The Big Cold Shoulder

Below is a selection of messages that I have sent to prospective dates via the online personals sites Fast Cupid,, and Yahoo Personals. They all have two things in common: that I sent them, and that they received no response. I used to have a lot more of these, but I deleted a great many in a fit of pique several months ago. Perhaps some astute reader can point out exactly what I’m doing wrong. Or not. Whatever. I’m so bitter.

Subject: Livin’ in a smudge
I think that’s what East Atlanta used to be. A smudge on the cheek of the city. Or maybe it’s an old tattoo on her ankle. A stylized Garfield. It’s getting an overhaul though, these days, with gentrifiers like myself sticking our noses in with suggestions about how to turn that old ink into something new. Garfield morphed into, oh, I dunno, like Mo Sizlak maybe. That’s kind of the vibe over here these days.

Hi, I’m John.

It’s a lazy sunday, and I’m doing laundry while listening to music. I heard this song while I was in the basement, now I’m going back through the playlist to figure out which one it was. You’d think I’d know the songs I put there, but no. I’ll find it though. I am diligent.

Uh, that’s all I got. Write back.


Subject: Whoa
That is a hella profile you got there. Ditto on the Nature’s Miracle, and pretty much everything else.

When I get to Atlanta, which I am doing this Saturday, you are invited over for tea, and I will use my Pirate Teapot. Providing it survives the journey.

– John

Subject: The Modern Yenta
Your profile cracked me up. I was gonna wait until I actually got to Atlanta (I’m moving to East Atlanta at the beginning of October), but I think your profile is so cool that I’m positive you’ll get a thousand emails between now and then.

I think we’d have a great time together, if we didn’t hate each other on the spot. But then maybe it would wind up as one of those When Harry Met Sally situations and we’d be best friends before marrying Princess Leia and Bruno Kirby.

So I figured, what the hell, I’ll chuck a message over the wall here and find out sooner than later if you see anything you’d like to get to know better.


Subject: Barrels of Monkeys
Body: I gotta respect anybody who looks up how to type an é.

Subject: I’d like to borrow your truck
Body: Ok, not right away, but everybody needs a truck once in a while. It’s kind of like tragedy– inevitable.

Hi, I’m John. If your profile is anything to go by (and what else is the point) I think we have a lot in common and would at the least have some good conversation.

Oh wait, I’m supposed to ask you a question to encourage a response…

See, the problem is that the questions I want to ask are not the sort of thing you put in a cold-call message like this. Such a conundrum this creates. My brain almost freezes up on me. Which never happens any other time. Usually I can’t shut the thing up. Stupid brain.

Right. The question. So, uh, seen any good movies lately?


Subject: Hiya
Body: Today has started out as a train wreck, so I’m going to take a shot at making my own fate by writing you this message. I’m putting so many positive vibes into it that I hope you’re not too overwhelmed.

Hi, I’m John. I like hangin’ out and doin’ stuff. If you too like hangin’ out and doin’ stuff, you should hit that ol’ Reply button.

Also I can juggle.


Subject: Trees ARE awesome
Body: I totally agree. As if that weren’t enough to get you to write back, here’s some more stuff:

1. I hate walnuts too! What are the odds? Not allergic or anything, but why the hell do they put them on my brownie, in my ice cream, on my salad? Pretty soon they’re going to start paving roads with walnuts. They’re everywhere.

2. Do you sleep with a fan for the noise, or for the breeze?

3. I took a LOT of piano lessons as a kid. My mother’s mantra: “Six times or perfect!” If I played a section perfectly, I could stop, otherwise I had to try it six times and no rushing through it either ’cause she was listening.

4. I’m unfortunateley lukewarm on Battlestar Galactica; unfortunately because that should be right up my alley. Alas. Eureka is ok; stupid, but ok. I can always watch Joe Morton. My geek roots show through sometimes, especially when it comes to sci-fi.

5. How are you enjoying your new real-estate? I bought a house in East Atlanta about a year ago, and I love it. Love the house, love the location. It’s not my first though. But dealing with contractors and workmen in Georgia is a LOT different from Pennsylvania.

Ok, that’s enough for now I bet.



Subject: You don’t have to be a people person…
…in order to care what happens to them.

Hi, I’m John.

Although at first your list of traits may seem a study in contrasts, I think they make perfect sense. I don’t share them all, but I get it.

I wonder if you’ve any interest in getting a cup of coffee or something, sometime. Well, tea for me, but I won’t hold it against you if you like coffee. It’s a taste thing, not a matter of principle. I have no enmity towards coffee.

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh right, coffee or tea, with me, at your pleasure. Or, alternatively, another message like this one. As you wish.





  1. I guess I’d avoid starting a relationship by saying that you’re writing because your day has been a train wreck. Same goes for mentioning tragedy and the fact that it’s inevitable. I mean, lighten up. Couldn’t you have said that it’s like Barney, or Christmas music in October?

    And the whole smudge thing? Man, that’s a lot of deep thinking about your neighborhood. I mean, I like my neighborhood, but I don’t make people search Google to figure out what the hell I’m talking about. Too much thinking going on. I think it suggests either an unhealthy obsession with Flat Shoals Road, or a desire to sound smart.

    Other than those things, I actually think they’re pretty good. Maybe the non-responders don’t think that your lack of enmity towards coffee is funny. But then, you wouldn’t want to date them anyway, would you?

    Gotta have some personality in there, and if yours turns her off, then you’re both better for not wasting an afternoon together.

  2. So…does this new-fangled method of meeting people mean that writers have the upper hand, or that we’re handicapped?

    I’m just asking, like in case.

  3. I think it’s definitely a handicap. If some girl’s profile has misspellings in it, I think less of her. If it’s not witty or clever, I’m not interested. I expect too much from a profile, I guess, and by that I mean only that I expect more than anyone else seems to. *I* think I’m expecting the right amount, and everybody else doesn’t give enough of a crap.

    As far as them not responding, I’m of two minds. One mind is like “well, if they didn’t like that message they probably wouldn’t like me, so it’s ok.” The other mind is disappointed that they didn’t like the message– since it means there aren’t as many cool girls as I thought, floating around out there waiting for me to notice them. Total ego on my part, but then it’s also my ego getting bashed around when they don’t respond. Because the third mind is saying “you’re a dork, no wonder they don’t respond.”

  4. John, You’re brave and that’s a good thing… Now you’re over-working the creative-thought ‘aint I clever’ style of approach, John. It won’t work because you’re into rare, socially low-frequency ideas… that’s what creativity is… novel, rare, new stuff – but a chickie is FEELING-based. And sensitive to social acceptance. So you’ve gotta be calm, smooth, laid back. Not a loose-cannon unpredictable type of guy. Adapt.

    Focus on her. Her pride, her feelings – flatter her, attend to her, accept, praise and love her into your first encounter. View it as a mystery into Life itself… meditate to slow and stop your thoughts. Let it work from your unconscious.

  5. It should be noted that one of my clever replies worked, although it was in response to my now-wife’s initial, and cleverly written, inquiry on

    And “Blasphemous Rumours” is still an awesome song.

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