“Get the nerve,” she wrote back. Actually she wrote: “GET THE NERVE.”
It was typical that I couldn’t just join a dating site—I had to manufacture a scenario in which the story depended on it. Why was I like this? I schemed my way through flaming hoops when there was a perfectly fine pathway to my right. Still, by that Monday, I had accomplished what well-intentioned friends had been nagging me to do for years: I created an online dating profile, and did not suffer the urge to yank it down.
I wondered the best way to approach the guy. “Hi, I’m new to this, I was hoping you could show me the ropes.” Was that creepy? “Hi, you’re not going to believe this, but I’m writing a series about crushes on strangers.” Oof. Abandon immediately. “Hi, you seem nice. Would you like to have coffee sometime?”
It took me a while to track down his profile. It wasn’t coming up in searches. I paged back in my browser history to find his thumbnail portrait in “recently viewed.” I clicked on it. Then I refreshed and clicked again.
“Uh oh!” the page read. “Sorry, we don’t have anyone by that name!”
My mind went back to his Twitter feed (yes, I’d found it), where he mentioned going on a date. It must have been a good one; in the week since, he’d pulled down his profile.
I had jumped through my flaming hoops for nothing. I had jumped through them, though. In the hour since my profile posted, I had half a dozen emails from men on the site.
I resolved to take action.