Friday, March 4, 2016


With the rise of social media and phones seemingly affixed to the palm of the hand, alarmists are quick to say that the art of meeting people face-to-face is fading. I don’t know about that. But then I’ve yet to stand on a street corner with a placard proclaiming that the world is ending on a particular date in July. Hell, I didn’t even foresee the end of “American Idol”. But it does seem that dating without any social media impetus is becoming a thing of the past. And this is cause for concern.

Around Valentine’s Day, as the Haves were posting pics of their chocolate and flower haul on Facebook and Instagram, articles popped up on the internet for the Have Nots. The basic message: doom. Dating connections that arise from online dating sites are less likely to endure than relationships that form from introductions orchestrated by friends and family or that develop simply from knowing one another in a common setting. I don’t know if any research was necessary. It makes common sense. And yet more and more people are putting their hopes on websites with a catalog of thumbnail photos of hypothetically single people who are hypothetically seeking a relationship. (You might hypothesize that this writer is a tad jaded.)

I am one of the site seekers. There is no alternative. I cannot recall the last time I had a date that did not arise from a dating website. I’m thinking it was Arnie Jones, a guy from the gym eighteen years ago. We spent six months smiling at each other across the gym floor before my friend John had had enough and made us have an awkward conversation on crowded Denman Street in July. He served as negotiator. Would you two like to go out? Yes! About time. Unfortunately, I was heading to Ontario the next day for an extended summer holiday. Arnie and I got our date at last at the end of August. A lovely dinner and conversation and a commitment to play tennis together next. Unfortunately, there was a circuit party in Vancouver over the Labor Day weekend and Arnie became smitten by a party boy from Chicago. And that was that. My difficulty in landing a second date goes way, way back.

I would love a date that arises from a chance encounter while sizing up bananas at the grocer or that results from being squeezed together during rush hour on Skytrain. It could potentially come from a ride up the elevator in my condominium. There are twenty-eight floors. You’d think there’d be an available guy or two, but no one talks in the elevator. Everyone stares at their phones, the equivalent to invisible electrical fences to keep person-to-person contact at bay. What amuses me is that we don’t get reception in our elevator. It seems there are more socially insecure people than me.

A work colleague could set me up, but my sexuality is never discussed. Everyone knows but I’m the boss in a unionized environment. People only get so close. Perhaps I could be set up with a friend of a friend. Unfortunately, my list of friends has shrunk dramatically and they’ve heard plenty of my dud and thud first dates. It is reasonable to think I am the problem. Why would they wish that on their other friends?

So, as much as I bemoan my online experiences, they are the only realistic option. Chances of success are slim. An internet article even says so! Still, I go through the motions. (Drat. The humorous kale lover on OkCupid has not responded to my message. Apparently bonding over kale quips is a longshot. Now I know.)

Sometimes, I still get hopeful. I haven’t allowed the odds against being published again to deter me from writing and dreaming. I shan’t let the odds push me out of the online dating market either. Sometimes I even buy a lottery ticket. I’m just an against all odds kind of guy.

Or maybe it’s just that I don’t know what else I’d do. That Candy Crush game thingy is out. I don’t even know how to download an app. And, truth be told, I’ve always been a bit afraid of cats. I’d suck at taking up knitting as a hobby.


I log in and slog on.

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