In my youth, the way guys could get a girl's attention was to have a great car, a talent for sports, or a band.
I didn't have a car at all until I was nearly out of high school. My sports skills got the kind of attention that rodeo clowns receive. So music it was going to have to be.
I'm grateful for that, because it has given me a wonderful career. But it was not a magic carpet to romance, I'm sorry to report. One hears all kinds of tales of guitar players surrounded by women. I have not found this to be the case. Once my shows were over, I generally went home alone.
The point is, meeting people is hard. Or at least it is when you're trying to meet people. Where do you find romance? The workplace is a likely location, but workplace romances can be awkward if things don't work out. Bars are very hit and miss, given that alcohol is involved, and that's always risky for a lot of reasons. And bars are weird - they're certainly not romantic places. Singles clubs seem forced, churches are not condusive to romance, dances are not great if your dancing skills are minimal. Meeting potential dating partners can be daunting.
Years ago, after avoiding it, I finally tried an online dating service. I signed up, and filled out my profile. This is weird, because you're selling yourself to someone you don't even know. What do you say about yourself that might interest someone seeking a date? I forget what I wrote, but I remember trying to posture myself as a poet, hoping to attract some smart, beautiful writer who would engage me in endless nights of coffee and conversation about the clash of modernist free verse and classical form.
I got one reponse. One.
She advertised herself as a radical. That could work, I thought. We arranged our coffee date for a cafe in San Francisco. She arrived a half hour late, and seemed angry. She was wearing jeans and a plaid shirt, her hair was on the greasy side, and her eyes were red and wild. She sat down and clearly had her doubts about me. She asked if I was a cop. I assured her otherwise, so she asked if I wanted to get high. I said no, but she invited me back to her place and I went.
Her room was lined with posters of Che, Trotsky, Lenin and Mao. Really. Scattered on tables and the floor were various socialist newspapers and books about revolution. On the table was a large wooden bowl in which she kept her marijuana, and she lit up a bowl from a pipe nearby. After a couple of hits, she began telling me about her views on socio/political turmoil, the fact that things were about to explode in the streets, and that people needed to make up their mind RIGHT NOW about which side they were on, because once the fighting started there would be no going back. She said all this with a very self-assured air, staring at me the whole time.
I was sure her next move was going to be a romantic invitation (after all, that's why I agreed to come to her apartment). I prepared for that.
"Can I ask you something personal?" she said.
"Sure," I replied, glad to be of help.
"Do you know where I can find some pot? My dealer got busted yesterday. I'm almost out and I really need to find a steady supply. Can you help me out?"
I explained to her that those days were long since over for me, that I knew no one who could help her, but I would be more than glad to keep my eyes open and let her know. I said this as I was gently walking to the front door.
"Would you like to hang around for a while?" she asked.
"I'd love to," I replied, "but I've got this thing I've got to take care of in a little while. I'll call you if anything comes to mind."
As I drove away, I resolved not to continue my online dating experiment. From then on, I vowed to turn the job of finding a date over to the hands of fate, which at least didn't require me to list my annual income and the kind of car I drove.
Today, I am pleased to report that my romantic life is in full bloom, no thanks at all to the internet.
What about you? Tell us your adventures with online dating.