Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Relative Stranger

My friend P usually has some interesting dating story to tell when we manage to catch up every couple of months. The latest one begins at a grocery store near her house. The man ahead of her in the checkout line looked vaguely familiar. He was mid to late 30s, desi with gelled hair slicked back. Trying very hard to look youthful, hip and cool and not quite making it. There was no sign of recognition on his face when he glanced at her briefly. For a minute she thought perhaps he looked like someone else she knew but that did not seem to fit.

After he had left the store, she realized that he had contacted her a few times in through an online dating site. The pictures he had up were a good ten years younger and he was much shorter than what his profile claimed. Since she had never responded, he did not know who she was or what she looked like. She thought no more of the incident except that it was an interesting coincidence.

But unbeknownest to her, there was more to come. She was to run into the same dude at work a few weeks later. Apparently he had transfered to this office recently and was new in the area. At this point, P decided to accept one of his previous contacts and see what he had to say - "just for the kicks" as she explained her motivation. In person "he dripped attitude" and was fairly obnoxious. When he asked for a picture, she suggested that they communicate via email at first if all went well meet in person "for coffee or something". He agreed to this arrangement.

So they started exchanging emails getting off to a fast and furious start. Sometimes, she would run into him in the hallway minutes after having received a mail from him. This thing was becoming more and more thrilling and P is a thrill-junkie. She got her biggest high on the day when they were both in the same meeting, exchanging brief emails to work out the logistics of their in-person meeting.

He was telling her how his calendar was full and he would have to go out of town for a business trip and be back only late Saturday. He could do brunch Sunday morning but she should be prepared to see him in his jogging gear. She had a hard time controlling the laughter rumbling inside her. He had a cube-bound job, no meetings on his calendar from Wednesday to Friday, business trips did not even exist his line of work. Cog in the wheel dude with delusions of grandeur she thought to herself.

The best part of the whole thing she told me excitedly was that she was able to watch his facial expressions as he spun his yarns.
Needless to say, the meeting "for coffee or something" never happened and she stopped responding to his mails. The little game was over and no one was really hurt. P had had her fill of voyeuristic pleasure. Many stories that start online, don't end quite as quietly or harmlessly. A man and his wife end up chatting with each other, online finding true love and also discovering that they have both been cheating. This leads to divorce. A mother impersonates her teen-aged daughter and causes one online suitor to actually murder another. I tell P that she must be careful and not take thrills too far.

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