My relationship is a bit of a miracle in the online dating world. It’s the majestic dodo bird. Or the fabled Jackalope. It doesn’t exist. Except that it totally happened one time. And it happened to me.
I signed up for Match.com one lovely August evening, filled out the profile and then waited to see who would message me. The next morning, I had received a note from TJ.
Seventeen hours. One lovely message. One lovelier date. Five years and six months later, we’re still together.
Today, I look through those tortoise frames at his old, wise eyes and feel so lucky that we’re still a couple of Jackalopes in love.
Of course, the finding each other part was simple. Getting to that browser window nearly 6 years ago was a hell of a lot harder.
When I signed up for Match, I had just gotten out of a particularly confusing pseudo dating situation that involved nights at professional wrestling matches, long phone conversations about Michael Bay’s filmmaking abilities (you can imagine…) and incompatible religious ideologies. It wasn’t going anywhere, but I was determined to try. Then a friend did what all great friends do: she snapped me out of it.
We met at a little place in St. Paul called Cupcake and I confided in her that I always felt like I needed to “prove myself” to men who were not that great to begin with. It was no way to date and it was certainly not the foundation of a healthy relationship. So I went in search of something new the best way I know how: I got on the internet.
My Match profile was so temporary that I honestly don’t remember what I said. If I had to guess, I wrote that I loved to watch movies and blog. I know with absolute certainty that my love of England was evident because my profile picture was me hanging out at Stonehenge.
The mystery of Stonehenge may just be that it brought us together. TJ says I played it cool for way too long. I’m inclined to believe him. But when he picked me up for our first date, I felt pretty confident that this bespectacled guy who was really into architectural history, Bob Dylan and Native American antiquities probably wasn’t studying to be a mass murderer on the side. To be honest, he seemed like too much of a nerd. And I was right. He was a total nerd. At the time, he was also a Republican. May I state for the record that I never pressured him into his current political stances, which teeter more towards socialism than anything, and we never really fought about it. I just knew that I had never met someone who was so thoughtful (In the early days, he’d always make two dinner reservations and let me pick between the two…), beyond generous (he drove my brother through a snowstorm once so he could make it to his class) and smart.
I know it seems like I must really know my shit about online dating. Nah. I have no idea which dating site is for you and don’t ask me for advice about writing your dating profile, because my advice is going to be rather simple: be honest. Not attracted to that dude? Then don’t carry on the conversation. Don’t want to date a Catholic? Then don’t bother messaging the person. Don’t want to deal with someone who works nights? Then don’t even go on that date. If your gut has some pre-defined set of expectations, then be picky. But not too picky. It’s a balancing act. Here’s what I mean: don’t look for someone who is exactly 6’2, a Sagittarius with curly brown hair, green eyes, limited chest hair and an interest in Scottish kilt-making. If you are that fucking specific - then good fucking luck.
Teej and I are not a total anomaly when it comes to the success of online dating though, especially in my circle. My best friend met her fiance. My stepsister met her boyfriend. And my dad was always eager to try it.
Three months after our whirlwind digital matching, I took TJ home to meet my parents.
This is TJ, he works in a print shop.
Yes, he also wears glasses.
I’m sure he likes sports.
OH. And funny thing. We met on Match.com. In fact, I was signed up for less than 24 hours when he found me.
My dad’s reaction was priceless: “I’ve been on eHarmony for 7 goddamn months and I haven’t met anyone.”
The next week he met his future wife on eHarmony.
Did you wait until the last minute to figure out what to buy your love this Valentine’s Day? Don’t worry. I’ve done it too. Instead of running out to Hallmark, try this green and keen solution: (Links to download are below!)
It’s really quite simple. Here’s what you do:
1. Steal your lover’s computer. (If you share one, this is so much easier.)
2. Download one of these wallpapers:
3. Change the desktop background to design of your choice. I recommend using the “Hey Lover” one for receipts for gifts that are in the mail, printable gift certificates… and nudey pics. (If that’s your thing.) I recommend the Lovey Dovey background for concert tickets, vacation packages and other special events.
4. Move the aforementioned file around so it’s in the right place. If you’re on a PC, you can just plop it in the right spot. On the Mac, it’s kind of fun to have the file minimized on the dash.
Then hand the computer back to your loved one. Tell them how much they need to clean their keyboard and just as they are about to get defensive about it - watch their face turn into a squeeing fangirl. Now you’ll look like a thoughtful winner instead of a forgetful wanker. Congrats.