Internet Dates from Hell

Internet Dates from Hell

Suppose you are a thirty-year-old single woman living in New York City - the coolest, trendiest city in the world. You would think that this location would offer you the greatest possibilities of meeting the man of your dreams. Well, think again. Even though there are millions of single men living in Manhattan, you really only cross the paths of a few thousand in a lifetime; unless, of course, you change your path and open up endless opportunities. I changed my path, and it truly changed my life.

Take what you want from my story. Whether you are a man or woman, whether you are in a happy relationship or not, whether you simply want a purely entertaining read and have entered the perils of hell in online dating yourself, or whether you are just beginning the journey and need a few tips, my story is a hilarious account of how I became determined to find a mate through Internet dating.

There I was at my parents' house on the eve of my birthday, ready to celebrate. However, unfortunately, I wasn't in the mood. The candle on the Carvel ice cream cake was in the shape of the number thirty, and I was still single. Earlier that day, I partook in a series of self-deprecating comments after getting off the scale for the seventh time. "Why can't I ever get below 158 pounds?" I whined to myself. I wonder what the normal weight is for someone who is 5'10". "I'll never be able to wear those trendy low-rise jeans with this ass!" I mumbled despairingly to myself. Who needs jeans anyway? I can get away with wearing long skirts. Why do most American women, regardless of their shape, rarely feel good about themselves?

My depression was also caused by the fact that I was turning thirty and still had not met a suitable mate. It didn't help matters that I taught kindergarten in a school in the suburbs where all males were either under the age of ten or married custodians. You would think that things might have changed when, only a few months earlier, I had moved to New York City. I thought I would have endless opportunities to date starchy Wall Street suits, hot bohemian artists, Renaissance men, aspiring actors, or Internet start-up moguls. Boy, was I wrong.

Let's step back in time. Let me explain how I ended up in Manhattan. I had grown tired of the endless strip malls and the same old local hangouts on Long Island, where I had spent my entire life. I was ready for the city - the "city that never sleeps." Due to the fact that I still worked on Long Island, I needed to be close to the Long Island Rail Road at Penn Station, so my daily commute wouldn't be horrendous. I called my best friend, Greg, who lived on 34th Street for guidance. Greg told me that it was virtually impossible to find an apartment in the area near Penn Station. Providing I did find one, the rent would be a small fortune. Every weekend, throughout the months of September and October, I scoured apartment buildings on both sides of 34th Street looking for a "For Rent" sign. Not one was in sight. This street separates Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen. The Miracle on 34th Street was filmed there. Even a model, whose name we'll protect, had her face slashed in front of the Improv in this area, back in the eighties. Although the area was a bit seedy, it was real! For if I were to move to the Big Apple, this area is exactly where I would want to live to get the full experience.

After several weekends of unsuccessful searches, I decided to go visit each apartment building and introduce myself to the doorman. Isn't it always the doormen who know the latest gossip and juice of the building? And another thing - wouldn't the doorman know if there were any vacancies on the horizon? Before I entered, I'd put on my charm, brush my long hair, and refresh my lipstick. I even had my own business card to hand to him before leaving. It's not that teachers normally have business cards; I had actually made them on Broderbund Print Shop for tutoring purposes.

Finally, on the first day of November, when I had nearly given up hope, I received a call from Ralph, the doorman of Greg's building. He told me that an apartment was available on the 16th floor. This happened to be the same floor on which Greg lived. I thanked Ralph repeatedly after he had given me all the important contact information. I wasted no time and called immediately. Before I knew it, Greg and I were neighbors.

A few weeks later, I was a full-fledged resident of Chelsea, New York. I quickly learned that clubs and bars were not the places to meet a quality, marriage-minded man. Of course, living in one of the largest gay communities in the United States didn't help matters either. Nonetheless, I didn't want just any man; I wanted an intelligent, educated, thoughtful, self-sufficient, family-oriented man between the ages of thirty and forty. People may offer women like me a gratuitous "good-luck girl," however, luck is not something to rely upon in this situation.

I had never experienced great difficulty in meeting men! "The One," however, simply never materialized. The typical "club type" ranged from twenty-three to thirty years old. Most of these overly confident shortsighted "clubbies" fell short of the mark. One could tell that their intentions were to get their dates comfortably drunk so they could proceed to their apartments for some self-indulgent fun. Many of these men were disappointed when they discovered that women who are determined to find a marriage mate typically drink little or nothing at all. In my experience, determination and alcohol are strange bedfellows, and a strange bedfellow is the last thing a woman like me is looking for.

The gym, like the bar, is not the best place to pursue a mate. To start with, any man who has to check his appearance twice as often as a woman does, begs the question "what the hell is he looking for?" These guys aren't looking for wives! They're already married - to themselves. Another problem with these "gymbos" is that a large percentage of them are not heterosexual. Face it: I didn't have time to convert gay men, nor did I want to! Conversely, the remaining percentage of gymbos seem only to be interested in the feminine loins or rump roasts that these meat markets attract.

Finally, the blind-date scenario. Sometimes setups were simpatico; however, most didn't run smoothly. The chemistry became forced, despite the shared intentions. How many of you have desperately tried to overlook the eighties throwback wearing jogging pants and gold chains, and claiming a "connection" with you, only to wish you were back home with your cat, Erasure CD, and incense? Or have you ever looked for an errant fork to stick in your ear rather than sit for another five minutes laboriously listening to one more sentence about gigabytes and the latest computer geek technology, while your date's unsightly excess hair gel drips onto his lavender polo shirt? I've held out this long; I'm not about to settle now. This is not how I was brought up by my parents.

I was born and raised on Long Island. My father made his living as a bread salesman, each day driving his truck from one food establishment to another selling baked goods to keep a roof over our heads. My mother was an elementary school teacher, much like myself. Graced with three older brothers (if you call that grace), I was the youngest in the family. I had a relatively normal life. I spent my summers at the town pool, when not riding the waves at Jones Beach. Winters were spent making snowmen, when not traveling with my folks to Disney World or the Poconos. Surviving twelve years of private school, I endured the capricious behavior and the overwhelming imposition of self-guilt by the "ladies of the cloth." After high school, I tried nursing school, but hated it. Subsequently, I attended both undergraduate and graduate school in education, earning a bachelor's and a master's degree. If that was not "interesting" enough - for nothing is more boring than learning from teachers who teach teachers how to teach - then the juicy parts of my life occurred much later, especially when I decided to post a personal ad on the Internet. As Dante is warned before he enters the Inferno, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!"

  Trisha Ventker
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