The Perils of Online Dating

Contributor: Dan Slaten

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Tim looked at the message one last time before clicking send. He’d read and reread the words so many times that they no longer made sense, but he still wanted to give it one more look before sending it to CrazyHotCoolGirl29. You could never be too careful or too thorough in matters of the heart, even when those matters were as trivial as an introductory message on an internet dating site.

Deciding he was as satisfied by the message as he was ever going to be, Tim clicked “send.”

Minutes later, Tim heard a girl laughing hysterically one table over. “Karen, you have to check this out,” said the girl. “Look at this message I just got from TimTime2000. Check out his profile – and his pictures. What a loser!”

“You sound really interesting,” said the girl Tim assumed must be Karen. She seemed to be mimicking the deep voice of an imaginary, generic man as she read Tim’s words from just a few feet away. “Like you I am a big baseball fan . . .”

The message he’d just sent out, the one he’d written and rewritten more times than he cared to think about, was nothing more than a joke to Karen and CrazyHotCoolGirl29. Tim wanted to reach into the internet and somehow retrieve the message, delete it, and eliminate its very existence from the face of the Earth and all corresponding digital realms in which it might exist. Of course, that wasn’t possible. Deleting his dating profile right now wouldn’t do him any immediate good either, although it might spare him from being the butt of more jokes in other restaurants around town.

Worse still, Tim was finished eating, and Karen and CrazyHotCoolGirl29 were sitting at a table between him and the exit. If he got up from his booth they would see him, and they would laugh some more at his expense. It would be a lot like all of his high school dating experiences from a pre-internet world.

Tim spotted his waitress and waved her over. “I’d like to order dessert,” he said. “Preferably something so large I might never finish it.”

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Dan Slaten writes short stories and poetry in small notebooks and on sticky notes.
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