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 am ready to build an altar to the VC, thanking her for her generosity as no one has more diligently fielded candidates for me to date and to reject. She is the patron saint of set-ups. The VC sent “Mr. Adequate.” He lives in Silicon Valley, was passing through. Would I do him the favor of choosing the restaurant? He was looking forward to meeting me. He is cute, he is successful, Jewish, no obvious reasons, no.
On the way to dinner, I was caught in a rainstorm. He was waiting at the bar when I arrived like a wet cat. A glass of champagne in hand, a kiss on both cheeks, he ordered me bubbles.
The meal was great. He told me about his business–something about banking, something about the Internet, something about pastrami sandwiches and loan officers–and I told him about mine, something about writing, something about travel, something about convincing editors to pay me.
He laughed at my jokes; I was grateful he understood them. He tried to make a few himself.
Mr. Adequate: So it sounds like your career is at a transition?
Me: I’d like to earn a steady living. I’d like to write for more prestige publications, eventually write another book.
Mr. Adequate: Craig said he’s sorry, by the way.
Mr. Adequate: Craig of Craigslist. He ruined newspapers but he didn’t mean to. He told me so.
Not entirely funny. Also name dropping. But as it goes, it could have been worse. The evening wasn’t going terribly. It was fine.
Mr. Adequate: Wah wah wah ah wah awh wah? Wah wah awawaha awah wah wah.
Oh brain, you must stop that right this second. Mr. Adequate does not sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Pay better attention to this very nice man.
Mr. Adequate: Wwahawaawha my mother. Wra wrah ahhh nephew.
The wine kept coming. This acceptable guy was ok: Smart, sane, even kind. What was wrong with me?
Mr. Adequate: Can I see you again tomorrow night?
Me: I’m working tomorrow.
Mr. Adequate: It’s my last night in New York.
Me: Let me know when you’re next in town?
I would have seen him again, but not two nights in a row. He took my lack of head-over-heeledness personally. I never heard back.
What is wrong with me is that I haven’t yet thrown in the towel. I still believe in a partnership beyond mere sufficiency, where there is abundance, attraction, joy, the works. Had I given up on romance, I would have given him a second date to remember, as soon as I could. I might have nailed that candidate to the altar. If adequate was the very best I believed I could do, I’d stop interviewing for the position right now. Adequate would be perfect.
I try to take comfort in both his competency and my relative disinterest. There are passable possibilities on the market still. And even at this advanced ovarian age, I’m shooting the moon. Somewhere in this cynical game of hearts, I must still have hope.