Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Recently - as in minutes ago - I was reading an Onion article when I noticed at the bottom of the page a blurb for "the Onion Personals". "What the..." I said to myself. I wasn't sure if it was a joke or not, the Onion being what it is, so I followed the link. As it turned out, it seemed to be a real on-line dating (OLD, an acronym I'm not entirely comfortable with) service. "Hmmm..." I said to myself, still savoring the flavor of the last ellipsis in my mouth, "Perhaps I'll sign up. I've never done the OLD gig before, and if there was ever a publication with which to be associated for dating purposes it would be the Onion. Hey, maybe Alexis would still give me sex advice even though it's not Vita.MN!"

No sooner thought than commenced. I began to fill out the questionnaire for a new account and was immediately confronted with my first moral, ethical and spiritual quandary. Even at the time, I knew it would not be the last such quandary I would face before the process was finished. It was, as you might guess: Do I lie? After much head-scratching I decided, "Hell, yes!" although I promised myself that I would skirt the truth closely enough that you could at least see it from there. And I hadn't even gotten to the hard parts yet. The very first choice I had to make was a user name. "It shouldn't be your real name," the instructions cautioned. My inclination was to use "Hulles," even though that has become my real name for all intents and purposes the last few years. The argument against this was that I immediately imagined the cherished readers of this blog would glom onto my personal life like leeches onto my thigh that one time. But I used it anyway. Like I care.

So "Hulles" it would be. Next ME&S quandary: age. "I'll tell the truth here," I thought proudly. "Damn the tortillas, and all ahead flank." I also probably said "Aaargh!" to myself; I don't really recall. So I put in the month and day of my birth, but to my chagrin the drop-down box for the year only had years Anno Domini. So I approximated -- 1989. I did this even though I knew full well it would mean springing for the shit that old men use to "blend the gray in naturally", whatever the hell it's called. At least a bottle of it would last a long time.

Onward. The next question was "Occupation." Now, for most people this wouldn't be a hard question but it was for me, because actually I began hoping that women would respond to my personal ad, even if it was just a hint of condensation on a vinyl chair. In the end I chose "drummer." Perfect.

Now for the meat: I needed a catchy tag line for my ad. That one turned out to be not so tough -- I am the master of the catchphrase. I ended up with "I only played a stalker in the movies, honest!". "Fair enough," says I, "That ought to make 'em grab their iPhones® and start frantically typing in a reply with one finger while driving."

On to the description of me. "Oh, where to start!" I wailed, alarming the cat. "I have so much trouble talking about myself!" An understatement indeed, as faithful readers of this blog know quite well. Here is the shit up with which I came, thank you very much Winston Churchill:

First, I should tell you that I'm not really a drummer. I chose that occupation because it seemed to sum up my socio-economic status quite nicely in one word. I am, however, a writer, which might be even worse. I am completely inexperienced at on-line dating, but I know a lot about love. I have been in 8,234 long-term relationships, and in fact I have a dramatic and convincing testimonial on my FaceBook® Wall from my ex-wife that pretty much says it all. My friends tell me that I am the most heterosexual man they know when we're out at the '90s, and I suppose my enemies say the same thing. Yet I remain humble.

I enjoy going out for the occasional adult beverage when you can afford it, I am a former ex-smoker, and I use strong language when the situation warrants, like now when the 'e' key is sticking on my fucking keyboard, but other than that I have no flaws whatsoever and I expect the same of my date.

I am told I completely lack a sense of humor, but I am on a waiting list for a transplant at the U of M Hospital. Until then I read the Onion so I can fake it.

Finally, I should say that I really DID play a stalker in the movies, and I'll send you the links should it come to that. I look forward very much to meeting you.

"Not bad, albeit a bit pithy," I thought, "And it only took two hours to write!" So I reviewed my entry for spelling, grammar and punctuation (which in itself immediately set me apart from most ads) and hit the "SEND" button on the web page, which was labeled "page 2 of 2". This of course took me to page 3 of 2, which was (as you more experienced OLD people probably know already) the page where you decide what level of membership you want: Gold, which was stupefyingly expensive and only to be used by the most hopeless wretches, and Silver, which was merely expensive and means you show up after the hopeless wretches in searches. I looked in vain for a Bronze membership, which would be cheap, or even better a Tin membership which would be free. Alas, the Onion Personals deal only in precious metals. So I sat there in stunned disbelief for several minutes before finally hitting the GTFO icon in the corner of the screen. That was followed by language most foul, as I realized that I hadn't copied the description reproduced above, of which I was very proud. So I had to laboriously reconstruct it from an already feeble memory for this blog entry, and you're welcome, dammit.

So - a lesson painfully learned. In the aftermath of the tragedy, I concluded two things: first, that I had enough moral, ethical and spiritual quandaries raising two beautiful daughters in high school (them, not me) that I don't need more from a punk-ass dating service, and second, that the Twin Cities on-line dating scene will have to survive without me for a while longer, at least until I have some money.

But then again, if I have money I won't need a dating service.

-- Hulles

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