Fails Greek Goddess

Digital dating horror stories.

My sister describes her co-worker Celia as “Greek, in a goddess kind of way.” No one needs to see that everyday at her place of employment, especially not my very short, very pregnant sister, Vicky. Celia and Vicky work in marketing together at Godiva Chocolate in Manhattan, where everyone indulges in as much product “research” as they can stomach, including Celia. While she sounds like the type of chocolate-eating supermodel women love to hate, my sister likes her a lot. According to Vicky, Celia is kind, funny, smart and beautiful, one of those “whole package” people, so it’s curious that her dating life sounds like a Punk’d marathon.

With profiles on Match, eHarmony, and OkCupid, Celia’s got game, and she’s so pretty that Match contacted her to be in one of their real-date commercials. She was supposed to find men of interest, point them out to Match, and Match would contact the guys on her behalf to set up on-camera first dates. She was initially enthusiastic about it, but then lost heart because, even for pretty girls in New York, it’s slim pickings.

Her recent misadventures would put Match out of business anyway. Celia boldly broke the drinks-only, first-date rule for a guy who seemed promisingly normal. He would have been perfect for another guy. She politely stayed for the entire dinner, but said, “I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was on a date with a gay man.”

Her next encounter was with George Costanza. He began the date by telling her that he used to be healthy, until he discovered how much he loved junk food. In fact, he gave up working out so he could have more time to eat it. He knew he was gaining weight, but so what? Love him or leave him. He said his mother told him to hurry up and get married before he gets fatter and balder.

Another night, across a swanky wine bar, Celia locked eyes with a handsome potential soul mate. She made her way to him. They met in an embrace. He said, “Lisa. It’s so nice to finally meet you.” The guy she was supposed to meet was in the bar next door.

If you don’t have your own hilariously tragic online dating story, you have someone else’s, like the one where a few minutes into the appetizer at TGIFridays, a woman put together the pieces of her date’s saga and asked, “So you’ve basically been a homeless felon for the past two years?”

“You could say that,” homeless felon laughed.

A guy told me about a woman he met who immediately copped to the obvious: She wasn’t the person in her profile picture. This could only end with someone puking, and it did. Another person recalled a date who immediately complained about women always being fatter and older than their profile pictures; he was relieved that she was neither. She also had all of her front teeth, which is more than she could say for him.

There’s no shame in serial dating, yet Celia was the only person who didn’t insist on anonymity when I asked people for their stories. Everyone else was embarrassed, but they weren’t toothless, puking fugitives; their dates were. You can only judge a profile by what’s on it, and then, if necessary, sprint out of there like you’re trying out for the Olympic track and field team as soon as he reveals he’s a Revolutionary War re-enactor who loves his bread machine.

In the meantime, the the old-fashioned ways of making a love connection are a long shot, but a shot nonetheless. Church and the grocery store aren’t the pick-up joints married people insist they are, but you never know. There’s always the hardware store.

When I got tired of shifty contractors jacking up my estimates after sniffing around for a husband who wasn’t there, I asked my neighborhood hardware store for a trustworthy handyman. Two weeks later, my toilet cracked, so I called and left a message. My kids got home before I did and saw Hire-A-Husband on the caller ID.

“I think something’s wrong with mom,” the older one told the younger one.

“Relax. It’s for the toilet,” I told them.

“Ohhh. Thank god,” my keepers sighed with relief.

Steve showed up to fix the toilet. Two months later we went on a date. Four years later, on this past New Year’s Eve, we got married on the Spirit of Philadelphia. I had Hire-A-Husband engraved in his wedding band.

Have faith, Celia. Sooner than later you’ll be in my sister’s stretched-out shoes. Until then, enjoy your truffles and press on.