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My Cinematic Year, Part 4: In which the single, cynical protagonist takes a chance … at romance.

If you like, see also: Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

When I decided to return to my hometown for a year to build a roller-derby league, I only really had one social rule: Absolutely No Dating. I had good reason to avoid the dating scene; I had big plans to move to the West Coast once I had gotten rid of almost everything I owned, but knew I would get attached in the meantime and wind up in a complicated romantic situation.

You can see where this is going already, can’t you.

I’ve always avoided casual dating for a number of reasons. First of all, I just have no knack for sluttery. This is a shame, because it looks pretty fun–all those sweaty mascara-smeared strangers just sort of drunkenly flinging each other around against vehicles and cabinetry and appliances and whatnot–but I’ve never really been able to get into it. The only one-night stand I’ve ever had was very carefully selected from afar and then shamelessly pursued as such: My First One-Night Stand, as if someone were going to add it to my baby book or something.

And then that the whole thing accidentally went on for like eight months in a row as we dated some more and then became exclusive and then got pretty serious there for a while. I’m told that eight months is not at all typical length for one-night stands. Oops?

But hey, at least I tried. The road to heaven is, apparently, paved with my bad intentions.

Other attempts at moral decay include this one time, when I was seventeen, that I kissed a guy even though I had a serious boyfriend already (who was very glamorous on account of being one whole year older and who was probably going to marry me because we were in love, like Rose and Jack in Titanic). After said unfaithful kiss, I spent the next several hours vomiting with guilt. When I finally did manage to get my head out of the toilet, it was only to stare blearily at the clock, waiting for morning to come so that I could call my boyfriend to confess.

It would have been rude to call him in the middle of the night, you see.

Second of all, I was extremely jaded toward dating in general. The last date I had been on (excluding any breathtakingly choreographed eight-month one-night stands) had turned into an actual hostage situation after the suitor in question physically attached himself to me via his face and flat-out refused—and I do mean refused—to let me end the date. It would have legally counted as date rape if we were lampreys instead of people.

Where was I? Oh, yes. No dating. That was the rule.

But I had forgotten one thing: I was in Peoria, without the giant posse of amazing single and/or independent women I had played roller derby with. I loved my new derby league, and am friends with many of them today. But back then, they were first and foremost my skaters—it was my job to boss them around, and for a long time I felt I needed my credibility as a coach more than I needed friends.

So, as Saturday night after Saturday night went by without plans, my resolve weakened and then dissolved altogether, and I sat down one night to compose my own personal opus of an OKCupid profile.

Pleased that I had managed to represent myself pretty accurately, but bummed at all-too-real memories of failed Real Doll telethons (if calling officemates from your cubicle for comedic effect counts as a telethon), I fell into bed, dubious but hopeful.

I really might as well not have bothered with any of it, but I wouldn’t realize that until I had suffered enormously for your comedic pleasure.


  1. Despite being happily married, I nevertheless feel a strong compulsion to ask the then-you out!

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 4:44 am | Permalink
  2. Jim wrote:

    I live in The Big City, well, the biggest one in my state anyway. None (zilch, zip, zero) of the online dating profiles I’ve come across are as funny as yours. If that changes, I’ll reach out to that woman just to give props, even if she is almost young enough to be dating my oldest son, as you are.

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 6:41 am | Permalink
  3. Elly wrote:

    Hahaha, awesome. Best dating profile ever, hey :)

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 8:30 am | Permalink
  4. Teej wrote:

    I was going to say that that profile could garner a response from ONLY the right person, because come on! You used words like altruism and propensity and unadulterated! The wrong people would think you are insane.

    But your final sentence perhaps indicates that I forgot to factor in the dumb people. I *always* forget to factor in the dumb people.

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink
  5. I mean, are you still looking to date someone? Because that profile makes ME want to ask you out.

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink
  6. Megan wrote:

    I’m going to jump on the “that profile makes ME want to date you” bandwagon.

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink
  7. whoorl wrote:

    Let’s get married.

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  8. the muskrat wrote:

    I’ll have to file this in my “in case I’m ever a widower” drawer.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 6:41 am | Permalink
  9. April wrote:

    Probably the best dating profile I’ve ever seen (though that’s only a handful)!! Sloane Crosley has a hilarious story about trying to have a one night stand and you very much sounded like that when I read your post. Ever thought of writing a book??

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink
  10. LisaAR wrote:

    Add me to the bandwagon, too (cept for the darn married/hetero deal I’m in!)

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink
  11. Mrs WV wrote:

    Is it odd that I have re-read the dating profile about 4 times, and am laughing harder each time?? anyways, cannot wait for next installment!

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink
  12. Jen wrote:

    April, I’ve actually WRITTEN a book. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s terrible, mostly.

    Also, I hereby accept all of your propositions. Maybe I’m kind of a slut after all.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink
  13. amanda wrote:

    I met a guy whose profile was very similar… totally unexpected, funny, completely unlike anything I’d ever read.

    So I married him.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink
  14. Dawn wrote:

    This is quite frankly the best online dating profile I have ever seen.

    Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink
  15. Kerri Anne wrote:

    I’m adding “dying face down in a pile of nachos” to my life list.

    But that’s only if I don’t die by whale slap, which is my first choice. But it’s good to have contingency plans.

    Monday, July 18, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Permalink
  16. Kristen wrote:

    How would you feel if I were to “borrow”/modify some of your profile for my own? Cause you say a lot of what I TRY to say, but you sound FUN, while I worry that I sound bitter. I mean, I know you’d never know, but I want to make sure I have your permission.

    Monday, July 25, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  17. Jen wrote:

    Kristen, I think it’s always a better policy to come up with your own stuff, and I don’t grant permission for people to represent themselves with my material (though I often help friends come up with ways to represent themselves better in writing in their own profiles).

    Personally, at least, I would be disappointed to find out that someone I was interested in had used material from a different profile. Instead, I recommend really sitting down and finding a way to represent yourself that you’re satisfied with. That way, you’ll know you can back it up in future e-mails and exchanges without a change in tone or personality, because it’s really YOU.

    But if some of the ideas behind what I’m saying–this “love to live alone, am mountain hermit etc.” appeals to you, by all means run with it in your own words!

    Monday, July 25, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  18. Kristen wrote:

    Oh yes yes…I would NEVER directly STEAL, but I loved the bit about getting too old to hate everything…I feel the same way and wonder why others my age haven’t done the same. It’s more like I’m so inspired by your honesty. I was too scared to be 100% honest, but now I’m going to go with it! Thank you for the inspiration! :)

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 7:59 am | Permalink

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