A reader writes:
While I did meet my wife of 16 years online, it wasn’t via a dating site (I don’t know if any existed then). It wasn’t even on the Internet. Or rather, it was, but not the way people think of it today. It was on one of the old USENET newsgroups, where a large number of quirky and interesting people hung out and discussed … pretty much everything. It was a strange but useful situation in which most people were looking for a relationship, but unlike dating site hookups we weren’t “stuck” with trying to make something happen with one person in semi-contrived “dates”.
My future wife and I argued passionately but congenially. We liked one another but there was no romantic spark (at least on my end). But that group often had get-togethers. People would fly across the country to hang out for a weekend, and on one of those trips we met in person. There was a click, but we didn’t act on it until another get-together months later. Serendipity? I think so.
An unrelated aside: A lot of bi, gay, and poly people were on the group in those days, and being around them (even in a mostly virtual fashion) finished off my wavering discomfort with, and disapproval of, gay folks.
Yes, I finally [tinypass_offer text=”subscribed”]. Over the years the Dish has gotten me through elections, made me angry, kept me sane. What assuaged my guilt and held me back, honestly, was the tone of your responses to readers’ concerns about the two in-your-face/not-after-the-jump photos of genitalia. You may have the luxury of being out from under The Man’s tyranny at your workplace, but not all of us are.
But what broke down my resistance to subscribing was the post from the single farmer reading the Dish on his tractor. Whether or not you can add a dating section to your amazing site (God, that would be awesome), it fiercely hit me how much I value the diversity, not only of the posts, but of your amazing readers, and how much in their diversity they look like me. Where else do atheists willingly suffer and thoughtfully respond to posts about Catholicism; where else do Catholics so thoughtfully try to balance reason, doctrine, the reality of the contemporary world, and the imperative of mercy and justice? Where else do people explain, present arguments, and attempt logically to convince, rather than shout, slander, and throw tantrums when faced with reasonable questions? I am already a part of this strange group that values rational debate (and puppies); now I am a contributing part.
And I’m also single, in Portland, Oregon. I realized long ago I am incompatible with nearly everyone.
I can see the different merits in opposing positions; I can see gray; I can see that conservatism, and the robust continuity of a polity and a people can sometimes best be served by “progressive” decisions that take note of the reality of the times. And I do find that contemporary reality is rather often something of which we should indeed take heed! All that puts me in a minority – yet on your site I am in the majority. Like your farmer, I work with my hands – in my case as a chef. Like your farmer, my blue-collar metier doesn’t preclude curiosity or stain my neck indelibly red. I work for a nonprofit; I donate my time to other charities; I’m Catholic and finally excited about my Church as a whole (I always saw much good at the local level, thankfully). I imagine a new Franciscan Era in which we all learn how to be more merciful, tolerant, rational, and just, in our dealings with others and in our governance.
I’m 4’10”, slender, bench 200 pounds, adore Rilke and Ottoman court music, studied Japanese and philosophy, and like to read the news in English, Spanish, and French when I have the time (because I forgot any and all Japanese). Also, because I’m a cook, I have the most lamentable diet imaginable when away from work (I take it on faith that Reese’s constitutes a complete protein and that the citric acid in Haribo counts as a fruit). I like training dogs, I like petting cats, I’m on Reddit, I take MOOCs, I’m suddenly near-sighted, and I’m addicted to lipstick. My primary adjunct spirituality is that of looking at Cute Cat Photos on the Internet.
Let’s see what you can find me!
Update from a reader:
No seriously. Help us out, here. I met one Dishhead in person when he overheard my conversation, at a Gotye concert I had been dragged to and hated every second of. He was so handsome and funny in a corduroy blazer and was amazed when I quickly estimated that I probably had 8-10 comments published. And then there was the adorable casual invocation of the girlfriend who just didn’t get why he spent so much time on the Dish every day. But before that little revelation we already had so much in common and so many things to talk about!