“I haven’t met too many women who I want to see again. But you…” he wiggled his stubby little forefinger across the white cafe table…”you are special.” It could have been a Crossing Delancey moment, except he was not the charming Pickle Man, and I was no Amy Irving.  While I do lust after Amy Irving’s curls and that fabulous cowboy hat, he was my exceedingly schleppy Match.com date and I was me.


“You are a nice guy but I’m not sure there is a fit here for us,” I said with unusual bravado. My usual MO would have been to vaguely arrange a date and then break it off in a text, but I was trying to be mature and save time.


“What? Why?” He asked, visibly surprised and disappointed. “Is it because I crack too many jokes? I sometimes crack too many jokes when I’m nervous. Is it because I’m not Jewish? I once dated the daughter of a rabbi,” he added hopefully. “I even attended a bris.”


My nasty alter ego launched into high gear, and I stopped just short of saying, “No you dipshit, it’s because I’m me and you’re you!” 


Lest you think I am a self-impressed narcissist, I’ve spent the last two years preparing my fragile ego for the scary world of online dating and I know I am not perfect. Far from it. However, this was new. I was stunned to be sharing coffee with a guy so dissimilar from me in every possible way. I wanted a refund from Match.com. I wanted to reverse the caloric intake from the almond tarte that I nervously ate while talking to this guy. I wanted the past 45 minutes of my life back.


“Of course not. It just doesn’t feel right,” I said between bites. “Sometimes there’s ‘that feeling’ and other times there isn’t.”


I hadn’t expected to be giving this awkward chemistry lesson. ‘Please let this conversation end,’ I thought as I shoved the final sweet bits into my mouth and drained my latte, also regretting what the caffeine would do to my sleep. 


What I wanted to add but didn’t was, “For all those “jokes” you think you cracked, you didn’t make me giggle. Not even once. You are also missing a few teeth, right there on the bottom? Guess you forgot about those when you posted your profile picture to Match.com. And what about the 50 extra lbs.? I know Covid was rough on everyone but ‘I have a little extra’ is in the drop-down menu. Guess your finger slipped and you accidentally chose ‘I am fit.’ It happens, I get it.” It’s called ‘fat-fingering’ which is a term I decided suited him well. 


I wondered how I had arrived in this alternative universe and yet here I was wasting precious minutes of my life. I didn’t know whether to feel duped, depressed, or damaged. I am a smart woman who spends most days trying to make good decisions for the nonprofit where I work. So, like any good strategist, I took a break from online dating to evaluate my options.  


I’m here to report that the break lasted for two weeks, and I’ve learned nothing except that sometimes I get lonely. My friend Karen once asked, “Can you look at dating as either a good story or a good time?” While I’d like to have both, Karen’s advice works for me. Are there ways I might be slightly more selective on the front end with these men? Quite possibly. Meanwhile, I have a date this weekend with a Jewish organic farmer who has a boat. The only thing we have in common is the Jewish part, but he’s funny and maybe I’ll get some nice veggies out of it.
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