#173 Online Dating Despair
Joe worked in Photoshop and finished touching up a shot taken of him ten years earlier when he was forty. The resulting picture showed an image of a twenty- something. He admired the solid black hair and wrinkle-free face he had created.
He hurried to upload it to Match.com to see who he’d hook with this enhanced photo. His original, truthful photo hadn’t garnered one response in the three weeks he’d had it posted. “Is this fraud, putting a picture up that is a forgery of my actual looks? Well, can’t judge a book by its cover they say,” he thought, and pressed upload.
Within minutes, he received his first reply. “Hi Joe, Saw your picture, read your profile, think we may click, let’s meet, Honey Bunny.” With a name like, Honey Bunny, she must be a retard, he thought, until he clicked her profile and her voluptuous image almost knocked him off his chair. So beautiful he couldn’t imagine her in his bed, but when he read her likes and saw her number one favorite activity was oral sex, he did fall off his chair.
Not one to turn down an opportunity, he replied. “Honey Bunny, Read your profile, our favorite activities are the same. Let’s get together and get active. Meet you at Starbucks tonight, 8 PM.”
Almost instantly she replied, “See u at 8.”
Joe danced to the shower and stayed in it long enough to finish singing the entire opera, Elegy for Young Lovers, in German. The opera is a bitter indictment of the romantic notion of the artist as hero, feeding remorselessly on those around him, both in the name of art and to satisfy his own monstrous and inhumanely egotistical appetites. A fitting analogy of what he was about to do, feast on a young girl’s innocence to satisfy his perverted desire for flesh much younger than his.
After shaving and dumping an entire bottle of Ralph Lauren’s Polo Blue cologne over his body, he dressed in his $6,000 Brioni Suit, $1,500 Testoni shoes and put on his $30,000 Jaeger-LeCoultre watch, looked in the mirror and saw his gray hair.
“Shit,” he thought, took his jacket off, wrapped a towel around his neck and grabbed a bottle of Gray-No-More and dumped it on his head, and massaged it in until every hair he had left on his head was solid black. After rinsing, blow-drying and styling, he saw patches of white scalp showing through the dark hair. He reached into the medicine cabinet and grabbed a can of spray color that matched his hair. He spray painted all the thin spots, and he was pleased with his new look. If it was dark enough, she might recognize him as the man in the picture he posted.
He walked into Starbucks anticipating that Honey Bunny would stand out from the crowd. Thankfully, the place was almost empty. Other than a group of students, the only other customer was an older woman around his age. She looked past him like she was expecting someone to come through the door at any minute. He sat at a table next to hers so he could watch the door for his Honey Bunny.
An hour passed. She didn’t show up. He heard the old lady sniffling. “Is there something I can do to make you feel better?” he asked.
She looked him over and said, “If you were twenty years younger you could.” She got up abruptly and left. Joe left soon afterward and went home.
He composed an e-mail to send to Honey Bunny, “If you were here, you’d hear moans emanating from a wrecked and despondent man singing out his blues because you didn’t show up. I was there and you weren’t. I sat over an hour waiting, with a sniveling old lady for company.” He clicked send, and a few minutes went by before he received a reply.
“You must have gone to the wrong Starbucks. I was there and waited for over an hour with an old man who spray-painted his hair and stunk of perfume that smelled so bad I could hardly stand waiting there. But I did wait. You never showed.”
Joe looked at her picture and knew he’d never meet the one who had captured his heart with only electronic words and a picture. He’d never hear her voice but envisioned it a joy to hear, and he’d never get to touch her soft silken skin, or see the color of her eyes or gather in her scent, or feel her beating heart full of love for him. His lights began to dim, and he thought, “I’ll never love again and the goals in my life will certainly change. I’ll have to find another, and when I do, I’ll have my hair professionally done.” The End