Over the shoulder of a friend, I got a little glimpse of what was causing so much attention.
I happened to connect with her the day after she had started a profile on one of the more popular dating sites.
She was brimming over with excitement. I was excited for her. Swipes left and right, she already had a phone call that morning, and a drink in the works with a different admirer that evening.
(My insides kind of churned.)
I felt a little bit like I was suffocating as I wondered if this was truly what finding love had come to?
Why such an aversion Kate? We both kind of wondered out loud together.
I got married before online even existed, and since divorce, have not even considered it. It all seems so foreign to me.
(And maybe that queasy feeling in my gut has kept my intrigue back.)
I looked with her as she excitedly showed me.
The first thing that came to my mind was, I wondered, who had the time to spend looking at all these profiles? As she scrolled and scrolled I felt overwhelmed. Occasionally she stopped and said look at this one, isn’t he cute? Look, he likes the water and hiking.
So I would quickly skim the profile, scan the picture. To myself, yes, he looked fine. Next?
Then we would stop again… read, read, read. Yup, he’s fine too. Next?
After the third profile, I felt like I was viewing the same scene of a movie over and over again… and I had only read through 3. I couldn’t imagine being set to the task of reading through all of these possible matches…
Flaws. Any flaws listed there friend? That’s what I am interested in. I don’t want to see just the “Ken” that each one of these eligible bachelors wants to portray to a hopeful “Barbie.” I wanted a little reality.
I chew with my mouth open. I say “um” every other word. My toenails are super long and will scratch you if I get too close. Nope, not a flaw to any one of them.
After buzzing through all of the pictures, those too, started looking all the same.
And then the marketer in me broke loose and the brainstorm came in the span of 3 seconds: how would I differentiate all of them?
What about testimonials from past girlfriends? For sure that would help sift through all of these possibilities, maybe set someone apart. I couldn’t resist, as I chuckled to myself, how funny that would be. A 5 star rating maybe? I think I am onto something. I could develop the next big plugin for Match, eHarmony, or Tinder and become a billionaire!
(Oh Kate, really.)
She put the phone away and together we pondered the prospects and thought about the drinks that she was going to have later on that evening. I was worried for her, she told me there were rules for safety. It made sense to me. There were rules for everything else, why not cyber matching.
To myself I thought, I couldn’t do a drink, that says a bar, and bar to me says, “Welcome to the meat market.” I know, my mind can be a little dramatic at times.
Roaming eyes, searching for something that is out of reach. My heart just sank a little deeper into my stomach.
I paused, I shook my head. I quietly unbound the chains that had worked their way around my heart during this whole “match-making” perusal. After looking over her shoulder I needed to walk away and not think about it anymore.
Her words, and the words of others in the past were a little haunting to me…
“You have to put yourself out there…”
Is this what putting yourself out there is in 2019?
Peeking behind a screen, buried in a phone, pecking away on a keyboard, back and forth, back and forth.
We think we know what we need… we think it’s as simple as posting a slightly more personal resume up on a website. We go through the stress of sharing a few pics that we believe will portray and lure in the type of person we perceive that we need… would I be willing to put my fate in the hands of a swipe, or a wink…a bio?
I believe that it’s the missed intonations and off topic conversations that lure that someone into our world who we might never have given a shot.
It’s the momentary share of space, the energy that moves in the same direction, and the smile that bubbles under the surface during the moment of a glance.
These things aren’t planned, they aren’t calculated, they aren’t manipulated. These moments just happen.
Would we recognize that pang of knowing if it came in our inbox? Would we feel that skip in our heart with an out of area number ringing through on our cell phone?
I am an advocate of patience. I am a champion of friends and family who know me well and have connections. I trust more in them then I do in an algorithm.
I am a believer that there is more to humans than what any screen could ever show me.
My arms span wide and my waters run deep. How could a marketing campaign ever capture that?
Like everything, there are pros and cons, and there is a course and a plan for all of us…that we choose.
I will choose not to lose faith in the system that was formulated for us humans all those years ago.
Chemistry. Nothing can replace looking someone in the eyes, and nothing can compare to breathing the same air for a short while to figure it out. Some things a screen still cannot do…
Instead, I will go for a walk, look up, and look around…and leave the screen to my work, to write.