Single in Philly: Are You There, Waffles? Its Me, Christy
I’M NOT IN it for the romance. Not really. The matchmaker knew that, and also knew that I had just opened an account on Match.com. And that I was going speed-dating. And that I was going out with the occasional guy I’d meet on my own. But while the story I was working on was pretty straightforward — What It’s Like To Date in Philadelphia — the research was much less so, because, well, I am single. And new to town. And at age 29, I want what all 29-year-old single women I know want, probably what everyone wants: someone who’ll zip my hard zippers and tromp to Trader Joe’s with me, who’ll split my takeout and be around for kissing whenever I want and share the paper on Sunday mornings. As long as we both shall live.
I have always thought that this person — my person — will walk into my life when fate (not a matchmaker, not a computer) chooses. It wasn’t even so long ago that I thought it had happened, the fate and my person (I was wrong). I’m not enthused to go looking for them, even just to write about, which is what I tell my editor when I say that I’d rather not write this story. “But,” my editor says, “what if your fate exists via a dating service?” “Yeah, fine. Whatever,” I say, knowing he’s not interested in my romantic well-being nearly as much as he’s interested in getting this story — and that he’ll win. “I’ll try it all.” And I will. But I also know that at its core, this will be just another assignment to tread on through, like the time I had to eat at 21 Mexican restaurants in eight days. Hopefully with less physical discomfort.
By the time this piece is done, I will have been to coffee bars and liquor bars and restaurants and bowling alleys, logged dozens of hours online, read hundreds of e-mails, changed my online profile four times, changed my online photos twice, lost track of how many times I changed my outfit, and managed to meet a few good men. All in the name of work. Or love. Or in the name of working toward love. Or whatever.
WHEN MY MOM — who is an even stronger advocate of Project Date than my editor — met my father, she was 19. By 21, she was married, and by the time she was my age, she was a mother. They’re still married, my parents, and I hope I eventually land in a relationship that’s as filled with good things as theirs.
These are details I might have put in my Match.com profile, but I don’t. They seem too earnest, too intimate, to toss out there for all the Internet to ogle. Instead, I keep it simple. Or, more accurately, I try to seem as if I’m keeping it simple, while in fact composing four short paragraphs takes me half a workday. In the end, I say this: I’m new to Philly; I’m from Tennessee; I like music, food, and men who know at least a little about a lot of things.