DOWNER’S GROVE, Illinois. It’s Thursday night in this suburb of Chicago, and Mike DeAngelo, a twenty-something actuarial accountant, is nervously checking his hair in the men’s room of Rudy Vallee’s, a popular watering hole that holds “speed-dating” events for area singles. “I want to look casual but not too casual,” he says as he pulls a strand downward, then replaces it in the hope it will fall “naturally” later. “Chicks should know that I’m a fun guy, but also have a strong work ethic.”
When the time comes for the first eight-minute round, DeAngelo sits down opposite Olivia Cho, an insurance adjuster, and the brief but intense interaction that characterizes the formalized match-making process begins. “So tell me about yourself,” Cho says, sincerely intrigued by what an actuarial accountant actually does. “You never know,” she tells this reporter in an aside. “My actuary may not have accounting skills, or vice versa.”
DeAngelo says he enjoys his job but, after making himself a frozen dinner, he likes to write at night, churning out “posts” for his weblog, “Musings of My Mind,” a solitary exploration of the fascinating world of his thoughts.
“Oh,” Cho says, as a dark reaction falls over her face like a storm cloud scudding across a field before a tornado. She waits until DeAngelo stops for breath in the telling of his exciting tale, then says “Excuse me, I don’t think we’d be compatible.”
“But we have . . . six minutes left,” DeAngelo exclaims, looking at his watch.
“I know, but I usually have a pretty good sense of when I’m going to hit it off with somebody and, uh, anyway, I have to pluck my eyebrows.”
The embarrassing situation is not unlike others that unfold across the nation when young men and women learn that someone who might otherwise be considered an acceptable dating and mating prospect is a “blogger,” the term used to refer to a person who writes a “blog.” “The very nature of a blog is to give an unfiltered, one-sided view of life that casts the author in the role of the all-knowing and virtuous narrator, and others as inferior, almost sub-human life forms,” says Monty Casey, a professor of communications at Oregano State College who studies social media. “In most cases this is grossly unfair to one’s dating partners, regardless of whether one is the ‘dumper’ or ‘dumpee.'”
Some bloggers say they are entitled to their slanted opinions, and that it is better to be up-front and candid with others they might end up procreating with. “It’s part of who I am,” says Cindy Smithers, a mutual fund sales representative as she waits for Rod Templeton, a “blind date” set up for her by mutual friends.
But her date is late, and after checking her sport watch, Smithers turns on her phone to find a text message from Templeton that causes her to purse her lips in an exaggerated frown. What, this reporter asks, does it say?
“He says ‘I Googled you and think it’s probably best we end things before we begin. I found your blog Cindy’s Wacky Love Life! and wouldn’t want to get the Taylor Swift-grade evisceration you gave your last boyfriend.'”