Friday, September 18, 2009

Rough draft for Radio Essays #3

I think this is my last edit before I start recording. I'm really happy with it.

Last week I answered a personal ad from a Satanist named Dan. He wanted to perform ritualistic sex in order to bring about the rise of Lucifer. The phrases sacrifice altar and satanic slit come up. I’m pretty sure it’s a joke. I’m hoping he’ll write me back.

My name is Angela and I’m 29 years old. I can type 50 words per minute with a cat on my lap, and 75 words per minute without help. I can dance the Charleston and make ordinary things beautiful. I am short, fat, half-Asian, and a Libra with Libra rising. I live in Iowa City, and, like everyone else, I’m looking for love.

Okay, well, I’m looking for what calls a short term relationship. calls it dating, and my friends call it “kind-of-sort-of seeing-someone-I-think.” It falls somewhere in between u-hauls and one night stands. I’m looking for non-committal answers. I’m hoping to keep “love” out of the equation.

Sent to Alfonse, August 17th, 3:33am: I like that you’re online at 3:22am, even though I shouldn't be online, or even awake. These messages, sent sort of in the dark, are strange to write, and must be strange to read. I can never decide if I should try to lessen the weirdness, or go all-out. Ideally, I will convince you that I'm interesting enough to warrant a message back. I'd like that.

I started browsing craigslist ads a couple months ago. They were funny in a sad sort of way, like reality television shows or gossip magazines.

Sexy Italian, 23, loves football, baseball, and his little dog, Ruffles.

Hot chocolate for experienced cougar, 34, likes movies and traveling.

Nice college man, 19, has a girlfriend who’s boring and bad in bed.

Who writes these things? And how could anyone take them seriously?

Sent to tubamyst, August 17th 11:17pm: Your profile amuses me. Hopefully, you will be entertained enough, either by this awkward note, or my profile, to be interested in further communication. Messages back are good. So is meeting for coffee.

Mike was the first person to reply. Mike was about 5’10,” with a pale complexion, a lumpy, shaved head, and a goatee. He was actually kind of lumpy all over. We wrote back and forth a few times. He couldn’t call because he didn’t have any long distance. He couldn’t meet me at most of the places I suggested because he didn’t have a working car. Those were warning signs. I ignored them. We got burgers and milkshakes and talked about video games. We went to his place to watch TV. What I should have expected, but didn’t, was that his “place” was a trailer, complete with broken down cars outside and a strong aroma of cat pee. I wasn’t sure if the stains covering the carpet were from his 20 pound cat or from spilled bong water. And even though this guy was a stranger that I never intended to see or talk to again, I still felt obligated to stay a few hours and pretend that everything was fine. We watched Michael and Michael Have Issues. We watched Burn Notice. I sat on the edge of the couch and tried to get as much distance as I could between my nose and the furniture. In front of me, international super spies in white suits and convertibles chased each other through Miami. They had amazing tans. I leaned in towards the television, as if it were the most fascinating thing I’d ever seen.

The next day, he asked when I wanted to come by again. I never wrote him back.

After Mike was Dragoli, 22 years old and living 500 miles away in Michigan. He asked me, over instant message, to be his girlfriend. He was very polite; he even said please. After Dragoli was Jonathan, who was in the Army Reserve and needed a date to take to an Christmas party so they wouldn’t think he was gay. I’m pretty sure I’m not what the army was looking for in a date.

Sent to pdot1973, August 29th, 4:40 pm: I'm intrigued by your air of mystery. Or at least your self-conscious, thwarted attempt at creating an air of mystery. So the next step seems to be sending you a message so you will visit my profile, screen me for whatever it is you're looking to find, and write back. Hopefully, you are not looking for mystery. I'm not so good at that. Long-winded, I am very good at. Taking things seriously? Not so good at that, either.

Step three then, is waiting for a reply. Please do, that would be fun.

I sent out messages on a regular basis, sometimes as many as four or five in a day, form letters applying for any open position. After a few dozen of them they all started to sound the same. I made small adjustments from one message to another, in order to give the appearance of personalization. I might refer briefly to a movie they talk about on their profile to prove that I read it. I might mention my profile in the hopes that they would read it. But only those details changed. My goal remained the same. I wanted to schedule an interview. I tried to present myself in an honest, but flattering manner, self-promoting but not arrogant. Due to standard internet attention spans I tried to keep it to 200 words or less.

Sent yesterday to mnench, 7:18pm: I am 7 years, 12 inches, and one Y chromosome away from you. I like watching people paint. I also think that most things are not as obvious as people assume they are. Will you write back?

So far, out of several dozen messages sent, only four people have replied. This might mean that my letters are successfully filtering out the frat boys, dungeon and dragons players, and people with aversions to short, fat, half-asian, Libras. Or it might mean that I come across as having schizophrenic tendencies, and have scared off anyone with sense or intelligence. But this letter writing campaign has become an end in itself. I have developed a sly fondness for these messages. I have begun saving them, electronic mementos of imaginary love affairs.

Dan the Satanist is one of the four who wrote back. When he’s not performing dark rituals in Boba Fett costume, he runs a creamery outside of town.

I can’t wait to meet him.

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