E-Date

Meeting dudes, tweeting, buying ballet flats. It's 2013!

Meeting dudes, tweeting, buying ballet flats. It’s 2013!

Let’s face it, none of us have time to interact with other humans face-to-face anymore, so I’m always surprised when people get bent out of shape about online dating. We buy our clothes online, we talk to our friends online, we learn new hairstyles online, so why not meet new and maybe scary people online? I dabbled myself back in the day, and it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s all the fun of going out to a bar minus the crowds, and drunk people, and putting on real pants, and pretending like you care, plus your own private bowl of popcorn. Online dating is the most fun!

Last night, my friend told me of a few of the very specific dating sites she’d heard of. After all, the whole point of online dating is to meet someone you’re actually compatible with and might want to spend a significant, even binding, amount of time with. So why beat around the bush? There are some sites that are pretty general: Match.com (for people who’re looking to get hitched), OKCupid (for fun, young flooszies), eHarmony (for people who like being in commercials). Then there are the more specific sites, because if you know you want a Jew, might as well find yourself a Jew! JDate (for the aforementioned group), Christian Mingle (duh), Our Time (for the over 50 crowd, hey!),  Amigos (for amigos), BlackPeopleMeet (for black people who like titles that are way too literal), AshleyMadison (for people who want to have affairs, which is apparently an okay thing to do, and they have commercials, what?) and so on, and so forth. Little did I know how specific things actually get.

Stachepassions.com is a dating site for guys with mustaches and girls who like ’em. I took a quick look at the website, and as you might imagine, the selection is top notch. Lots of creepy men and handsome women looking to have a good time. There  is also LoveMeLoveMyPets.com for singles who freaking love domesticated animals.

There is a site called NerdPassion, for a group of people I never need to meet. DiaperMates is allegedly a forum where people interested in wearing adult-sized diapers or makeshift diapers can search for, share photos with and meet people who have similar interests. So that’s pretty normal.  The Atlasphere is for people who love the Ayn Rand book Atlas Shrugged (so like, everybody, right?). Darwin Dating is strictly for super hot people (it’s where Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr met).  Farmersonly.com is for people who will only eat delicious breakfasts for the rest of their lives. TallFriends is for super tall-ies, who probably want to be more than just friends, if you know what I’m sayin’ (high five)!

Chances are, if you are picky, there is a dating site out there for you. Because you might as well weed out the riff-raff and find the lesbian, vegetarian, Apple employee who’s right for you (not a real site…as far as I know).

“Lemme in now”

#1

#1

The other night, I met a few friends at Vynl for dinner. For those unfamiliar with the place, Vynl is a music-themed restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. The first time I went, I discovered it’s claim to fame are the restrooms (this was in the summer of 2008, with my Ailey pals). There are four one-stallers, each with a different musician theme: Elvis, Dolly Parton, Cher, and Nelly. During my 2008 visit, I found myself in the Dolly Parton room. I had no idea what was happening. It was quite a treat. This time, I thought I’d try out a different stall. Obviously, St. Louis shawty that I am, I went to Nellyville.

We had a good time, Nelly and I. Ride Wit Me was pumping through the speakers (the first time…the pre-train trip included a track I didn’t know, but I danced anyway), there was a tiny Nelly doll in a glass case, along with a tile mosaic of Nelly’s face. It was definitely the most fun bathroom I’ve ever been in. But later, I got to thinking, how in the world did they decide to devote their only rap restroom to Nelly?

Now, I love Nelly. He’s definitely the best rapper to come out of STL (sorry Chingy and J-Kwon), but New York City is the birthplace of hip-hop. And even if they opened the floor up to the world of rap, there are countless rappers they could have chosen from. I mean, their “white male” choice was Elvis, The King, not Rob Thomas or the main guy from Creed. And their two white ladies, while not necessarily the dames I’d have chosen, are legends in their own right. This restaurant must have opened between 2000–2006, when Nelly was killing the game. Honestly, I think we should all feel relieved that they went with him and not another popular rapper of his era. A Bubba Sparxx restroom might have brought an end to the restaurant.

Another reason they probably chose Nelly is that he is not very controversial. He’s never killed anyone, or hosted dog fights, or given drugs to a baby, or anything. There was that whole “tip drill” moment, but I’m over it, just like you are. He even has a nonprofit organization, 4Sho4Kids. I’m not sure what the foundation tackles, but I’m guessing they teach kids how to fit in numbers where you never thought they’d go!

