The messages slow down by the third day, so it’s easier to find the ones from actual people, and I start to recognize some familiar faces from at least a dozen profiles I encountered and discarded on Match two or more years ago.
One face I don’t recognize right away; it’s a picture I’ve never seen from a life I don’t recognize, but it strikes a nerve so I go to the profile to see other pictures, and even then I can’t place the face until I get to the picture of him with my former stepson.
The Departed is online dating.
I read the profile, and it, too, is someone I’ve never met – I notice right away that he’s checked the college graduate box. The text feels generic, like it came from an article on how to write online dating profiles; it is anything you want to read into it. Both a leader and a follower, a teacher and student. There are grains of truth, massaged into appealing characteristics, and when I read closely, I recognize the kernels of truth.
Then I remember that he will know I’ve visited his profile, and I block him from seeing mine.
Mr. Faraway has a profile, too, and it’s offered up to me as a good match: according the the algorithm, we’re 91% mathematical match. I consider, and then discard, the possibility of telling him this; he’s not likely to see the humor, or maybe the sadness, in it.
Unlike The Departed, who logs in often throughout the day, Mr. Faraway hasn’t logged in for quite some time, but we’re still Facebook friends, so I know why: He’s been tagged twice in photos of himself and a jolly-looking woman. She is the one who posts the photos, not him, but I see them, and see the comments from friends and family. Can’t wait to meet her. Love is in the air.
I want to tell him, Don’t rush. Make deliberate choices, they take time.
But I don’t. It’s not my place to say, anymore.