After a lovely Larchmont dinner, my good friend Keith and I went to a local dive for the Super Bowl. Keith begrudgingly supported the Steelers while I picked Green Bay as my top team. Why? Because of their green uniforms.
Let’s face it; we were both there for the booze and free microwavable appetizers.
Agreeing to buy the first round, I made my way over to the bar. Among the tall, sports-mad, screaming men, catching the tender’s attention proved to be difficult. I was stretching and straining and leaning and signaling when a familiar “Hello” suddenly broke my concentration. I turned to see none other than Pit-bull boy.
Oh Pit-bull boy: My hunky, muscular, dog-loving next door neighbor, with whom I had shared several dates, two drinks and a goodnight kiss. Pit-bull boy, who stopped calling me abruptly; and who had soon after been seen parading some other woman around town. Right, Pit-bull boy…
“What would you like?” he asked.
“Oh, um… one vodka cranberry and a Jameson” I replied. He smoothly relayed the order to the bartender and slid a $20 forward for the service.
“Oh no,” I said “You don’t have to…”
“I know I don’t have to” he said with a smile.
We hadn’t had any real communication in two months, and now he was purchasing my friend and me libations? Maybe I was overreacting. Maybe he was just being cordial. But then without provocation, he had a steady stream of refills flowing to our table all night long.
Was he trying to one-up the guy I came with? Was he trying to get me drunk for a late-night rendezvous? What kind of a game was this?! All at once, I felt demeaned, and flattered, and confused and intrigued.
And then, it occurred to me---men like this are exactly what make online dating so appealing. These men [with their baggage and their game playing and their intoxicating brain twisters] all together scream “solve me, Alex! Fix me!” In person, I’m powerless to resist a hot, game-playing mess. But online? Online, I can read between the lines, click delete and move on to the next message. For example:
“I studied writing and game-design in college and grad school, which is a very roundabout way of saying that I've been unemployed for the past three years.”
“Well, I've tried like hell to put my best foot forward in all my past messages on this site, and that's never worked out. So right now I figure, why not put the worst foot forward, instead?”
“omg.. they got your pic right next to this amazing looking chocolate muffin and all l can think abot is how yummy you look! ur killing me, lets just go out! Youre spending tonight with me.”
---Delete. And Ew.
You see? Online, I’m decisive, self-aware and brutally honest. In person? In person I’m nice Alex; sweet Alex; “everybody deserves a chance” Alex.
Well---not today, Pit-bull boy! You can take your big game and feed it to that mutt-a-yours. I’m taking my mental cursor, and simply clicking DELETE.