In any case, I’m glad that of all the rappers they had to choose from, they went with my dawg Nelly. And you know, I’m not even that bothered that they went with a now-forgotten rapper instead of a true legend of black American music (like James Brown, or Stevie Wonder, or Aretha Franklin, or Whitney Houston, or Prince, or Michael Jackson, or Sam Cooke, or Etta James, or Ray Charles, or Tina Turner,or Patti Labelle, or Marvin Gaye).  It’s cool Because, as my friend Emily pointed out, the decision was likely made based on what dolls were available at the pop music doll store. Luckily, my dirty Nelly was still in stock. And now, generations of New Yorkers who might never have heard “Air Force Ones” will, and that’s what makes this America.

Old Dog

It has now been almost four years since I graduated college, one of the scariest facts of all. I guess I’m doing alright, what with my hugely successful blog that has wordpress in the url, and all. But there’s something about higher learning that just can’t be replaced. So, instead of going back to school, which requires money and direction, I’ve taken it upon myself to educate myself the modern way…online.

My first foray into online classes started last fall, when I purchased a Living Social deal for a 6-month online language class (I have about four hours left before it goes away). I decided that my 6-month language would be Italian (oviamente!), since I’d studied it in college, even spending a semester in the great land of pasta and leather goods. Much to my surprise, I remembered much of what I’d learned so many years ago. I even got a 100% on my first mini-quiz!

The one drawback to the class, though, was the “repeat-after-me” section. That’s not what it’s called, that’s what it is. The little Italian man in my computer says “no ho niente da dichiare,” and I repeat after him, then listen to my voice, which (luckily) has been recorded. It’s true. I have nothing to declare. I’m usually fine, if a little embarrassed by the sound of my own voice and the fact that my roommates, during the peak of my Italian studies, heard me repeating “dove si trova il bancomat piu vicino?” (where is the closest ATM located?) through my bedroom door. The computer records your voice, and you get to hear how good you sound compared to actual Italian people. It’s always REALLY good. But sometimes, those words are just too complicated for my Midwestern tongue. I was completing my online lessons fairly regularly, two or three times a week, until about two months ago, when I came across a word that tripped me up majorily: “i bagagli.” Luggage. I recorded myself slurring “i bagagli” about four times, before giving up. (The last recording was just me laughing into the computer microphone.) The idea is to kind of blend the soft G with the L, but that wasn’t happening here. I just sounded drunk and confused. And I was only confused. End of Italian classes.

Then I discovered Coursera, a wonderful program that partners with universities to offer free online classes. I elected to take “Women and the Civil Rights Movement” taught by a professor at the University of Maryland. I figured I had better take this class, being black and a woman, and it has turned out to be very informative (there’s a lot of stuff I didn’t know about me). The professor is particularly lovely, teaching classes while standing in front of bookshelves, donning handsome neck scarves, or shooting close-ups in her office…always a favorite. She sometimes trips over her words, which is charming. Silly Prof!

The problem with the class, though, is that sometimes I can’t get through a 15 minute lecture without exploring the rest of what my computer has to offer. Halfway through my third short lecture last week, I found myself browsing espadrilles on Gilt. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. It was like I blacked out. Just sandals, everywhere. Pull yourself together, I thought to myself, clicking on the Coursera tab. Focus. But what I’d really wanted to check out on Gilt were the dresses. Had I seen 90% off somewhere on that page? The good news is that I did not buy anything that evening. The bad news is that my lack of attention resulted in my getting a 16/20 on my first quiz. Womp werrrrmp. Online shopping is not the opposite of what “Women and the Civil Rights Movement” is all about, but it’s definitely NOT what “Women and the Civil Rights Movement” is all about. Lesson learned. (The next day, I tried to simultaneously watch Girls while listening to my lecture, which also didn’t work, but I feel like Ida B. Wells and everyone would have been more okay with that than the Gilt thing.)

They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and they may be right. I’m not even that old, but I’m like let’s stick to the old tricks. Sometimes, though old dogs need intellectual stimulation, so even if you are an old dog who absorbs very little of the tricks you’re trying to let the internet educational system teach you, at least you can say you tried. Either that or you’ll find some new footwear.