Ok, it’s taken me months to actually sit down and write this post. I’ve really been working up to it. It’s a doozy. Here’s the thing. I’m dating. I know, I know. It’s like revolutionary news. Now, don’t get too excited. I’m not dating like–the same–person. I’m dating lots of people. But, if you know me AT ALL, then you know that this is freakin’ huge!

I’m, ahem, on e-harmony. *cue the cheesy 70s love music*

So it all started last August around the time of my 32nd birthday. It’s a rather long story involving my friend, Yon, and a website called “Hot or Not,” but let’s just say that eventually it led me headlong into deciding that it was time to go about approaching things a bit differently in the romantic camp.

Well, the first several months of my e-harmony citizenship were lackluster to say the least. Coincidentally, these were also the months when I happened to be still living in Blacksburg. Or as I like to call it…Bleaksburg, where weather and, yes, dating are considered. I mean, let’s face it. Part of the problem is that I’m well into my 30s at this point and most of the fellas around there are 18 to 22-year-olds. Not only is that just gross and inappropriate, but I stopped enjoying barhopping and hoochie skirts about the time that ‘N Sync went Bye Bye Bye. Even most of the grad students I’ve met who’ve moved to Blacksburg ended up getting roped into the undergraduate mentality as well. There’s just something about that town in that way.

Thus, the need for some enhanced support structures…

So, e-harmony has this system where, after receiving a match, and if you’re interested in said match, you’re supposed to go through a “Guided Communication” process before you can openly email back and forth. This process involves a series of questions and an exchange of “Must Haves/Can’t Stands.” After which, if you both agree that you’re still interested, then you can graduate to “Open Communication.”

Sadly, in the four months between joining e-harmony and moving to Atlanta, I didn’t make it all the way through the “Guided Communication” process with a single match. Now, granted, the reasons for this were many and varied. Some of them included things as simple as I wasn’t going to date someone who lived in Beckley, WV for geographical reasons. Then we get to more complicated reasons. Such as blatant and frequent typos and spelling errors in a profile. If your profession is “Antrepeneur,” I ain’t gonna date ya. Perhaps he was really an ant farmer?

Are you looking for a “signifigate other?” Look elsewhere.

How about this…”Last book you read: motorcycle magazine”

I could keep going but I don’t want to get petty. Ok, but just one more…

Tell me, do you think that it’s a good idea for the main picture on your profile to be of yourself in the process of getting a tattoo? (No offense to my tattoo-sporting friends, but splayed out on the table with your shirt off is just not an attractive way to win friends and influence people!)

Moving on…literally! I moved to Atlanta, and immediately my prospects got better. I mean, it stands to reason that, in moving to a giant metropolitan area, my chances would improve, right? Well, the sheer number of matches that I started receiving from e-harmony are clogging up my inbox. Before I could bat my bespectacled eyelashes, e-harmony has become like another part time job. Oh, the agony of countless hours spent wading through profile after profile!

Also, with that amount of volume, it stands to reason that I was bound to have slightly more luck. Indeed, I made it all the way through the !@#$#%& “Guided Communication” process with two men in just that first week alone. If nothing else, that was a boost to my ego.

Another boost to my ego–I’ve now been out with four different guys on six different dates since I moved to Atlanta on January 3. That’s more dates than I went on in the entire 9.5 years I lived in Blacksburg. In my world it’s like a world record!

Now, I warn you, like I’ve warned my parents and sister on more than one occasion–just because I’m doing this DOES NOT necessarily mean that I’m going to get married. I have no greater agenda for all this except the practice. As a matter of fact, I’m already starting to slow way, way down. For one thing, it’s expensive to go out like this. And exhausting.

For another, let me just point out that I’m writing this post on Valentine’s Day evening. I started out writing it whilst sitting at a coffee shop so that I could give my roommate and her boyfriend some time in the apartment to enjoy a lovely dinner all to themselves. Oi! And now, I’m finishing it up at home with my feet propped up, watching Lost. So, you know, like I said, nothing really major has changed in my life just yet.

But it is funny the way the universe starts sending you little messages once you open yourself up in this way. For instance, take a look at my horoscope from a few weeks ago:

New people are coming into your life at a fast and furious pace right now, but not all of them will be staying very long. This should come as welcome news, since more than one of them is probably going to rub you the wrong way. You have strong opinions and you are about to meet someone who wants very much to change your opinions. Do the mature thing by listening to what they have to say. If it makes sense, then consider modifying your own beliefs. It’s okay to change your mind.

Whatever. Anyway, like I said, I’m definitely not looking for any major reordering of my reality paradigm romantically, but at least, well, it’s nice, at the age of 32, to have joined the ranks of 16-year-olds the world over.