Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Love at first glance?

Published in The Long Island Advance, December 28, 2006 Edition

In my regular work world I supervise a department of eight women who primarily do social work with the developmentally disabled. In our office, it’s common to know about everyone’s drama. Not only is it drama, but life in our office has taken on a Soap Opera-like quality in recent weeks. And boy, are we sucked in, and possibly me more so than others due to my skeptical nature.

Internet dating seems to be the thing these days, what going to bars to meet people, or running into potential dates at work use to be. It’s sort of like blind dating, yet not quite. And for a number of the single women in my department, Internet dating gives them an opportunity to meet and date when working in a world that’s essentially occupied by women. And right now, one of our own is being courted by a cowboy from Oklahoma. This particular cowboy has been nudging her since summer, sending her an email here and there, attempting to engage her in conversation. According to her, his latest try was successful.

There’s this thing in Internet dating called “winking.” One can wink at another without having to do any sort of writing. Apparently he kept winking at her until she finally broke down, wrote back and said, “You live 1,400 miles away from me, why are you winking at me?” We were riveted at work to that little exchange as it lead to an actual conversation in the “real world.” A conversation that sent her running in the other direction and cooled the soap opera off for a few months. According to Liz, this was a man on a mission….a politically liberal guy, home grown in a red state and looking to escape to a blue one. She did not want to be the reason for anyone’s relocation. That was until three weeks ago. Persistence seems to be one of his character traits and it has apparently paid off, at least for now.

Three weeks ago, the cowboy sent an email forward which according to Liz got her dander up. She responded back, in a not so nice way and as a means to discourage his continued attention, although considering the fact that said attention only occurred once every few months, it wasn’t stalker-like behavior. Only what ended up happening was that the cowboy got his wish and found a way to engage her in a conversation. This was all he needed to do.

We work in a field where listening and talking is something that people do a lot of, so for him, getting the conversation going was a step in a positive direction. Liz currently is loosing her mind as the cowboy recently told her that he thinks he loves her. Me, being the skeptic that I am, chimed in by saying “That’s impossible. There is no such thing.” Although, according to the cowboy, “You can’t help who you love any more than you can pick your parents.” Apparently he has no problem waiting for her to come around to his way of thinking. And when talking to her and saying “This is too crazy,” you can almost see her thinking that in fact, maybe it’s not.

I suspect that it will be a little inconvenient to have to call in to my old job, from a new one in order to get the daily update. But, like any good soap opera, I may be able to wean myself down to just getting my update on a Monday and a Friday. And this is the question that I’ll just leave hanging in the air for now or at least until Brian vacations in AZ and loans me his column again. Do you believe that this new age version of “love at first sight is possible? And consider that “at first sight,” in this case, means love at the glance of an Internet dating profile, a whole bunch of emails and phone conversations. Feel free to chime in and let me know what you think, about this, or anything else you might like to comment on.

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