At any given point, there are twenty something thousand to seventy thousand singles online, on websites like match.com, looking for a partner or a somewhat partner. Recently, as one of my new year’s resolutions, on the evening of the 1st of January, I joined match.com with my best friend seated next to me doing the same thing. I decided that I needed to be less complacent about my desire to share my experiences, my observations, my thoughts with someone, the same person. I was most shocked by the interactive nature of the website, staying online inciting more action from the male counterpart, through views, winks, emails and IM invitations. So much is said about the person from the way they choose to approach you, some by emailing first, asking if I would like to chat on IM with them. Then there are those who write a series of emails, before suggesting to meet for a drink. It could be a coffee, a drink at a bar, dinner. The most bizarre of all are those with whom you exchange a chain of emails and even sometimes an IM chat conversation, whereby we get to know what the other does for a living, where we live, where we are from, but no follow up is made. It is almost as if the cyber exchange suffices for them, like a drug addict not achieving much other than the momentary rush they were seeking.
In the first eight days as a member of match.com, I received three hundred twenty one views on my profile, winks, and most importantly several emails. My first date was with the first man who emailed me, with no strange requests like a full-length photo of myself prior to meeting. Instead, with a playful tone, I was given a choice of three different neighborhoods of London, associated with three different types of desserts. Cinnamon buns in SoHo, apple pie in Sloane Square, and Japanese desserts in South Kensington. An interesting first meeting over jasmine green tea and apple pie, lasting six hours, a ride in the ferris wheel of Winter Wonderland overlooking Hyde Park, a dinner where the date took the menu away from me as soon as I was seated, and endless conversations of radical extreme thoughts that shut me up, unprecedented in the thirty two years I have been over-talking. After countless unreplied emails and facebook messages, I finally wrote him stating that I believed we were not a match.
The first date is an interview of sorts. We sift through our questions and answers, but sometimes the words are less important than the more visceral, sensorial and visual reactions to the date. It’s almost like a dance of sorts that has started with the very first moment of eye contact, with the very first smile shared. Shifting of bodies, mirroring of gestures, prolonged eye contact — these are the elements that are already working for the two strangers meeting, not so much the words that are being pronounced. My second date was arranged the day following my date with the radical man who believed all believers of a monotheistic god and or smoke should be banned from humanity. It could have been the way he was standing, waiting for me inside South Kensington tube station, or the smile with which he greeted me when he caught me looking at him, shifting the weight in my high heeled boots, as if to not be completely sure to have recognized this complete stranger, but in those first few seconds I felt comfortable under his gaze. We have been seeing each other five evenings a week from that first meeting. I went on one more date, like the bather who bids farewell to the warm summer days, dipping into his last swim in the ocean. I cancelled another date scheduled that week, and suddenly find myself in a strange predicament. What does one do when they have found their match? This question, banal in appearance, speaks nevertheless to those that may not have necessarily met online. What does one do when the search should be over but the membership to the outside world of still singles is still active.