Negative Burning

Lucy met a guy. She liked Luke right away, he checked a lot of the boxes for her. They met on the Facebook dating app, which was news to me – there is an app – you don’t just slip in the dm’s? Ah, progress, but I digress. Luke was funny, open, handsomish, employed, and very interested in Lucy, also. Remember the checkmarks, we will circle back to them, but first a little backstory. Lucy is slap your momma beautiful, doubled down with a truly kind and trusting nature, and this has led her down some man created rabbit holes in her past. Attracting men is not Lucy’s problem, choosing good men, well, we are working on that. Before Luke came into the picture, I heard a podcast about a dating app called Ship – your friends get to be involved in the selection of potential dates – this was interesting to me and I thought of Lucy. She got on Ship and this was her team: Kate, she’s the momma, Viking, he could translate manlish, he was also our very own douche detector, and myself, the cynical archivist. We all went to work. We swiped left, we swiped right, the mating dance of online dating. And then Lucy met Luke and we pressed pause. The following is the story of Lucy and Luke. It’s a story of listening to your gut over your oxytocin flooded brain, red flags, and finally, it’s a story of, when in doubt, google. That bitch knows everything.

The initial connection is like heroin. We are all looking for the same thing – someone who looks at us bare, figuratively, not literally, and says, I dig. I get you. Over shared histories, you find a commonality, an ally in the heaviness of the world. It feels good. It feels hopeful. Luke gave this fix to Lucy – that sweet, embryonic, trusting, hopeful beginning. In this blissful bath of emotion, a tiny red flag floated by. Always, in the beginning, there is some big talk, so this little warning was diluted. Luke spoke of wanting to take her to Bora Bora. For me, this is twofold. First, they had not yet met and this was ambitious talk. Second, Bora Bora? It was such an obscure destination – it was either a choice for someone who was extremely well traveled and this was something left on a dwindling bucket list or it was a choice for someone who has not traveled at all and chose something that sounded exotic.

But before Bora, Lucy and Luke went to dinner, and it went swimmingly. Luke was a smitten kitten and before dinner was over he asked Lucy to lunch the next day. They went and that’s when everything went a little sideways. The things Luke told Lucy about his job didn’t quite make sense. There were some inconsistencies that gave Lucy pause. I want to state clearly that this isn’t about money, she cares not, it’s about lies. Luke wanted Lucy to think he was a baller, talked as if he was such, but some things can’t be faked. She called me after with her concerns. It took me about 90 seconds to find his arrest record and mug shot – assault and a protective order against him.  Another 30 to find the details on his business, it was legitimate, small, something he should have been proud of rather than trying to be big britches. It’s a simple rule – if you want a real connection, you have to be absolutely real. The wheels come off pretty quick otherwise.

Lucy gave Luke a subtle opportunity to be forthright, he did not. It was then the messy business of ejection. Lucy is a nice woman and didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but it wasn’t going to work. I think there is an acceleration in online dating, connections made more quickly, making extractions more gooey than one would think. Lucy went boilerplate – busy with a new job, busy with kids, she just doesn’t have the time. You know the drill. I think it will take a couple of applications with Luke, he’s persistent, but still not yet honest.

 It makes me think of processing film. The image is burned onto paper from the negative, from there, the paper is dipped into chemicals that make the picture appear. Lucy had the negative. She had burned the paper, but in the wash the picture was very different. Lucy keeps on keepin’ on, taking pictures, shooting the negative and going through the process, and more than that, she is listening to her instincts. If she hears thundering hooves, she will check for zebras before horses, and then she’ll fire up google.

Go forth and conquer.