By David Israel
therapist says nothing for a few moments, letting my last sentence
linger in the air just to make sure I'm hearing myself. Then she
poses the following question: "Well supposing Girl F is
out there. Have you ever stopped to think that she might be on a
different dating site than the one you're on? What then? Can you
really afford to subscribe to them all?"
And that's when it hits me: There are just way too many options
out there. Someone needs to launch one site that searches all the
other sites and displays the top fifty results. A BizRate for the
dating world. A MySimon for singles.
After therapy, I wander 14th Street in a state of bemused dismay.
Everywhere I look there are storefronts advertising NEW!
products. Pedestrians breeze by me carrying shopping bags full of,
no doubt, IMPROVED! merchandise -- better than last
year's, cooler than any predecessor, and certainly smaller than
Then I begin to think about the new car I was looking to buy just
last week, online. The way the manufacturer's site allowed me to
click through a dozen different pull-down menus, literally designing
a custom-built vehicle from the ground up. It dawns on me that the
same is true of most of what I buy. From my custom-tailored cable
TV subscription, to the groceries delivered to my front door after
I've carefully clicked through hundreds of options in twenty different
departments offering everything from "Kosher" to "Organic
& All Natural."
It's on the subway home that I realize how all this has affected
my dating life: I've become a victim of my e-nvironment. I'm a fatality
of the overwhelming variety the Internet offers. Were there an Over-Clickers
Anonymous, I could be their poster child.
Used to getting everything I want with a push or pull of the mouse,
I now understand how this has warped my outlook. In a blazing revelation
on the F-train, I begin to understand the difference between selecting
an Off-Road Tire Package and the minimum degree I'd like my potential
soulmate to have graduated with.
Furious with myself for allowing the problem to snowball out of
control, I immediately resolve to call Jamie the moment I get home.
Also, more importantly, I decide should the conversation and ensuing
date go well, I'll have to give the incipient relationship a fair
shake by pulling my profile off the site and suspending my membership
Of course the truth is if things are going well, the temptation
to look at new profiles shouldn't exist. But we all know there's
a difference between truth in the real world and inquisitiveness
in the virtual one. Running up the steps of my brownstone, I decide
that I've had it with that latter: I refuse to be one of those cats
done in by his own curiosity.
Predictably, the ten-minute phone conversation with Jamie turns
into a two-hour exchange. Connections are unearthed (we grew up
visiting our maternal grandparents in Fort Lauderdale, who, it turns
out, lived ten houses down from one another), common bonds are formed
(we discover we both went through a hemp phase), jokes are made
(about the hemp phase). Simply put, it is one of the most magical
beginnings to a relationship anyone could want.
And the first date goes even better.
And, as planned, I do, indeed pull my profile.
And the second date goes even better than the first.
And more common ground is discovered, like the fact that I've been
in her apartment before.
Hold on, rewind
Okay, you recall in the first paragraph where I wrote, "for
all intents and purposes, I met my fiancé online"? Well
that sort of implied a twist, did it not? So let me explain.
It turns out that while Jamie and I didn't exactly know each other,
per say, we knew of each other. And, curiously, I had her
phone number in my address book for the last seven years. And, perhaps
more curiously, she'd seen a photo of me in an album back at her
mother's house in Pittsburgh.
If you haven't guessed by now, I'd briefly dated her sister seven
years earlier, who, at the time, lived in the apartment Jamie would
later take over. Though we were both living in New York, we never
met. No, for that we'd need the Internet. And for that, I'd have
to learn that the way to make the most of online dating is to use
horse blinders when appropriate.
this day I've never asked Jamie if she's taken down her profile.
I've been too busy enjoying the relationship to care. So if you're
conducting a search for single women through an online dating service,
within three miles of zip code 10011, and happen to run across a
girl who has "a special affinity for aerial photographs"
and the guts to admit that she still, "occasionally sleeps
with her baby blanket," don't bother hot-listing her. She's
already got a date and is now busy putting together the guest list.
PAGE 1 2
version for easy reading
material is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission|