates?"
"Dave? Dave friend of friend of Jason's Dave?"
"Yeah -- sorry. Um, yeah. I just wanted to call and talk to you to see if we could go out sometime."
(People, don't do this. Don't ask, "Want to go out sometime?" It leaves the person you are asking out with no out. What could I answer? "Gee, no, I am never free for the rest of forever?")
"Oh. How is your dog?"
(Notice avoidance of date by referring to an issue discussed in prior e-mail.)
"He's fine -- well, he was fine -- I don't know, really. I haven't seen him in a few days."
"But he was so sick! Is he at the vet?"
"No -- I gave him to my sister. He was becoming a drag -- taking care of him all the time. So, tell me, what are your interests?"
(Strike 3. Strike 1 = You're really hot. Why are you single. Strike 2 = Asking me out for "sometime.")
"Um, well, what do you mean by 'interests'?"
"You know, when you're not being an overpaid corporate slave, what do you do?"
(Not that he's wrong, but Strike 4.)
"Well, I play flag football on the weekends, and ski most weekends in the winter, surf and golf in the summer -- I guess I spend a lot of time playing sports, really. What are your interests?"
"Oh, I'm really into paintball."
"Yeah, you know, paintball."
"Well, not really..."
"Well, I go out every weekend into these woods and other places and have paintball wars with these teams -- I have a gun collection. I just added [some model number style of fancy paint gun]."
"Wow, I never knew paintball was that organized..."
"Yes. It's very organized. (extreme defensiveness coming through) We're very professional and wear official Army surplus -- I belong to the New Hampshire Black Raiders. You should come out with us sometime. It's a trip -- I killed 23 guys last weekend. It was awesome!"
"Uh, huh. So, I hear that you surf -- do you surf on the Cape?"
"Surf? No. I don't surf. Who told you that?"
"Nadine did -- Jason's wife."
"Why the hell would she say that? She doesn't even know me! Is she a bitch or something?"
"Well, no, actually, she's my friend -- I think she just thought that's what we had in common..."
"Maybe she thought you meant surf the Internet."
"Um, well, I didn't tell her that you surfed ... she told me. I sort of have to go..."
"Well, so do you want to meet or what?"
"Um, since you live on the Cape -- it seems sort of far..."
"I might be moving soon, actually."
"Really, where to?"
"To Montana." (Yes!)
"Montana? Cool. Why Montana?"
"Well, I don't want pay taxes on my new business, and that seems like a good place to do it -- you don't have to pay taxes in Montana if you don't want to."
"Really? I hadn't heard that."
"Yeah. With my new Internet business that'd be key."
"Hmm. What's your business?" (Note to self: Why don't you hang up?)
"Well, you'll think I'm a pervert or something, but I just want to make a lot of money, so I can't tell you."
"That's OK. I think I have to go..."
"Well, if you want to know, I can make $10,000 a month just setting up a porn Web site. All I do is post pictures on it, and people pay me just to visit it. I just pop in a few more pictures each month, and anyone can log on. Hello? Are you still there? Hello?"
"Hmm, Dave, that's really interesting. I really have to go, but thanks for calling."
"Well, can I call you again sometime? It seems like we have a lot in common."
-- Lisa Healy
HELL: Take heed, Agent Scully. The truth is out there
Aaah, Cindy. I met her first via chat (responding to an ad) and then via phone call. The online photo and description was of a 29-year-old redhead, sorta like a Gillian Anderson with a whole lot of freckles. There was a charged feel to our hour-long phone call. We talked about our favorite authors, vacation plans, etc. We agreed to meet for dinner (her idea), and she ended the phone call with a very flirtatious description of what she would wear and how the clothes would fit.
I was really looking forward to the date.
After keeping me waiting 45 minutes in the lobby of her building (doorman smirking all the time), Cindy appeared. I don't know how old she was, but she definitely was not 29. (She later admitted to not being allowed to see the Beatles at Shea Stadium because her father thought she was too young). And the first thing she said to me was: "Did you lie in your ad? Because you don't look 5 foot 8." (I am.)
Out of shock I suppose, I actually went through with the date, thinking, "Well, at least this will be interesting." She told me that she said she was in her 20s in her ad by accident and she couldn't figure out how to change it. Then she spent the next hour telling me all about her divorce and how her "no-good husband who should die this instant, please God" was in Mexico getting married. After peppering the conversation with gems like "You know you're paying for this, right? I'm no women's libber," and "The guy who took me out last night was taller," and "Call me Cynthia. Cindy is a girl's name," she ended the evening with "I think I'll walk myself home. It's a little embarrassing being seen with someone so much younger than me."
When I got home, I dialed up her ad and our chat correspondence, and with the unfortunate exception of her phone number, every single word had been a lie. After talking to the customer service folks at the dating company -- who would only intervene if I were being stalked -- I knew that online dating was not for me. There are much worse things than loneliness.
-- D. Casey
HEAVEN: Some would call it stalking...
It was an online game of cat and mouse, though neither of us knew the other was chasing.
I keep an online journal, which is mostly followed by people I know, or at least have met once or twice, in real life.
Every now and again, when a new person starts tracking my entries, I make it a point to read their journal and try and find out what could have moved them to start reading about my life. When I noticed that "threeofclubs" had added me as a friend, I popped over to his corner of cyberspace to see what made him tick.
At first glance, I found him charming, attractive and indeed like-minded, although he seemed to date a lot of women. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but I've been the victim of a serial dater before, so I was quite apprehensive. When I surfed to his band's Web site and found pictures of him playing rockabilly music on bass, I was hooked. I e-mailed him on the premise of getting his band's schedule to distribute to the local nonprofit swing dance group I work with, and he e-mailed me a short but friendly reply informing me that they weren't playing yet, but thanks for my interest.
For a guy that was purportedly interested in what I had to say, he sure didn't leave open any windows of opportunity for future correspondence. But a month or so later, I happened to comment on a journal entry of his. To my pink-cheeked surprise and astonishment, he mentioned that he'd been waiting for me to say something to him forever and that he figured he was just too shy to strike up a conversation with the prettiest girl he'd ever seen. That virtual tête-à-tête turned into many instant messages, a phone conversation where we did a lot of laughing, and the promise to meet for drinks on a Thursday night at my favorite bar.
I was nervous, having not had much luck with men in the two-year timespan since breaking it off with my college sweetheart. People notoriously have trouble finding my apartment, so I walked outside when I heard a car door slam and saw him get out of his car. We just stood there and gaped at each other for a moment, both of us suitably impressed with what we saw. He handed me a tasteful bouquet of flowers, which delighted me and caused him to admit that it was the first time he'd brought a girl flowers on a blind date. I assured him I was happy to be the first, and he helped me into his car and we made our way to the bar.
I knew right away that this fun, quirky guy was my match. We managed to continue our repartee over dinner at a local cafe, despite the white boy flamenco guitar player and the horrible slam poetry. He was even poised upon meeting my two best girlfriends at a local club where we went to catch some live music -- something I didn't plan on. After a heavenly 20-minute goodbye kiss on my porch, I managed not to invite him in and went inside with stars in my eyes.
He later admitted to seeing my profile on the Atomic Magazine site (a great rag for all things vintage and retro, a shared love of ours), looking at my Web site and therefore my online journal. I admitted to telling my best friend about the hot rockabilly guy I was too shy to talk to.
-- Jessica, Dallas