Monday, August 25, 2008

Oh no. Not this again.

Have I mentioned recently how very much I love the Internet? Because I really, really love the Internet. I am old enough to remember life without VCRs and other fancy television recording devices (I actually remember my older sister once using a cassette recorder to tape a PBS "Wonder Works" movie that I was disappointed I wouldn’t be home to see, supplementing the audio from my parents' giant wood cabinet TV with her own commentary describing what was happening on screen), and yet routinely I marvel at the horrifyingly difficult and cumbersome lives we must have led before the Internet was commonplace. I think I have actually blocked out all memory of those more arduous and complicated times as though it were an event warranting post-traumatic stress. The Internet has made me a spoiled, lazy girl. Poor Laura Ingalls Wilder had to get by without indoor plumbing or a microwave, and I can't imagine having to drive all the way to the library to request a hold on the next Twilight book. The horror.

Anyway, online library reservations, recipe sites, and driving directions aside, I now have the Internet to thank for the newly re-functioning air conditioner in my car as well. Specifically, I have Steve and Google Image Search to thank for the newly re-functioning air conditioner in my car, because Steve told me what easily obtainable $17 product would likely fix my problem, and this picture told me exactly where to insert that product. Yay! I am certain the Saturn service center goblins would have charged me far more than $17 plus tax for the same repair, and I wouldn't have nearly the same sense of satisfaction at the result. In fact, if you know me in real life, I apologize for this entire paragraph, as I know I have already bragged about this to everyone and anyone I've spoken to in the past three days. I am woman; hear me roar. (Or, rather, I am woman with helpful resources, whose commute is finally back to only the usual levels of annoyance and frustration, sans crankiness-inducing blast furnace blowing in my face. Either way, WHOO.)

Of course, now that I know how to add refrigerant to the low pressure port on my air conditioner, I am even less likely to ever have a boyfriend again. After all, if that book Liz read recently is to be believed, I am supposed to be a helpless and delicate flower, and I'm pretty sure delicate flower types don't even deign to pop the hood of their cars. If it helps at all, I could admit that pressing the button on that can of refrigerant down for ten solid minutes made my weak and girlie thumbs more sore the following day than they've been since my mom bought my sisters and me our first Super Mario Brothers cartridge back in 1989. But that's probably not something to be proud of either. Moving on.

Speaking of my boyfriendless self, Lord help me but I am actually contemplating giving the absurdity of online date-finding yet another try. Why would I do such a foolish and frustrating thing?? Have I not read my own archives?? Sigh.

I really am quite fine on my own, and I really would like to sit back and let fate run its course, trusting that someday (finally SOMEDAY) I will actually meet an interesting man in real life and in person, the old-fashioned traditional way, and hence, I can stop wasting time with this Internet matchmaking nonsense. Unfortunately, once every four months or so, I wake up on an otherwise average and uneventful Saturday or Sunday morning feeling out of sorts and out of pace with the world, and in a panic of melancholy decide that I MUST FIND SOMEONE TO LOVE ME AGAIN. It matters not if two days prior I was marveling at just how content in my independence I am, how very much I enjoy my space and my free time and my ability to do what I please when I please. It matters not if three weeks prior I was sitting on yet another very boring date with yet another perfectly nice but uninteresting man dreading writing yet another "It was lovely meeting you, but I just don't feel a connection" follow-up message. No, on those once-a-quarter out-of-sorts days, I forget all of that and I convince my weepy, inexplicably fragile self that maybe THIS time will be different. THIS time, it will be worth all the wasted evenings of inane small talk. THIS time, Mr. Right-for-Me will be out there.

That most recent once-a-quarter day of melancholy was yesterday. Hence, instead of going outside on a beautiful, sunny, late summer day to take a walk or a bike ride or finally finish preparing my garage for repainting, I ended up spending damn near the whole precious day filling out yet another series of psychology-related questions and summing myself up in yet another little white box in the hopes that THIS time, I will end up as one half of one of those maddening smiling couples on the login screen. Ha.

