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.
Of the many demoralizing side jobs one takes as a freelance writer, the third worst is ghostwriting for a dating website.
Everyone deserves love, even if they don’t believe in capitalization. Happily ever after belongs to the illiterate, too. All lonelyhearts can find someone, they just might not understand they are putting suitors off with profiles mentioning cruel exes, evil break-ups, and peculiar dating requirements.
The ghostwriters of dating sites have allegedly acquired top-secret knowledge that can help, for the low, low price of $49.95.
I was that ghost.
“i am nice and i am sarcastic and i will take care of you 4ever”
Writing other people’s dating profiles did not come in handy when I committed to putting my own profile online. I understood the system: The odds were bad and the goods were super odd, more than most people realized.
“Let me sweap you off youre feat!”
Had I been a sociologist, I would have had a fascinating view on American dating demographics. Many of our clients were military. Most were faithful churchgoers. Few older than 30 had not been married before. Everyone was more comfortable in jeans than black tie.
“No ugly bitches, lols.”
I could rewrite these things in my sleep, drunk, on a Sunday, and often did for $15 per profile, 3 profiles per hour.
America’s sadsacks are a bottomless pile of profit for a hungry writer. There was as much work as I needed. It never fed my soul, to be sure. Or my sense of hope.
Let me tell you everything I learned in my days as Cyrano:
Question A, up to 250 words: What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies, interests, leading character traits?
Everyone is shy at first, but will warm up as they get to know you. Everyone has friends who think they are a catch. They all love their family. Every single person in America works out four times a week.
Question B, up to 250 words: What are your favorite hotspots?
Single humans love the beach. They like to travel. They especially like the Caribbean. Also, cruises. Some have been to Europe.
Question C, up to 250 words: What are the five things you cannot live without?
No one can live without a smart phone. Some couldn’t live without their kids. Or pets.
Question D, up to 250 words: What was the last thing you read? What are your favorite TV shows, movies, music?
No one really reads books and they often say so outright. Some people read Eckhart Tolle, The Bible, Chicken Soup, and Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The TV show question is for search purposes alone, don’t bother making it a full sentence. If you believe that your affection for NCIS will produce a soul mate who can’t get enough of rapey police procedurals, keyword search for “NCIS” and live happily ever after.
Final question, up to 1000 words: Go to town. This is your essay. Talk about what you want in a lover. Talk about what you value in a relationship. Place a call to action, demand a meeting.
Here it is, the top secret, can’t fail, guaranteed-to-find-romance generic template which I have written over 1,000 times for total strangers:
I’m looking for best friend, a partner, a playmate, dare I say it, a soul mate? Could it be you? Will you laugh with me and share my life, and give me the chance to share yours? If you’re considerate, caring and kind, if you have an easy laugh and smile, let’s meet. We could always flirt on the site or talk on the phone, but we won’t know anything about chemistry or connection until we see each other face-to-face. Let’s get started!
That is yours, gratis. Use it and fall in love.
One of the best days of my career was when I quit that job for the second most soul destroying side gig in writing.
Ghosting the lonely, however, did teach one important thing: It showed me that the river of single candidates never will run dry. Or learn to write.