Welcome to the 280th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the final and most difficult of June. The winner will receive an MP3 download code courtesy. How to Get a Guy's Attention Through Text Without Bugging Him. Getting a guy's attention when you don't know if he likes you can be scary. However, you will never.
Author Amy Webb. Courtesy of the author. This is an excerpt from Amy Webb’s Data. A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating To Meet My Match, which comes out today.
It was now July, a few weeks since my date with Jim, the weed smoker who refused to split our dinner bill. I knew matching algorithms weren’t perfect, but I kept dating and decided not to cancel my memberships with e. Harmony, Match. com, and JDate. The majority of dates I’d been going on weren’t horrible, they just weren’t great. I was an optimist rooted in math and logic. I knew that if I spent enough time searching through each site and going out with a large enough group of men, I could increase the probability of my finding the right one.
And besides, even if I canceled, I knew how Internet marketing worked. All three services would continue to email me new profiles every day. Subject: Hot Match! Message: We have a new match for you! Legal. Truth. 20 is 3. You haven’t logged in recently. Don’t keep Legal.
Truth. 20 waiting! I was sitting at my desk at work when Match.
Mench. Tastic, and his profile immediately grabbed my attention. He was 3. 3, was a nonsmoker, and said explicitly that he wanted kids. He was also a journalist covering the city hall beat for one of the local newspapers. I was intrigued enough to click through and read the rest of his profile. In his About Me section, Mench.
Tastic wrote, “I’m a journalist, which sometimes means long hours at work but always means I have fantastic stories to tell.” Looking at his profile, I thought that I might know his byline. Even so, we shared enough similarities in our personal and professional lives that it felt as if, even as strangers, we’d been a part of each other’s social circles for many years. I moused over his photo gallery and started clicking through. He had thick, dark curly hair and wore modern horn- rimmed glasses. In one picture, he was wearing white slacks (linen maybe?) and a navy long- sleeve shirt. He looked serene and content, standing with a very tan, old sailor behind the wheel of a large yacht. In another shot, he was sitting at his desk at work, surrounded by stacks of newspapers, file folders, and paper.
On his desk were a coffee mug and a pile of reporter’s notebooks along with two giant computer monitors. Dozens of press- pass badges were hanging on his cubicle. In the next photo, he was out at an event, dressed in a black fitted shirt and dark slacks. He was slender, tan, and seriously attractive.
As I clicked back to his profile, an instant message window popped up on my screen: Mench. Tastic: Hey there“Shit!” I said aloud. He’s caught me looking at his profile. What do I say? Yozora: Hi .. I waited to see what he’d write back. Mench. Tastic: I don’t have a lot of time to chat now. On deadline at work.
What do you think about getting drinks sometime this weekend? Technically the weekend starts in a few hours. Are you free? I immediately heard Hilary’s voice in my ear. You can’t make yourself that available.” But he’s so good- looking. And he’s a journalist.
And he’s asking me out. Aren’t I supposed to date everyone right now? Cast a wide net and see what I catch? Yozora: Sure. Want to meet at Longshots on Fairmount Avenue after work? As soon as I hit Send, I felt a strong tingle in my stomach. Then instant regret. Did I just ask him out by accident?
I bet I just came on too strong. I should have .. Mench. Tastic: 6pm tonight. I’ll meet you there? Yozora: Sold. I rifled through the piles of paper on my own desk looking for my mobile phone. Where did I put it? Not under the file folders.
There, underneath my laptop. I dialed Hilary and waited for her to answer.“So I met this guy on Match,” I said. He sort of looks like Jeff Goldblum, but the Independence Day Jeff Goldblum.
Not modern- day Jeff Goldblum. He seems really smart. He looks smart.”“Yes, I can talk even though I’m at work and this isn’t an emergency,” Hilary said back.“Sorry. Can you talk? So anyhow, he seems normal,” I continued. Hilary sighed heavily.
I’m pretty sure he’s a friend of a friend of Juliet’s.”“Do you think that’s a good idea?” she asked. We all know that you’ll assume he isn’t smart enough for you.”“Very funny,” I said. It’s Friday night and you’re available? He’s going to think you’re desperate,” she said.“Why can’t he just think that I happen to have some free time on the night that he happened to ask me out?” I said, taking another drink of coffee.“What are you going to wear?” she asked.“I was planning on going straight from a client meeting, so black pants—”“You can’t do that,” Hilary interrupted. Your black pants and black or gray top or whatever you’re wearing isn’t good for a first date.
