"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Sunday, May 25, 2008

SOS: Internet Dating

Once again, joining in on Soap Opera Sunday, hosted by the lovely Walking Kateastrophy this week. Read my previous entries here and here.

How many of you cringed from the bad memories brought back by that title? Come on...I know I'm not the only one! Two of my siblings met their spouses through the Internet, even. I wasn't that lucky.

Back when the Internet was new and innocent, I thought it was so much fun making "friends" online. We'd chat for hours and then exchange emails when not on at the same time. Some made it to phone calls and a select few I met in person. Wanna hear about the first one? Of course you do! Because here you are, reading my blog and giving me complete control over it's content. Silly you.

I met Darrel online. I am pretty sure we met in an AOL chatroom because that was the only place to go and chat those days. He was smart and I liked being around smart people. Also? He laughed (or LOL'd) at my jokes, so he was practically perfect, right?

He was a little older than me. I was just starting my first semester of college and he was a junior in college. We went to different schools but our parents lived fairly close to one another so we knew about the same places. He told me where he worked and I told him that I didn't have to work (because I was a spoiled little Daddy's girl). He was studying computers and I was studying flirting - uh, I mean, communications. We both roomed with our best friends from high school. He was not LDS but remembered seeing a commercial once. I was a good little Mormon girl. Oh so much in common.

We talked for weeks, then months. Emails and on the phone. He was on the shy side but I always liked that about guys. Too many wallflowers suddenly found themselves at the center of my attention. I probably scared them. Darrel was amazed at my habit of starting conversations with perfect strangers.

"How do you know what to say?" he asked, bewildered.
"I usually start with a question, something that fits the situation," I shared my vast knowledge so freely.
"Like what?"
"Well, in grocery stores, in the freezer section I'll ask them what's their favorite flavor of ice cream."
"I could never do that," he replied. "I'd be too embarrassed if they didn't say anything back."

Not answering my innocent little question? Unthinkable! In fact, it had never happened to me. I was cute.

Then came that fateful day...we had talked about meeting face to face for a while but never could get our schedules lined up (and I had a boyfriend so I kinda avoided it). But then I switched colleges in the middle of the year, left behind my full-ride scholarship and my boyfriend, changing to Darrel's university, as it was the closest one, which allowed me to live at home. I was free again and starting a whole new chapter. Shortly thereafter, Darrel mentioned he had to work on a particular Saturday. Well, that day, it just so happened that my BFF and I were out driving around. We just happened to be in the same area as Darrel's illustrious job at Best Buy. I convinced my friend to stop...I had to see what this guy looked like! And besides, I was looking cute that day and wanted to take advantage of the fact. We would sneak through the store, trying to find him and then bail if he wasn't a cutie. No harm, no foul, right?

Inside the store, I scanned name tags on every remotely cute guy we passed on the way to the computer department. No Darrel. Back amongst the computers, there was a hottie with streaked hair and I have to admit, my hopes rose. Unfortunately, his name was not Darrel. But being me, I just had to strike up a conversation. Darrel was still nowhere in sight and I could only hang out amongst the PCs and monitors before someone got suspicious. So I enlisted Mr. Hottie's help. I asked him if he knew a Darrel that worked here. He said he did but Darrel was in the back, hardly ever worked on the floor. Oh. Then I explained why I was there. The look on the guy's face should have tipped me off, especially when he looked me up and down and continued to look surprised. But he offered to page Darrel for me. He wasn't subtle. Darrel knew immediately who was waiting for him. So I tried to look nonchalant and at home amongst the motherboards when really I was starting to regret this decision.

Then Darrel showed up.

I don't think he ever described himself to me, other than the basics: brown hair, brown eyes, average height. And those were the high points. His hair was already thinning on top, despite his young age. While he wasn't overweight or covered in pimples, he was not cute. Not at all. And the first thing he said to me?

"Hey, what's your favorite flavor of ice cream?"

So smooth.

Mr. Hottie watched my reaction carefully and gave me a pitying smile.

"I always wondered what one of these meetings would be like," he said, when I could not find anything to say to Darrel, the real Darrel, not some imagined one that I can constructed through all those sweet emails.

I left shortly thereafter. I think my friend probably laughed the whole way home and I don't blame her. What was I thinking? I still talked to Darrel but I didn't flirt anymore. We even saw each other on campus a few times and I interviewed him (over the phone) for an article I wrote for the student paper. However, I promised myself no more meetings without getting a photo of the guy first. But I still didn't swear off the whole "we met on the Internet" idea. Silly, silly me.


Sue said...

The whole idea of internet dating makes me want to hit myself in the head with a hammer. You are a brave woman, although you paid for your bravery dearly, tee hee hee

I love Soap Opera Sunday.

Jan said...

I know many success story that have come out of the internet. I think that is a very great story and I am glad that you shared it and also found your hottie.

Jan said...

I bet he dreams of you.....

Jill said...

I had similar experiences with dating, however, I never met anyone online, the guys I went out with were given my number by people I knew. Yes, for a while, I was the blind date queen.
More than once, when my date showed up, I wondered "what on earth was my friend/cousin/aunt/former Laurel advisor thinking???"

Kristie said...

Ha! Ha!! Oh my!! You are so funny!!!! Silly Jess!

BkenneyBme said...

Yikes! At least he wasn't a mass murderer. Or didn't meet him in a dark alley way. I look forward to the next Soap Opera Sunday.

Kenney Crew said...

Funny as usual! I only know of a few successful stories about online dating and lots more unsuccessful ones...my sister was the queen of them for awhile. Personally, the idea terrifies me. I wonder why in the world someone as cute as you...or my sister, would even need to search online for love. Men should've been lining up at your door...thank goodness a couple of best friends came along.

Kelly said...

Ahh the good 'ole days. What were we thinking back then? I can't wait to hear the story of a double date that took us bowling...no clue what their names were. Oh well, I am getting old.

tricki_nicki said...

Oh man! I thought you were going to say that you ended up with the hot guy! Oh well, I'm impressed that you weren't mean to the dorky one. That says something about you!

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