>>> Edited For Content
By staff writer Mike Forest
August 11, 2004

I paced around my new office and chewed on my pen. The move to PIC's headquarters had all but drained me. I set down my third jack and coke of the morning and slumped into my ratty leather chair. I was given $20 and a wheelbarrow to decorate my office. Who says garage sales aren't cool? My furniture matched like paisley with…well… anything. My desk was a patio table with accompanying lawn furniture that tried unsuccessfully to gel with my vinyl La-Z-Boy knockoff.

The morning had been rough. I had gotten lost three times on the way there, but I had expected that. If I hadn't gotten the flat tire, I would have been on time. The morning meeting had already started so they threw the box of bagels at me and told me to get some “freaking doughnuts, dammit.” I got the doughnuts from a local mom and pop joint down the street. I was pretty sure that Pop was a dealer and Mom was a madam, but I don't make it a point to judge people. I came back and the meeting was over. There was a stickynote on my door. “Mike, the bathroom is dirty, Court.” A bucket, sponge and some rubber gloves sat in my doorway. I carried the bucket to the bathroom. He was right, it was dirty. I put the gloves on and felt something in the tip of the right glove middle finger. I pulled it out. It had something written on it, “Mike, don't put on the gloves, Justin.” I shuddered and tried not to think about it. Who knows where these gloves had been? Dammit. I thought about it. I may have to re-clean the bathroom.

After finishing the bathroom again, I decided to grab a cup of coffee at the water cooler. The whole gang was there chatting it up. One by one, they scattered to their various spatial offices as they looked up and saw me. I grabbed a mug of coffee, skipping the creamer this time, and went back to my office. Court, the deer, had left a parting gift on my rug. That's when I switched to the jack and cokes and fired up my PIC-supplied AppleIIgs. Forty-five minutes later the cursor was starting to blink impatiently. Nothing for a new column yet. I felt like a failure. Great, I land a column spot and now I have the greatest case of writer's block ever. I decided to “do some stuff” and come back to it, but six minutes later I was back staring at the black screen and blinking green cursor.

Think, Mike, think. What can you write about? I had just moved apartments this weekend as well as offices and I was exhausted. I toyed with the idea of doing a column about moving and the pros and cons of hiring midgets.

Nah. Might piss off the little people.

Maybe I could write a column about the bitter and the sweet of new apartments and new roommates.

Nah. Even worse. Men don't have feelings. Damn this pen cap doesn't taste any better than it did an hour ago.

Screw it, I'll stick with the ol' comedic standard of men, women and dating. That's always good for some laughs…hopefully.

The Online Dating Game

I'm told that trolling for the hottest girls who can do Jaeger shots from their navels is going to get older sooner or later. (Personally I'm hoping for later.) I'm told that there will come a time when freshmen don't look tasty, they'll look stringy: good enough for a snack, but not really enough for a meal. Random hookups and one night stands will become a thing of the past and you'll want something more stable. Sound scary? To me it's scarier than an M. Night Shyamalan flick. Not “Unbreakable”, think more like “The Sixth Sense” or “Rainbow Brite.”

Rest assured though, dear reader, that even though you are an empty, desperate shell of a man/woman, you can still find the man/woman of your dreams after you're too old to go the college bars. I know. I was skeptical too. Read on.

The Internet, blessedly invented by Al Gore, is here to save you from going through an unfulfilled life alone, miserable, and pathetic. There are dozens, if not millions, of dating sites that will help you find Mr. or Ms. Right. But are they any good? Do they really work? Well, thank me, tens of tens PIC readers, I tried one briefly and am willing to share my experiences with you. Trust me, it wasn't pretty.

First off, I didn't use one of the big ones, just a small one run from somewhere on campus by some lonely guy with nothing better to do. Against my better judgment, I posted a profile and went looking for what was available.

After five minutes I found my answer: Not much.

Why should there be? If a woman is smart, intelligent and good looking, she should already have a boyfriend, right? I'd be skeptical of any woman who claims to be these things, yet is single. The same way I'm always suspicious of items in the bargain bin at the supermarket: How old is this? When did it expire? Why can't I read the ingredients? Can I get an extra 10% off because the can is dented? The metaphor gets hazy at this point, but my MAIN point is that something has to be wrong with them for them to be posting a profile on a website. That's right, I said it: Normal, attractive people don't use websites.

“But, Beech or Mike, or whatever you call yourself,” you say. “What about you? Why are you looking for love on a website, you sad, pathetic individual? Isn't this just one more example of the pot calling the kettle black?”

To which I say, “Touché. Touché and…oh, and fuck you.”

