August 2, 2019

Again

I frequented online dating sites back in the early 2000’s, mainly nerve.com. Let’s just say it was an adventure and leave it at that. Well, actually, I should at least acknowledge that the anonymity Nerve provided also served as a kind of escape hatch. You could respond to someone’s profile and engage in a series of flirtatious messages with that person, then agree to a date and claim that you would get back to the person once you knew your upcoming schedule, and then not only not get back to the person but no longer respond to his or her messages. This, or something like this, happened to me multiple times. In discussing it with friends (many of whom were having similar experiences with online dating sites), I referred to it as the Black Box Problem. My sense in most cases was that the woman had met someone else and, rather than tell me this, let her silence do the talking. The first few times it happened I was dismayed. Then it just made me sad.

Ah, but here’s one thing that never made me sad about nerve.com — clever profile headlines! As I recall, headlines were required, as were usernames (the latter tended to be predictable and straightforward, although now and then a fun one jumped out; e.g. ILOVESMORES, mrsanthropic). However, headlines were where the action was. A clever headline carried a lot of weight for me, and I kept a list of my favorites. In fact, I still have that list, although I didn’t realize this until I stumbled on it this morning while looking for something else.

It’s a shorter list than I remembered; just five headlines.

• AGAIN

• I Don’t Need You

• You Have No Idea

• I’ll Bid On You Till There’s Nothing Left But Crumbs

• Obscene Amount of T&A

All five headlines are worthy contenders, but AGAIN, an entire story told with a single word, is, to my mind, genius.