Stupid Cupid

So life is…strange.
By which, really, I mean I’m strange.

My groin strain has healed more and more as time’s gone on. Whether that means it’s healed enough to start working out again, I have no idea. I don’t even know if it’s a groin strain…it’s possible the fact that it’s still not 100% healed means it needs more time. It’s possible it means I have a non-painful hernia–apparently, that’s a thing that exists. I can’t wrap my head around that. Mostly ‘cuz I’m afraid that’s what I have, and that I’ll need surgery again, and I’d rather experience another Bush in the White House than another surgery just a year after the last one. Plus, how can you have a non-painful protrusion that tears through you abdominal wall? That’s like telling a girl, “Just lemme put it in for a second.” Who are you kidding?

I appear to have an allergy to something, but I’ve no idea what. I thought it was gluten, ‘cuz last week every time I had pasta or bread or beer, my skin broke out in red rashes, mostly on my arms, and I got mad itchy. The first night it happened, after a small serving of pasta, I scratched my neck and shoulders so much I looked like Red Skull.

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But I’ve since learned it may be a wheat allergy (still not sure how you can be allergic to wheat but not gluten; seems like a square/rhombus relationship), or an allergy to a particular preservative. All I know is I’ve had pizza twice and no reaction to that. I’ll have to wait for the boys in the lab to get back to me on that one.

Speaking of boys in the lab: I have health insurance. From a job. For the first time in my life.

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Woo-hoo!

Of course, having health care, it turns out, means paying for health care. Somehow I didn’t factor in that little reality. I wasn’t able to attend my pre-job orientation last month, so it’s possible I’m paying 4 times what I need to be for health care. You know who has a strained groin/non-painful hernia, an inexplicable skin allergy, two thumbs, and doesn’t give a damn how much he’s paying for health insurance (yet)?
This guy.

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(Me. Not Clark.)

In addition to all this medical and bureaucratic uncertainty, I somehow defied my own promise to myself and ended up assigning all 3 of my classes essays that are all due tomorrow and Wednesday. That means I will be grading 70 essays this weekend. That means I’ll start the weekend feeling like this…
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and end it feeling like this…

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But stranger than all this, even, has been my introduction to the world of on-line dating. Specifically, OK Cupid.

I don’t doubt that on-line dating is a viable and increasingly common way for people to meet. I’m not exactly Mister Roll Up To The Bar And Throw Out A Winning One Liner, either. Not really my style. In fact, here’s where I first met/clicked with the baker’s dozen + one roll call of women I came to be friendler-than-usual with:

1) Girl #2 on this list’s 12th grade Christmas party
2) Primitive internet chat room
3) Earth science lab
4) Writing notes to each other in Political Science
5) Perusing her rack (her book rack…pervs)
6) Working at the dirtiest Italian restaurant in creation, replete with no bathroom
7) A bar called the Old Pink
8) Again, the Old Pink

The Old Pink, Buffalo, NY

The Old Pink, Buffalo, NY

9) A graduate school class I ended up skipping for 2 months because the professor was a misogynist and all we did was write book reviews
10) An experimental fiction writing class
11) The call center of a gas & utility company
12) A friend’s summer backyard party
13) The dance floor the last night of a writing conference
14) The bar at the same writing conference

My hesitancy to join OK Cupid was two-fold. First, am I even looking for romance yet? Second, am I likely to find it on a site whose name sounds like the half-hearted, half-assed, beat-down concession of someone whose other options have all run dry, leaving them to mutter “OK, Cupid,” the way you’d mutter “OK” to a veterinarian who just told you there’s no way to save your dying pet and the only humane option is putting them out of their misery?

Daddy's just taking Lassie to the woods, kids. Say good-bye! Why? Oh...'cuz Lassie's gonna run away to join the circus. The circus of the dead.

Daddy’s just taking Lassie to the woods, kids. Time to say good-bye! Why? Oh…’cuz Lassie’s gonna run away to join the circus. The circus of the dead.

But I figured at the very least, it’d be a welcome distraction from unpleasant realities…like weekends where you have 70 papers to read, line-edit, and grade. So, I took the plunge. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

–There are no good pictures of me. Anywhere. On Earth.
My right eye always looks way bigger than my left eye. In every photo. Ever. Like, clearly. Remember Kevin Arnold’s older brother Wayne from The Wonder Years? Picture that size-disparity. That’s my eyes in photos.

