My good friend Brad recently plunged head first into the online dating pool, having recently separated from his wife of 20-plus years. When we met for drinks one evening, he felt compelled to obsessively check his phone, his text alert tone signaling that a potential mate was in his geographical vicinity. Or just a swipe away.
My initial annoyance eventually gave way to curiosity. “What kind of dating site is this?” I queried.
“What do you mean, ‘what kind?’” he said. “It’s a site where I can meet women. LOTS of women.”
“Calm down Bachelor-about-to-preside-over-the-rose-ceremony,” I said, a mocking reference to the horrible ABC show that my wife and daughters can’t stop watching. “I mean, can anybody apply or is it one of those segmented sites?”
“Like what?” he asked.
“Yeah, it’s called Gluten Free singles, “ I said. “The home page features a smiling couple that look so relieved they found each other. Personally, I want to smack them right in the mouth with a loaf of frozen bread. A lot of really charming people eat muffins, you know.”
“I’m not that picky,” he said.
“But a lot of people are,” I said. “In fact,” I continued, lowering my voice to ward against eavesdropping, “I’ve got an idea of my own.”
“You’re happily married,” Brad replied.
“Doesn’t matter. Do you think that whoever founded AshleyMadison.com was having daily affairs?” I asked, referring to the notorious dating site that encourages men and women to cheat on their spouses and continues operating despite a 2015 security breach that exposed the identities of many clients.
“So what’s it about,” asked Brad. “A site for people who love to clean their garages on Saturdays?”
“Very funny,” I replied. “And that’s the last time I share my weekend plans with you.”
And then I launched into my brainchild: A dating site exclusively for middle-aged people dependent on reading glasses and iPhone lights.
My site will not discriminate based on race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Happily embrace your core being but don’t sign up for an account unless you are so optically challenged that you must whip out one or both of the aforementioned tools in order to function. Or at least read a dinner menu in the growing number of hip, trendy restaurants where paying the electric bill is considered an afterthought.
I have always felt private humiliation each time I delay the ordering process because I’m fumbling for my “cheater” glasses and waving around my iPhone flashlight beam like a distressed boater frantically signaling a Coast Guard vessel. My opthamologist has assured me my vision woes are perfectly normal given my age. My wife, four years my junior, sympathizes with me despite her 20/20 vision. Still, I’d feel less self conscious if others in my immediate locale exhibited similar behavior.
Hence the dating site.
“Think about it,” I continued. “No more walking into a Starbucks and wondering who your date is. Or whether she even showed up. Just look for someone wearing glasses perched on their nose and rapidly depleting their phone battery. If you don’t see that person, you’re either early or you’ve been stood up.”
“And what are you planning to call this site?” Brad asked, signaling intrigue by actually ignoring a ‘ding’ from his phone. At that moment, I knew I was on to something.
“I was thinking ‘ItsJustaReallyChallengingDinner.com’”
“Seems a little wordy.”
“The site could even serve as a feeder for social events,” I said. “Maybe a meetup at a local bar. For fun, everybody could wear each other’s glasses and compare lumens on their phones.”
“I think I’ll just stick to my plain old dating site,” said Brad, reaching for the check while I fumbled for my readers and offered to split it.
“Ready to leave?” he asked.
“Sure. Just help me find the door. My battery is dead.”