Techno Love – Part One of Three

New York City is a big place. 11 million and growing, most of who seem to be under the age of 40; most of whom are decidedly single. I’m not alone in being a 28-year old bright, attractive woman who can sooner get struck by lightening than get a date. I’m far from alone in this predicament, which is unfortunate because if it were just me, I’d be more inclined to wallow in that delicious brand of self-pity and loathing. Since it’s far from being just me, I have no other choice but to take action, step up to the plate, summon it to me because it sure ain’t coming to me on it’s own. Love is elusive in this enormous adult playground, life moves at the speed of light and it seems that you turn around twice and 6 months have gone by without one interesting (or even non-interesting, for that matter) romantic encounter.

The sorry state of romance in the Big City is a topic that is hashed and rehashed by friends and coworkers all over the boroughs. Aside from work, it’s the number one source of alcohol-fueled conversation. We love to talk about what pathetic losers we are when it comes to dating, how incredibly ‘hard it is here’. Theories abound, my favorite being the old Short Attention Span Theory. My friends and I proselytize wildly about how New York provides a soothing balm for those of us who suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder. Living here, in and of itself creates an acute form of ADD in your average 20-30 year old. The sheer number of things to do and see means never getting bored. You don’t like this bar? That’s OK because there are 200,000 more to try. Hey, there are 6 others just on this block alone! This Middle Eastern restaurant’s falafel not crisp enough? No problem, I can think of 15 more restaurants in the same genre whose falafel you would lay in the street and die for. This attitude, naturally, extends to people as well. Why pick one date for an evening out when you can go to a bar (or 12) and potentially meet hundreds of women and men, fleeing from anyone who doesn’t exude perfection in the 2-5 minutes you are allotting them before moving onto the next bar? All are beautiful. All are single. All are bright and motivated. A staggering array of the world’s finest, smartest, best dressed, most hip, most independent. Welcome to New York, the greatest city in the world. And the loneliest.

Not content to rest on my laurels and be yet another New York woman entering into her thirties with only the prospect of another decade of nights out with just “the girls”, or being forced into getting a cat (or cats!) for companionship…I decided to take action. It’s the new millennium, after all, and the internet helps us in countless ways. I was ready to take the plunge and go the route of internet dating. I had no other conceivable choice. Besides which, I like to think of myself as an adventurous girl with a bit of wild streak. I’ll try nearly anything once, and I figured I have absolutely nothing to lose. I have a steadily growing number of friends who have delved into online love, so I’ve gotten loads of advice. The biggest piece of advice being, “don’t take it too seriously.” It is imperative, according to online dater friends, that you keep it all in perspective. You, likely, will not meet your soul mate electronically. You might meet a bunch of creeps. You will very likely meet men who are only in it for sex, and lots of it. It’s not much different than bars except that you have a slightly larger measure of control over the situation. And we all know the old adage that you will never meet the man of your dreams in a bar. Although I’ve seen that proven wrong. I decided that I was committed to keeping the online dating in check, staying positive and not letting the inevitable disasters get me down. I’m going out on a limb, closing my eyes and leaping into the 21st Century’s neat little remedy for the lonely heart.

You’ve Got Some Nerve

My friend Kelsey and I sat on the floor of her Upper East Side apartment, laptop glowing before us, and went shopping. First we checked out, and though there seemed to be some viable candidates, the format felt a little stilted. We felt that you didn’t really learn much about people in the way that Match structures its profile pages. We both made lists, on paper, of men we might like to respond to. Then we went to, a much racier online dating site. We immediately felt more at home on Nerve, the profile questions are structured so that you learn interesting, unusual facts about the candidate. The photos are more artistic, more hip, more New York, in a way. There are many artists, musicians, and actors that fill its pages. If Match is uptown, Nerve is certainly downtown, and being a downtown girl, I felt comfortable. Our lists of men grew by the dozens. I narrowed down to 3 choices (it’s only my first foray, after all. No need to get carried away.)

There was Ocean Boy, a New York actor. Very cute, dirty blonde hair and blue eyed, scruffy and laid back looking. Drawback- the photo is clearly a headshot; the kind that shows 3 different poses of Ocean Boy. He is clearly an Actor, and his profile says so. He also seems a little flighty; he talks about having tarot cards and liking “girls who wear glitter”. Then there was AwShucks, a New York jazz guitarist who is darkly handsome and claims to play (my heart stopped when I read it) Antonio Carlos Jobim. The third is called 96Tears, and his picture was what caught me. He has a montage of 3 pictures, 2 recent, and one taken at about age 11, he’s hamming for the camera and sticking his stomach out as far as it will go. I was intrigued. I invented my own profile, called myself GlideGirl and started responding. I was honest in my profile; I didn’t exaggerate or stretch the truth about myself. I figure that for my first go-around, I’ll keep it real and see what happens. I sent a little note to each telling them that it was my first Nerve experience, but that their profile had caught my attention. I was polite, witty, and finished each with a friendly “I hope you’ll write back, but if not, I wish you luck with your acting/music/art in New York.”

One day later, I heard back from Ocean and AwShucks, both seemingly intelligent, nice guys. I was feeling better about Nerve already. Neither of these guys, to all outward appearances, seemed like the kind of desperate soul who is reduced to shopping for love online. We’ve had some interesting repartee, and AwShucks has stepped it up and asked me out for a drink next week. I’m feeling rushed, flushed…like I just got asked to the prom, so much for keeping it all in perspective. And I can see, as a writer and as a single girl, how compelling this dating venue really is. It’s a thrill to see your inbox clogged with messages from cute single men. The possibilities seem rosy and endless, I feel desired (something I haven’t felt in eons). I understand why people get addicted to the adrenaline rush, why people might even go on multiple dates per week. It’s an ADD sufferers dream come true, a pastime utterly suited to New York City; several thousand pages of hope at your mouse-clicking fingertip.

Day 2…

…dawns freezing, wet and snowy. I trudge to work through that indigenous NY mix of dirty sidewalk sludge. I’m in a bad mood, to be sure, and the only thing I’m anticipating is the rush that will come from my full inbox. Horrors…there are no messages. I have heard back from neither Ocean nor AwShucks. I had ended the day yesterday in an exhilarating game of email ping-pong with both of them; we were chatting, questioning, learning, and connecting in a continuous stream of seamless communication. What happened? AwShucks has not even responded to my response to his date proposal! Ocean had asked me for another photo yesterday, which I dug out of my database and sent. It wasn’t the most flattering (I had been swimming in the ocean all day and had that wet, slicked back salt-water head), granted, but so much so that he has blown me off already? How have I managed to lose 2 Nerve prospects in the span of only a few hours? My wise friend Penelope gave this piece of advice at around 10am, “You’re being too overzealous with the emailing. You are being open and interested and enthusiastic. Men never go for that, it’s the aloof, hard-to-get crap that works.” And so, this internet format is absolutely NO different from real life at all! It only moves faster, appropriately enough for the Computer Age. I have run the gamut from meeting and getting acquainted to being dumped, in the span of 6 hours. I think I need to regroup, lick my wounds and move on to foray #2. New photo, new profile, new ‘date’ choices. Also, I think I need a strong drink, and perhaps a healthy dose of perspective.

Continue to Part 2

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