I wanted a personal statement that grabbed every guy by the collar and whispered each word into his mouth.I swear I was in love with myself by the time I finished, a bottle having morphed into a six-pack of beer, and I posted the hottest picture of myself I had: a close-up taken by a professional photographer in which I appeared 20 pounds lighter than I was.My first weeks on the site were choppy, but I soon became accustomed to the routine. The coy banter that allowed you to tease out someone's personality.Flirting was like any exercise: it got easier the more you did it.I'd had quiet sex, and giggling sex, and sex so delicate it was like a soap bubble perched on the tip of my finger. I didn't want to watch some guy's face fall when I ordered a Diet Coke and then endure the pecks of his curiosity.
I was starting to learn one of the most important lessons of online dating: the wisdom of saying no. I was shy and ambitious, a terrible mix, and so I tried to dismantle my isolationist tendencies.
My only directions involved taking a glass of wine to my lips and letting the sweet release show me the way. It was the fate of all single women in their late thirties to stare down a personal profile, and as far as punishments go, this was fairly benign. It allowed me to inch toward intimacy with built-in distance. I understood that not drinking—and not drinking to such an extent that it was the first detail I shared about myself—would turn off certain guys. Those bearded eccentrics with their fluency in HBO shows and single-malt Scotch.
It granted me the clarity that "hanging out at the bar" often lacked. How I missed those beautiful, damaged men, but we kept our distance from each other.
After I got sober, I worried I'd never have sex again.
This may sound dramatic, the kind of grandiose proclamation a teenager makes before slamming the door to her room.