I was going to title this post “Modern Romance” with due homage to the band The Yeah Yeah Yeahs for their song of the same name. Then I went to YouTube and listened to the song and good god its depressing, not to mention incredibly pessimistic. Hence, Part 2.
Several months ago, my roommate told me about his girlfriend’s best friend who had said that she was eager to get back into the dating game. She’d read a lot of my blog posts and was duly impressed and wanted to meet me. So she came over one night and I made her dinner (that’s right ladies, nearly 2 decades of being single with no children has led to an acquired and cultivated ability to cook. At this point, I’ve been doing it long enough that I really only use recipes half the time and even then, it’s merely a guideline. The rest of the time, I just wing it and it comes out pretty well. I mean, I’m not Emeril material, but I could cook Rachel Ray under the table. I mean really, the woman adds garlic to everything and gets a standing ovation for it. Get real sister. You’re not supposed to add garlic to ice cream. Of course, I may have a bad taste in my mouth for Ms. Ray because my ex-girlfriend was one of those people who spent hours upon hours watching the show and never actually, y’know, cooked anything. That factoid isn’t on the laundry list of reasons I don’t talk to her anymore, but it deserves honorable mention.)
Anyway, me and Michelle (She was in the Program, but the name “Mitchelle” doesn’t sound right. Then again, when it comes to names anymore, who cares how you spell a name or even if it’s a semi-conventional name? My buddy’s son’s name is Dax and another woman I know named her son Jax. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if I was out walking my pet-sitting client Lucky and met a guy who introduced me to his son Multilax and did so with a straight face) dated for a little while but it was completely on her terms, which weren’t really her terms at all but those of her sponsor. That’s a relationship some people have with their sponsor, that of “What my sponsor says goes.” I do not have such a relationship with my sponsor, or anyone really. I went to breakfast after a meeting with my sponsor yesterday and, unbeknownst to me, he left while I was in the bathroom and I didn’t buckle over in tears or wander around the parking lot wailing and screaming like a lost child. I waited for him outside the restaurant and when he didn’t show, I left too. Anyway, after we had been seeing each other for a few weeks, it just got bizarre when Facebook Messenger suggested her as a friend. This really freaked me out because how did Messenger even know about Michelle? I mean, this falls into the “the computers are learning and we’re all doomed” War Games come The Terminator scenario many of us fear. But I ran it past her and she approved.
We only dated for a short time and I experienced a new social paradigm when she “unfriended” me. I didn’t really know to react. Part of me had a sort of “How dare she!” reaction before the smarter angels of my nature took over with “Oh Jesus dude, get over it already. If unfriending you and ghosting you has replaced keying your car or an all-out chastising for your ill-thought misdeeds, you got off light.” So I let it go.
Somewhere along the way, the whole online dating world ballooned into online dating for professionals at one web site, online dating for women looking for a baby daddy at another, interracial online dating, online hook-up sites for swingers and even online hook-up sites for those who want to cheat on their spouses. (I’m serious about this, I even have one friend who was knee deep in some of those sites. That’s part of the reason we gave him the name “Philthy”) Anyway, I recently subscribed to one of these sites called Pile of Fish and met a woman who, as far as I can tell so far, is very cool. A couple weeks ago, we removed the site from our stream of communication and exchanged numbers. After I entered her name into the Contacts app on my phone, the FB messenger app cross-referenced her number with “friend” suggestions and her full name and photos of her popped up. Good things about this include the fact that I saw more than just the one photo she has sent me of her (she’s gorgeous) and a little more of a window into her life that I have already from talking to her on the phone and, as of yesterday, in person.
Bad things about this include “WTF!?” I mean, I didn’t have that reaction as severely as I did when FB talked to my phone the first time and told me about Michelle. But it still creeped me out that Facebook and my smartphone are apparently having conversations behind my back and planning my possible futures. I really had to take a step back from the whole thing to realize that this is a uniquely seminal moment in the world of romance. In the old days, it was Emily Bronte’s story about Heathcliff and Catherine and a tale of pining after your true love. Now, we find ourselves building on the list of questions of courtship progress by precluding issues from “Should I go right for dinner-and-a-show or start with the coffee date?” and “Is it too soon for me to suggest we go away together for a weekend since we don’t even have any toiletries in each other’s bathroom yet?” and the really sensitive question of “When is it a prudent time for me to meet her children?” with a much more ominous question …
Is it too soon for Facebook?