Some men distinguish themselves by being great scientists, statesmen, artists. I was a woman’s last online dating hope. I did not choose or go after this “honor” – it was bestowed upon me by Kathy, whom I met on JDate. Kathy informed me that her experiences meeting online dates in person had been so horrible, so traumatic, so soul-draining, that she decided to give the process just one more chance. She’d decided to meet one more guy before removing herself from online dating for all eternity – and I happened to be the guy; the last guy she was going to meet; her final chance for online romance.
Of all the online dating sites, in all the towns, in all the world, she logs on to mine. After hanging up the phone, I found myself experiencing a range of emotions not unlike the Seven Stages of Grief. First, there was Cockiness – those other guys may have disappointed her, but I’ll make up for them. Then, Doubt – what if I don’t measure up? Next, Resentment – what right does she have to place that “Last Man” burden upon me? Then, Guilt – if I turn out to be her final disappointment, it could push her over the edge; she could end up doing something drastic like taking her own life – or even worse, mine! Finally, Acceptance – ah, what am I worried about? It doesn’t take much to see that the problems of two Jewish online daters don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. I’ll give it my best shot. That’s all I can do. I owe the poor woman that much.
The fateful day arrived. As Kathy’s last online dating hope, I felt a sense of power. And yet with dating power comes great dating responsibility. I shaved, showered, and put on clean underwear – all things antithetical to basic male nature. I’d even carefully selected a little café with a funky, romantic atmosphere. As was my custom, I arrived early and asked the piano player to play one of my favorite romantic songs, James Brown’s “Sex Machine.” Sam didn’t feel like playing it, but I was firm. “Play it.” He started playing and as if on cue, Kathy walked in.
Or was it Kathy’s mother? She sort of looked like her photo – if her photo was taken twenty years earlier and thirty pounds lighter. The photo showed a young, happy woman with a short, trendy haircut. The in-person version was bigger, older, with long, shapeless hair, slumped shoulders, a beaten-down-by-life demeanor and personality, and some very odd facial expressions. Could her appearance have had something to do with Kathy’s negative dating experiences? Hey, what do I know? It’s just a theory.
To say there was zero attraction is like saying the Ku Klux Klan has no Affirmative Action program. Every minute of that thirty minute coffee date was an eternity. And those are thirty eternities I’ll never get back again. The clincher – and my final nail-in-the-coffin test for any prospective romantic relationship – I asked her what she thought about the Beatles. She shrugged and said she could take them or leave them. I could never fully give myself to any woman who wasn’t nuts about the Beatles. I wouldn’t trust her.
At least I was honest. I told Kathy I didn’t feel any chemistry. And that I fully supported her idea of abandoning online dating. In fact, I told her in no uncertain terms, “If you don’t get off that dating site, Kathy, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.” Her eyes misting, she touched my arm and said, “We’ll always have Culver City.” I gave her a final hug, and as I walked off into the fog, I remember thinking to myself, “Mark, this is not going to be the start of a beautiful friendship.”