So there I was, smack dab in the middle of Minnesota (well, to be fair, kind of on the eastern edge of Minnesota—pretty close to Wisconsin, actually. Nevertheless, it still felt like the middle of nowhere.)
Having recently moved from North Carolina, I was thrilled to be near family again; but I sorely missed the social life I had left behind.
Consisting predominantly of my family and Netflix, my social life in Minnesota was looking pretty bleak.
As far as possible solutions, the alternatives were not many:
I don’t go to bars. I just don’t. Although I enjoy an extremely rare (fru-fru, girly) cocktail (containing more fruit and sugar than actual alcoholic content), I have never been a huge fan of alcohol, much less entering a social situation centered on the consumption thereof. Not only that, but who goes to a bar alone, anyway? How awkward is that? What does a girl do—just show up, sit at the bar, and sip a beverage while hoping that someone talks to her? Worse yet, what if they do? What then? How truly gratifying is it to have a stranger in one of the many stages between sobriety and complete inebriation attempt to engage in conversation? And depending on the locale, how much conversation is even possible in a bar environment? Shouting at people and straining to hear the reply over loud music just isn’t my ideal for a fun night out.
So the bar scene is out. But, many have postulated, there’s always church. Why don’t you find a nice social life at church? Well, out of the hundreds of people who attend my church, I am only marginally acquainted with one single gal; and I’m pretty convinced that there aren’t any single guys at all over the age of 22 who go there. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against people in their early 20s. But I’m hovering near the edge of 30, so I don’t consider young’uns to be datable prospects.
What else? Well, why not try community involvement? Surely that would be a good way to form some connections with people who share similar interests. So, earlier this year, I joined a civic theatre group to expand my social horizons. I had great fun and formed friendships with many great people that I hope will last even though the production has ended; but again, most of the people I met were still in Jr. High and High School, or they were family groups.
This left work. Unfortunately, though I work at a pretty cool place where there are plenty of single guys (engineers, no less!), after three months of working there, a grand total of 0 have attempted to initiate conversation with me, much less request my company for a cup of coffee.
So what is a single girl to do? The waiting-for-some-guy-to-take-notice-of-me-as-I-go-about-my-daily-life strategy clearly wasn’t working. (Handsome strangers initiating conversation in the produce aisle of the grocery story are just not as common as romantic comedies would have a girl believe.)
But then one day, Doug (a single coworker close to my own age), brought up Andrea, the gloriously gorgeous blonde he was taking to dinner that night. He was super excited about meeting her.
“Meeting her?” I asked. “How did you end up agreeing to go out with a girl you’ve never even met?”
Slightly embarrassed, Doug confessed that he had connected with her through the Plenty of Fish website. Naturally, I scoffed at Doug. (What’s easier to make fun of than someone who resorts to the internet in an attempt to find romance?)
Besides, Doug made no secret of the fact that his primary interest in “Andrea Gorgeous” had to do with how pretty she was (as well as the fact that she had actually responded to his initiation of contact.) It seemed like nothing more than a perpetuation of shallow and superficial nonsense; and I was convinced that he would come to work the next day dreadfully disillusioned by her lack of resemblance to her profile pictures, lack of desirable qualities, or some other woeful deception made possible by the subterfuge of online profiling.
The next day, however, Doug was full of excitement, exuberantly sharing how he had enjoyed the company of this beautiful girl who seemed totally great.
I was stunned.
Really? Sometimes people met through dating websites and had a good time?
Plenty of Fish wasn’t just home to a bunch of desperate, strange people who relied on the internet to compensate for a lack of social development or shifty shysters looking for casual hookups?
Two years prior, I had created an account on ChristianMingle that had left me deeply disenchanted with the concept of “free” online dating. But a survey of the Plenty of Fish setup seemed to offer the opportunity to view profiles and interact with other users without being required to pay exorbitant fees for the privilege of stalking strangers.
Intrigued, and at a loss for other options, I created a POF profile.
The rest, as they say, is history.