Please hold my calls. I’m a very important person having a very important meeting about a very important matter — we’re running low on Temptations.
One of the few benefits of aging is that moment of perfect clarity when you see the vast nothingness of death on the horizon and every cell in your body vibrates with the need to eke out whatever happiness you can with people who matter, to stop putting energy into transient connections and only seek out and cherish the meaningful ones with people of substance.
In short, put an end to the bullshit, enjoy your own company and passions, and if there’s someone out there for you, they’ll pursue you as much as you pursue them.
This brief was published in the July 23, 1859, edition of The Kansas News, a newspaper in Emporia, Kan.
If I tell you I love you anonymously, can we get Internet married and have anonymous babies?
You Are A Tourist, a song by Death Cab for Cutie on Spotify.
I live inside this song.
I reactivated my OkCupid account a few weeks ago so I could search for the profile of the guy I like (curiosity, cat, etc., etc.). I had already decided dating sites aren’t for me, so I deleted all my bio info and, after receiving messages, even removed my photo. With the exception of the questions I’ve answered, it’s a blank profile and yet I still receive messages. Who are these people that are merely seeking a warm body — any warm body? Love isn’t a joke, and even hooking up has to be based on…something.
I’ll never understand people.
As an introvert with a brain that never sleeps, being self-contained comes naturally. But when all is said and Donne, no man — or woman — is an island, and loneliness is an insidious beast.
You try to destroy it before it eats you alive, but you’re a reader not a fighter. As loneliness snaps its jaws and drools in anticipation of feasting on your tender heart, you’re forced to concede: Life could be richer and more purposeful with a companion and I need someone beside me as I binge-watch The Lord of the Rings films and God, loneliness has bad breath.
You open yourself up to the possibility of meeting that special someone at the office, the grocery store, or at the library where you’ll discover a mutual interest in existential Steampunk and fall madly in love amongst the stacks…but you soon find that meeting men in the wild is much more difficult than you thought it would be and involves complicated rituals, like making eye contact.
So you do what all unattached thirtysomethings do: laugh at the thought of paying eHarmony to help you find the perfect mate, then put your best selfie forward as you create a free OkCupid profile.
You know you’re committed to this, because you spend fifteen minutes coming up with a username — b00k1ov3r — and an hour writing and tweaking a bio that is guaranteed to scare off the Biffs of the online dating world and intrigue the cute bearded men who read Vonnegut in coffee shops and think Camus-like thoughts on the walk home.
Visitors to your profile will determine if you’re fuckable by the photos you post of that one time you felt good in that one dress ten years ago, but it’s your words that will convince The Right Man that you are dateable, loveable, and, if things go well, maybe even introduce-to-his-motherable.
It’s all a matter of condensing your personality into a few well-phrased sentences that convey your keen wit and playfulness without undermining your depth of character; that show off your Einsteinian intelligence while also acknowledging that you’re not above streaming Beavis and Butt-Head episodes; that are self-deprecating enough to be charmingly amusing but not enough to indicate that you need to speak with a therapist about your nonexistent self-esteem.
After browsing a few pages’ worth of profiles and cringing at the misspelled words and photos that were posted sideways because clearly this person is using a computer for the first time, you wisely decide that perhaps it’s best to let the universe work its magic and allow The One to find you. Or at least the online approximation of you.
Matches are delivered to your inbox and enticing messages, such as “Hi.” “Your pretty.” “We don’t have anything in common but I thought I would write to you anyway lol,” start
pouring trickling in. And it’s horrifying. Not the people — although some of them are (who would date a guy with the username vagina_snatcher69, and why are so many of these men shirtless??) — but the thought of interacting with someone you know is searching for “something,” and they know you’re searching for “something,” and now you have to navigate this awkward Internet-to-real-life transition in hopes that you’ll find “something” in one another.
If you’re strong and confident and forget to deactivate your account, maybe you’ll become one of the success stories. The One will send you a message that is sweet, playful, intelligent and charmingly self-deprecating. Your conversation will quickly go from Internet to text to spending hours on the phone together. The two of you will meet in real life and the rest will be history that can be viewed on Instagram and read about on Tumblr.
Or maybe you’ll admit it’s not Ok for you. You’ll delete your account and joke about Dying Alone, never admitting to anyone but yourself that with every passing day, you believe a little more that your obituary will read She is survived by multiple cats and a goat.
And all the while, loneliness gnaws at you.