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Many moons ago when I was single, bored, and not meeting anyone interesting, I turned to the personal listings in an artsy fartsy New York City paper. It’s was the 80’s and Match.com was far, far down the techno highway. Answering a singles ad required guts, a sense of adventure, and a huge leap of faith. There were no photos, no compatibility matches – you just found an ad that sounded interesting, called, and left a message.

Sometimes they called back. If the initial phone conversation lagged or was at all questionable (i.e. “I’m into professional wrestling”) you found an excuse to hang up, and quick. But if you clicked, you might set up a date. One guy in particular stands out in my mind. The MacGyver dude.

After our chat we had set up a date for that weekend in the city – a bar in Greenwich Village, although I don’t remember which one. I do remember that they had beers from all over the world, and I ordered myself a Gösser, which was the beer I always used to drink when I lived in Vienna. The bar was crowded and I was purposefully there early – I wanted to be able to see this guy walk in.

On the phone, you asked the usual questions; what do you do? where do you live? And most importantly, what do you look like? This guy said he looked like MacGyver. While I’d never watched an episode of “MacGyver,” I knew what the dude looked like; and while he’s not exactly my type, he’s not cringe-worthy either. So here I sat on a bar stool waiting for a reasonable MacGyver facsimile to walk through the door.

William H. Macy

You’re not MacGyver…

What eventually walked in was not exactly MacGyver – he was more like William H. Macy on a really bad day. With pockmarks. He looked to be around 40 – I was in my twenties. But, what the hell – I was willing to give the guy a chance.

But not for long – this date was going south faster than a jet bound for Miami. He was leering at me for starters – he’d gotten the better end of the deal, and didn’t try to hide his pleasure. Ick. I started to get creeped out rather quickly. He also kept angling to leave the bar, which I had no intention of doing.

So I tried to make conversation. This proved to be difficult – it became alarmingly apparent that this guy had no personality. It was time for me to get myself out of this mess. I’m not the type to come right out and say “this isn’t working for me, sorry!” so I had to devise, in true MacGyver style, a plan to escape.

While we chatted, he mentioned how he had zero interest in marriage or kids, and was looking for nothing more than someone to date casually. Ta-da! Light bulb over head – switched on!

For the next 20 minutes I managed to subtly mention that I wanted 4 kids, and that my goal was to be married by the time I was 28, and that I had subscribed to “Bride” magazine since I was 16. No matter what the subject, I tried my best to turn it into a lecture on the “Joys of Settling Down.”

It was enough. Fortunately he was the type who could come right out and say “this isn’t working for me, sorry!” and before 10 pm I had reclaimed my spot at the bar, blissfully alone, sipping another cold Gösser.

Picture 4It wasn’t my last blind date – there was a later one that was even worse, but it was the last time I ever answered a singles ad. That style of dating was like playing “Let’s Make a Deal” but there’s a dud behind almost every curtain. And here I was thinking I might actually win the Pontiac…

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