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5:38 p.m. - Saturday, Jan. 05, 2008
Hopelessly Wild
I'm a wild animal, and I don't mean that in a good way.

I wish I meant: I like hot wild monkey sex all the time. Or — I'm wild and free like a mustang galloping across the plains. Or — my spirit soars like an eagle on the wing through a cloudless sky. Or some other flowery statement invoking the attractive qualities of some wild animal.

But nope, I'm one of those a furtive, frightened wild animals that hide in burrows. You might catch such an animal, and try to feed it, and try to pet it — but watch your fingers because a wild animal like that may bite even well meaning people who only want to be nice. If you decide to let the wild animal go, you open the cage door and out it runs, and flees, and disappears without so much as a backward glance, after all your kindness to it. Or maybe you don't have to decide to let it go because it found a way out of the cage and escaped during the night, never to be seen again, after all your kindness to it.

That's assuming the wild animal didn't mysteriously turn up dead in the cage one morning from no apparent cause except attempted domestication. That sort of thing used to happen to me and my sisters when we were children living in a rural area. We'd find baby rabbits or little birds that couldn't fly. We'd make shoebox beds and try to feed them and pet them — and they'd always die on us, rapidly and mysteriously, and break our little hearts. But I suppose we broke their little hearts first — putting them on soft cloths in a shoebox, providing them with food and water, keeping them warm and safe, and trying to domesticate them when all they wanted, and what they desperately needed, in spite of all the danger and loneliness, was to be wild.

In that moment when the wild animal finds its way out of the cage and flees, I suppose it might feel a some shadow of the ecstatic joy and overwhelming relief I felt this morning when I clicked on the "Not Interested" button and ended the "Guided Communication" process with the guy who contacted me at Ch3m15try.com.

The unusual thing about Ch3m15stry.com is, you don't just find someone who interests you and start emailing them. First of all, you can't browse profiles; the site sends you the profiles of people they think you might match. If someone interests you, then you have to go through a rigid, step-by-step process of contact defined by the site creators. You can't skip a step, either. First, you send them your "Relationship Essentials": you use a sliding indicator to show how important it is to you that your potential partner possess various qualities: "has career ambition," "keeps a neat and orderly house," "loves pets," "has an outstanding sense of humor," etc. Moreover, you can't see the other person's answers until you submit your own, so you can't adjust your responses to give a false positive.

So ChemGuy and I traded our "Relationship Essentials." We were so compatible it was ridiculous.

The next step was the "Short Answers." You have to submit two questions to the other person, and he/she has to answer them in 1000 characters or less. You may choose among numerous questions pre-written by the site's creators, or you can write one or two or your own.

I read through the pre-written questions. They were all the typical things that you see people posing on message boards. "What did you learn from a past relationship?" "If you were going to be stranded on a desert island, what five things would you take with you?" "What three songs are in heavy rotation on your mp3 player?" "What is your favorite book and why?" and so forth. Sometimes I answer those questions on the message boards for the hell of it, but I think they're stupid. *At this point Lily rolls her eyes like a teenager and says:* Yes, yes, I know: what you learned from a past relationship is very important to future relationships. Very important. Very Goddamn Important. That is a Serious Question! It deserves a Serious Answer!!!!

But, hell, I was hoping this process could actually be fun. And faced with so much seriousness, I got a severe attack of the Sillies, and proceeded to send ChemGuy two Very Silly Questions, to-wit: "Since I am not handing out an academic degree, I am not going to subject you to an essay exam. Discuss. :)" and "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

I'll never know how he answered them, because in order to see his answers I have to submit my own answers to the questions he then sent to me, which he had chosen from among the site's pre-written questions: "What did you learn from a past relationship?" and "What actor/actress would play you in the movie of your life, and why?"

You know what I learned from a past relationship? Not to do it again, that's what. And how would I know what actress should play me? — I'm not sufficiently familiar with popular culture to know of a suitable actress, nor do I wish to gain such familiarity.

That's when I became aware of the bars on the cage, and I saw the way out and took it, and what a moment of sweet, blessed joy when I clicked on the Not Interested button and sent ChemGuy and his Serious Questions to the eternal silence of my Archives.

I'm fucking hopeless.


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