Friday, August 12, 2011

Locker Room Talk: Online Dating

I'm in the locker room having just finished a workout and my body and shorts are soaked with sweat; my shirt is in a soppy heap on the bench.
"You ever try one of those online dating personals sites?"
I'm bent and dripping and I almost threw up on the treadmill. My mind is foggy and I look up. I've never seen the guy. He's short, probably a head point five lower than me, and he has at least a decade on me. He has a belly, but one could tell he has been making attempts to vanquish it, and I notice two moles where his right nostril meets his face—they're perfectly positioned in that crease. His hair is thin.
"The online personals? You ever try 'em? I signed up about a week and a half ago."
-Nah, I haven't. Any luck?
What makes people talk to me? What makes me so willing to converse?
"Not really. I'm getting these messages from girls in Africa. Africa! I don't know why they think I'd be interested. They don't speak good English. [Note: the irony was not intentional.] I've been nice about it. It's starting to get old, though. I'm not interested in a girl from Africa!"
-That's crazy.
I'm starting to feel more normal and I'm also starting to enjoy this conversation. I also still have my shirt off and I glance in the mirror.
"It is! My replies so far have been nice, but…. I have my introduction all typed out, and I've actually put in there now 'If you're from Africa I'm not interested,' but I still get those messages. I look out for misspellings, things like 'I tink' or something like that to clue me in. 'I tink you're real nice.' I know that's not someone local! I'm so annoyed I've written up a canned response and saved it as a Word document for the next time it happens."
-What site are you on?
"Ah, AT&T Yahoo. I had to get that because I signed up for classes and needed a high speed connection. So I signed up then saw this personals thing and figured, 'Hey, I'll sign up for six months and try it out."
-Any luck other than the Africans?
"Well, not really. I've had 19 hits in a week and half, which I think is good. Or it isn't bad. But it's the Africans, or it'll be someone claiming to be someone they're not. They send a picture that's not even them or something. I try to be nice, but I don't have any interest in flying someone into America from Africa or trying to import goods for them or anything like that."
-A guy at my office has met a few women through an online dating service with mixed success. Some girls he has dated for a little while, some turned out to be 10 years older and 100 pounds heavier than the pictures they sent him. I also know of people that married people they met through
I've put on a clean and dry shirt but my shorts are still soaked and I'll deal with that until I get home like I always do. I'm making my way toward the exit and the man is still talking. I pause to hear him finish.
"Yeah, well, I just look forward to the next time I get a message from an African so I can blast this canned response I have off to them. They'll get that response and they'll think about their life and who they are and what they're doing, I can promise you that. I've been nice to this point, but they'll think I'm deeply troubled once they get this response and then I won't be hearing from them anymore."
I chuckle at the absurdity; the wrongness; the situation; the guy; myself.
-Well, good luck, man.
"Yeah, take it easy."
I walk out of the locker room and a slight smile works onto my face and I walk out through the door and as the hot, dry, 104 degree air engulfs my already overheated body and a surge of nausea rushes back to the deep of my throat I think Maybe I should blog about this type of shit. 

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