“Hey Pierre, so I know I said that I was excited about this site, but I just got an email from an underage goth kid from California.” Clearly I don’t have a filter under pressure. “Is there some kind of setting where I can block these people?” Freaking out. I half expected a novel about the control settings in his response, and was shocked to open his email:
“So yeah, there are several features that aren’t available yet, unfortunately” he started. “We just launched this site last week, so it’s still pretty new.”
Pierre just went from snapper to minnow status. There was even an instant message feature that allowed college freshman, horse-lover Joey to ask how my Friday night was going. I felt like I just registered for another class – this site was going to require some hard work and heavy filtering.
I pick my head up to assess my late-night Friday library company. Sparse. And these people had actual work due – probably Ph.D. candidates just hitting the 103rd page of their dissertations.
I want to say the word “reject” (noun) originated in the early 90’s, although maybe that’s just when I remember it being somewhat in style. The ones who sat in the front of the bus; the girl who had the backpack with wheels. Modern day Reject: the twentysomething who communicates with underage boys online on a Friday night. Right up there with people who have an account on “Second Life” and still rock Canadian tuxedos.
I continue to skim the smart crowd and spy a beauty on my immediate left. Literally came out of nowhere. He was studying his laptop hard and kept readjusting his Colgate Hockey ball cap. Yes, the hat screamed one-night-stands and “yeah bro”, but it immediately brought him up 20 points on my interest level. And he was a real, tangible man! Unlike the boys on this site, he was in 3D. Unlike Facebook, he would immediately react if I were to go over there and “poke” him. My coffee-drowned, delirious mind was setting back in and I created another mission for myself: somehow give him my number before leaving.
Whatever this boy was working on, it was requiring all of his attention. I tried everything: flipping my hair, exhaling loudly to display stress and hard work, slouching in my chair like I’m over it and sad I turned down three dates tonight to be here. His eyes didn’t leave the computer. It was time for maximum movement: it was time for my fourth coffee break.
I throw in my order for a medium chai and get extra chatty with the café man. Words like “ugh, almost done here” and “TGIF” slip out of my mouth in conversation. Hockey doesn’t leave my peripheral view and he still has yet to look up. As I’m walking back over to my seat, I aim my feet straight for his table until he lifts his head. Our eyes lock. I didn’t mean to, but I stopped walking and smiled. Even let out a “hey”. He snapped out of his glossy look to acknowledge my reject (noun) presence. What was I doing?
“Hey!” he said enthusiastically but completely confused. I took a giant breath in and then turned my head to keep walking. I might as well have been carrying a plastic lunch tray with rice, veggies and my retainer.
Running my fingers through my hair to compensate for the awkward interaction, I grab my seat and let out a “I’m crunching derivatives” sigh. My eyes widen as soon as I focus on my laptop screen. Five instant messages are blinking for a response. Don’t people know that went out of style after college? Shoot me an email, damn it – I’m busy crunching derivatives.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to weed through these IMs. It’s the awkward IM icebreakers alone, that make this site worthwhile. I came across some gems, such as: “you are a rare diamond” from Raheem, and two “whats up”s followed by “where are you?” from a paranoid Jake121. I perused all the blinking boxes and continued searching. I was having a blast.
Hockey Boy looks up at me. I could feel his stare coming from where he sat a few tables away. I keep my eyes down and slowly raise them to match his.
Lock. Love. Smile.
Head down. It was time to make another move. I was tapped out of datemyschool.com for the night and needed to head home. But Hockey needed to know my feelings for him. He didn’t have a cheat sheet in front of him with my stated interests and my really fun pictures to show how much of a catch I am. He needed a physical clue. I wasn’t about to go over there again, and I would probably stutter or moo if I tried speaking words.
Suddenly, a light bulb. I would write him a note. I ripped out a blank sheet of paper from my health class notebook and wrote: “Good luck studying!” followed by my first name and my number. It was perfect. It was short, sweet, and relatively anonymous.
When I was younger, my cousin Chris taught me how to make the world’s best paper airplane. If you fold it a few more times than average and at a certain angle, the thing will fly for a good 35 or 40 feet. That was the approximate distance between Hockey and me. Without hesitation, my hands began folding my love note into a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress (known for its strategic bombing capabilities) and I was ready to launch. I packed my bags and put my coat on – there was no way I was sticking around after launching this love missile. My hands were shaking as I tried my best to hide it until I was completely ready.
Hockey looks over at me as I pack up. He continues staring as if he wanted to say something too – just a few words that would keep me from vanishing forever. We only had about 10 seconds left together. I lock eyes with him for the last time that night and raise my shaking right hand, plane pointing straight toward him.
“Catch,” I let out. Plane takes off, perfect execution. I turn my back and beeline it out of there as if I just dropped a ticking bomb. Didn’t look back. I could just imagine the confusion on his face if I did: the unfolding of the B-52 and the delayed laughter. I felt like someone just kicked my backpack with wheels and launched it 20 feet across the student cafeteria.
While the exit sign is glowing in front of me, I suddenly hear my name called from someone on my right. Startled the crap out of me. I was on a mission to leave and now someone else knows me at 1am in the library.
“Yeah?!” I exclaim. I look around in a panic. Boy named Bill is sitting in the depths of empty tables on my right. Went to college with him, graduated a year after me, and sits on my college Manhattan alumni board with me. Nice boy, but very loud. Guess he’s also in grad school now. I had to keep this short, the bomb was about to explode behind me.
“Oh, hey Bill.” I couldn’t think of a worse time to run into someone.
“Heyyy Heidi!” he’s excited to see me at this ungodly hour. “Last time I saw you was at the alumni basketball game watch at Stout. That was a great turnout, really fun party.” Little did I know, this guy was actually making me look cool in front of Hockey. We were talking within earshot of my crush. I smile and play into it:
“Yeah, that was really fun!” I agree. “We’ve had really good turnouts at these game watches. I love how the bartenders always give us free shots at the end of games for helping to plan these events.” That’s right, Hockey – my backpack may have just been catapulted 20 seconds ago, but you’re dealing with the class president. House party at my place this weekend.
We parted ways promising to see each other at the next game and I was out of there. Really wasn’t expecting to hear from this guy – after all, this is New York City: the single man’s playground. I’m sure he had a few pots already on his stove.
Not even ten minutes later, my phone buzzes. Unknown number pops up. I read the text out loud so I don’t miss a word:
Nice paper plane and pick-up skills. What brings you to the library on a Friday? –Greg
Deal sealed. Turns out he’s 23, just moved to the city and going to grad school part-time. We go back and forth with witty texts for the next twenty minutes, all the while I’m getting ready for bed and waiting for a date invitation. Finally he pulls through:
We should grab a drink sometime. I need to learn your plane making techniques.
A little cheesy, but I agreed to it and put my phone on silent before passing out.
Turns out, a week rolls by and the young gun never follows up. Must have met a short- skirted recent graduate in the Village the following night. Maybe he shared a room in the quad with Undergrad Dan. Or maybe picking up people should remain in the hands of the man. I believe that chivalry is not dead and men should be the ones to initiate dates. But I also believe that it doesn’t hurt to express interest from time to time, even if it means launching inanimate objects in their direction. Greg was too much of a rookie to absorb the strategic missile and retaliate. Datemyschool.com would take some heavy filtering, but it may have a few seasoned vets worthy of a missile launch.