Dating with a view to marriage is no other thing than work. I am a writer in New York, but Sex & the City this ain’t. Carrie had friends who weren’t repopulating the planet. She had fancy shoes. I have fuzzy Crocs. I get commuter rail and Brooklyn birthday parties. She got limos and glam soirees. I actually exist.
This is a project and it is a schlep. I used to believe in surgical strikes, now I’m carpet bombing. I’m on three different dating websites. I ask total strangers if they know anyone single because I have dated the pool of my friends’ friends’ friends dry. Somewhere, someone is going to make me laugh and swoon. I haven’t met him yet. I’m trying.
I hope it will end. Happily.
I decided I needed to expand my networks to find a source for blind dates. I work at home in my pajamas as a freelance writer. My network is effectively one person, me. I have already dated everyone I know. My extended network consists of publishing friends, i.e. mostly women and gay men. So I went far afield and asked an acquaintance, a venture capitalist in tech, if she knew anyone. Tech people are totally unlike word people. They are more likely to be male. And at least some of those men might be single. Possibly even heterosexual.
The VC quizzed me on what I was looking for. Brilliant and kind, must haves, taller than I am and Jewish, nice to haves. She had someone in mind, but not someone she found particularly attractive. She noted that no one thinks her husband is attractive while she thinks he’s the sexiest man alive and reasoned that chemistry was such a subjective endeavor she could set me up with her unattractive friend and we would scale future recommendations off that baseline.
About two hours before the blind date, my phone rang:
MR. TERRIBLE: Hi Sarah. I just wanted to call and get that awkward first hello over with. I’m so looking forward to meeting you.
Hellos aren’t that awkward. Blind dates aren’t either. It’s a ritual. You show up, you grab a drink. If you are referred by a friend, you commit to a little more time, possibly a bite to eat. You swap stories. The night ends. Most of the time you go home alone. I was a little concerned that he didn’t understand this liturgy, that he preempted the blind date with a blind phone call. But I wasn’t that worried. I wasn’t, truly, thinking much about it. It was just another blind date in a very long line of “I’m still single while everyone else has shacked up and lived happily ever after” Saturday nights.
He suggested a sushi place, with harsh lighting and a Russian waitress. He was 20 minutes late. He was not taller than I was. He was not easy to look at. But maybe he had a winning personality.
MR. TERRIBLE: We have such good banter in email.
ME: I do give good banter.
MR. TERRIBLE: It was totally cunning of you to be away for a month after the VC introduced us. Not being able to meet you really got me excited.
ME: I was out of town on an assignment, working.
MR. TERRIBLE: I’m a writer too. I write poetry. Would you like to hear one of my poems?
My heavens, I did not.