The take-away from my interview with Jonathan Engel, author of American Therapy, is that if one is not seriously overweight, totally bankrupt, or noticeably insane — and I’m not — then one’s problem is probably that one’s standards are too high.
I’ll admit, my friends have said this to me before: "You’re too picky," etc. (I bet a lot of you out there have heard similar things.)
At the same time, that always feels like exactly the kind of thing good friends say to make you feel better. Because I think, in fact, I have pretty reasonable expectations. Sure, I want someone intelligent, kind, attractive, successful, employed, with a good sense of humor. And generally I don't hit it off with people who aren't creative in some way, if only in their thinking. But I swear I'm open-minded. I swear that all I really want is to find someone I dig — who’s gonna dig me back.
So I’ve started to think the problem is not with the quality of me as much as with the quantity of men. Like, maybe I’m just not meeting enough dudes. Maybe I’m not playing this numbers game right.
I’ve done the Internet dating thing — have I ever. That was pretty fun, for a while. If you haven't tried it, and you're single, I'd recommend you give it a shot. Believe it or not, it can be pleasantly old-fashioned: You go on proper dates, which often end with a nice kiss and a sweet promise from the guy to be in touch the next day. Usually he is, and often you float into a nice little three-month affair. Really, the whole thing can be kind of awesome.
Up to a point.
And I’d started to feel like I’d reached that point a couple of months ago when I realized that a friend of mine — let's call her by her porn-star name, P.J. Heather (her first pet's name and her first street's name) — had gone out on Internet dates with three of the very same guys that I'd met through my Internet dating site of choice — Nerve.com. (Was New York City really that small?) And then I started to notice that the only people who were contacting me through Nerve were fat guys; old guys; guys who lived in geographically unreasonable places like Canada; guys who wrote in all caps and all textual abbreviations (like WTF OMG LOL DM!); and, perhaps most sadly, guys I’d already declined to meet up with (or respond to). And a few days ago, when I got some monthly Nerve newsletter, in which two of the half dozen or so men in the "featured profiles" section were guys I’d already dated, I took my Nerve profile down.
I'd developed Internet Dating Burn-Out Syndrome. How many of you have this condition too?
But now that I'd tapped out Nerve's resources, how the hell else was I going to meet people? I work from home, so it’s not like I can have an office crush even if I wanted to. None of my friends know any cute single guys they might be able to set me up with. (Believe me. I know. I’ve asked. Many times.) And I go to bars and parties fairly often, and occasionally meet a dude in one of those places ... but more often than not, I don’t. More often than not, I go out to some kind of event or gathering in the hopes of chatting up some random guy — and never do. Instead, I stay in a corner shyly talking to whatever friend I’m there with.
I was considering all that when the idea came to me: Maybe I should make it my mission to meet at least one new dude every time I go out — or at least once a week. Yeah, maybe that was the ticket. I’d live flirtatiously, and see how it panned out.