no. 09 The Importance of Avocados

Here's what you're wondering as you trade texts with the girl you were supposed to have drinks with, to meet her for the first time, but she "has that cold that's going around." (For the record, I am sure she does.) "Are you going to be cool? Are we going to like each other when we meet? Are these texts a waste of time when this all shakes out?"

Texting creates this bizarre faux intimacy because you're communicating, but minus the reference points of actually knowing someone; and especially in this case, having never met them, well, it's not intimacy at all. It's words traded between two people, and for the most part, those of little consequence.

It's the same dialogue exchanged at every one of these online dating meet-ups.

How many siblings do you have? 
Are you the oldest? 
The youngest? 
When did your parents get divorced?

We should really just be given scripts to read. It's Mad-Libs on an adult scale. So this not-date date goes on in a space that is that literally--space.

The funny thing is we sit across the table, later, and ask each other how many of these internet dates we've been on and how many were total nightmares. That's the word, "nightmare."

We trade our stories and hope the other person, anxiously spinning their cocktail glass, won't be added to that list. It's a list that's anecdotally entertaining, great conversation fodder at holiday parties, but one you really don't want to put any more names on.

In the end, if you're not crazy, or your possible partner isn't, there's a second date and then a text the next day; the words "friend" combined with "vibe" or something equally hip to keep it casual and upbeat. And it should be. Two-and-done and there's no harm, no foul. (I say this as the receiver of those texts, not the sender of them.)

This is how it works.

Thanks for those glasses of wine. 
Delete you from my contact list. 
We'll run into each other later and look at each other with a confused sense of knowing. "You seem familiar ..."

Connecting. Hard to connect with connection. Staring at the grid of faces on endless scroll. Percentages of what a computer algorithm has decided are your chances of compatibility proudly displayed as crucial information. (Your $49.95 monthly fee has to buy you something of value, right?)

If you're wondering, every woman in this city "can dress up to go out on the town, or put on sweats and enjoys watching a movie on the couch." Well, that sums up pretty much every citizen of this country, so, congrats. Handshake and flashbulb.

And what are we looking for as we read the words on their profiles? Verification that they meet our "standards." Informed by past experience we're chasing this ideal, or checking off boxes on our list as we read. It's the best guess that inspires the action to send or answer an email.

How did this go before Match or OK Cupid?

The same way it goes now.
Seeing people in bars, business networking events, churches .... 
Striking up casual conversations over avocados in the produce section. "Wow. These are all too ripe. Wanna grab a drink sometime?" 
Silently screaming, "For the love of all that is holy surely one of the great people I call friends knows SOMEONE I am compatible with or at least can go out with without during/afterwards wanting to hit myself in the face with a baseball bat repeatedly." 

And what is my point? Fun, boys and girls. That's what this dating thing is.

Maybe this sounds bitter. It's not. Just checking in, an update from the field. All of us in the landscape of single who are seeking are answering a call of the heart. It's the same call that exists in most of us, and--as the guy sitting across the table or looking at the hopeful smiles on dating sites--it's precious. (Precious, as in "something to be valued.") Acceptance. Support. Someone whose silly happy face emoticon makes the whole dumb day light up. This is the goal. This is what we want.

So, for me, for now. Another text. Another email. Another avocado, and away we go.


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