Jim Bob Frank. Let’s call him Frank. Because frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
When I joined eHarmony last year -because it seemed the most upstanding of the popular online dating sites- Frank popped up as a match almost right away. For those of you unfamiliar with eHarmony: a) Lucky! and b) They don’t trust you to wade through the man pool on your own. You take what they send you, and what they send you is based on their road-tested algorithm.
It was slim pickings out there, I could already tell, so the fact that Frank lived 3,000 miles away was of little concern. He was my age! And flossed!
I chose the least pushy of my options and sent Frank a smile, then waited with bated breath. By the next morning, we were corresponding through the protective nest of eHarmony’s guided email program.
I soon learned Frank was a conservative Navy pilot from Tennessee (stationed in the Pacific Northwest). I was a liberal project manager from New Jersey (stationed in suburban New Jersey).
Frank grew up with debutante balls and sweet tea, dogs roaming the family farm (and constantly getting hit when they wandered too close to the highway…seriously, how many times did this have to happen before you did something about it, Frank?! Don’t they make leashes in Tennessee?!). I grew up with Green Day and Trader Joe’s, roaming any one of the six mega malls near my house.
But if eHarmony said we were a perfect match, who was I to argue?
We’d both recently endured traumatic divorces, but felt ready and excited for a new relationship. It took three weeks of novel-length letters before we exchanged actual email addresses, and another two weeks before we chatted in real time.
The first phone call was abysmal.
Our emails had been full of clever subject lines and sweeping romantic gestures. Our first phone chat? Stuttering and sweaty palms. The conversation felt forced, dry and unsatisfying. (Er, that’s what she said.) This is never gonna work, I thought.
After we hung up, two and a half brutal hours later, his nervous laugh echoed in my ears. My stomach flip-flopped. There was just something about it. Deep, sincere and rumbling. It reminded me of an old friend.
I couldn’t imagine not hearing that laugh again, and two weeks later, found myself saying, “Why don’t I fly out to Seattle so we can meet?”
Stay tuned for eHopeful Part 2: We Have Lift-off!
How long would you correspond with someone before
forcing the issue volunteering to fly 3,000 miles to meet?