Match: 1 in 5 Relationships Start Online

…so claims the match.com ad campaign. I don’t doubt this. However, I would guess that 4 out of 5 people still can’t shake the “ick” of the online dating stigma. I’m definitely one of those people.

[Pause. You’re probably thinking “Huh?” Confession: I wrote this post two years ago on my old, secret blog that made me sad and depressed. I’m recycling. So sue me. I haven’t had the time or the motivation to write in the last few weeks… Ok. Play.]

When I first moved to New York City (2008), I decided to give match.com a try. I spent hours writing my profile. I agonized over how I was presenting myself to “them”. I wanted to seem down to earth but mysterious, not too high maintenance but still girly, witty and just all around awesome.

There was a section called “my education” in which you could write a brief paragraph about… well, your education. I thought to myself “Oh! I will write about how I went to the University of Storied Football Program and every man in New York City will be impressed! They will be banging down my cyber door to take me on fancy dates!” I included this tidbit of information, and made a joke at the expense of my Masters degree from School of Waiting Tables (and Musical Theatre).

I posted my profile and promptly decided that match.com was entirely too much work. My profile sat dormant for the three months that I had pre-paid, and then I canceled my membership. I hid my profile.

Fast forward to late 2010.

I decided to give match.com another try. Remembering how long the first profile had taken me to put together, I resolved to just re-post it “as-is”. There would be no editing of inaccurate information (favorite hot spots, currently reading, etc.). However, I had become much older, wiser, and digitally skeptical in the two years that had passed. I knew that the “my education” section had to be deleted. The very revealing details of University of Storied Football Program and School of Waiting Tables (and Musical Theatre) would lead potential suitors to my true identity immediately with a simple google search (I am the master of such google searches, so I know).

I went through all of the editing options but couldn’t find a way to remove “my education”. I perused the FAQ and discovered that they were in the process of phasing this section out (they had replaced it with a simple drop down menu). However, this “phasing out” meant that if you did not have the “my education” section already included in your profile, you could not add it, and if you DID have information in the “my education” section, you could not edit it.

Well, fuck.

I was all ready to be 1 in 5, but now there was a wrench in my plan.

I debated not reposting my profile, but then just decided – what the hell. I clicked “publish”.

[Here comes the full disclosure section of this blog post. The reason why I didn’t want these very revealing details of my life included in my match.com profile is because I didn’t want anyone that I know (close friends excluded) to know that I was on match.com; it’s the “ick” factor that I mentioned before: the idea that people will think that I am unable to meet someone in real life; that I am so desperate and undesirable that I have to use a website to meet an equally desperate, undesirable mate. However, it really wasn’t that I didn’t want “anyone” to know. There was one particular person that I would have been MORTIFIED to find out I was on match.com… He was a guy that I had a gigantic crush on for much too much time and referred to as my Future Boyfriend – FBF. Anyway. I was horrified that he might somehow find out that I was using match.com.]

The website proved to be just as much work as it was two years prior. I was pretty much over it. Then I got an email that I couldn’t NOT respond to. It read:

Hi Erin!

Tough year for the University of Storied Football Program, huh? I have been a fan my whole life and actually almost applied there but then I got into School of Waiting Tables (and Musical Theatre), class of ‘AFewYearsBeforeYourTime. I’m sure we can play the name game when we meet!

-Comet

As I mentioned before, I am a master of the google (a poorly disguised username helps, too). I did not pass go, I did not collect two hundred dollars, I did not read his profile. I immediately went to Facebook to see who our mutual friends were.

There were five.

One of them was FBF.

Fuck.

After much hemming and hawing (and a long IM conversation with my friend D., another one of our mutual friends), I decided to respond to Comet’s email. We exchanged a few emails and made plans to meet.

Comet was unbelievably nice. He had memorized my profile. He asked me questions about things that I didn’t even remember I had divulged (this profile was two years old, you know). He chose the restaurant and called ahead to make sure that they had the wine that I was obsessed with (side note: I wasn’t really a fan anymore, but felt like I HAD to order it after he had gone to all that nice, sweet trouble!). The conversation just flowed. We had so much to talk about. I’ll say it again: he was SO nice. I was not. I had barely even looked at his profile. I don’t think I ever read the whole thing.

Quickly, we moved on to the “six degrees” portion of our evening. The first person that he asked me if I knew was D. “Yes! I love her!” The next was FBF. He explained how close he and FBF were at the School of Waiting Tables (and Musical Theatre). He was like FBF’s older brother. I began to realize that many of Comet’s mannerisms and speech patterns were just like FBF’s. These people were not merely acquaintances, they had the kinds of similarities that only occur when you spend A LOT of time with another person.

