I really had no idea that I had even signed up for it. But like some tattoo left behind from a nightmare Vegas trip you would rather forget, but who's leftover ink on your arm wont let-go, it just kept showing up. Each and every day, increasing in frequency as time went on. The obscure dating site must have gotten a mention in the NY Times, or managed to become the next "it" thing. Suddenly, so long after I had checked out the site and left just enough information for them to be dangerous, I was being "in-box bombed" by more "he's interested"; "email-received"; and my personal favorite: "Pander to your desperation and give us your credit card number- NOW" e-mails than I ever thought possible.
My first solution was to ignore. But after five, ten, fifteen messages a day I realized there had to be a way out. So I clicked the link. And into Alice's Wonderland I went. Pages of "fill out this" and "tell us that" -- an online dating version of Ikea where each turn led not to an exit but endless personal questions and"features" to add. Disoriented and confused I just started clicking. And it would not let me out. Wouldn't close, wouldn't minimize. It was as though I was now a permanent resident of the eighth level of Dante's Gay Dating hell. Clicking madly, stammering relentlessly, inches from tossing my laptop across the room-- I just gave up.
I took the time to read the questions on the page. Surmised that if I answered a few, perhaps it would permit me to leave. And it worked! After answering two questions, the page relented and I was freed to go to the next page. A festival of photos of guys who had "emailed me" and declared that "we have so much in common". How this could be? based on some weird random questions on a strange and forgotten website-- I can not or will not ever know. But I do know the websites theme as it perched credit card logos just above the faces of the cute guys: Give Us Money and we will give you love. All you have to do is give us that card number-- and the guy of your dreams is right here. Just beyond sight, but within reach of those three little digits on the back of your card. I always knew they were important, but damn-- the key to life long love in (4) point type. Upside down. Depending on how you look at it.
I had to smirk. Guy of my dreams? How the hell would they know that? I think they had my email address and that was about it. But they were certain, beyond all doubt, that my soul mate was in here. And that my desire to meet him would result in me forking over God knows how much money to make it happen.
I guess this works for some people. I couldn't help but be reminded of my all too frequent purchases of scratch-off lottery tickets. Those too offer salvation with purchase. Hell, the entire protestant reformation was based on a guy realizing that salvation couldn't be bought. I suppose if salvation cant be bought, its not likely that you can buy love either. But still they call you: Just take a chance-- "It Has to be someone right"-- Why not you? An entire culture we live in-- built on happiness just beyond the numbers on your card. Thankfully, all my personal adventures with bad dates and lottery scratch offs have taught me something. The $2 that more often than not is wasted could certainly bring me a Tim Horton's Coffee-- or Maybe a chili and chicken nuggets from Wendy's. Or, best of all, a Vanilla Ice Dream Cone from Chick-Fil-A. And how much better is that? Guaranteed Joy-- or take the chance. I think I am at the point where I want the sure thing-- some risks are good, well worth it perhaps. But those are the risks and the chances that don't involve money-- for nothing really good ever does. And happiness is more often than not, about doing the little thing-- the simple, non-dramatic thing that amounts one step in the right direction, instead of one big leap into the dream. And the biggest secret of all is that those little steps are how the dreams really come true. That wont sell a lot of lottery tickets, or many lifelong memberships on match.com-- but for me anyway, I'm better off.
And Now a Word From The Sponsor
Welcome to my site and thank you for reading. After many times thinking, if only I had a blog, well-- here we are. This blog will feature writings on a variety of topics from roadside food, to leadership in the fire service; politics; culture- gay, straight, and indifferent, my experiences in Ohio, New York and beyond; and much much more. It's my hope that you will find it interesting and that it stirs at least some thought and discussion. I am certain you wont always agree, but that is what its all about right? Oh and one more thing: The views expressed on this site are entirely my own. They do not reflect in anyway the views or positions of my employer.