Go ahead. Get online.

09 Jan

Internet dating works like this:

You’re single. Or maybe you’re not. Whichever way you are, you’ve decided you don’t want to be that way anymore, and in order to fix that, you need someone to fuck. Someone special.

Whatever you did to find a relationship last time (falling in intense, aching infatuation with the quiet blonde theater nerd who sat at the back of your high school bus; fellating an approximately handsome near-stranger at a New Year’s party, bonding when, contrary to your expectations, he stays to clean up the red wine you’re gently vomiting onto the carpet; reluctantly accepting the starry-eyed attentions of a girl who you’re too lonely to refuse) isn’t working this time. Probably it didn’t work as well as you thought last time either.

What no one mentioned to you is that if you’ve left college, or high school, or wherever . . . once you’ve gotten a job somewhere, you’re fucked. School exists at least in part to steep you in a highly concentrated, lonely and hormonal peer stew. Your job while you’re there is to find someone, if not the one, then at least a one, someone with whom you can mutually put up at least until the minimum age of respectable divorce. That is the last, best boat, and once you’ve missed it, there will be no others.

Probably you’ve tried going to bars. It’s logical: they’re dim, there’s booze, and there are people there that are at least theoretically horny. The difficulty here is that typically you end up drunk, frustrated and unable to see straight. Occasionally there will be a success, such as success is defined at bars, and you’ll take someone home or allow yourself to be taken, where you will make some pickled, fumbling gesture towards physical congress. In the morning you’ll mumble something bleary to each other, vaguely wondering why you didn’t work an escape into the previous night’s plans. Phone numbers will be exchanged and sealed into purses and wallets, which is not the same as throwing them away, but it could be. Someone will call a taxi.

There are three places to go from here: pay sites, free sites and Craigslist.

Think of pay sites like a place with a cover charge. They imagine themselves to be posh and ritzy in the way that suburban nightclubs do. You know, the sorts of places where the girls drink appletinis and the guys wear pink polos with popped collars. The advantage to these places is that you know the clientele can afford to waste money on this sort of thing. The disadvantage is that, nearly universally, the clientele is white, boring, and thoroughly interchangeable.

Free sites are different but not better. More people are there. Of course, it’s axiomatic that with greater concentrations of people come greater concentrations of terrible people. Even so, the bell curve is wider, and the outliers lie further out. And yes, they do lie. Your brand new email stalker might terrify you, but it’s hard to be bored and terrified at the same time.

Craigslist is Craigslist. I’ll get to that.

My name’s Dan, and this is about the people I’ve been dating for the last three years. Hi.


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  1. Lol

    March 9, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    T. says that this is like the prologue of a romantic comedy, as written by the Coen Brothers.