Jeff Goldblum isn’t going to date someone who wears what you wear to work.”“Well, I don’t have time to go shopping,” I said.“That’s another reason you shouldn’t go out with him tonight,” she said. I’m busy at work.”My date with Mench. Tastic kept me preoccupied the rest of the day. I sat through a client meeting discussing the usability of a website, and all I could think about was his photo gallery.
Where was that boat? Did he know how to sail?
I bet he has sexy hands—strong, veiny even, but soft. I looked at my watch more often than I should have, waiting for the meeting to end. We finally wrapped up our discussion, but without enough time to head home first, I went straight to Longshots and decided to wait at the bar for him. I ordered a club soda with a twist of lime, which looked like my usual first- date drink but contained none of the potentially dangerous alcohol. Mench. Tastic would likely order a drink once he got here, and since I actually liked him I didn’t want to get accidentally drunk at the very beginning of the date. Since it could happen so quickly, I usually didn’t realize I was drunk until something bad had already happened.
It could take just one strong drink for accidentally drunk and unwittingly aggressive Amy to rear her ugly head, and the bartenders at Longshots were too unpredictable to entrust with this very important first meeting. Drink in hand, I commandeered my usual position at Longshots: the overstuffed leather sofa in the back corner. It was dim but not too dark, and it was the one place in the bar that didn’t cast the kind of bad shadows that could add a week of sleepless nights plus another 2.
I threw my gigantic bag, packed with my laptop and dating data, next to me as I sat down and sunk into the cushion. By now, the waitstaff and bartenders knew me by name. For the past few months, I’d been having drinks at Longshots with different men at least twice a week. I never stayed more than an hour and always made at least two trips to the bathroom.
They must have suspected me of something, though they weren’t quite sure of what. Was I a drug dealer?
A prostitute for men with a haggard- office- lady fetish? What was in that huge bag of mine? Just as I was taking a sip from my glass, I saw Mench.
Tastic walk through the door. He was just under 6 feet tall and solid but not overweight. Even in the dim lighting, I could see that his olive skin had a healthy glow, as if he’d just been to the beach. With his black pants, dark blue button- down shirt, black overcoat, and messenger bag slung across his chest, he looked like he’d walked right out of a J.
Crew catalog. So far, his profile was accurate. A good sign. He seemed to recognize me instantly too and walked straight toward me.“Hey! Thanks for meeting me tonight,” he started. Our conversation flowed easily. He’d been on a deadline that day, working on a story about how a city councilwoman may have misappropriated campaign money for her own personal expenses.
He’d managed to get a coveted interview with one of the investigators, a primary source, which meant that he’d be able to go through documents together with the councilwoman and have her explain what the audit showed. I mentioned that long ago when I was a reporter, I’d used a pocket scanner I bought in Japan to make copies of documents. He’d been using a digital camera to take photos but thought the scanner was a much smarter idea. As we talked, I noticed our voices overlapping and moving in cadence together. We weren’t quite finishing each other’s sentences, but I mirrored his enthusiasm and found myself thinking faster and grinning more.
I’d moved in closer to him and hadn’t once thought about my laptop or email rating system. I was too eager to hear what he would say next. The waiter came by and asked if Jay wanted to order a drink. Longshots offered an extensive menu with pages of specialty drinks and, in the back, several more pages of coffee roasts and flavors. Jay said he wanted coffee. He’d just filed his story, and he wanted to be alert in case the copy desk called with questions.
He explained that he helps to select which small coffee- bean purveyors Longshots uses.“The El Salvador Verro de los Ranos Peaberry is delicious. And it’s sustainable, which is awesome,” he said. Say that again?” Jay asked, smiling.“I know, it’s a mouthful, right?” the waiter said. It’s on the spicy side. For that, I’d recommend double espresso, without any sugar if you’re able. I can serve it with a few twists of orange peel to bring out the citrus notes.”“Well, I don’t think I have a choice, right?” Jay joked. He wasn’t interested in taking recommendations or even in asking my opinion.
I loved how, in contrast, Jay was so genuinely, naturally inquisitive. At least at Longshots, he wasn’t making assumptions. He was asking thoughtful questions and paying attention to the answers.
Curiosity was one of the hallmarks of a good journalist. As we waited for the coffee, our conversation began to wander from city hall to China. He’d been fascinated with Asian culture and was hoping to travel to the outer edges of the Great Wall. I told him that I’d once been to Dalian, a small city in the northeast.
I was on a reporting trip, trying to learn about how China’s hyper- productive manufacturing scene was affecting nearby countries. One day, it was so brutally cold that I wandered into a tea shop to warm up.
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