Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Hey, you look familiar. We met in Reality.

Well, in the interest of more material for this blog, I thought about putting myself back on the market. The online dating market.

I get a lot of offers for dates out here in the "real world" and my utter disgust with Internet dating has reached the point where I've pretty much given up on it, but in the interest of blogging, and the eternal hope that someone on the Web might be better than whomever I've been meeting here in Reality, I freshened up my profile again.

It's been at least a year. But as I browsed around, I discovered at least half the guys I met in the last round were still hanging out, profiles a little frayed and dusty, still single, still hunting for woman who are prettier, younger and hotter than they probably deserve.

And then I saw him.

_____________! A man I've been seeing kind of on and off again, who I've known for years now. I guess you'd call it one of those mythical "friendships with benefits" -- a convenient, low profile "thing" where we see each other and hang out between stints of dating other people. Something safe because it's not too challenging. Something easy because there's not much at stake. Something comfortable, but always naggingly deficient.

He says he's not in love with me and that's not his role with me. I say he's too superficial and shallow.

He's always trying to get me to eat at Burger King and thinks Organic food is a ripoff. I'm a vegetarian and health food fanatic.

I think his house is barren and cold. He thinks I have too much clutter.

He thinks I'm too old. I think his trendy friends are shallow and inmature.

He's a skeptic. I'm a believer.

Hey, but as Woody Allen said in Annie Hall: We do it for the eggs. It's there and it's safe and we always kind of sheepishly retreat to each other when nothing else pans out.

But sometimes, he rocks my world. We like to ski, we go to the beach, we almost never fight, we cook dinner together, we encourage each other. He's supportive and grounded, he fixes my bicycle and brings my computer up after a crash. We enjoy the simple things, and over the years, our shallow relationship has acquired a patina of depth that comes with familiarity.

And here he is, on "Wow!" I thought. "He's really cute." Not just that, but his profile was...surprisingly interesting. Intriguing. Sincere. He grew up Catholic? I had no idea. He's an atheist? We never talked about it before. He used to have a ponytail and was clean shaven? I've only known him short haired with a beard.

How many years did I have to know someone in the "real world" before I learn these things than any stranger with a modem has total access to?

He wants meet a girl within biking distance of his house? Who likes to have deep philosophical discussions? Well, actually, I fit the bill perfectly.

We met in the real world the natural way, dancing. The chemistry was instantaneous and raging. But here I stumble on him on the web and think, well, actually, he looks pretty hot here too. Would I have passed on this one, I wonder? Or would I have clicked for more? Would he have responded? Or would I be outside his age range?

Do we actually have a better chance of meeting "out here" where chemistry can overcome the laundry list -- or on the web where we can get all those things out of the way before the hormones take over?

So it all makes me wonder, you know... does the very existence of this global online candy store of unlimited options make us overlook something pretty good within biking distance? Would we have progressed into something deeper if it was harder to meet new people and there weren't so many perceived options? Or is the real promise of the Internet the ability to find our absolute soulmate - not just someone "comfortable". Not just someone "nice to be with" and "good enough"?