Washington Flyer contributing editor and “clueless romantic” Machacek spends a year looking for true love.
After a fizzled long-distance relationship followed by miserable blind dates, the frustrated 33-year-old became proactive, beginning a 12-month “experiment” using a variety of matchmaking outlets to find her Mr. Right. The opening statistics are discouraging—a 2005 survey of Internet users: “55% of singles reported no active interest in seeking a romantic partner”—yet Machacek plodded on, posting profiles on sites like Match.com, eHarmony, IJL (“It’s Just Lunch”) and The Onion Personals. The expectations were lofty, but the in-person dates disappointed in both looks and personality as much as the rapid-fire exchanges at speed dating and the four weeks of blind dating, which failed to turn up anyone with which the author shared romantic chemistry. Machacek appealed to family, friends and co-workers for support, especially sage gay pal Kenneth, who’s “equal parts crotchety old man and charming queen.” With one service charging more than $1,000, the author learned the costly side of romance alongside the quagmires of dating outside her area code and coming clean to potential love interests about her experiment. Whether these men failed to entice her due to “stylistic blunders,” lack of physical attraction or spark, the author repeatedly found herself “caught in a melee of not-quite-rights.” Some of the calamity is humorous, and there’s fun to be had in the chase itself, but her “superficial judgments” on the parade of men who abruptly came and went eventually doomed her serial dating project. To her credit, the author acquiesces to hard-won personal revelations about her shallowness and sabotaging tendencies to prejudge others. Machacek’s most rational conclusion, however, concerns her refusal to settle for less—to “not choose anyone in order to keep myself open to someone who is right for me.”
Practical but dispiriting social spadework.