I haven't actually ponied up for membership at this latest venue. I'm still trying to decipher just how the unfamiliar system works and whether the crop of potential future boyfriends is any more promising and worth my hard earned dollars than the frightening trolls and perverts I could meet for free on Craig's List are. (Disclaimer: I know that some of you met the love of your life on Craig's List. I still feel like I need to take a shower every time I peruse those listings.)

As usual, however, what has happened is that I have received several matches that I immediately dismissed due to a visceral reaction (the usual groan followed by a shudder followed by an audible, "Gah. NO!"), and ONE match that made me gasp with optimism, eyes wide, crying "Him! Yes, him! THAT one I would like to meet!"

I know better by now, however. I know that when ONE perfect-seeming man prompts me to hand over my credit card number, that man will either ignore my request for communication or will flake out with lame apologies after a seemingly very good date or two. Hrmph. Hence, I am waiting... basically lurking around the site, saying, "What else ya got?? Huh?" If Mr. Arty-Looking IT Guy really is my soul mate, then surely it is worth $50 to meet him. On the more likely chance that he's not, however, I want to ensure the per-prospect cost is a bit more reasonable.

Of course, this could all be wholly unnecessary, as my friend Carrie and I have grand plans to infiltrate the crowds around the RNC next week and either bond over drinks with like-minded curious and possibly devious liberals or engage in some light-hearted sparring with buttoned-up, misguided Republican boys. That would be just my luck, wouldn't it. My soul mate could be a Republican. And not just any Republican, but a visiting one. From Texas. Or Florida. Gah. Nevertheless, the Republicans are coming (I keep saying that over and over in my head, Paul Revere style: "The Republicans are coming! The Republicans are coming! Aaaggghhh!"), so we might as well have fun with it, I say. Fear not; I will report back. Surely there'll be an interesting story or two to share.


Maddie said...

Hooray for helpful Internet resources!

I'm on a who-needs-men kick right now. Though I was on the other side of the fence two hours and twenty-eight minutes ago. It's possible that I may have to leave Utah if I want to break this painful dry dating spell.

Craig said...

Isn't it fun...err...scary to think back on those earlier lower-tech times? I still remember getting a VCR for the first time, complete with a fancy remote (which had 4 foot long cord that plugged in like a set of earphones).

And you are right about using the internet to place holds on books. It's not only convenient, but you don't have to humiliate yourself by asking a real live person to hold that book for you. (And while you will admit to putting holds on Twilight books, I will do no such thing with anything potentially embarrassing on my hold list.)

3carnations said...

I'm sure I've told this story before, but by the time hubby and I met, I was kind of Miss Fix It. So much so, that our first Christmas together, part of my gift was a tool belt. Hilarious, but useful.

Republicans and Democrats can live together in harmony, Stef. Look at James Carville and Mary Matalin. Makes for interesting debates. :)

NGS said...

Once both of the side mirrors in my vehicle were broken. I called for an estimate on how much they would cost and the dealer said about $500. For two mirrors!

My husband found them online for $20/piece and we paid $20 for shipping and it took us about 10 minutes to fix them. It was easy. But if not for the boy telling me what to do, I would have probably paid the $500. Why are car places like that?

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

You can totally get away with doing for free. You can "wink" or make eye contact or whatever it is on there for free, and then when they right you back you can respond to them for free. You just can't start an email conversation.

lizgwiz said...

I once fixed my refrigerator with help from the internet, and bragged about it for a week, so I feel you. (And now I'm wondering if I shouldn't go ahead and try to fill MY a/c...hmmm).

Good luck to you, re: more online dating. You know I feel you there, as well. And, not that I'm trying to scare or pressure you or anything, but...if you think it's rough in your thirties...well, you can't imagine what the candidate pool looks like in your forties. So, umm...carpe diem, I guess!

Anonymous said...

I have several comments.

1. I don't think you have to be a delicate flower. I think you just have to PRETEND to be a delicate flower. So you are safe there.

2. Two of the couples in my baby class met online. One of those couples even met on meMarmony. I don't know what site the other ones used. Both couples seem normal.

3. You are purposely going to try to hang out with Republicans? You are just asking for trouble, I think. There's some kind of liberal convention going on at the same time in Minneapolis. Maybe you should try there. Although the liberal convention will probably be full of patchouli scented, hackey sack playing hippies.

Maddie said...

