Word problems

Last week, I compared online dating to Netflix. This week has been more like Craigslist– all you want to do is set up a meeting to determine whether you and the other party want to do business (ahem), yet everyone you hear from turns out to be too crazy or flaky to make that happen.

My week started with Professor Thoughtful. His name makes him sound like a promising candidate, right? But no, he was thinking entirely too much. Over the course of two days, he sent me five emails, a total of ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY-NINE words, only to conclude, “I think it is probably a good idea to not meet.” Oh, and the kicker:  “it tends to be infrequent that I am interested in women my age or older.”

After that, it was kind of a relief when The Headless Doctor contacted me. His entire profile only had 26 words, including my dear departed grandma’s three favorite: “I’m a doctor.” He also had posted only one photo, which as you’ve perhaps guessed by now, did not include his head. But if I had abs as fine as his, I probably wouldn’t bother showing my face either. His introductory email was even more concise: “Coffee?”

Liking his style, I agreed, and we made a plan to meet, using close to the minimum number of words. So far, things were going great. Then, on the day of– after I’d spent the whole day waltzing around my office in heels and an inappropriately short skirt– THD canceled by text. Or rescheduled, actually.

So along comes Date Day #2. I’m all cuted up again (I had even gotten to the point in my dress-up routine of stabbing myself in the eye with a mascara brush) and I decide to text him to confirm and figure out how we’ll meet.  I was unfamiliar with not only his head, but also his name, so I’m suddenly picturing myself wandering around Starbucks asking guys, “Are you a doctor? Could you take your shirt off please?”

His response: “Who is this?”

Me: “The girl you’re meeting in an hour?”

Him: “Omg ai sent a txt thisa morning aboautA resachaedulingaab”

Um, what? Had he not been using more words because he didn’t know how? You know I couldn’t let that–or those incredibly ripped abs–go. But since this is breaking dating news, and this post has already gone on far too long, you’ll have to tune in next week for the finale. Are SDG and THD meant to be? Or will their relationship dissolve into alphabet soup?

Damn you, science.

Usually I feel like science and I get along pretty well. It provides me with a job, and in return, I support it by sneering at people with Creationist bumperstickers. I also have high hopes that the scientific method is eventually going to supply me with a suitable mate. After all, my best friend found her soon-to-be husband thanks to the eharmony guy, even if he is one of those anti-Darwin nuts (the eharmony guy, that is, of course, not my future bff-in-law– I wouldn’t put up with that).

But this week, I’m pretty sure science is out to get me. First there was this study. It found that single women die seven to 15 years sooner than married ones. Can you believe that? 15 years?!? I mean, I already knew that I had a 99% chance of being eaten by my cat (note to scientists: this and any following statistics are completely invented), but I had no idea that it would happen so soon. The data seems to require some kind of dramatic response, but what? The article reporting on the study was not much help, since its suggested survival technique was “staying positive.” Yeah, thanks, that effort was going a lot better before I read your stupid story.

Despite this setback, I mustered my positive attitude and my belief in algorithms of love and (Hmm, if no one has written a romance novel called “Algorithms of Love” yet, I’m calling dibs. A spunky Victorian damsel in distress meets…a high school math teacher?)…anyway, I reactivated my online dating profile. I jumped into “Quickmatching,” an endlessly entertaining process where you get to rate guys with 1 to 5 stars based on a photo and a fraction of their profile– it’s basically Netflix but with vastly less information and higher stakes.

The website quickly found me one guy with whom it said I’d be very compatible, and a review of his profile proved him to be so incredibly hateful that my married friend renamed him Mr. Misanthrope, and opened an account on the site solely to start a flame war with him. [I’m not kidding; here’s a sample of their conversation: An articulate–albeit spellcheck-challenged (e.g., “du jour” not “du juor” and “original thought” not “original though”)– computer genius like you should be able to live and work anywhere he likes. Is it that you enjoy feeling superior?]

He was bad, but one terrible match could fall within the confidence interval of their perfect calculations, right? So I didn’t give up, and moved on to the next suggestion. Who was my ex-boyfriend. Yup, that’s right, the guy I had broken up with just days before for being almost, but not quite, perfect for me.  It not only raised a major rating dilemma (1 because we’re definitely not going to go out or 5 because he actually is a way better match than average?) but also, arguably, showed that the computers know exactly what they’re doing. Which brings me back to my original point. Damn you, science.

False alarm

I’m baaaack. It became clear that all of you were too lame to fully supply me with blog material, so I had to put myself back on the market. No, seriously, things didn’t work out with the boyfriend, for reasons unrelated to your lameness. But it ended about as well as these things can– I didn’t do it by text, phone or email! [INSERT APPLAUSE.] Aw, thanks! I like to think Miss Manners would also be impressed by how I waited a full 12 hours before blogging my breakup.

Anyway, I’ll be doing my best to get back on the job as soon as possible, although it might take me a little while to rejoin all those speed date mailing lists and compose my pithy emails to the fresh meat on the matchmaking sites. Who knows how the dating world may have changed in the six months I’ve been gone? So be patient, and feel free to send your assistance (in lieu of cash, SDG accepts weird invitations, self-improvement advice and English-speaking guys) in the meantime.