How About We (Part 2 of 3)

by Stephanie

Shortly after I revamped my dating profile on How About We, I ran across the profile from a man whose date idea suggested strolling through the aisles of Strand bookstore while discussing book choices.  I’m not sure if I’ve alluded to my love of used book stores, but I consider them to be the Geek’s aphrodisiac, so I was quick to click the “Like” button on his date idea. He sent me an email introducing himself, and here is what I gathered:

  1. He was a teacher.
  2. He lived in New Jersey, presumably because of his current teaching job.
  3. His name was Omar and he had quite the sense of humor about it. He said “My mom and my aunt were big fans of Omar Sharif. It is clear to me that my dad is completely whipped”

After a couple of emails, we exchanged phone numbers. Typically, I prefer to keep the emails and texts limited before actually meeting in person because it’s so easy for either party to build up a false idea of a person in their head based solely on how they come across online. It’s one of the occupational hazards of online dating. Unfortunately this was right around Thanksgiving, and I was busy getting ready to travel for the holiday. We were stuck in the text vacuum, and I was completely charmed. This guy was clever, kind and interesting, and all of this made me completely nervous.  We made plans to go out the following week, and proceeded to exchange in light-hearted text flirtations until that day arrived.

It rained hard that day, and Omar didn’t bring an umbrella. He texted me to tell me he had arrived at our meeting place and that I should look for the guy in the restaurant that was completely soaked. I scanned the place looking for a guy that resembled his profile pictures, and I spotted him in the corner. I wouldn’t say that he looked drastically different than his pictures; I would just say that his presence in a room was much different than I had imagined. He was hunched over, sopping wet, and very twitchy. Friends of mine have come to Omar’s defense insisting that he must have had a case of first-date nerves, but I could tell pretty quickly that he was one of those guys that just had a nervous energy. Once again, I found myself on another first date with Woody Allen. This is not to say that the whole Woody Allen persona isn’t appealing to some people: I’m just not one of those people who find neurotic quirkiness and awkward conversation adorable. As the date progressed, I learned a few new things about Omar:

  1. He was no longer a teacher. Unemployed for undisclosed reasons, he now was taking part-time classes to become a paralegal while he entertained the notion of law school (Raise your hands, gentlemen, if you have thought about going to law school. Why are there SO many of you?)
  2. He lived in New Jersey……with his parents.  (Who am I to judge, right? But doesn’t this get harder to explain once you are in your 30’s?)
  3. He supplemented his unemployment with online poker winnings.

Ooof. This was hardly the same guy I had been chatting with for 2 weeks. Let’s face it, for writers (he also claimed to be a writer), it is just much easier for us to be charming in print. This is the writer’s occupational hazard. What I learned here had little to do with the date. The actual date was fine: nothing spectacular, but nothing spectacularly awful either. Omar was a nice man, but ultimately we were not a right fit for each other, but it did get me thinking about this whole dating process. This is the point where it fully dawned on me the tragic flaw of online dating: it is completely inorganic. You go online, set a few parameters, and then you start shopping for a mate. All of this is based solely on a profile designed to mask all of your obvious flaws and exaggerate all of your strengths. It’s a resume, with headshots and sexual preferences.  Once you set your sights on a prospect, you engage in a series of emails before deciding if the other party is worthy of a face-to-face interview. It’s all so clinical. I’m convinced it sucks the romance right out of the dating process. 

But before I decided to throw in the towel, I received an email from a man named John, and this is where my How About We journey draws to a close…..