Be careful with those Republicans! I dated a guy who was Republican...he knew I'd freak so he kept it on the downlow until we were on a roadtrip and he admitted to voting for Bush TWICE and I flipped out. We got into one of those embarrassing arguments in front of friends that is still mentioned long after the ending of our relationship.

I'm curious what service you're using. Let us know how it goes!

Noelle said...

My mom married a Republican, and she's been okay ever since, but I wouldn't suggest actually trying to find one on purpose.

And I think that you wouldn't want to date the kind of guy who wouldn't be proud of you for fixing your own car. In this day and age, that is more of a plus. I'd even put it on my online profile if I were you.

3carnations said...

I'm having a wee bit of resentment over these "asking for trouble hanging out with Republicans" comments. Seriously, we're all just people. People with different opinions. You don't hear a lot of "Oh my gosh, you're not hanging out with a Baptist?" comments. Different political beliefs, different religions, we're all just people. As a Republican, I don't find myself making comments like that about Democrats, so I don't get why it's such a topic in the reverse.

Craig said...

I'm a little hesitant to comment again, because I'm new here and don't want to get a reputation as "that guy" (you know: the one who shows up uninvited and never leaves); however, if 3carnations doesn't think that the problem works the same way with Republicans thinking hanging out with Democrats is bad, I would be glad to introduce her to my family...and most of their friends.

Unfortunately, the problem does work both ways. This is why the instant I hear anything about politics, my brain shuts down, and all I hear is white noise.

3carnations said...

Craig (sorry for the comment hijack, Stefanie), I didn't say it doesn't work the same way in reverse, I said that I don't find MYSELF making comments like that. Frankly, I don't understand why it is an issue in either direction. We can't disagree politically and still be friends? Date? Marry? Work together? With a mentality like that, it's not much wonder Congress can't accomplish much.

And I know Stefanie in no way was trying to create a political post here, so I apologize for my eight million comments.

Stefanie said...

Pants--Or you may have to find a nice 18-year-old boy who hasn't yet been snatched up by a high school sweetheart, right? Good luck with that.

Craig--I am not ashamed of my Twilight habit. (I am happy not to have to say that to a librarian's face, however.) ;-)

3Cs--I think I have heard the tool belt story. I'm glad your husband appreciated your skills rather than thinking you didn't need him because of them. And yes, I know we can live in harmony. (A good friend of mine married a Republican and has lived to tell of it.) I hope you know that last part was mostly tongue in cheek.

Grad Student--No wonder you have a fear of repair shops, huh?

Dutchess--They haven't removed that feature yet? The site I was on most recently used to allow that, and they revoked that ability. Hmm. Now if only I could find this one intriguing guy on Match as well.

Liz--As I said via email, you should totally try fixing your A/C. I'm sure Steve can help you if necessary. :-) And thanks for depressing me this morning. (Just kidding. Sort of.)

R--Mainly I'm just curious and want to witness the madness that will be St. Paul next week. Regardless of party affiliation, it's an interesting and exciting time, and there are sure to be some interesting things going on around town. Don't worry; I'm paying particular attention to the things being organized by the groups who WON'T be hanging out in the Xcel Center.

Pants (again)--See your email. :-)

Noelle--Both good points. Thank you.

3Cs--I see your point; I really do. Like I said, it was pretty much tongue in cheek, though I know that in our blog neighborhood, you're in the minority politically, so I can see why you'd take it personally. I promise you I meant no offense. I guess you just have to look at it from the perspective that we're a vocal minority, and the minority always wants to rise up and create a little stir. Obviously the fact that W. won a second term means a lot of the country agrees with you and not me, even though it seems like we liberals are everywhere. :-)

Craig--I have the same problem with my family, which is maybe why I fly the liberal flag so freely in my own forum. You're right; it goes both ways. And yes, we can all still get along.

3Cs--You're right; I wasn't trying to create a political post. Just making a joke (albeit on a potentially sensitive topic). Let's just get back to my pathetic dating life; shall we? ;-)

3carnations said...

I enjoy your dating stories, and they don't stir up much controversy...You know, until you start dating a Republican. Heh.

Jess said...

