new york dating rules: online dating part one

I have a lot of friends that are fairly recently single and looking to get back on that dating horse.

"Go online!" I say.

"I'm not that desperate," they say.

"It's not desperate!" I say. "Also, once you've been in New York for more than a year, you'll accept this as the way it must be." 

I've been on OKCupes for faaaaar too long now. I think I'm on my second or third profile name, and I've suspended and reactivated my account so many times that I'm sure that the account administrator that used to mess with my profile has deemed it not worth his time anymore (a story for another day, perhaps). 

From time to time, other kinds of dating sites have popped up that have seemed interesting. HowAboutWe... is a kind of neat project where you put up an idea for a date, and if someone's into doing that activity they contact you. Nerve Dating claims to be more like the Facebook of dating, where you update your status and stuff like that. Except I don't think that they can use the term "Facebook" in their ads, so that's just what everybody else calls it.

My advice today, my loves, is more of a cautionary tale:

Don't be a pilot tester of a dating site.

So, at some point, there was a sort of cool ad on some sidebar somewhere.

"Blind dates!" it proclaimed proudly. 

"I'M INTRIGUED," naive little 20-year old me yelled back at it. 

The service was a good concept, I think. You put your standard internet dating things in - age, ___ looking for ____, username - but then also your phone number. You sent a text to the site being like, I would like to be on a date now! Or at six or so on Tuesday! And it would think about it and start texting people who fell into your "looking for" range, asking if they were into it. It would, at some point, tell you where you were gonna meet up with the other person, and then let you text them through the service so that you could be like, "I'll be the one with the blue hat," without them ever knowing your phone number.

That was the genius part of it, I think, because my least favorite part of online dating is the eventual probable necessity of exchanging phone numbers before you know whether or not you like the person. Also, it let you choose between one-on-one blind dates and blind double dates.

"Blind double dating!" naive little 20-year old me yelled, naively.

For you see, friends, the people who are most willing to dive into a beta-test of a dating service are either me, who loves a weird adventure, or people who are less adept at social interactions.

I remember that the text told me we were all going to meet at Amy's Bread, because, of everything that happened that night, by far the best thing was finding out about Amy's Bread. I love that place with an insane passion. 

So, with all my youthful glee and whatever, I head to Amy's to meet up with the two gentlemen and a lady that I'm supposed to be meeting. I get there, see the two gentlemen talking to each other. We chat for a few minutes, make jokes about how the lady probably doesn't know where Amy's is either, because it's the one in Hell's Kitchen that is really really skinny and you can really easily overlook it if you're not careful.

We joke and chat some more, and we stand and look at our watches awkwardly, and look around at all possible females that could be our fourth.

I think you can see where this is going.

After a solid half-hour of waiting in front of Amy's Bread (and with the line there increasing the entire time), I brightly said to my companions that we should walk and find somewhere else to eat, since there are six tables in the back of Amy's, which is about two tables more than fit.

I think for the purposes of retelling this, I will call these gentlemen Tall and Round. 

Tall was supposed to be the other lady's date. He and I started a sort of witty banter, which was going along rather swimmingly, until - 

"DID YOU KNOW that New York actually has a bunch of hills," said Round.

"Um. Okay," said Tall. "You were saying, you're into webcom-"

"ACTUALLY there is a very large hill to the north of where we are that goes along Broadway," said Round.

"Yup," I said. "That's why the subway just becomes the way at 125th. Sorry, that's an awful joke, I heard it at-"

"WELL it was a problem for engineers," said Round. Did I mention that he spoke not only loudly, but exceptionally slowly?

"I have a friend who's an engineer," Tall attempted.

"ENGINEERS are people who have learned about engineering," said Round.

This went on for about an hour and a half, until I started saying that it was just going to take me forever to get home, and I had to get up SO EARLY the next day, and, like the overly polite coward I was, I literally ran away from the other two in Penn Station.

Later I emailed Tall, and said I thought he was neat. We met up again and it turned out that all we had had in common was an extreme desire to get ourselves out of that situation.

Oh, mystery second woman. I have thought so many things about you over the years. We could have been friends! WE COULD HAVE BEEN FRIENDS. Or you might have been really into talking about natural vs. manmade hill formations, and you could've saved the rest of us.


So that is why you only join dating sites that have lots of people on them already. Just trust me on this one.