SillyUserName Part 1

I used to be addicted to a game called World of Warcraft. I was obsessed. I was Chum, level 60 Tauren hunter with The Flying Shan Yue. I played so much that when I’d leave the house I took the game with me in my mind. If I saw two people walking down the road I’d think about how I’d take them down if I were in game, “… set frost trap, sick pet on the little one, aimed shot, concussive shot, serpent sting, multi-shot, feign death, repeat…” It wasn’t a good way to spend my time, and I quit fantasizing about killing people after realizing I was fantasizing about killing human beings who were not actually Night Elves, Dwarfs or Gnomes.

A few years ago I received a wedding announcement from a good friend and fellow Flying Shan Yue member who met a girl on a dating website. As you’ll read in my book (because you’re going to buy it and tell all your friends to buy it too!) this inspired me to try online dating. I’ll ruin the surprise and just say it didn’t go well at all.

However, a few months ago I thought I’d give it another shot. Things are awesome in my life right now – I’m somewhat healthy, I just moved from a congested apartment into a huge house with a big back yard, hardwood floor and beautiful Brettwood kitchen cabinets. I’ve got a brand new reliable vehicle and soon I’ll be publishing a book that even my editor said he kinda enjoyed (in all fairness, I am paying him). So I figured I’d strike while the iron is hot and try to find a honey.

I signed up on what claims to be the most popular and most successful dating site which for legal reason I’ll call “eCongruity,” eCongruity is known for being safe and thorough, but the down side is that it can take a while to get to the stage where you’re freely communicating with other profiles.

This is how it works: you’re given a list of ideal profiles, which, for me, always seemed to be fourteen ugly profiles and one beautiful profile. You then have to get their attention by sending them some irrelevant multiple choice questions such as:

If you were on a date and saw an almost dead dog along side the road would you,

  1. Take it to the vet yourself
  2. Call Animal Control
  3. Do nothing
  4. Stomp on the dog’s skull with your boot, putting it out of it’s misery and impressing your date
  5. Other (explain your answer)

Both profiles go through whatever five questions they pick and if they’re still interested they go to stage two, which is just there to weed out swingers and perverts. In this step each profile lists what traits their match must have and what they deem to be unacceptable in a relationship. An example of a ‘must have’ would be something like ‘a nice personality’ or ‘a good sense of humor.’ An example of what’s unacceptable would be ‘excessive profanity’ or ‘whistling after 9pm,’ but everyone just checks ‘excessive gambling,’ ‘infidelity’ and ‘porn addiction.’

After that, both profiles have the opportunity to ask each other either pre- made or custom essay questions. I like to make up my own questions – things that one might ask on a first date, such as, “When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?” or, “Who is your favorite superhero?” or, “What’s the average air velocity of an unladen swallow?” I think questions like these give opportunities to get to know the personality of the other profile, opposed to the pre-made questions that are like, “Describe your spirituality,” or, “Describe your parents marriage.” Both of which are totally boring and require answers that could never fit in the 1,000 character allowance if answered truthfully.

As I perused through the profiles I grew nervous – not because I was afraid I was going to meet a creep or a psycho or a Pittsburgh Penguins fan – online dating is actually pretty safe these days (I have no proof to back that up, other than that dude I know who met his wife online is still alive), but I was nervous because I felt like I was really out there – on the verge of meeting real girls. With my living room lights dim and my face lit by my computer screen, I felt like I was back in the dark junior high cafeteria during the six grade Halloween dance. My gut was full of butterflies and my hormones raged while I watched Angela Brown dance to Mr. Jones in the lights projecting from the DJ booth. I tried to get the courage to start a conversation with her, but instead I just stood by the lockers dressed like The Phantom of the Opera, drinking a can of Mountain Dew and slumped over to help conceal my erection. Now here I was again, butterflies in stomach and hormones raging, but instead of staring at Angela Brown on the dance floor, I was staring at Profile: BigCityGurl on my screen, I was drinking Chai tea instead of Mountain Dew, and I was totally unaware whether or not I had an erection.

Like preparing for the Halloween dance, I had to make my profile look good to impress the ladies. I posted the same black and white profile picture I had used a million times. I posted another picture of me and my dog sitting on the couch with the caption, “I’m the one on the left.” I posted a picture where I’m sitting next to a my friend in a gorilla suit and put the caption, “Me on a safari in the Congo.” I answered all of the essay questions, recycling several witty lines I had used throughout the years. I polished my grammar and made the coolest, funniest profile I could, Profile: SillyUserName. But I felt a little dishonest. None of the pictures showed that I am confined to a wheelchair. In none of the text did I mention my handicap. The snobby, liberal side of me thought, “Well why should I? They should get to know the real me the… blah blah blah… and the ADA should apply to dating…” You know where I’m going with this. However, as I learned in my first go-around with online dating, getting a girl hooked and then dropping a bombshell like “…by the way, I’m paralyzed” doesn’t heed the right amount of honesty with which a relationship should start with. So this time I decided to be up front, throw all of my cards on the table and save a lot of time. At the bottom of my profile I said, “Oh yeah, and I’m a little paralyzed.” It was now time to get on the dance floor and impress some profiles.

I sent messages to several profiles, most of which never acknowledged my request. After a week or so, I did make it through to the “email” stage with a couple of profiles, the first of which told me in her first email that even though she can’t relate to my disability she can relate to what it’s like to live a difficult life. Just three weeks prior, her father had suddenly passed away from a brain aneurysm. One second he was fine and the next he was on the floor, stiff as a board with poop in his pants. I thought that was a little deep for an introductory letter and responded by saying something like, “That’s awful… So, any brothers or sisters?” I didn’t hear back from her.

The next profile, GodTalker101, was a little more successful. She, too, had been in a car wreck as a teenager, so we had a lot to discuss over the first few emails. We had a lot in common, only instead of suffering a spinal cord injury she gained the ability to speak with the dead. I thought this was pretty cool at first, but then I thought of the years of activities dead people undoubtedly watched me partake in. I realized that if they told GodTalker101 how big of a pervert I was as a teenager, I couldn’t live with the embarrassment. I ended all communication.

Will Andy find the love of his life? Will that one special profile finally show up to see the man inside instead of just the man inside the wheelchair? Is GodTalker101 reading this right now, furious with Andy for posting their intimate conversation?

Click here for what hopes to be an exciting conclusion!

Posted on May 21, 2012