Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dating that Feels Like Homework

At new teacher training this week, I found myself surrounded by that usual crew of early-married teachers. They look like people I'll be asking for hall passes in a couple of weeks, shiny-faced, bright-eyed, unwrinkled kids, but they're all sporting diamonds on their left hands. More power to them, I say, but when one of them told me that she didn't even know you could administer the Heimlich to yourself on the back of a chair, I suffered through a brief flash of envy. I've eaten a great many meals all by myself in my little apartment. Granted, I've never choked or needed to save myself, but I know exactly what to do if I ever do.

I've also had a birthday recently.

My birthday was the deadline for the end of the dating hiatus, and I was feeling like it would be nice to forget the Heimlich-on-the-back-of-the-chair trick. Furthermore, I ran into my first true love at the coffee shop on Tuesday. Now there's a scab I can still pick when I feel like watching myself bleed.

It's all driven me back to the dating world.

This time, I've landed on a website that promises me dates with potential. It's not that one with the right-wing Christian gay-bashing dates, but it's a little bit like that one, in that you don't get to search for dates until the website's algorithm determines that your personalities and dating wants and needs match in some way.

So the website sends you some matches, and then you can move a little slider bar right or left to indicate your interest in each person. Only I can't possibly tell how interested I am from a picture and a paragraph - unless they have some sort of obscenely hideous facial hair growing out of their upper lip, or they make horrendous grammatical errors in their essays. I feel like I should be able to tell, but I can't. Or, actually, to be brutally honest, I feel like moving all of the little slider bars all of the way left (to the "no spark" end), but I keep telling myself that I have to be more open in order to actually ever meet anyone, and so I procrastinate on moving any of my slider bars, because it's too hard to make a decision.

Meanwhile, every man who sees my profile and moves the slider bar even the slightest bit to the right generates an email of "interest". Seriously, I've gotten about one auto-generated email an hour from this thing. The emails bring up more profiles with more pictures and more cursed slider bars. I've stopped even opening them. I can't face it.

And what do you get if you both move the slider bar to the right? You get to move on to the free-response portion of the test. You choose some questions. He chooses some questions. And you both write essays.

I keep thinking that there must be a more fun way to do this. It'd be great, for example, if instead of slider bars and multiple-choice tests and short-answer questions, I could get flirtatious banter and dinner and flowers. Why can't dating be more like that?


OneN said...

At least you get to date, I just kind of moved in before we ever really went on a date. I know, I know...that's what "we" do...but still, it would be kind of fun to date too. Stop looking, and you'll find it.

Alex said...

I don't know how to stop looking. I try not to look, and then I realize that I'm really just trying to find it by not-looking, and if that's not looking, then I don't know what is.

Besides, I already told you. I'll babysit. You can go on a date, already. I promise not to lose any of your kids. Sheesh.

Jill said...

We missed your birthday?! Well, I feel like a jackass. Didn't I pay some website $14.95 to remind me when it's someone's birthday? That's bunk.
It's funny you should choose this topic on your blog because all this week I have been gathering scoop on a pharmacist I work with. My final attack plan was to ask him on Monday morning if he would like to be set up on a blind date with you. Perley, of course, wants nothing to do with this "Emma" nonsense of mine (was that a good Jane Austen reference?!?) but I'm always lookin' around for ya, Al! I'll keep you posted. I'm not telling you anything about him until I find out if he's game. If he's not game, he's lame! ;)

Alex said...

Hey Emma, er, Jill,
Bring on the pharmacist. Al and the pharmacist sittin' in the tree. Or not if he's lame.
And no worries about the birthday. It's not a number worth celebrating this year.