It weirded me out.

From moment one of meeting Comet, I didn’t have the zsa zsa zsu. I liked him (SO nice!), but I didn’t want to make out with him. Buuuuut he reminded me of FBF… Maybe I could make it work?! Is that a horrible reason to be interested in someone? Can you date someone because they remind you of someone you really, really like?

The answer is: absolutely not.

Comet and I went out one more time after our first date. After that, neither of us contacted each other.

My theory? I think he called FBF after our initial date. Their conversation, in my mind, went something like this:

Comet: Dude. You’ll never believe this. So… I’m on match.com and…

FBF: Wait. What?! HAHA! You’re on match.com?!! Alright man, well… whatever tickles your pickle.

Comet: Yeah… I know. Anyway. So I’m on match.com and I met… wait for it… Erin! She said that she knows you! Isn’t it a crazy small world!?

FBF: Uh… Erin? She said that she “knows” me? Hah. That’s funny.

Comet: You don’t know her? She’s got blonde hair and is really short and stuff.

FBF: Yeah, yeah, man. I know her. That girl and I had a thing a while ago. She was SUPER into me. She would send me drunken text messages and shit. She was totally on my jock. [Editor’s note: I know that this is my made-up version of their hypothetical conversation, but I can assure you that it wasn’t like he was discouraging my ridiculous behavior.]

Comet: Oh, really? She seemed really shy and reserved and stuff. We didn’t even kiss or anything.

FBF: Huh. Maybe she’s chilled out or something.

Comet: Peace out man.

FBF: Yeah, talk to you later.

Comet then came to the realization (solidified after “date” number two), that I was not “SUPER into” him like I was FBF and decided to cut his losses. Like I said, I didn’t want to make out with him, there was no zsa zsa zsu.

What did I learn from this experience?

1. I’m not ready to be 1 in 5. I’ll stick to the non-digital means of meeting people for now. My online profile has since been removed, but that doesn’t stop catholicsingles.com from targeting me with Facebook ads daily.

2. All skeletons in my closet / emotional baggage: get out of my life. No, seriously. GET OUT.

[Also, it was really hard for me to write male dialogue without a bunch of “like”s in there. I had to remove them all after I had written the “conversation”. Men don’t say “like”. I shouldn’t either. I sound like an idiot.]

Dear readers. Oh, how time can change a person. I still don’t really love meeting people online [it just feels so forced], however when someone tells me they feel weird about being on an online dating site, I just roll my eyes at them and tell them they are ridiculous because EVERYONE is on them. Everyone.

OkCupid: Back In The Game?

Last night, I had a conversation with a friend who said that if I’m ACTUALLY looking to date someone, OkCupid might not be my best outlet. 

WHAT?!?!

Slash. Duh. I’ve sorta put OkCupid on the back-burner because of Snatched and because… well… it hasn’t been that fruitful. [Though it HAS provided hours of entertainment!]

Yesterday, as I was leaving my therapist’s office, there was a gentleman with two adorable dogs outside. As I passed him, he stopped me. 

DogGuy: What does your shirt say? I’m a…?

Me: I’m a music nut. Cute dogs! Are they yorkies?

DogGuy: Yeah, they’re actually teacup yorkies. We* got really lucky cause they have no health issues or anything. 

Me: Well they are super cute. 

DogGuy: So.. um… I didn’t actually stop you because I wanted to know what your shirt said. I think you’re really attractive, and I was wondering if you might want to go out and get a drink or dinner or something sometime. 

Me: Uh… [I hesitate, but then I remember that it is the Summer of Yes, and so…] Yeah. Sure.

DogGuy: Cool! You know. I mean. How do you hit on people these days? Like this? Like on the sidewalk? I’m usually not this awkward, but you know, it’s summer and I’m tired of being alone and going home alone and… [trails off..]

Me: Yeah… I know what you mean.

DogGuy: Cool, well can I get your number? 

Me: Sure. 

[We do the number exchange.]

DogGuy: Oh! California! Cool!

Me: Yeah, it’s the best. I love it there. 

DogGuy: Yeah. Well, I’m from New York… But I’ve lived in other places like Atlanta and stuff, so I’m not a total weirdo or crazy or… you know… [trails off again]. 

You guys. What can I say? It’s the Summer of Yes. The answer is always yes, right? [*Also, who is this ‘we’?]

