I’m still waiting for that eHarmony commercial.
Typically, I'd rather hammer nails into my urethra than talk to anyone you'd find on an online dating site. But at 29, I was both single and coincidentally banned from the hardware store so I decided to try my hand at wading through the endless ratchet Beckys, whose only hobbies are happy hour and Netflix.
Against all odds, I managed to interact with a person who I thought was funny and clever.
Although, if you were paying attention to the title of this article, you should realize a little too clever. I agreed to meet her in person/sow the dark seeds of my own black misfortune to confirm she wasn't trying to add me to her bone marrow collection (you never know) before going on a proper "date."
When I suggested we grab tea (she said she didn't drink), she proceeded to laugh at me on the phone for about 3 minutes straight. We had a sort of playful-teasing rapport so I didn't take it personally, but I did change the plan to this cool Cuban restaurant where they bring the check in a cigar box.
Little did I realize, I was nailing my own coffin from the inside.
This was no longer a casual encounter, easy to escape if she turned out to be a Decepticon.
An uneventful day turned to a fateful night and I arrived at the place where my benefit of the doubt came to die, slain by the silvered tongue of the deceiver. I got there 10 minutes early and grabbed a table, trying to be all gentlemanly and sh*t (quote by Shakespeare).
My blood was confused, not knowing if I was about to meet someone who would make it pump faster, or empty it from my veins at the first opportunity. (Either way, I should probably ask a cardiologist about that.)
I decided to use the restroom real quick, and when I exited, I unwittingly passed through a Narnia-esque threshold into the cursed realm of a trickster god: Someone was sitting at my table.
They looked vaguely familiar, like the shadow of a stranger seen in the peripheral vision of a half-remembered dream. They smiled, I smiled, and outside a crow came to perch atop a lamp post.
It was her, +/- an entire person. At the risk of sounding shallow, I don't mind a little extra if I like someone. I don't think I can be attracted to an obese person, however. And I appreciate dishonesty even less.
But that wasn't even the part that scared me away.
As I basked into the opulence of my food and attempted to make pleasant conversation in attempt to salvage the evening, she took a Zippo to this Hindenberg:
Her: "I have to tell you something."
Me: "I believe you."
Her: "I was married ..."
Me: "That doesn't bother me in the slightest."
Her: "And I live at home with my parents ..."
Me: "No big deal. A lot of people are struggling now."
Her: "... with my ex-husband."
To say the night ended awkwardly is to say the Space Shuttle Challenger felt a little warm. The check came and I felt like I had paid in more ways than one that night.
But that's not even the most incredible part of the story.
Somehow (personal stupidity), this crucible of treachery did not dissuade me from online dating.
A month later, I received an innocuous automated message.
Someone "liked" my profile. I didn't know then that this someone would become my everything.
I clicked through to learn about this mysterious stranger and was floored. I couldn't have created a profile more appealing to me myself if I was a psychic reading my own mind.
She was hilarious. Brilliant. Charming. Only one problem: She lived nearly 2,000 miles away. She in Oklahoma, me in New Jersey.
"You seem rad. Good luck," was the best I could muster, slightly disheartened. And to my surprise, she wrote me back.
After a little back and forth, I told her a slightly abbreviated version of the catfish story above. She gave me her number and fast-forward 6 months, I dropped everything and now live in Oklahoma with the most incredible person I've ever met.
She still tells me that story is what won her over.