There is no one on this planet who can say what I want to say with more heart and chutzpah than the pint-sized country chanteuse Brenda Lee:
I AM sorry, soooo very, genuinely sorry for dropping the blog ball with zero — NAY negative zero to the basquillionth power — tact and grace.
I am pond scum.
I am the dillweed douchetard who walks away at the last minute in the falling exercise of those trust-building classes.
If I was to attempt to make an excuse, which I wouldn’t dare insult you with, but let’s just say — for arguments sake — that the “Another Earth” me version quantum leaped down here to this planet with a defense:
SHE would probably try and play the holiday card.
SHE would explain that this time of year is the ultimate creative succubus. “The horror! The horror!” of the holidays SHE would affect, saying how Heart of Darkness need not take place on a ravaged steamer choking down the cannibalistic Congo River. It need only occur in the Christmas music looping, cluster-fucked shopping malls on Black Friday.
(Why’s it gotta be “Black” Friday?)
SHE would spell it out, plain & simple. Every year, between Nov 1 and Jan 2, she walks through the chestnuts-roasting-on-an-open FIRE of 5 Holy Daze Stages:
- Consumerism: Reason and restraint go Buy-Buy. Standing outside her own body, she watches in horror as she karate chops a soccer mom in the shoulder over a pair of retro Croc mules as if they were the last drop anti-serum in a viral outbreak.
- Consumption: Serving size: 2 SLEEVES (also known as “1 box”) of Trader Joe’s Choco-Vanilla O’s.
- Family communion: Self-explanatory, which leads to
- Childhood regression: Mouth guard so as not to swallow tongue during fits
- Total Catatonic Shock: think, Awakenings, pre-awakening.
Really (and I’m not being biased at all here) SHE does make some really good points.
So, if you can find it in your heart to forgive ME, then let’s not waste another nanosecond. Sit back, relax, slip into something a little more comfortable, and join me for another Mailbag Monday:
Dear Nerdy Romantic,
I’m just going to throw out a few numbers here:
14: Months I’ve been a subscriber to Match.com
23: Guys I ended up having amazing, online “relations” with. Meaning: long, intense, deeply personal emails exchanged by both parties.
0: Of those same guys — after arranging to meet — I was actually attracted to.
For the love of all that is holy, why does this keep happening? How can intense email chemistry fall completely flat in person?
Another Mr. ‘Write’ goes wrong
Oh and Girl. The virtual sound of your suffering makes me want to jump through the computer screen Twilight Zone (the movie) style — minus the demonic cartoon and girl with no mouth — and give you a giant bear hug.
Hear me when I say: You Are NOT Alone. This very situation has befallen me and yours so many times I finally gave it a name —
Ani-MAIL Magnetism (an’ i mal / mag’ne tiz’em)
n. the experience of having acute cyber fireworks with your online dating match; but no actual “fire” whatsoever upon meeting.
It always starts off the same. Shy yet hopeful, I would walk onto that cyber stage and take my place in the Electronic Slide line dance:
You can’t see it, it’s electronic.
You gotta feel it, it’s electronic
Boogie woogie woogie woo.
Two grapevine winks and a quick email message turnaround later AND boom! I’m sucked into this second life alter-reality. I’m wearing a diaper at my computer desk and sucking down Power Bar Gel Blasts so as not to break the steady stream of instant messaging.
Seriously, in one case, I hadn’t been that excited to check my “mailbox” on the hour every hour since I was 7 years old and entered a sweepstakes contest for a walk-on role on The Great Space Coaster to meet Baxter the rainbow clown.
Then the highly anticipated meet cute came: 7 pm at our mutually favorite restaurant, being that we agreed on virtually everything. We pull into the parking lot at the same time. Shut engines off. Makeup mirror checks. Get out. (I made sure to wear flats so as to optimize leaping-into-his-wide-open-arms-potential)
But instead, when we finally do make contact, it’s the most awkward, miss lips kiss nose, pull-away-too-fast side hug shamble.
As for the rest of the evening — every attempt at conversation takes off like a summertime moth… straight into one of those high-powered electric bug zappers:
SNAP. CRACKLE. FLOP
Which brings us to the “Why does this keep happening” portion of our program. I’ll show you my theories if you show me yours:
1. The Rom-com Fallacy:
Fact: In the real world, you do not find 2 beautiful, charismatic, engaging, and mentally sound people home alone, lying in bed on a Friday night unless they’ve just had wisdom teeth surgery.
NOR are those people captured in a split-screen shot with GIRL on one side, balancing a pint of Rum Raisin Soy Dream in her lap as she types to GUY, on the other side, balancing a pint of Cherry Garcia in his lap typing back.
2. The Cyrano Effect:
Let’s face it. Communicating online is akin to having a built-in Cyrano De Bergerac. Wikipedia, IMDb, thesaurus.com — they all feed you the wittiest, funniest, and on point lines so that REALLY, you wind up search engining your way into being the perfect soul mate.
Case in personal point: When one guy sent me this beautifully worded description of the greatest moment of his life — SEEING Tony Hawk do a helipop on a half-pipe — my very first thought was —
“How the heck can Stephen Hawking get on a skateboard?”
But something told me to Google T. Hawk first before writing back. So, I was able to save face just long enough to meet in person AND find out he considers Four Loco to be a perfectly legitimate energy drink.
3. Time + imagination = disaster.
Online dating is a lot like online shopping. Let’s say you order a dress. Every day that passes in between, you go back and zoom in on that dress. You fantasize about what shoes and jewelry you’re going to wear with it; you picture yourself in it, hair up, hair down, to the side. You track its order, double check its status, and count down the hours until you can finally debut it.
And then, 7-10 business days later, it arrives. You tear open the box, pull it out, and throw it on ONLY to discover it makes you look like a walking potato sack.
Time is a dangerous thing. It allows you to form this image of a person, pieced together from their online profile pics AND a well-crafted email voice. You thought you would be meeting a silver-haired fox/tall drink of water —
— Only to come face to face with Larry King in a Sippy Cup.
My advice: Cut the email exchange down to the bare essentials. Name, phone number, place & time you want to meet in person. Go DIRECTLY to the store. Put on the dress. And find out right away if it fits.