OK, I might have met the love of my life on CL, but I still felt the need to shower after I perused the listings. I was very, very lucky and I know it. Most of those guys are nasty.

Anonymous said...

My, this has been an interesting series of comments. Anyway. I think it's hilarious that you might infiltrate the RNC. I must say, boys in ties can be attractive on occasion...

I'm excited that you're back online! I can't wait to hear the stories about the experience, and I hope they are all positive.

Anonymous said...

Have a (Republican) friend that lives in Denver, but he is renting out his house so a visit during the DNC was not possible. When I expressed being bummed about this he said I should go to the RNC to meet some guys since I tend to date Republicans anyway. Too funny, too true. Apparently I love the banter. I am still an optimist that we can all live together in harmony, but have yet to see that come to fruition in my own dating life...
Liz made me crack up with her 30s vs 40s dating comment. Each year I hedge closer to 30 I feel scared I will never find my Mr. Right. Stef please know I take comfort in your postings showing me that I can be happy independently without having to ACT like a delicate flower for some guy. Thanks for the great post and good luck in your online searching!

steve said...

Hey, thanks for the kind words, Stef. I hope you're able to post a little about your dating adventures - I believe I might be giving the online dating thing another try myself in the not-too-distant future.

Alice said...

heh. i've CL'd it many a time - the current guy i'm dating i met on CL (the first time we dated. oops.) but i've vowed to actually drop the $25 or however much it costs to try "real" online dating, should it become necessary again in the future ;-P

shelleycoughlin said...

I know lots of people meet their loves on CL but I always thought it was the most dicey option of all the internet dating sites.

Anyway, super good luck this time around! I am keeping all my fingers and toes crossed for you. And also that you don't find a Republican.

(KIDDING. Geez.)

Anonymous said...

I think you should split the difference and date a Whig.

Stefanie said...

3Cs--Yep; until then. That'll be fun for ALL of us, won't it? :-)

Jess--Thank you for confirming that for me. I always appreciate it when happily coupled people don't suffer relationship amnesia--when they actually remember what it's like out there.

Lara--You hope they are all positive?? I'm sorry... have you MET me??

Badger Reader--I have a (Liberal) friend in St. Paul who thought about renting out her apartment for the convention, but her landlord won't allow Republicans in the building. KIDDING. Really she just wasn't sure if it was allowed in her lease. In any case, it won't stop us from at least spying on the Republicans a bit. Can't promise I'll date any of them, but I suppose you never know.

Steve--You're very welcome. Thanks again for the help! And I hope your online adventures are more productive than mine have been. Hey, don't YOU know anyone in the Twin Cities for me?? (Kidding. Given that I make it a rule never to tell dates about my blog, you'd have a difficult time explaining how you know me.) ;-)

Alice and NPW--Again, thanks for the confirmation on that. I just don't have the patience for wading through all the riff-raff, and free sites draw a whole lot more riff-raff. I don't have a lot of patience for garage sales or TJ Maxx either. I think it's a similar experience.

Flurrious--You're always just full of the novel ideas, aren't you? Where are they having THEIR convention?

Anonymous said...

This is all very amusing! Keep in mind that not only are "the Republicans coming to town," tens of thousands of them are, and the city is scrambling to be on its best behavior. Every planter is in full bloom, every fire hydrant has been painted, and helicopters are circling overhead. How can we not poke fun at this all this? On a one-on-one basis, we will be nothing but kind to every Republican we meet.

Sauntering Soul said...

Once I realized that a hot cable repairman was not going to knock on my door and instantly fall in love with me, I realized I would have to actually get off my couch and do something if I wanted to meet someone. I joined the world of internet dating. Oh boy.

I did meet the love of my life on match, but I had to go out on a ton of horrible, sucky dates before I met him. I have to say that it was worth it in the end.

Aaron said...

Infiltrating the RNC = Oh, fuck yeah. How fun!

Meeting or even dating a Republican = Dear Zod, no. Trust me on this one.

Courtney said...

If the dating profiles on CL are anything like the Missed Connections thing, then you are right to feel skeeved out by them.

I don't think you have to be a delicate flower. In fact, most guys I know seem to find a handy girl quite sexy. So you rock on with your car-fixing self.

Best of luck this time around! I know you'll find someone great.