One online Dating Service that I am on let me know that 1,637 people were active at 4 AM looking for me (perhaps) but if not actually for me… but they were all looking indeed. We swipe left or right as if there were political poles in operation. We Conserve those we may desire (or whom we are intrigued with) and we Liberally dispel the others into the ether of obscurity. Flipping through a stack of digital baseball cards looking for the player we ‘like’. Checking the stats. Doubting their voracity. Folding them back into the stack. No more thought required. Click.
This is how we find our ‘Date Mate’ or meet our ‘Match’, we look into the aquarium at ‘Plenty of Fish’ where we hope to find a ‘Silver Single’ or someone to ‘Mingle’ with. Is there ‘True Harmony’?… or are we being dot conned? Don’t get me wrong, I see that it is a modern contrivance, but it slants the flavor of the person we search for by tainting them in this process. And it certainly leaves a nasty little ring around the empty bathtub of our lives.
Both the searched and the searcher are obscured and changed through this process. It is inorganic and antiseptic at best. Cruel and Soul crushing as well. The mass-media prostitution of ourselves as we primp our profiles in the hope of ‘finding’. We ‘pick a name’ and then whittle the truths and try and spotlight the part of us we hope will spark a kindred interest. We write ourselves into a text box and ‘save’. We endlessly edit ourselves, selling the sizzle and hoping someone wants the steak. We take our stake in a pool of potentials and hope to rise above them. Later we feel burned at that stake as the sum of our synthetic worth feels unnoticed.
Flipping past photos with a hedonistically critical eye. Tossing aside a human being for the random pound, a crooked tooth, a well-earned set of smile lines, or the audacity of ethnic deviation. We are Progressive Peeping Toms immersed in an oddly voyeuristic exercise. But worse, we are changed in the process of it. We diminish as we disregard.
Skimming over a soul like they were a coffee table book cannot be without consequences. The ease with which an entity is dehumanized has to have repercussions as we toggle to the next two-dimensional depiction. Hoping for a tantalizing tid-bit… a wicked smile?… a buxom pose?… a titillating title?… Rock-hard abs? Allure at the level of anonymity. Peeking through keyholes…
This is the Sears Catalog of courtship – or for those with teeth not as long as mine – the Amazon Prime of it. We choose to E-bay ourselves hoping for a bidder. We bid farewell to a bit of our self-respect as we post ourselves on the Craig’s List of hungry hearts. Looking for a ‘best offer’.
We pay a fee to be reduced to a two-dimensional image shed of breath and depth – our heartfelt reach is either reduced to trite phrasing or laid out in unfettered honesty to perhaps be ‘box checked’ and deleted. Leaving us unaware of if we have even been read – certainly never feeling seen. The contrived conversation that lives in a message box and yearns to progress to mere texting. To only be able to see an uploaded photo’s unblinking eyes and never the animator behind them. A parallel universe where we let people know “All images are Current”. As we type those words to the pasted profile ‘pic’ and we harbor a bit of hope. We fight back the latent jadedness that lurks behind the empty message box as the dis-functional chat, we wholly embraced, sadly disappears. The callous thickens… basic needs, still un-met, are squashed under the guise of disinterest. As another small piece of us withers inside.
We are wary of predators and default to distrust. Are you a Scammer or a Creeper? Where do you really live? You don’t look 45! What is your name? Do you truly like nature or are you trying to lure me to the less trodden trail? Why do you keep viewing my profile – is it interest or cyber stalking? Delete and Block and ‘next’!
And now the horrible crux of these prose… We know all this and still we choose it. ‘Alone’ is a vast, bleak, and empty space. It is important not to let it be. We want to harmonize in song – I do. There is a magic in a twinkled glance, as the movie plot turns, and you share it – you should. Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’ reminds us: “that we are sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it’s better then drinking alone.” “Whether we find a ‘Real-estate novelist’ or Davey (who’s still in the Navy) or the waitress who’s practicing politics. We each hope that it’s ‘me’ that they’re coming to see… perhaps not to forget about life for a while – but to cut through the crass and the clutter and find a true heart to touch.
Protect the innate wonder of your ‘Self’. Be aware of how the fire in you is tamped down but try not to let it. Reach cautiously for the brass ring on this Merry-go-Round of hopeful seekers. The calliope plays, see if you can dance to it. Good luck on your search. May love (and I) find you while there is still a sweet bit of each of us left.
Oh, and by the way – the Sweetness grows back! We can flower again and again. We must!