THE CHASE IS ON ‌ Organic Dating 

Love in a fast-food world

"So are you still seeing that guy?" my friend Dana asked me the other day while we enjoyed a stale smoke at the bar. It wasn't difficult for me to decipher who "that guy" was, since I had only really dated one person off and on for the last year and a half.

"No, we're still tight and I love him, but it's just not what either of us are looking for," I sighed. "It really sucks right now. I haven't even met anyone I'm slightly interested in."

I've never had luck when it comes to dating. I can be so self-deprecating that even if someone shows interest in me, I wonder what could possibly be wrong with them. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, "I don't want to be a part of any club that wants me as a member." And because of that, I usually end up dating emotionally unavailable men who treat me like a disposable toy on their shelves.

"I'm so afraid that I'm gonna be left with no choice but internet dating," I continued, "and God bless people who do it, but it freaks me out a little."

"Yeah," Dana agreed. "Dating should happen organically."

He's right, but in today's society, how the hell is that exactly supposed to happen? There's a reason eharmony.com can afford to have TV commercials featuring that creepy-ass Dr. Neil Clark Warren. We all want the shortcut to love.

Online dating, which conjures up images of two lonely strangers fondling their keyboards in hopes of stumbling upon their soul mate, just seems so cold. Would you really want to tell your grandkids that you met their grandpa thanks to your trusty Dell desktop and $40 dollars a month on match.com? Personally, I'd rather tell them they came from a turkey baster. I'm not advertising myself to get laid ... yet.

Print ads don't seem as harsh — in fact, they seem a little romantic. However, I remember during high school, while sneaking cigarettes during second period, how my cohorts would scour the personal ads and pick out the most pathetic. Have you ever seen the movie Ghost World? If you have, then you know where I'm going with this, and if you haven't, just trust me and rent it.

And then there's speed dating, which at least has some physical human contact, but still, where's the romance? Within the first few minutes of meeting your potential new mate, you're trading baby names and deciding whether to vacation in Mexico or Europe during the summer. Um, I think I'll pass on that.

Beyond the big business of finding companionship, you're no better off on your own either. The most common place to meet someone seems like the worst: a bar. Where everyone is half blotto? Please. I've accepted a date or two at a watering hole before, and when the time comes to finally meet up with the new guy, I can't recall what he looks like through the alcohol-induced haze of the other night.

I'm banking on that random klutzy encounter to lead to my next meaningful date. I'll probably drop a gallon of milk on someone's foot while waiting in line at Harris Teeter. While apologizing profusely, I lean down to pick it up, the mystery man does the same, and our heads smack. Our eyes finally meet, and I see shooting stars and the future flash before my eyes. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

"So is church, like, the last respectable place to meet someone?" I asked Dana, "because if so, I'm royally screwed."


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