too desperate for the internet

[Title] too desperate for the internet
[Deck] when love connections go offline
[Byline] virtual life > sean manson

Refresh. Did he reply? Refresh. He didn’t reply. Refresh. Why didn’t he reply? It’s been five days! It was a warm summer evening, and while the weather was calm and pleasant outside, I was the exact opposite inside. With a 90-per-cent chance of heartbreak, it appeared from the lack of response that my latest Internet romance had failed … again.

Ready to pack it in with a bottle of wine and the Bridget Jones Soundtrack, it suddenly hit me: I had known this guy for, what – seven online messages? We hadn’t even reached our inbox anniversary yet. Not only that, I had never actually met him, heard his voice, or for that matter, left my apartment.

I simply could not have a repeat of the last time: my VISA still suffering from my last binge in the Internet shopping bin. No, this was it – the final send. The greatest communications medium of the 20th century would have to temporarily wave “bye bye” to this redhead. If Romeo and Juliet did not need instant – messaging to be star-crossed lovers, than neither did I.

But I had doubts. By turning my back on the Internet as an electronic matchmaker, was I dooming myself to a life of early nights, utter despair, and financial security?

It was a year ago when I first considered using the world wide web as a potential tool for finding someone. After the majority of my coupled friends gleefully replied to the question “How did you two meet?” with responses involving “GayCanada,” “MySpace,” and so forth, I knew it was my turn. Of course, I remained skeptical about their unbridled technological optimism. Even I knew that HTML did not stand for “How to Meet Lovers.” But I should give it a try. So I registered online and threw my heart out into the digital void.

Even I knew that HTML did not stand for “How to Meet Lovers.”

At first, it seemed too good to be true. No more late nights, expensive bar tabs and costly cab rides home. All I had to do to employ a more economical method of dating was to create my own online profile. The process sounded much easier than it actually was. How does one sum up the magic of their entire being in 25 words or less? “I am Best Described As.” Indescribable? “A successful date would be.” Longer than 10 minutes and involve no text-messaging? “I am Looking For.” Someone who lives inside the city.

Yes, proximity is important. The first of my four unofficial Internet romances lived north of the city – 800 kilometers north. After messaging back and forth for a couple of weeks, the conversation suddenly stopped. Had I made a terrible typo? Was he lured away by another profile picture? Was it the rising cost of gas? I never found out. That was then followed by three more unofficial breakups and many more unanswered questions.

Call me naïve, but I don’t think I’m finished with the prospect of falling in love at first tight (insert laughing break here). At this point, I would rather cling to my delusions of grandeur – like meeting “the one” while sifting through the books in the McNally clearance section – before returning to “addicted-to-checking-my-inbox.ca”

But am I really dooming myself by crossing the net off my “how-to-meet-someone?” list? Well, maybe being old-fashioned isn’t that bad, after all. But at least out of all this I know one thing’s for sure; I will no longer have to put my heart at the mercy of someone’s slow typing skills and bad grammar.

Sean Manson is a playwright, a U of M student, and the new Outwords Inc. A&E editor-in-training.

Published: Outwords Inc. # 144 August 31 – September 27, 2007