by Jonathon Maisel
So I fill out the online form for this really great dating website, convinced that my endless days of singleness and nights of hugging my pillow are coming to a merciful end, and not having any other decent photos of myself handy, I ask my buddy Dale Greever, one of those self-taught computer geniuses with obligatory black horn-rimmed glasses and pocket-protector, to scan my driver’s license picture, the one which Sarah, my ex who dumped me for a chick no less, said makes me look just a tiny bit less like a serial killer and cannibal than Jeffrey Dahmer. So I upload my file, click on some really beautiful girls profile who goes by the screen-name "Marriage Minded in Duluth," send a message of why I believe I am uniquely and eminently qualified to be her amorous knight in shining armor, and wouldn’t you know, she sends me a rejection message out of hand and asks me to please cease all further contact. It’s about a month later, after an endless series of rejections, that rather reluctantly, I shell out sixty hard-earned bucks at this portrait studio down on Twelfth and Chamberlain, ask the guy to save the pics to disc, run home, download the ax-murderer DMV shot, upload the new one showing me adorned in a long-sleeve Lacoste blue and white pinstripe, yellow power tie, Cheshire-cat ear-to-ear grin, and change my screen-name. And wouldn’t you know, within twelve friggin’ minutes, I’ve got a message in my box from old “Marriage Minded” telling me what a handsome devil she thinks I am and how eager she is to hear back from me. My initial thought, being that I’m the unforgiving and vindictive type, at least according to my ex Sarah, is to express in no uncertain terms what a sham I think she is, ask her to cease all further contact, a move which would undoubtedly fill my innards with an immeasurable degree of self-satisfaction, but knowing that my social calendar is empty for the foreseeable future, I relent, swallow my pride, and write back what a sincere pleasure it would be to make her acquaintance. Just like my hero, Holden Caulfield, the phony-hating protagonist from Catcher in the Rye, I’m usually not one to tolerate fakeness and hypocrisy, but looking at her picture I can almost smell the sweet perfume which will surround her being like an angelic aura when we meet tomorrow night for a drink down at McPhee’s, and I know old Holden would chew me up and spit me out for being such a spineless, uncouth weasel, but I guess it beats being alone.
Jonathon Maisel's background is in psychology, though he'd gladly throw away the years of training and student loans to become a successful writer. He lives with his wife Rebecca, and his faithful dog Halva.