Monday, March 17, 2003

Lately, I've been getting compliments. Compliments are like free money- not money that you stumble over in the middle of an empty street and think "wow! 20 bucks!", but like, free money that you snatch off the floor with other people around also eyeing the money, thinking the same thing: "Can I take that money and not be damned for an eternity? Who cares about eternity? Stupid Sunday School. Thats money there on the floor. That woman is looking at it too. Maybe its hers. I want it. What if she says its hers after I pick it up? Then I look like an asshole. What if I pick it up and she says its hers but its really not and I have to give it to her just to not look like a money grubbing thief? I wonder if I can step on it and slide it this way in a non-chalant manner."

That was tangental. (Its a word.) So, compliments... I don't know what to do with them.

The reason I bring this up is because this and last weekend, I was complimented on the blog by two different people. People I did not know were still reading the damn thing. I went out Friday night, and was complemented. And then-- and please, don't hate, because I will explain-- I answered a personal ad and was in turn responded to because my very answer was so good, in fact shockingly good, and therefore compliment worthy and response worthy. (mom, calm down. I haven't even talked to him in person.)

I wore this really low cut shirt on Friday and the movie usher guy was like "I really like you're..... haircut." Funny thing is, I got a haircut Friday too. Its a good haircut.

OK, so back to personal ads. Center does indeed like to read them. And, respond to them. And once, create one. First of all, its a dying art. Internet personals used to be free everywhere, and everybody had them. Yahoo, Hotmail, Excite, newspapers, your mom's personal web page... Now, everybody's got a fee and a sign-up rule somewhere. You can read but you can't respond. You can see thumbnail pics but you can't enlarge them. You can create an ad, but you can't respond to anyone elses or talk to anyone unless they email you (which means that they have paid and you haven't). So now, Igo to those far and few places where it is free (Craigslist) and I take a look at what romantic nonsense is ensuing in various cities across the world.

In fact, my favorite part of a certain well known magazine is the "Impersonals"- especially the ones that are like, "I saw you at Sat at Starbucks. You: latte, no foam, blond, WPFNS/ND, wearing khakis and a nice smile, me: YMPNS/ND, brunette, decaf mocha no whip. Couldn't say anything. Would like to talk now?"

I love the language of personal ads. The complicated abbreviations of love. I love how some people are just seeking WF, white female, or YWPFNS/NDHIV+, young white professional female no smoking no drugs HIV positive.

I love the way men say their exact height and weight measurements (like that really helps envision someone) and most women describe themselves as proportional (exactly the same).

I like how lesbians use Sarah McLachlan or Tori Amos lyrics to find each other. And I like the one freak who wants to spank you with a hair brush while you wear white tennis socks.

Personal ads have an openess to them, a way of saying in their very essence that the are pretty lame, but hey- here you are reading it. The way EVERYONE writes "I've never done this before but.." Or "I'm really funny, LOL" and throws in a lot of smiley faces. And my special favorite "I'm a really good guy looking for someone to have an open and emotionally committed, intense, funny, beautiful, important, sad, outrageous, calm relationship with. I like slender girls."

I wrote a personal ad because 1. it was daring (the fear of internet perverts) and 2. I was fed up. I think a lot of people are fed up. Then they go out with some friends and meet someone and start all over again without realizing it and forget about the fed up stuff until a few months later and we're all back in square one. (I think in fact, we never leave the square. Its a really really big square).

This last one I responded to caught my eye for whatever reasons and in my response, I explained being fed up with responses and personal ads in general. I think I was pretty negative. Thats why I'm shocked by the compliment.

Exchanging ads or emails are just as difficult as dating. The protocol and rules and moral laws are all there, just switched around. You have to know what you want in a relationship and be able to write a quick, witty, yet appealing email about it. Instead of how you dress, or what faces you make, how you laugh or how often you hold eye contact vs. roaming around the room, its now how many typos you have, how much IM slang you incorporate into your email-ese (a personal no-no, in my book), if you write out the word "you" and "are" and "later", and what your subject lines say. ("Re:re:re:re:re:hello" gets you no where, in case you want to try.) You have to exchange emails for awhile, and then numbers, and then maybe meet somewhere, but publically in the event of internet weirdo potential. Then your back to waiting on emails, phone calls, checking messages. The only difference is, you weren't in a smoky bar with beer googles when you first "met". Now, of course, someone is going to open an internet cafe that serves alcohol, and there will be no difference at all.

So, in getting this complimentary response to my response to his personal ad, I'm all a-flutter. I'm confused. And I cannot for the life of me remember what the hell I wrote. And I dont have my hotmail account set up to save sent emails, so don't bother to give me that good advice. I know I was at work, so I had to be in pretty shitty place psychologically. I know I had just read a million "and your slender" ads before his. And I know that I am fed up with both dating and internet romance combined. But, beyond all that, my blog is funny and I wrote a good email to a complete stranger who now wants to meet and broke all the rules by giving me his number and his full name upfront.

It just blows my mind. What do you do with these things? Its not like you can put a compliment on your resume. "Writes good responses to romantic personal ads."