And, lest we think that awkward pick-ups on New York City streets are sort of unbearable, I present you with a round-up of recent messages:

SuitorWithNoProfilePicture: Gorgeous pics and your profile piqued my interest. New to OKC and still figuring this place out a bit. Im 6′, 180lbs, short brown hair, blue eyes, broad shoulders, athletic, cute and VERY well endowed (I promise). Id love to chat and see what you are looking for in here. Hope that youre having a good weekend and that we can chat soon…Ill be online for a bit.

I haven’t responded, but I’m thinking the ONLY appropriate response is: Pictures or I don’t believe it. [And you KNOW what sort of pictures I’m talking about…]

Obviously I’m trying to find love where others are just trying to get laid. 

NightOwl: Come have some free wine with me at a lounge in the village, lil cute Blonde~~>! Just a thought

This message was received at 1:40 am. I mean… I MAY be on OkCupid at 1:40 am, but I am ALSO most definitely in my bed. I think I have a post-1:00 am trump-card for Summer of Yes, right?

You guys. I CAN’T WIN! Spinsterhood is sounding more appealing by the hour. 

OkCupid: The Art of Subtlety

I received a message from a suitor whose profile waxed poetic about being a mama’s boy. 

NotSubtle: I like short girls and you have amazing boobs. I’d love to meet you.

Me: Haha umm… thanks? Did your mother approve that message ;)?

NotSubtle: Well played. So where in NYC do you live, miss California?

Me: East Village. You?

NotSubtle: Upper west side. Perhaps one of us could make the cross-city trip to hang out one of these days.

Listen, NotSubtle. Thanks but no thanks. While I’m sure that you looked at my pictures before you read my profile, it’s sort of expected that you at least pretend that you are messaging me because I am so witty and intriguing and hilarious, and NOT just because you’re looking for a good tittyfuck. 

Maybe it’s time for me to explore other avenues. There are tons of straight men taking sewing and cupcake decorating classes, right? 

OkCupid: I’m a Hustler, Baby

On OkCupid, everyone is trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents [or $3 off of a free dating website as the case may be].

Scenario One: OkCupid Wants Your Money

OkCupid is free.

Unless.

Unless you want to be able to “browse anonymously while still seeing your visitors!” Then you gotta cough up the funds: three dollars per month. [I’m still not exactly sure how this works if BOTH involved parties are paying the three dollars. I think OkCupid is running a scam here.]

Anyway, there is no way OKC is collecting $3 from me, so I just browse openly. People can see when I view their profiles. I can see when they view mine. I don’t really care that much. [I could also browse anonymously for free, but then I couldn’t see any of my visitors… and what’s the fun in that?]

On Tuesday at 11:23 am, a gentleman from OkCupid sent me the following message.

OverEager: hey there would you like to chat and see where it goes from there ??

I was busy during the day. At approximately 9:05:30 pm, I finally arrived home, powered up the ol’ laptop, read OverEager’s message, and viewed his profile.

At 9:06 pm, while I was STILL BROWSING HIS PROFILE, I received the following message.

OverEager: Any interest ?

1. This is what I get for not paying the $3 per month. If I was browsing anonymously, he couldn’t have sent me a follow-up stalker message.

2. No, sir. Now that you’ve revealed yourself to be CRAZY, I have no interest.

3. What’s with the spaces before the final punctuation in your messages?

Scenario Two: People On OkCupid Want Your Money

I recently exchanged the following messages with a gentleman on OKC.

OKCEntrepreneur: Hey! So… Want to help me win twenty bucks? My buddy and I have a bet that you are actually a dude. 

Me: Haha WHAT?! I can assure you that I am most definitely a lady! What makes you say that?

OKCEntrepreneur: Damn. Well I lost… It’s cause no girl writes as little as you did on your profile. Barren profiles are a guy thing. 

Me: Yeah… I guess it is a little sparse. It probably needs some editing… especially now that people are accusing me of being a dude! [For the record, my profile is NOT that barren.]

OKCEntrepreneur: Well… We could meet up and I could give you some pointers. You could buy me an ice cream in exchange for my expertise. 

1. Huh?

2. No. Really. What?

3. I thought you were trying to find out if we might be a good match, but then maybe you were selling me online dating profile consulting services?

4. Dude. You are clearly strapped for cash. First you are making twenty dollar bets about gender, and then you’re trying to swindle me for free ice cream. Surely there are more lucrative and stable options available to you.

Maybe we just can’t help it. Pop culture taught us all to be hustlers from a very young age.