I feel bad for the young women who post on these sites. Women are judged on their looks a lot more than men are. Just a fact. I don't make the rules. Protest all you want; men still rule the world. If a girl posts a picture, and she is even remotely attractive, she'll get somewhere between a million and infinity IMs. If a girl posts a picture and she's not attractive she'll probably get the same amount of IMs, but they will be from drunker people. If you don't post a picture, you have to rely on a thousand or so characters to explain your innermost workings. For the girls who don't have that kind of time on their hands, they'll still have to qualify themselves somehow, so they're forced to get it all out in the open right away:

“I'm not into one night stands, so if you're looking for a piece of ass-look somewhere else.”

Of course the girl is lying. Girls like sex at least a tenth as much as guys do. But most guys know that getting into those pants might take a little bit of work and so they move on to the girl who posts “I'm up for meeting all kinds of new people as long as they are nice.” Only the really “good guys” will want to talk to you now.

Yeah. Right. Good luck with that.

“No smokers.”

Is that really that big a deal anymore? I smoke, and I understand that to some people it is a turn off, but is it really an immediate deal breaker? I thought the Puritans went extinct about two hundred years ago. I'll date a vegetarian. Why can't a non-smoker date a smoker? What's the difference? I'm trying to meet you women half-way. Don't fuck with me.

“I like Donnie Darko and Office Space. My favorite bands are Postal Service and John Mayer.”

This girl might not be that bad. Office Space is one of my favorite movies of all time and I know a guy who pirated Postal Service and it didn't totally suck. This could be the one. This could be her. My One and Only. I wonder what ring size she wears…. Just as I was about to ask her, after chatting with her online for a couple hours, she mentions her boyfriend. What the hell?

Click. Block.

I bet she wonders why she got blocked six seconds after informing me of her snookiewookims. BECAUSE YOU HAVE A FUCKING BOYFRIEND AND THERE IS NO GOOD THAT CAN COME OF ME CHATTING WITH YOU ANYMORE.

“Can't men and women just be friends and talk?”

No. No, they can't. Sorry. Go watch Harry and Sally again. So anyway, I actually met a girl online and we chatted for awhile. This one is single. Ok I'll keep talking. After just enough time to not be considered creepy I ask her if she has a pic. No, she doesn't. It shouldn't matter, she says. She's right. It shouldn't. But I'm a shallow, means-had-better-justify-the-ends kind of guy. The truth is: It matters. By bet is she's either really fat or really ugly. Call me shallow. Call me a pig. Go ahead. I know I'm right. I'll wait.

Better?

In my defense, let me remind you that IT'S FUCKING ONLINE DATING. How deep can it get? Dysfunctional losers who can't get a date in the real world congregate and meet with each other to mate and perpetuate their whiny species. Miss Right? I'm happy if I can find “Miss Doesn't-Piss-Me-Off-Or-Bore-Me-In-The-First-Thirty-Seconds.” But again, the skeptics ask:

“But what about you, Mike?”

I work too much to meet anyone.

“Riiiight. I'm sure your part time job and shitty producing gig has no leeway to meet anyone at all. You're so important and so cool that you don't have time to meet anyone.”

Fuck you. I actually met a good looking woman once online. Yep. She was funny and at least somewhat interesting. We met one night for drinks and she was even better looking in person. I crossed my fingers and prayed to Cupid. I shouldn't have bothered, his line was busy for weeks. She spent the whole night talking about her waitressing job. Snore. This was not an overview, this was a step by step account of every single customer that she had ever waited on, what they ordered, what they were wearing and what size tip they left. She filled in the gaps with full biographies of everyone she worked with past and present. I twisted my swizzle stick into triangle after triangle. Some trapezoids and squares too. I tried to stay interested. I really did. “It's just the getting-to-know-you stage,” I reasoned. “Next time will be better.” For once I was right; it was. She called me the next night to watch a movie. I went over her place and we hung out with her roommates and ate popcorn. I had a great time. She said she did too. Funny thing was, she never called me again. I got a parking ticket for leaving my car on her street.

Bitch.

Just kidding. I love you. Call me.

I gave up after that. If I can't meet random bar trash, then I don't deserve to be getting laid. I got skillz…right?

Sigh…

I have to keep telling myself that I'm awesome, young and full of potential. But what happens when this beautiful shell of a man is reduced to a thirty- something failure? You find a BETTER dating service, that's what. These NEW sites match you on thirty-seven levels. Thirty-fucking-seven! I'm used to hitting on girls who I match with on one or two levels. You drink alcohol and like music? Me too! Let's get married. These sites have thirty-seven different levels to match up couples. I didn't even think that girls had that many facets to their personalities. Fuck, I'd be surprised if I did. One, two…three…. Yeah, I'd be very surprised.

So anyway, I haven't found my special someone yet, but I don't let it get to me anymore. I mean, if those couples in the dating website commercials (yes, they have commercials) can stay married for the sixth months that they have so far, there just might be hope for us all. But probably not.

What's this? Emmanuel just dropped off a mix tape called “Die, Newbie, Die.” I'm going to listen to this on the way home.

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