Her friends insisted she try it. They were all married, engaged, or in committed relationships and naturally had to see her in same. Join, join, join. Of course they weren’t that obnoxious about it, no one ever is; if peer pressure were so obvious it would be so much easier to avoid. The lemmings never announce themselves.
“You’re amazing,” they’d say, “you really deserve someone who’s as wonderful as you.” “We just want to see you happy,” they’d say, “I really think you’ll feel more fulfilled with someone to give your love to who will love you in return.”
They meant well, really, but she almost felt like telling them she’d rather have a dog. But that would never go over.
So she joined. She joined this dating app, website, whatever. She wasn’t even entirely sure what it was, but it sounded like a joke and she thought they’d laugh along with her when she told them, “I joined ‘I’m Hooked!‘” Instead the conversation went askew, “I love that site,” “do you remember Tom? I met him there. That almost worked out,” “oh my gosh my co-worker is on there! Let’s make sure it didn’t match you up with him.” There were other comments, but everything turned to silence when her bestie asked, “so what’d you put for your tagline?”
Ah, yes, the tagline: each member, upon joining, was required to describe themselves in ten words or less. As though they were an M&M or a beer. And some of the taglines read very much like something the thinktank at Nestle would come up with: “Loaded for love and looking for you,” “I’ll bring the six pack, you bring the taco,” “It’s always ladies night at casa Miguel.” They were all ambiguous or disgusting, and none of them said a damn thing about the author.
She’d thought of doing the same: “Tired and quiet, seeks same for nights of reading and wine,” “Would rather have dog, friends insist on man,” “Might as well be you, bring take out,” but resisted. She decided if she was going to do this, she might as well do it right. It’s how she did everything, really, why pretend otherwise now.
It took her a surprisingly long time to come up with something that fulfilled the legitimate requirements of ten words or less and an actual description of her: “30ish and autonomous, seeks no one. Astound me.”
This wasn’t quite what her friends had in mind. “No one is going to respond to you sounding all conceited like that,” “would you be curious about some dude if that was his tagline,” “why didn’t you talk about your eyes? You have such lovely eyes,” “well, at least your sense of humor comes through.”
But she thought it was perfect. It did show her sense of humor. It also showed that she wasn’t really interested, which was true. She wouldn’t say no to the right person, or a good sounding date, but anyone interested in her was going to have to put forth some effort. Nothing in it was a lie and it was certainly memorable. And after promising her friends that if she didn’t meet at least one worthy man after three months that she’d change it, they agreed to let it go.
At first she didn’t concern herself with the three month deadline. She felt she’d made her point of view rather clear to her friends and that they’d let it go. But as the first month slipped by with nothing she’d call a real match, only men clearly looking to hook up and completely ignoring everything about her profile except that she was within driving distance, she began to worry that perhaps her friends had been right. That and they weren’t letting it go.
The monthly girls lunch began as it always did with hugs all around and the “how is your mom,” and “hey, is that ankle doing better,” etc. sorts of comments, but once orders were placed and the talking got around to serious matters it was all about her and the damn dating app. She explained calmly and quickly about the hook-up matches that were clearly not matches, and then sat quietly through the deluge of responses, “you have to change your tagline,” “what if you changed that part about your favorite book being The Handmaid’s Tale, I mean now that Netfilx has that series, someone could get the wrong idea,” “did you check the ‘no’ box for ‘casual relationships’?”
The rest of the lunch was a disaster but she tried not to let it rankle her. As the second month disappeared, all the lousy men having already contacted her and been ignored or blocked, and now not one single attempted match she began to wonder if maybe she really did want this whole app thing to pan out. She found herself disappointed that no one had contacted her, found herself checking the app to make sure her profile was still active, and searching her area to see if new men had joined.
Part II is here.