I can’t believe I haven’t told you this story yet. It’s one of the more amusing ones from my many years on the dating scene. You may remember that I met M through a popular dating website (the one that matches you up to compatible matches based on 29 dimensions of your personality, if you were curious). He was the first I was extremely interested in, but I knew it was best to play the odds. Before “meeting” him online, I’d communicated with any matches that I found remotely interesting. You never know when your first impression could be wrong, right?
One of my most memorable matches was Tim. He was a firefighter–as his picture in front of a fire truck would attest–from a suburb on the other side of the city from where I lived. Coincidentally enough, now I live in that suburb. I was hesitant about setting my hopes on this one because of how far away he was. Still, from what I could see of him in his picture, he wasn’t bad-looking, and his values were very similar to my own.
I suspected our relationship would never get off the ground, though, when I got my first message from him. Now, it’s important for you to realize that I taught English at the time and highlighted that fact on my profile several times. I don’t expect perfect grammar from anyone, including myself, but I would at least hope that someone trying to impress me would at least make an effort. Not so much with Tim the Firefighter. The most careless of my freshmen students put him to shame. I think my favorite word was his attempt to spell “principal;” it came out more like “prencipiale.” I could barely interpret what he was trying to say. Talk about distracting from forming a meaningful relationship.
Before you say it, yes, I have considered that he was dyslexic or had some other kind of disability that prevented him from being able to spell appropriately. If he had mentioned that up front, I might have given him more of a chance than I did. But it was the fact that it came across like he didn’t care that bothered me most. M, when he saw I taught English, made sure he typed up his messages in Word first so that he could spell- and grammar-check them first. (Impressive, no?) If Tim the Firefighter had done so, I may be married to him now and have two of his children instead. The way things happened, though, I ended communication with him after four or five messages. We never communicated outside the site at all.
Oh, but that’s not where the story ends. A good friend of mine decided to sign up for the same site the week I met M after she saw our immediate connection. One day we were hanging out, chatting about how things were going for her on the site, when she mentioned one match she thought was particularly funny. “He has the worst grammar. I can barely figure out what he’s trying to say!” She has pretty bad grammar herself, so it’s saying something that even she noticed how horrendous his was. Immediately I had to ask: “No way! Is it Tim the Firefighter?” We both laughed hilariously when we realized we’d both been paired with the same guy–and that he obviously hadn’t found the love of his life yet.
By the way, the friend did indeed meet the love of hers through the site, and they’ve been together for two-and-a-half years now and are talking marriage.
But the point is that first impressions are important. I’m sure Tim the Firefighter is a nice guy, but nobody will ever get to know him because of how his spelling and grammar make him look. It’s hard to overlook something like that. So even more than trying to live up to my own standards, I attempt to write grammatically correctly so that all of you who read me will be able to make an opinion of me based on my words, not my failings in the English language.