Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Dating Game

One of the items on my list of New Years' Resolutions that will never be fulfilled is dopey and coy, Meet Someone Special, like I'm in a forties screwball comedy and I'll bring the whole wrath of the Hays Code down on my ass if I use the word "girlfriend." I haven't been on a date since college, and I haven't been on a first date since high school, when the courtship ritual took place in an AOL chat room with "a/s/l every1?" and then "anybody wanna have sex press 19." Which, is that still appropriate?

I remember back when I was ten, if you like-liked a girl, you could communicate your profound connection by punching her in the arm or dumping mud in her hair, then skittering back to your posse, with the other neo-apes throwing rocks at each other. It's truly amazing that we even survived each other long enough to reproduce. That was so nice and simple: if she didn't like you, she'd tell on you; and if she did like you, she'd tell on you but still come back the next day for more. We grew and developed language, and subtext, and then she dates an utter tool but also complains that she's dating an utter tool, and this is all very confusing to me. My road map to true love, or empty no-strings attached sex, is a tortuous M.C. Escher mobius strip; I'm lost and haven't really moved, in fear of falling off into the abyss.

I began sketching a new outline of this uncharted territory for me in super-light pencil (actually dry-erase marker) with the best, albeit pedestrian, ideas I could imagine:

  • Get Harrigan to take a decent picture of me. I don't think I look bad at all in real life, but somehow the camera always manages to capture me in that 1/500th of a second that my countenance is a distorted facsimile of a psychotic Mr. Potato Head. I put my second-favorite picture of me up in my little dating profile (my favorite picture is the one of me in my blanket fort in the "About Me" section of the blog), but I look like I'm trying too hard to force a smile, even though I was genuinely happy when I took the pic. I blame the megapixels or something. If it's all possible for me to look good in freeze frame, Harrigan can do it. She has mad photography skillz, a couple of giant professional digital cameras, and, maybe even a lens that gives me six-pack abs and a chiseled jawline.
  • Write up a profile. My current profile is a list of my flaws, insecurities, allergies and skin conditions ("leprosy-free for over eighteen months!"). I've done a little brainstorming for a blurb that's not intentionally self-sabotaging, but nothing coherent yet.
  • Go where there's people. Duh. Despite my best efforts, there are still approximately zero dating possibilities in my bedroom.
  • Ask my friends...

...which I did. Over lunch with Sylvia, I asked her if she knew of anybody and I was completely unprepared for her answer: "Well, what are you looking for?" I never thought about it before. I guess you could read it two ways, but I don't think Sylvia was telling me that I wasn't going to find anyone by reducing the applicant pool down to its most common features, a pair of x-chromosomes. On the contrary, I just assumed I'd wind up settling ━ the cause of so many mid-life Porsche purchases ━ for whoever fate threw my way. There's the small possibility of getting lucky, like with Anne, being star-crossed as in the first half of Romeo and Juliet... but I was always more a fan of when they retardedly killed themselves. Ha, ha, that's what you get for falling in love! Stick with the passionless arranged inbreeding your families destined for you. But the very idea of actively looking for somebody, for something that I want (and facing rejection) was downright mind-blowing.