By Anna Murphy
New York, NY, USA
The first company I interned at in NYC did PR for match.com. My first assignment, as the lowest rung on the totem pole, was to create a communications campaign with my other intern cronies to basically “stomp out the stigma” of online dating for the 18-24 year old age bracket. This was a dream assignment. I was a single, twenty-something who had one serious relationship under her belt.
We had about ten interns that were divided into two teams to carry out this mission. Each group got one free match.com account with one team member posing as the avatar. You can probably guess where this is going. I was the snark for my team. I chose the alias “Your Bachelorette,” uploaded a real picture of myself and waited for the winks (match.com version of a Facebook poke) to start blinking in my inbox.
I took my role very seriously. I would go on dates (only with people around my age who piqued my interest) and then write about it on my blog, “The Cereal Dater: Looking for my Lucky Charm.” I called myself a “matchvocate” - waxing poetic about the need for online dating in a city as big as New York, where everyone is a transplant from somewhere and works all the time.
There was one week when I had a date Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. At that point, I had turned from advocate to obsessed. I loved the ability to connect with a complete stranger and to tell your story, hear theirs and then see them again. Or not. I only met one person who I actually hit it off with. And I think I ended up dismissing him in the end because he rollerbladed. Oh, if only 25-year-old Anna could sit 22-year-old Anna down and tell her she shouldn’t have ridden into New York on a horse too high to permit a realistic view of the world. But hindsight is 20/20, and those fleeting experiences have led to a fascination with dating, love, relationships and basic, raw, human interaction...and many, many more dates.
My original blog graduated into “Ten Million Fish in the NYSea” that houses a series of date recaps, or just acts as a forum for me to word dump. And I’d only write about people that I didn’t care if I ever saw again. Because, let me tell you, when you blog about your date, even if you’re objectively nice (which I never am), you don’t get a second one.
I recently picked up Lori Gottleib’s book, Marry Him: The Case of Settling for Mr. Good Enough. It’s exactly what it sounds like. She makes the very good point that all women are looking for a Prince Charming (who has a full head of hair, is 6’2” and loves kids), but the reality is…we’re not all princesses worthy of this minuscule percentage of the population. Although the author is in her forties and single, the general premise of her theory stuck with me. Choosing a significant other is not like shopping, because, at the end of the day, the person in question also has a say. With Lori’s words of wisdom ringing in my ears, I decided to throw caution to the wind this year and toss out “my list,” which was basically: 1) everything Matthew McConaughey possesses, looks and personality-wise; 2) an amazing sense of humor; and, 3) because I want my family to actually attend my hypothetical wedding, he could…maybe be Catholic too.
So that’s what I did and I encouraged my roommate to do the same. Between the two of us, we’ve recently dated guys who had gummy smiles, were pushing 5’5”, practiced a variety of religions, worked as professional waiters, had Billy Madison syndrome and one, I believe, was even a rapper. Although none of these stuck, it was fun to look at dating as a sport…where you were always the one with the ball in your court.
I’ve found out, however, that there are ups and downs to being a “serial dater.” Men in New York are available in droves - no depletion in sight, even though there are many more women. Still, there are a lot of guys, too. And because I think the “date is dead” (another column for another time), and we are living in a hook-up culture, I don’t see why I shouldn’t or wouldn’t say yes to a man who is willing to wine and dine me at the hottest spot in the West Village after a stressful Tuesday and soup-carton lunch. But knowing that there’s just another Brother-Jimmy’s-Saturday-night-meet-cute around the corner, I am simply just going through the motions and not being entirely open to allowing these budding dates to blossom into any sort of relationship. I also find myself sitting across from “him” at the table, just waiting for a red flag to fly out of his mouth in the form of a comment such as, “I hate music.” Yes, that happened. And then the date really is dead, because…he killed it. But at least I can rest assured, knowing that on Thursday, I get to see that new movie that got rave reviews with “so-and-so.”
You probably hate me as you read this. I would hate me. A lot of those guys hate me. But I don’t think that dating as a hobby will be truly detrimental to me in the end. I simply love fish references, so here comes another one. If you cast a wide enough net, you’re sure to pull in some keepers. I could sit on the dock all day waiting for Mr. Right to come and take a bite, but is that the best use of my time? Definitely not. So while I haven’t signed up for match.com since that summer in 2008, it’s certainly not out of the question. Oh, and I guess this would be a good time to mention, I’ve also taken up rollerblading.
Anna Murphy works in Beauty PR and resides in the East Village of Manhattan with her sorority sister. She enjoys long runs on the Hudson River, live music, vegan cookies and the Florida Gators.