Maybe I’m romantic about everything, but online dating reminds me of a Jane Austen book. It’s all about sending and receiving letters and trying to interpret them, although today we’re more cynical, so none of the email exchanges remotely resemble the type of love letters Wentworth sent to Anne Elliot in Persuasion. It’s more like dipping your toe in the water to see how hot or cold or desperate it is. You ask the person about their job, what they like to do, where they are in the profile pic – it’s all very hesitant. In reality there are so many more pressing things to ask about. Like if the person has somebody tied up in the basement, or if that profile pic was taken 10 years and 30 pounds ago, or, really, if that person is ever going to take the plunge into the pool and agree to meet up with you.
Or maybe that’s just me and I’m doing everything wrong. One time I asked a friend what he said in messages he’d send to women on his online dating site. He thought for a minute and said, “Hmm…I usually say something about the profile and small talk. But sometimes I go for it and say ‘You’re fucking hot. I want to meet up with you this weekend.’” Apparently both had similar success rates. I would never be able to say anything so forward. I was brought up with old fashioned values. I’m the type of guy who likes to ask a father’s permission before I email his daughter a picture of my penis. That’s the kind of respect I have for people. When I purchase prostitutes, I demand we go out for dinner and a movie first. I treat my ladies right. And trust me, nothing gets a hooker in the mood like Denny’s and a little Nora Ephron.
Anyways, I digress. The online thing is going okay. I’ve had a couple dates with one woman, and they’ve gone pretty well (Can they be called ‘dates’? She might disagree. For a compromise, how about I call them ‘dates’ and she can call them something else.). Nothing serious of course, no expectations. Keeping my options open. Got a few other blossoming relationships going that are still in the email stage. I have to say, with the whole online thing, my comprehension of the ‘base system’ is all out of whack; I used to think a kiss was first base, but now, to me, getting to first base means she’s accepted my request on Skype.
Second base? Switching from chat to a video call.
Online dating also allows a person to have some fun situations that otherwise probably wouldn’t happen. For instance, there’s one girl that’s been interested enough to reply to my messages quite a few times. I shot her a message on Sunday, just asking her how her weekend was. She replied with this: “Good, thanks! How are you, Jeff?”
Jeff? Who the fuck is Jeff? Had she seriously confused me with some other dude? At first I was a bit taken aback, having been called some other guy’s name. How should I respond? I figured it would be awkward to correct her or even point out her slip up. Maybe the best thing would be to send a normal reply and say something subtle to quietly point out the mistake. “My weekend was great. Sincerely, Not Jeff.”
Then, after a few minutes of deliberation, I decided to go with this: “Hey. My weekend was pretty good. Hung out with friends. If you have the time this week, would you like to meet up for coffee?”
That’s right – I went a whole different route with it. I figured that maybe this Jeff guy is doing a lot better than I am, and I could use the confusion to my advantage. I mean, if she said ‘no,’ really she meant to reject Jeff, so there would be no need to feel bad about it. And if she accepted…well, I could play along and pretend I’m Jeff. I have no problem with that.
“Oh Jeff!” she’d say. “I loved your profile. You’re such an interesting person!”
“Yeah! Don’t I know it! But let’s not talk about any of that interesting personal stuff. Do you like kim bap?”
So things are going well. Even if I’m not getting anywhere with the ladies, at least I’m honing my letter writing skills. Like I’m Mr. Darcy. Mr. Jeff Darcy. Actually, I’ve never read anything by Jane Austen. I’ve only seen the movie version of Sense and Sensibility once. I liked it, but the hooker was a little bored.