Giving online dating a try

Way back in early August, I learned the awful truth that Therese and Stuart were moving to Montreal, ne’er to return. (Okay, that’s an assumption. They might, but I ain’t holding my breath.)

Needless to say, I suddenly ran into the problem of living in the big city of Calgary without any close friends. (Okay, that’s an exaggeration. I do have a fabulous roommate — say “hi”, Tamara!) Faced with a prolonged period of time (mostly) alone, I felt I needed something a little more.

Now, my experience in this city has been one of dichotomy. While it appears to be full of young, single people, none of them appear to be women and even fewer seem to be interested in me. Given, I wasn’t trolling bars or clubs. That’s because the pickings in those places is … well, let’s just say that when you’re looking for Dom Perignon, y’ain’t about to settle for Baby Duck.

This is what led me to (drum roll, please) the Internet.

You: And here I thought you were going to say “train station”.

Me: Ha ha…

You: Though I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised about the Internet, either.

Me: Remember who you’re talking to.

As was once quoted in the movie “American Pie”, God bless the Internet. You can find anything there. I mean it — look long enough, and you’ll eventually come across something that pretty much fits exactly what you need.

This is how I found Erin.

A couple years ago, I’d heard of a site called “Lavalife”. It’s a pseudo-dating site. I say “pseudo” because the site itself does nothing to set you up with anyone else. It’s solely for providing a place for people find each other. It’s up to the individual to contact someone else. What happens from there is up to you and your ability not to come across as a schmuck.

And yes, somehow, I managed to do just that. (Or Erin is kind enough to overlook and not mention it.)

We met online, under aliases, and exchanged email. (It shouldn’t be too surprising as a result that email constitutes the majority of our communication.) That led to online chatting (through MSN) and eventually to the (gasp) phone number exchange. It was still a while after that before we actually met for the first time.

This is the great thing about using the Internet for dating, particularly on dating sites such as Lavalife: quality. (Okay, not entirely true. Erin’s told me a few horror stories of some of the guys she met online.) Generally-speaking, people who come to Lavalife have a similar goal: to meet someone else. You’re not dealing with pounding music, a smoky room, or people so fake that it’s actually painful. There’s no commitment, and there’s no requirement. It’s just you, a keyboard, and a digital photo of yourself (technically optional, but you’ll want one anyway).

Somehow, all that managed to get me introduced to Erin, though I honestly can’t remember who made first contact. (Not that it really matters now.)

So, what do you want to know about Erin? Well, she’s a little younger than I (if you think I’m giving out age, you’re definitely mistaken), a little shorter than me (which is not a big deal), but is big on conversation, movies, having a good time, and above all, getting to know people. We clicked on the first date, which either says a lot for me, or for Erin’s ability to see past all that freakishness that seems to scare everyone else away.

One of the weirdest things, which we learned very early on in one of our phone calls, is that we work barely over a block from each other. Were it not for the Ribtor building, we’d probably be able to see each other’s workplace. Unfortunately, despite proximity, having mutual lunches is exceedingly difficult due to Erin’s schedule. Perhaps one day…

So you could say that I have a new girlfriend. Well, sorta, anyway. For now, we’re sticking to just “seeing each other”. It’s not for a want of using something more definite, but just because we don’t want to rush things too much (we’re still firmly in “Discovery” mode). But I see no reason why I wouldn’t be calling Erin my girlfriend before too long.

And this time, she’s not a 637,540 pound steam locomotive. (See Steam Train with CN 6060, Stettler to Big Valley for an explanation of that little joke.)