I went on my first date in almost 45 years last week. “How did I choose my date?” You might ask. I chose my date the way that we English majors do. He was the only man who wrote in complete, grammatical, correctly spelled sentences. We pleasantly spent two hours listening to him talk (I think he only asked one question about me), and he was gracious enough to pay for my tuna sashimi appetizer and half-priced glass of chardonnay, although I popped out my credit card and made an offer to pay my share. As I dashed off to a meeting, we concluded that we would “keep in touch.”
At least, he was literate. Not to put too fine a point on it, but many of the people at the online dating services write incomprehensibly, so I can only guess how they would sound over a glass of wine and tuna sashimi. A friend suggested that I should cut them some slack, as people tend to write in shorthand, these days, but, if you’re trying to impress a potential date, are you really going to use slang, incomplete sentences, obscure lingo, and basically write in such a way that she can’t understand what you’re saying, much less, who you are? And if she has made it clear that she is an English major…well, let’s not state the obvious.
It’s true that the Veterinarian, brilliant though he was, was a questionable speller of ordinary language. He could perfectly write any multisyllabic medical or scientific term, but he perpetually was confused by their, there, they’re and its vs. it’s. He never submitted any article for publication without running it by his in-house editor, moi. We attended the same schools and university, but he was a math-and-science guy, and I am a language arts person. I’m crossword puzzles. He was Sudoku. We complemented each other perfectly.
I don’t know how I became a grammar nerd. I can pick out the word that doesn’t belong in a sequence at a glance. Like a walking thesaurus, I can pick out synonyms, antonyms, oxymorons (or any moron), and onomatopœia and tell you when you need an Oxford comma or semi-colon. I grit my teeth reading some of the memes and shared posts on Facebook. I would worry about having OCD, but my house is a mess, and I’m happier in wrinkled jeans than in jeans with a crease. It’s just a grammar thing, one weird flaw in my otherwise sterling personality.
However, while I can spell it, I don’t remember the Pythagorean theorem without googling it and am pretty sure I’ve never used it in my real life. My tenth-grade geometry teacher once threatened to “hang [me] by [my] thumbs from the flagpole at 3:10,” if I couldn’t tell her why I could figure out a proof without being able to enumerate the steps.
“I don’t know, Mrs. Smith. I just looked at the figure, and it came to me.”
“That’s not possible,” she blustered. “You need to go step-by-step, logically. Here, try this one.” We spent the next 20 minutes with me giving her answers without being able to follow a “logical” process. She did not pin me to the flagpole, but she did threaten to keep me from advancing to Algebra II (which I breezed through the following year, by the way).
Now, I have taken my illogical self to online dating. It was suggested that more intelligent men (ie, the kind who use the Pythagorean theorem in real life) are on eHarmony. Match.com isn’t selective enough, I heard. You pays your money; you gets to pick. With eHarmony, you are required to take a lengthy “Relationship Questionnaire” to determine your match criteria before paying them huge sums of money to find the man of your dreams.
I don’t know what happens after you finish the quiz, because they rejected me. Halfway through answering questions about my assertiveness, my faith, my goals, etc., eHarmony congratulated me with a hearty “Most people don’t make it this far!” I found that a little weird but spent another 10 minutes thoughtfully considering my answers, some of which were met with a cryptic “Do you really mean this?” message.
My answers were all over the spectrum, not just on one end or the other or even all in the middle. I thought I was being really thorough and assessing myself carefully. Heck, I may not be expecting the man of my dreams on eHarmony, but I wouldn’t want to be as poorly matched as I have been on Match.com. I hit the submit button and waited for what seemed like an unusually long time. Finally, this popped up
Huh? It’s a dumb online questionnaire for a dating site, not an application to the CIA. I googled “eHarmony rejects” and read of people who were rejected because they were homosexuals (not I), atheists (not I), independent (could be) or assertive women. Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! We have a winner!
Several writers suggested that the eHarmony matrix (the mathematical probability of matching people) doesn’t allow for “complex thinkers.” Well, there you go! It’s “mathematical.” It’s “logical.” I am not. I don’t see anything in black and white or even shades of gray. Sorry, guys, I’m all over the place. I’m creative, a singer, actor, dancer, writer. I just don’t fit into neat little boxes. Oh, well.
Well, it’s time to read this over for grammatical errors before I post it. “Spell-check” doesn’t work. I constantly re-read my posts on this blog and pick up errors and edit them. Honestly, I don’t know how you can stand to read some of my posts! I am my own worst critic. Maybe that’s my biggest problem. Maybe I need to lighten up. Who am I to complain? Life is good (mostly). Soli Deo Gloria!