Excerpted from The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
Lesson 10: Try not to be shallow.
I would really like to say here that I’ve learned to always look past the outer surface and focus on the person within. Let’s just say I’m still working on this one.
The event that created Lesson 10
I’ve done online dating. Lots of it. It’s an opportunity to meet the widest range of men imaginable,
go out with men I might not ever have met, try out some
I might never have considered in ordinary circumstances,
and a way to make sure I could have a date whenever I
Nowadays, most people who are doing online dating post
a picture of themselves. All the matchmaking sites tell you
that you get 10 times more “hits” if you post a picture.
But in the early days, we didn’t do that. We more or less
described ourselves in our profiles and took it from there.
Internet dating was too new and it felt kind of creepy to
post a picture for the whole world to see. One evening, I
was contacted by what seemed like a very nice man. We
chatted online for a couple of weeks, eventually talking just
about every day; there was some real interest there and it
seemed like there might be some potential for something
interesting to happen. We made plans to finally meet one Friday evening on the
It was the hottest day of the year. We decided to meet for dinner at a
restaurant in my neighborhood.
As we talked about how we would recognize each other, we
realized that we were both wearing fairly nondescript outfits: jeans and a white T-shirt. Rather than change clothes,
we tried to think of what we could do to make ourselves
recognizable to a stranger in a crowded restaurant. He suggested I put a flower in my hair. My hair was really short so
that wouldn’t work. I had the brilliant idea to tie a bright
pink sweater around my neck. It was a pretty sweater but I
felt a little foolish in 100 degree heat with a sweater.
When I got to
the restaurant, I couldn’t really pick him out of the crowd
because half the men in the place were wearing jeans and
a T-shirt. He recognized me, though, by my sweater and
approached me. In an instant, I started to feel like a real ass
and wondered if I was really shallow. I’m afraid I was. He had neglected to tell me he was an albino.
I was confused: should I have expected him to
mention that to me at some point during our weeks of
conversation? Should it have mattered? I was
annoyed at myself for feeling this way and I was annoyed
at him for leaving out this detail. Plus, why was I walking
around in the scorching heat with a sweater? During the “how will we recognize each other” phase of our conversation, he could have easily said “I’ll be the albino at the bar.” We had a pleasant enough dinner, but I wasn’t that interested. We didn’t go out again.
first few people I told this story to agreed they would probably have reacted the same way I did. I felt like a real heel,
though, after talking to my friend, Pat. She thought I was
disgustingly small-minded and that I was just
plain wrong. How dare I think he should have told me
ahead of time, and how dare I have the audacity to lose
interest over something like this in a man I originally found
The first part of the statement was
the most intriguing. How much information -–and what
kind—do you owe your blind date? Should he have been
expected to tell me of his albinism? What are the parameters?
I quickly learned that this is a great question to pose at
a dinner party because it always generates lively discussion with a range of responses. Albinism is not a disease;
it doesn’t affect a person’s health or personality. It doesn’t
impact anything, in fact, except a person’s melanin level, so
makes one look different from most of us. But is that a valid reason for
not going out with someone? How should the albino treat
it? Like it’s a fact of life and of no real consequence? Or
should he “warn” the person he’s meeting?
Oh, don’t give me that look; what would you have done?
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