C l e a n

Not drinking.
Online Dating // Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004

So a few months back, after mulling over the notion of romance, I decided to try an online dating service. I chose one of the more deep-thinking outfits, one that claims to match it clients with the most compatible members of the opposite sex.

I put a lot of care into the profile that my matches would see. I felt strongly that it was important to mention my sobriety. There was a question like: ďSomething only my friends know isÖĒ and I answered something like: ďI used to be a heavy drinker but I quit about two years ago. I donít mind going to bars or being around other people drinking but itís not right for me right now.Ē

I know it seems heavy-handed to shove that right in the faces of my potential amours, but it served a purpose for me. By putting it right up front, I made it impossible to distinguish whether my matches Ďclosedí me because they thought sobriety was stupid or because my picture was less than stimulating. It seemed safer than having them reject me later, after they found out that we wouldnít be having any drunken rendezvous.

I worry about how my sobriety will affect any future romances, and not only because the first embrace is so often predicated upon a slight buzz -- not only in my history but in movies, TV shows, books, and dark alleys. Putting the cart before the horse, I fret over when to mention my sobriety to my as-yet-undiscovered lover. Just like with a new friend, there seems to be no way to mention it casually. So why not just throw it out there? Make them deal with it. Now I see that itís actually an aggressively offensive tactic: almost punishing someone for the rejection that Iím expecting to get from them. Itís not really fair.

I donít know whether the comment about not drinking turned anybody off. It may have, but judging from my other matches, they were kind of dorky anyway. (I'm sure they were very nice.) After a while I took the comment about not drinking off my profile. It didnít seem to make a difference. Thatís all I needed to know, I guess. Iím going to let my membership expire.

But hereís what I really wanted to talk about. At one of the more advanced levels of monitored communication provided by the site, matches choose prewritten questions for each other to answer. One question in particular kept popping up, chosen by several men for me to answer, and it drove me nuts. Here it is:

"Tonight you can do anything you want, no penalties, no reprisals, and the cost is unimportant. What are you going to do?"

Now, what the hell kind of question is that? I would guarantee that a woman would never choose that question for a man to answer, unless she was a glutton for punishment. And what do men expect to hear from a woman? Some intricate sexual fantasy? Not likely. Itís a preposterous question. And for the record, my answer involves Jack Daniels, an eightball, and a bucket of chicken. Not in that order, of course. Now, may I be the mother of your children?

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recently:
Visitation - Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2004
Tired of This - Monday, Jul. 12, 2004
Watershed - Thursday, Apr. 29, 2004
First Date - Friday, Apr. 23, 2004
Online Dating - Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004