By Teresa Strasser
Originally printed in the LA Times – February 15, 2007
I thought of MySpace as a storm that would pass. If I didn’t panic, it would blow by like Hurricane Friendster and I would never get hit. I would never have to come up with an ironic yet welcoming “headline,” or decide who would make my “Top 8.”
The whole thing seemed like a juvenile fiasco that was tossing my girlfriends asunder and causing them to regress emotionally. If I could wait it out, it would pass and I could avoid pillaging Ferlinghetti for quotes on embracing life.
MySpace just seemed undignified for those over 29… which I’m not, if you go by my resume. Just don’t check my license.The point is, I knew if I could clutch my disdain, I wouldn’t be forced to cobble together a list of “Favorites” that would appeal to my target demographic: Bono, Bukowski, “The Big Lebowski.”
Too bad I caved. A month after posting my profile, I went out on my first MySpace date. It was my first Internet date ever. This is not a fact to be glossed over in today’s world of JDate weddings and Match.com babies.
I’ve been a singles columnist since Sarah Jessica Parker was a Square Peg, and while I would recommend online dating to anyone who asked, I had avoided it completely. It’s like giving blood. I know it’s the right thing to do, but when the van is out front and it’s blood drive time, I’d rather you took the needle, doughnut and karma points while I congratulate you on your bravery.
After a few exchanges of solid prose on his part (possibly recycled, there was the faint whiff of a cut and paste job), I told MySpace Man to meet me at the Smog Cutter, a dive bar so decrepit even Bukowski might find the alley a finer place to drink.
The guy was fine to look at, no better or worse than his photo. I sipped a few (five) Jamesons, decided he was my soul mate after talking four hours at the bar and became so moved by a pool shark dedicating a karaoke version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” to us that I jokingly asked if he wanted to go to Vegas and get married. He didn’t flinch. Next thing I knew, we were flying from the Smog Cutter to Sin City. We got as far as Ontario before I had second thoughts (sobered up).
This would be a great story if not for our second date, so soul-crushingly boring and awkward I haven’t seen him since. Perhaps we were feeling thrown, confused and vulnerable about our almost wedding, though it was never consummated (I’m stupid, but not easy). While looking generally listless over dinner, he mumbled, “I may need therapy. I only want to pursue girls. When I catch them, I lose interest.”I can fake liking Bono, but there’s no way I can
pretend not to know that a man doesn’t lie about a thing like that.
Fast sex with strangers is fine if that’s what you like, but that’s not on my “Favorites,” nor is running from a guy just because he likes the chase. Men are men, from online, to in line at the grocery store. It’s a story as old as networking sites are new. It’s not like I don’t have my part. Perhaps I should reconsider my whiskey to date ratio before I turn into some boozy, old cougar.
Sure, I’m tempted to check his comments page to divine the reason it all went wrong, but I won’t.I may be new to MySpace, but I know when to give a guy the one thing he needs at a time like this: His Space.