2/17/2011

Empire Date: Wooing NYC Online, citysbest.com

Empire Date
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This week, I turned 30. I celebrated on Friday with karaoke and a late dinner in Koreatown with friends. Saturday, I went to a party on an East Village rooftop (with heating lamps), accompanied by friends. I danced all night and left for an early morning dinner, enjoying french fries … with friends.

I’ve come to see my booming social life as a mixed blessing. I love the thrill of the new, and this city is teeming with people just like me. Movies, parties, art shows in outer Chelsea, karaoke, plays — I have a go-to friend for each. My on-the-go lifestyle has made me into someone very different from the couch potato of four years ago. Then I was stuck in a longterm relationship that left me feeling isolated and way too dependent on food and television for entertainment.

So I’m the stereotypical active single, busy as a bee, generally too distracted to dwell on gloomy thoughts of perpetual spinsterdom. But the significance of 30, especially for women, can’t be ignored. I’ve never had fantasies of the white wedding with the fairy tale happy ending (though I have thought of the awesome reception with the great music … and the friends). But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t worry every time an engagement is announced. That I don’t think, am I being left behind?

If so, it seems partially by choice. Certainly my dating over the last few years has been scattered, aimless. I’ve done online, met people the traditional ways (bars, parties), but I’ve shied away from getting a boyfriend. I was grappling with a career change, losing weight, writing a book, making friends, maintaining weight loss – the excuses seemed endless.

But now the book is done, I’ve maxed out on friends, weight and I have reached a peace, and my career is set. I feel more ready for romance. I have hazy daydreams of meeting the person who is funny, smart, sexy, and perhaps most importantly, laughs at my jokes. His outlines are vague: I’ve lost track of who my “type” is and am relying on a know-it-when-I-see-it philosophy.

I’ve attempted to find this person through online dating before. There are pros and cons to online. When I meet guys in real life, I’m never quite sure what they’re after. But sometimes it seems easier to sort out the crazies from the normals online. Though you learn pretty quickly, too, that there are limits to what a profile can tell you. You can find yourself stuck for hours with someone you have zero chemistry with just because you both liked The Office, Ethiopian food and sitting by the pond in Central Park.

Disappointments like that are partially why I gave up on online dating about two years ago. But 30 has me ready to start again. My friends approve. After all, many of them have met their own mates online; I just went to my literary agent’s engagement party on the Upper West Side — an OkCupid couple. Besides, they know dating always comes with good stories. I’m excited to test out eHarmony, OKCupid and How About We and share those tales with them and you.