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Single in the City: The Sound of Silence
by Esther Zinn
April 24, 2012
I apologize for the long hiatus from this blog! After a few more bad dates and a whole year of back and forth with Jersey Stacey (I guess she’s my lesbian version of Mr. Big?) I went into some sort of “total eclipse of the heart.” Newly revived, like a sparkly Twilight vampire back from the dead, I stand at the ready to deliver the latest in news nobody needs to hear: what’s going on in my dysfunctional love life as I challenge the rigors of New York dating.

I’ll be the first person to say that I am not OK with OKCupid…in fact I think the worst dates I’ve ever gone on have all come from this site, and I often wonder how so many prospective dates without jobs can afford the Internet access to build a personal ad profile, but c’est la vie.

A few days ago, I decided to put my profile back up after two or three months of not being there, and a new crop of spring flings began to sprout. I narrowed them down to about three, the cream of the crop appearing to be a Jewish doctor (what a nice Passover gift!) One of the girls, however, had a 99% matching rate with me. I’m not sure what OKCupid bases these algorithms on, but those seemed like good odds.

So anyway, I exchanged numbers with Gloria. FYI, don’t laugh at her name, because I’m well aware that my name sounds like it belongs to an 85-year-old grandmother stirring pots of matzo ball soup for her family. I figured, hey, we have a 99% chance of success and she lives in New Jersey: absolutely nothing can go wrong with this plan.We said hi, talked about ourselves and dating in general.

 As the 15-minute conversation dragged onward, I began to notice that Gloria had a painfully critical tone (something I learned one should veer away from after watching too many episodes of Millionaire Matchmaker)

 “So, do you like any TV shows?” I asked. “I don’t normally watch TV, but I just love Millionaire Matchmaker and Jersey Shore.”

 “I don’t watch reality TV. I think it’s trash. And I don’t understand the people who support that garbage,” she said.

 “Um, yeah, I like fine art and going to the MoMa, actually,” I said. “I just think it’s kind of fun to watch silly TV shows now and then for laughs.” Then, the longest, most awkward pause.

 “…”

 “Hello?”

“Yeah, I’m still here.”

“Oh, okay, I thought I lost you,” I said. “So anyway, you said on your profile that you like to travel! Well, I went to Southern California for Dinah Shore a couple of weeks ago. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Like one giant frat party full of thousands and thousands of lesbians,” I said, laughing.

“Yeah, well, I’m sure they weren’t ALL lesbians,” she said. “I’m sure some of them were bi, or even queer. Clearly not EVERYONE at Dinah Shore was a lesbian,” she asserted, righteously.

“Oh. Okay. Well I didn’t exactly go around asking each person what their sexual orientation was,” I said. “I just kind of assumed it was mostly lesbians. You know.”

“…”

All I heard was silence on the line.

“Hello?”

“…yeah, I’m still here.”

“Okay. Yeah, and they played lots of Madonna. Loved it.”

“Oh my God!” said Gloria. “I LOVE Madonna!”

For the life of me, I am not sure why exactly the following words came out of my mouth, but I said:

“So, have you heard Madonna’s new CD? It’s pretty great,” I said.

“Yeah…I don’t buy CDs,” she said, in this weirded-out, condescending tone. “I haven’t bought a CD in over 10 years. I don’t think most people have. You said you were 30 on your profile. Are you older than that?”

I thought this was incredibly rude, and at this point decided to get sarcastic back.

“Um…by CD I really meant cassette tape. Because I’m actually 52-years-old. I did a great job photoshopping my profile picture.”

“…”

“Hello?” I queried.

“…”

“Hello? Is this thing on?”

“Yeah, I’m here. Like I said, I don’t really buy CDs.”

“Obviously I don’t either,” I said, losing patience. “It was a slip of the tongue, I meant ‘digital album.’ So, you said you live in Jersey, is your family from there?”

“Um, I live with my parents still. I hope that’s not a dealbreaker.”

I was thinking it was totally a dealbreaker. Because she was approaching her mid-thirties. I’m just going to be a jerk and say it: if someone is almost in their mid-thirties and living in their mom’s garage, they’re not exactly marriage material.

“Um, you know, it’s fine.” I said, awkwardly.

“…”

“Hello? Are you still there?”

“Yeah.” She said. “I have to be honest, you sounded a lot more confident and sexy on your profile. I mean I just got the sense that was who you were through what you’d written to me. I don’t get that sense at all from you on the phone.”

At this point, I was just offended. It was rude. I mean, if you don’t like a girl, you don’t have to be emotionally myopic and tell her exactly what you don’t like about her. Like nobody says, “My, you looked a lot thinner and hotter online!” There are times when it is glaringly obvious to me exactly why I would never want to be with someone, but I try to have the decency to not tell them outright and hurt their feelings.

“…Did you get a sense of who I was online?” she asked.

“Well, no,” I said. “Honestly we exchanged like two messages, I don’t think that’s a long enough amount of time to get a sense of who anybody is.”

“Oh. Okay. So…do you want to meet for coffee?” she said.

“Yeah! I’m…ah…open to it.” I said.

“…”

“Hello?”

“…”

“Hello? Hello? Are you still there?” I asked, annoyed.

“Yeah. I ah…just had to catch my breath,” she said.

At this point I was thinking, does this woman have asthma? Catch her breath for what? Why all of the silences?”

“Well…would Sunday work?” she asked.

“Yeah. I might be free Sunday evening.” I said. “Where should we go?”

“…”

“Hello?!?!?”

“…”

“Um, okay, I’m just going to be honest, the living with the parents thing was a dealbreaker, and I am looking for someone in a more independent phase of their life,” I said. “Have a good one, and good luck!”

After that, I made sure to warm up a cup of hot tea and listen to Simon and Garfunkel’s, “The Sound of Silence” in my headphones.

I laid in bed, staring at the ceiling, listening to the quiet of my apartment. And I realized it was no different than being on the phone with Gloria.


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