Let me say that my original plan was inspired by my friend Lynn who suggested it was a business proposition, like interviewing someone for a job. You're in control and YOU decide whether they fit the bill. So, I made two dates in one afternoon. Like a press junket. In fact, I joked, if I could fill the Four Seasons with likely suitors and move from room to room as if doing radio roundtables, I would. I'd also bring a clipboard and take copious notes which I'd never read.
An attractive, smiley, check-shirted man from OKCupid with whom I had a reasonably good banter and, it turns out, with whom I had a couple of friends in common, managed to make the hour I spent with him possibly one of the most awkward of my life. I take some responsibility. I was a little nervous. I was drinking a cappucino, which I really never do. He arrived late. Crossed his legs and his arms. Didn't order anything to drink, asked a few perfunctory questions and made me feel within a few minutes of arriving somehow lacking. It's hard to explain this feeling and probably it says more about me than him but I came out of there feeling distinctly ruffled, like a prize heifer that didn't win a ribbon, and wondering whether in fact I am too sensitive for this world. Yes, I know everyone's doing it. Yes, I know, thanks to my lovely friend Chris's advice, that I'm supposed to be mercenary. I'm supposed to suck it up. Oy.
How can you know someone in an hour? You sit there with an expectation of trust: I'll vomit out some truths, you can vomit out some truths, and let's hope there's a moment between us that we connect, even over the tiniest thing.
Yoko Ono (of course it was Yoko Ono) said this on Facebook:
We get shy about saying things like i love you. Life is so short. It's crazy, that we hesitate to express our true thoughts to each other.Isn't this, somehow, what we all want, to be in a place of love, not fear, where it's okay to speak the truth?
Over cappuccino on Sunset with a man who doesn't want to be there, all I could think about was being 13 and alienated.
And so yesterday I escaped to a world of dogs and horses and unconditional love. What could be better?
This is what I'd like: I'd like to walk down the street and suddenly see someone with great beams of light emanating from him, and whole heavenly host of choirs singing...I'd like to be dumbfounded, struck down, knocked out by love.
"What are you looking for?" said the guy. Does it matter?
|"Enough Said": Gandolfini will break your heart|
And then as if by magic, I went to see "Enough Said," Nicole Holofcener's film about two empty nesters who find each after divorce and as their children leave for college. And perhaps because it was James Gandolfini and he breaks my heart, I wept and was rather pleased I was at the Academy surrounded by people I had to hold it together in front of and not on my own at the Arclight in a puddle on the floor. I thought about Minky leaving and how I try not to think about being alone, and all the things we do to make our lives full and sweet and happy, and how we avoid the gaping void of truth. I thought about every way I've tried to make things better only to make a mess of things. I watched Julie Louis Dreyfus smile through the tears and ferociously try to get on with living her life when she's breaking apart inside and realized that what we all want, what every single one of us wants, is to be seen and understood, in some tiny, connecting way. Just filaments of fine silk tie us together, but those are the threads that make us human and fragile and vulnerable and not brave, even when we pretend we are.
I can put on my big girl pants and my red lipstick and I can sing for my supper. But I am not doing this for much longer, this mercenary cattle call of a meat market that is online dating. I refuse to spend another hour with a man who isn't fucking delighted that I'm there with him.
On a happy note, the second date, was delightful. A sweet, good, earnest, bright man (the Taylor Swift reference is his). Thank God for Good Men.
PS. Good advice from ex-husband: "Online dating is a numbers game." How many numbers, I'd like to know. ;-)