Originally Posted: 2004-01-29 12:26pm

I finally took a chance and tried out this new dating method!

So I was at the office the other day, surfing the Internet, checking out the online dating sites, considering this new fangled way of meeting people that I had been hearing about, when I finally said to myself "Self? You know what? What the hell! Let's try it!"

So I stood up, turned my monitor off, straightened my tie, smoothed my hair back, and made for the elevators.

And let me tell you, it didn't take long! I had heard from a few people that this method was only for the really super good looking folks. Well I'm here to say those people are full of shit. Sure, it was a little awkward at first, but every new experience takes a little adjusting to, right?

There was a girl already there waiting for the elevator. She worked in a different office on my floor, but I'd seen her around before. I was a little uneasy about standing that close to a stranger of the opposite sex, and I made an effort to stare at the up-and-down arrow lights on the wall, hoping an elevator door would open soon.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I swear to God people, she gave me a quick glance. And I may have been imagining this, which no one could blame me for considering the emotional state this conflict was quickly rocketing me toward, but I'm pretty sure there was a brief smirk, or even, heaven help me, a smile.

I panicked.

I pushed the down button a few times, then a lot, which I know is fruitless. It's not a crosswalk, it's an elevator. Pushing the button repeatedly doesn't make it move faster. (It'd be a hell of a ride for the people already on it if it did, though!) But it gave me something to fixate on, a distraction, while I silently hoped for two elevators to arrive at the same time. It didn't happen, and before I knew it, we were on the same elevator together. And it's a LONG ride down.

After a few more moments of silent hell, she decided to verbally message me, in streaming real time. In other words, she TALKED TO ME. She said her name was Julie. I was shocked that she had been able to secure such a simple name without the use of numbers or dashes, and I tried to find the words to utter my name in response, but "BadBoy78" didn't sound right in my head.

I froze. What the hell was my real name?

I launched a search of my head, scrolling down through my numerous screennames, before I finally located my real world birth name. "I'm Mike," I said, and was only half sure I'd gotten it right. I had the urge to follow this up with "R U horny?", "What do you look like?" or possibly throw out the old sure-fire rose "-----<---@". But I opted for an ambiguous comment about the weather instead; ambiguous because who the hell spends time outside anymore anyway? It could be -50 degrees. I have no idea.

While we were talking, a number of thoughts crossed my mind. Was this sanitary? Standing near eachother and speaking like this? Breathing some of the same air? She was cute, but I wanted to request a few pics, just to be sure the way she looked now was actually the way she normally looks. I mean, you never know. I was conforted knowing that this version of her was at least up to date.

Then my self consciousness kicked in. I wanted to tell her I was 6'0" even, but it was obvious to her in this situation that I couldn't be more than 5'10" with boots on. That I worked out regularly, when it was clear I hit the gym maybe once a week. That my hair line was mature, when it was obvious my hair was bailing out on me like rich people off the Titanic. And as hard as I tried, I just couldn't be my usual witty online self. I considered just logging off and forgetting about the whole thing, but I was trapped. When would this ride be over?

Then she took a half-step toward me, her toes pointed in a little, she did something twirly with her hair, and looked me attentively in the eyes while I made a half-hearted attempt at quoting Kafka. Where was Google when I needed it?

I'm not prone to anxiety attacks, but I'm pretty sure I was starting to have one.

I started to refer her to my online profile if she needed anymore info about me, hoping I could terminate the inperson messenging session she had initiated between us, but she cut me off with her phone number. A phone number! Brilliant! A screenname would have been safer. I felt much more comfortable speaking to total strangers in my boxers with a computer mouse in one hand and a spoonfull of chocolate chip cookie dough in the other, but at least a phone call meant distance. The doors opened and she signed off the elevator. I considered slipping her a quick :) before she disappeared, or maybe even a ;), but she was gone before I could make up my mind.

Tonight I'm going to look into having a land phone line installed in my apartment, if I can find a company that still installs those. I think it'll be worth it. I mean, this was a real eye-opener for me. We could even hang out. In person, and not just in my funky online Sim House.

So I'm spreading the word. This whole meeting people in the real world -- there's something exciting there that I just can't put my finger on. I'm talking about actual face-to-face human interaction, people. What a fucking concept!

post id: 23374604

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