For most people, the risk of being ignored online is less painful than risking someone saying to your face "I'm not interested." And so technology becomes a digital crutch that works as substitute for the face-to-face courtship humans have engaged in since the beginning of time.
That's right, the sound bites rolling off the candidates' tongues reminded me of that great American invention, speed dating, which enables lucky men and women to go out on a dozen dates in a single evening.
"No one here believes I'm a top," I thought to myself while taking the first sip of my second overpriced beer. I was less than halfway through a night of gay speed dating for "bottoms" and "tops" and had already been asked three times if I was in the right group.
People mean well when they try to reconfigure our emotions and our personalities to meet the cultural ideal of a desirable romantic partner. They just want us to be happy. But not only do these "rules" make us feel terrible, they also don't hold up to scrutiny.
He said that all he does is study and he did not laugh at any of my jokes. I asked him what his deal breaker was. "People who make a joke out of everything." I looked down at my own notecard, on which I had scrawled, "People who take life too seriously. And mouth breathers."
The 14th of February. Who's cringing? Hopeful? Excited? Indifferent? Perhaps you have become a full-on cynic toward the whole thing at this point, done with the overpriced flowers and boring prix fixe menus, not impressed by creative alternatives?