Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Coffee "Date"

While in Vancouver, I met a guy I'd contacted through an online dating site. (More about these sites another time.) This is the third person I've met face-to-face and--SPOILER ALERT!--the results have all been disappointing. Is it me? Is it the coffee? Let's just say it's him. Why not? He can't defend himself here. He can create his own blog if he so chooses.

There should not be any great expectations for such meetings. He--let's give him an exotic name: Bob--even minimized any possible hype online by calling the first in-person chat an "introduction", not a date. That didn't help me suppress my unruly nerves and sweat glands. For a guy who lives a ferry ride away from anything gay, these intros are high stakes. Plus I'm 43. A nursing home is just around the corner.

Bob had three pictures of himself online. One was hot; the other two, not so hot. Deep down I suspected the hottie shot was a fluke, a credit to good lighting, a perfect angle and that one day each decade when everything comes together just right. Still, it was his photo. There was a chance that the other two shots were simple statements that Bob may not be photogenic. We all know people who look wonderful in person but are cursed by camera gremlins.

It was a fluke all right. And I know I am sounding superficial. I sat at an outdoor table while he ordered his coffee and hoped that chemistry would draw me in. Within the first minute of conversation, I knew there would be no such thing. It start with the laugh. I'll readily admit that I have a laugh that can be polarizing, but his was an expression of elfin glee that made his eyes bulge and his upper body shake. I did not bolt. I stayed for ninety more minutes, just so I wouldn't come across as rude. Or shallow (even though that's how I felt). Remember watching Seinfeld and being amused, yet repulsed at how quickly the characters could dismiss an otherwise date-able person? I'm sure The Laugh was featured. Maybe I am doomed to a life like George.

Maybe I am just doomed to sitting through miserable "conversations" (er, diatribes) about Russia, China and India resolving to rock American power. (I lived in the U.S. for sixteen years and my whole family still lives there. I think during an introduction one should temper any urge to bash a country by listening to any lead from the person with stronger connections to that country. Just a thought.) He shifted to talking about his photographic memory. Hello, arrogance! He then rambled about his work in a business setting mentioning all his training, his five-year plan and...I don't know what else. My eyes glaze over when people talk business. Is that a flaw?

I felt myself shutting down. I regularly stared off and he turned a few times to see what I found more interesting. A banner. Bricks on a building. A cigarette butt. Oh, if he only had a blog!

I used to approach first dates with the idea that each one is a story. Good or bad, the date is an experience and the joy or pain can make entertaining conversation with friends. Somehow the stories are getting duller. They don't seem worth reading.

It's okay. There are other books. (Aren't there?) I don't think the online sites lead to much, but I don't seem to have other options at the moment. Still, I may wait at least a day before logging on again.

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