“I’ll trade you a pickle for a nickel!”

“How about two cents?”

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

A few months ago, I decided that I needed new friends.

Now, don’t get it twisted: I have the greatest friends in the whole entire world. Truly. I wouldn’t trade them for a penthouse apartment with a park view [Uh… No. I wouldn’t. I don’t think…].

I just decided that I needed to expand my horizons and perform a world paradigm shift by not limiting myself to what was already known, familiar, comfortable.

I began pursuing friend dates. I texted people who were acquaintances, friends of friends, strangers [uh… maybe I didn’t text strangers], whatever. I was (am?) really trying to put myself out there.

[Incidentally, if you are reading this and you would like to go on a friend date, I am your gal. Text/email/send smoke signals. There’s no sense in having a blog if you can’t whore yourself out for your own pleasure.]

I also decided that it was time to send a friendly text to someone with whom I shared a sort of tumultuous past. I suggested that we do some friendly activity. He suggested that we take a stroll down memory lane. Since I’m a sucker with a capital S, I obliged. [Whatever you’re reading between the lines here, you are correct.]

However, what I REALLY wanted was for us to be pals [and I told him as much]. I have an embarrassingly small amount of straight male friends. I’m looking to rectify that situation.

So, this past weekend I texted him again suggesting a friendly drink. And by friendly drink, I ACTUALLY meant a friendly drink, NOT a “friendly drink (and then we’ll go back to your apartment and bone)”.

He wrote back that he was “sorta seeing someone” [woof… “sorta”?] and so he didn’t think that was possible.

Me: But I thought we were gonna be friends!

Him: We are friends!

Me: So then there’s no harm in us getting a friendly drink!

[He didn’t respond.]

You guys.

Is this not a possibility? Was Harry right? Can men and women not be friends? Does the sex part ALWAYS get in the way?

I feel like I missed a day of LifeSchool.

The reaction of everyone that I know is: DUH. Meanwhile, I’m just sputtering in the corner like, “But… but… but…”

On Chinese Medicine and Bed Bath & Beyond

Almost two years ago, I quit my soul-sucking job. It was a job that I had had since I moved to New York. On paper, it was arguably perfect. I was on salary, I received benefits, and there was lots of free alcohol. Oh, and I could leave to audition any time I wanted.

I know.

Right now you’re wondering:

1. Why would you EVER leave this holy grail of actor survival jobs?

AND

2. Have they filled your [obviously irreplaceable/gigantic/un-fillable] shoes? If not, where can I send my resume?

As it turns out, perfect on paper just wasn’t good enough. One day, I found myself in a bodega on the phone with my mom.

Mom: Where are you? Are you crying?

Me: Uh huh. Um… I’m in a bodega? Downstairs from my office?

Mom: Why are you crying?

Me: … I don’t know?

Mom: You’re in a bodega and you can’t tell me why you’re crying? You need to quit.

And so I did.

I never looked back.

[Ok. That’s an exaggeration. Usually, somewhere around the 1st and the 15th of the month, I had a low-balance-alert induced moment of regret, but it would always pass.]

I decided that I was going to recommit myself to auditioning and get into better shape. I started actually going to my gym. The months went by, and I became addicted to running. I was a veritable Forrest Gump [or something]. I saw the results of my hard work, and I was proud of myself. I enjoyed a brief stint as the mayor of my gym on Foursquare. I entered my very first New York Road Runners race. I had visions of running a marathon [watch out, Kenyans].

Meanwhile, I got myself mixed up in a sticky situation with a gentleman who was bad news. Suffice it to say that things ended badly. [Very badly.] As that situation deteriorated, I developed severe pain in my left foot. At first I ignored it. Eventually, it became so excruciating that running was no longer an option; in the mornings, just walking was barely manageable.

Fast forward a few months.

I was on a tour and having trouble sleeping in the sundry Comfort Inns, La Quintas, and Super 8s that dot the landscape of our fine country. I decided to go to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a mask and some ear plugs. I asked one of the sales associates to lead me to the sleeping masks, and she escorted me to an end-cap display. Hanging upon the end-cap was an assortment of purple and pink faux-satin eye-masks with phrases like “Sleeping Diva” and “Don’t Wake the Princess!” embroidered across them. I obviously hadn’t expressed myself clearly to the sales associate: I wasn’t looking for goody-bag items for a bachelorette party. I needed a sleeping mask that would ACTUALLY help me sleep. [Side note: I eventually found this one in another part of the store and I’m OBSESSED with it. It doesn’t touch your eyelids, so you can’t even feel it on you!]