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–Like all social media, OK Cupid doesn’t encourage elaboration…which works against me.
I’ve never used Twitter. It’s not that I’m a tech-snob–I’ve heard presentations about the value it can have for writers, and I’m sure lots of people use it wittily and charmingly and in whatever other adverbily-styled way you can think of. And it’s not like I’m opposed to short-form writing–flash and micro fiction may very well be my favorite genres. But it’s like…one of my exes loved to play this game where she’d rattle off a long list of binary options, and I had to pick one, without explanation, as quickly as possible, without thinking. She’d say “Fall/winter,” or “fruit/vegetable,” or “water/fire”…they usually got vaguer and vaguer. One day she asked “Phoneme/syllable,” and I picked “syllable,” which surprised her…because usually, particularly with writing/language, I like to get all Newspeak-y and as minimal as possible. But it’s like with music: overtones are cool, but they’re not as resonant as a single musical note; and a note doesn’t fill the mind’s canvas, no matter how small that canvas is, the way a chord or measure or phrase does.
OK Cupid aims too small for my taste. I’m 34 years old and that span of life isn’t enough to summarize who or what I am. Trying to do so in a single paragraph is like striving to drown the ocean. And, the expectation on a site like that is you’re better off writing less than more–write too much and people will think you’re a solipsistic psychopath with too much time on his hands (and only 1/3 of that is true). So instead, I cut back and ended up writing, like, 2 sentences…which just leaves me annoyed, and strangers, I suspect, confused.

–Every girl looking for a guy on Long Island has 2 qualifications
1) “You better be able to accept me for who I am!! I can be a BITCH but my friendz no I’m loyal to the and and will do anything for them. If you can’t handle a REAL WOMEN with REAL ATTITUDE than don’t waste my time!!!”

Point taken, girl.

2) They all say it’s “very important” that their partner be someone of the same race/ethnicity as them.

So, unless there’s a town full of light-skinned Puerto Ricans I’m unaware of, I’m out of luck.

–Every girl who checks out my page lives in Connecticut, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island
Is it possible I’m one geographic shift away from the life of a lothario? Would my life have turned out totally differently if I’d lived 50 miles NE from where I grew up? Do I release some pheromone that dips under the radar in the macro-miasma of NY men but soars like an eagle over the parakeets that are New England males?

–Dating sites suck for your ego
You see someone cute. You rate them highly. A few minutes later you see they “visited” your page. You waste precious minutes of your life looking at their photos, seeing their answers to various absurd binaries, investing hope and energy in the idea that OK Cupid’s “personality” review will detect some salient point about your compatibility…you override your inclination to have no hope or decide you’re not really ready to meet new people…and after all that, you write a stranger a message based on a couple hundred words (at most) that they posted to a page……..and then, you don’t hear back.
You know what that means? It means they saw you checked them out, went to your page, looked over your photos, saw your weird Kevin/Wayne eyeball thing, and moved on.

–Apparently I’m J.P. Freaking Morgan

When you check someone’s page, there’s a “personality” link that tells you what traits the two of you may share of differ on…so the other person may be “more spiritual” or “less dreamy” than you, or vice versa.
Virtually every girl I check out, I’m told, I am “more capitalistic” and “more old-fashioned” than. So it appears this is me:

Even this mofo's eyes look symmetrical...

Even this mofo’s eyes look symmetrical…

–If your ex-girlfriend is on OK Cupid, try as you might to avoid her, you will come across her profile, and against all your better judgment, you will check it out.
This. Does. Not. Do. You. Any. Good.

I’ve only been on the site a few weeks, but other than a handful of messages exchanged with a few people, it’s basically like being on Facebook, except everyone can see that you’ve scoped them out. At least there’s no Candy Crush.

It doesn’t really matter, in the end. The universe will unfold as it must. Some people told me Match.com is a better breed of folk, but Match.com bought OK Cupid a few years ago, so I don’t see how that works…oh, yeah. Match.com costs more $$. Now I get it.
I won’t do eHarmony, if for no other reason than I’m sick of seeing that old chipmunk in those commercials.
Christian Mingle…well, I think we know what’d happen if I met someone there.

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One friend suggested I try speed-dating. I’d be able to meet lots of new people in a short period of time with no pressure of it leading to anything. But every speed-dating event I see is in NYC, and costs $35-$50…which on top of the $40-$50 it takes just to get in and out of the city, seems like a lot of money I could be spending on something more likely to bring me joy.

Like health insurance.

Have you had experiences with OK Cupid, or on-line dating in general? Please share. I’m a stranger in a strange land who needs to know I’m not the only person out there who isn’t a morally dissolute polyamorous kid-hating mutant.

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