Knock Knock. Christiane’s elfin face appears around my front door of my cottage. I peer out of the bathroom, yellow gloves up to my elbows as I am cleaning the toilet on this sunny afternoon.
“I met zis guy on Facebook – how tall is 6’4”?” I look at Christiane, who is French and tiny in that way French women can be. “Tall” I say, looking up the length of the door.
“Zis tall? Well, should I write ‘im back?”.
I am confused. Is this a friend of a friend? How did he get to Christiane’ s Facebook page?
“Oh” she tells me “you are not on Facebook?
Hell, I am not. I am holding out. A few months ago my sister called me from Italy, all excited about her Facebook page and why couldn’t she find me? What, I didn’t have a page? This refrain is becoming annoying.
No, I am not on Facebook, I stubbornly refuse to be. I hate Facebook. I don’t want to be found by people I spent time getting disentangled from, I don’t want to be hunted down by classmates I deliberately chose not to stay in touch with or by people I don’t remember. Above all, I don’t want complete strangers sending me e-mails whose heading says “Are you interested -YES or NOT”.
I found out through Christiane’s garbled English that Facebook now works as a dating service too, no fee attached. Goodbye Jdate, Harmony and co. She switches my laptop on and shows me the hundreds of e-mails from guys around the world: the potbellied man from Cairo, the pasty one from England, the cute one from Belgium and on and on. She is really excited and we finally get to the 6’4” guy who wants to know how tall she is and for good reason. In all the photos he is wearing a baseball cap, a sure sign he is balding, something that Christiane doesn’t approve of. He lives in San Clemente, less than a couple of hours from LA which I think is somewhat desirable – wrong! She is looking for a far away romance that won’t be too much trouble if it doesn’t work out. It must be some French dating game.
Many of my single girlfriends have given in and whipped out the credit card to sign up with an internet dating service. And who can blame them? Finding single men in LA, of the desirable variety, is harder than getting smallpox. Still, I am so naive or stupidly self righteous that, no matter how bad things might turn out, I believe I would not succumb to internet dating services or, worse still, Facebook, where it becomes a second job to post photos that will make you look at your best (an impossible feat for me, the least photogenic person to ever walk the planet – not even Herb Ritts could be of help) and write profiles that will make you sound interesting. And then all the back and forth e-mailing, the tentative phone calls, the disappointing meetings or a likable guy who never calls back. Way too much effort.
Endless evenings with a book and my dog seem more appealing.
Christiane is deflated by my lack of enthusiasm and decides not too reply to the hapless San Clemente guy and moves on to the next message while I return to my toilet. It might be she is having more fun than me.