Atop the display of novelty eye-masks, someone had discarded an unwanted foot massager [that looked sort of like an abacus]. I picked it up, wondering if it might help my plantar fasciitis [as it had now been diagnosed]. I flipped it over to find a foot reflexology map. [Reflexology 101: reflexology is an “alternative medicine involving the physical act of applying pressure to the feet, hands, or ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques… It is based on what reflexologists claim to be a system of zones and reflex areas that they say reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body.”] I scanned the map to find the precise location on my foot that had been causing me pain for so many months.

Lo and behold, that location was labeled “Sexual Organs”.

Image

What?

WHAT.

My mind was blown.

It wasn’t a coincidence that, when all the shit was hitting the proverbially fan with that bad-news gentleman, my foot started to voice [scream] its opinion on the issue. As it turns out, I didn’t need a podiatrist for what ailed me. I needed a therapist to work out my still lingering issues. My emotional strife had manifested itself in a physical way.

Armed with this new information [and my foot abacus and my sleep mask], I felt like I had a new plan of attack. Within weeks my foot started to feel better. [Knowledge really is power, I guess.] Last month, with my foot mostly healed, I ran a half marathon.

In conclusion, A Convenient List of Takeaways:

1. My body knows what’s what. It’s probably just best to listen to it.

2. The universe is going to give me what I need. [Maybe that will come in the form of a reflexology map affixed to the back of a foot massager left on top of some cheap sleeping masks in a BB&Beyond. You never know. The universe is a mysterious, saucy minx like that.]

3. Quitting a soul-sucking day job is ALWAYS the right decision.

4. If it looks like bad news and smells like bad news, it’s probably bad news.

5. Stretch before and after running. [Duh. Running 101.]

*image

OkCupid: Roses and Chocolates

I have a confession. I have not been yes-ing my way through OkCupid Month of Yes. The reason? These are the sorts of enticing notes cluttering my inbox.

———-

Cutie! I like your style. Write me back if you want to grab a drink tonight.

-Received from 30YearOldSam at 10:27 pm.

[Do you really think I’m going to come and meet you NOW?!]

———-

Your star sign is Leo: I think we match! hehehe I am Pisces

[“It’s a match!” proclaims the Target Lady.]

———-

The red dot is actually a good thing. What is a survival Job? Only repond if you get the same level of attention when you go out as you get messages on OKCupid.

[For those who don’t know, OkCupid gives you a colored dot based on how often you respond to messages. Red = Responds Very Selectively; Yellow = Responds Selectively; Green = Responds Often; Blue = “No one’s contacted him/her this week. Go for it!” (Wanh wanh!)]

[Also… Huh?]

———-

____________@_______@ @_____
_____________@@__@_@@@_____
_____________@__@@_____@_____
____________@@_@__@_____@_____
___________@@@_____@@___@@@@@_____
__________@@@@______@@_@____@@_____
_________@@@@_______@@______@_@_____
_________@@@@_______@_______@_____
_________@@@@@_____@_______@_____
__________@@@@@____@______@_____
___________@@@@@@@______@_____
__@@@_________@@@@@_@_____
@@@@@@@________@@_____
_@@@@@@@_______@_____
__@@@@@@_______@@_____
___@@_____@_____@_____
____@______@____@_____@_@@_____
_______@@@@_@__@@_@_@@@@@_____
_____@@@@@@_@_@@__@@@@@@@_____
____@@@@@@@__@@______@@@@@_____
____@@@@@_____@_________@@@_____
____@@_________@__________@_____
_____@_________@_____
_______________@_____
____________@_@_____
_____________@@_@_____
______________@@_____
______________@_____

[You guys. No joke. This was in my inbox. I didn’t realize that OkCupid was the place where MySpace roses went to die.]

———-

Maybe you’ll be the woman of my dreams, your almost as good looking as me too (Haha!).

[First: Rude. Second: Maybe my grammar skillz will make up for my apparent aesthetic failings.]

———-

Interesting physique you have.

[Uh. Thanks? Is that a compliment or just an observation?]

———-

Are you shy?

[What? Were you mid-conversation with someone else and accidentally sent their message to me?]

———-

Damn you’re a pretty white girl. I have to ask, are you into muscular black men?​

[I mean yes, but… Can’t you just assume I’m interested if I respond to your message? Why’s it gotta be so crass?]

And that, my friends, is a pretty good summation of what’s new in OkCupid land. No wonder I’m sitting in my apartment eating Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Mango Bites.