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L.A. Affairs: How OkCupid helped him find his geek love

(Shenho Hshieh / For the Times)

Like many of my nerdy young male friends, I spent my early 20s vigorously complaining about the dating scene in Los Angeles. We would spend bitter hours in loud thumping bars telling ourselves that “the ratio” was off, or that motor-vehicle culture physically distanced us from women, or that the Internet had created a generation of interconnected yet isolated bubble people, all of us yelling in a vacuum.

That there were hundreds of thousands of women around us, at all times, many of whom were just as nerdy and soul-lonely as we were, was entirely lost on us.

I was 24 and working 12 hours a day in an editing bay, inserting tapes into a monolithic machine. At that time, I viewed the human race as a collection of strange mutants. Our “sentience” was nothing more than a freak accident of nature, ultimately providing no good to anyone.

Then I discovered OKCupid.

Past L.A. Affairs columns

OKCupid showed me there were many people like myself online. In fact, I was shocked and thrilled at the number of strange, oddball women who were proudly themselves. You do not find this often in a bar. At least, people like me do not.

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OKCupid, of course, has its faults. Most of those faults are called “things people do on the Internet.” But it can also be a wonderful thing.

Through OKCupid, I am dating a very fine mutant named Emma. I know that Emma and I are good for each other because she will read this and enjoy being called a “fine mutant.”

But before Emma, I went out on a few other OKCupid dates. One of the first was with a girl I will call Slippy.

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Slippy was everything I thought I wanted in a mate. She was someone of my tribe, my genus — she was a self-deprecating intellectual narcissist.

Slippy and I went out on a date to the Local Peasant in Sherman Oaks. It’s a bar in full embrace of the craft beer renaissance — a gastro/craft/brewpub where you spray vinegar on your salt and vinegar potato chips out of a perfume bottle and the bartenders all wear vests. It’s nice.

Slippy smoked cigarettes and worked at a bookstore. She was smart and vaguely cool. Slippy also was capable of laughing at herself and willing to laugh when I made a joke.

I must have fulfilled some items on her checklist as well, because we hit the gas. We got very drunk very quickly. We rambled inarticulately and passionately. We ran outside and stole a bright red stop sign from across the street and took it back to her car. No doubt there was a kind of symbolism there.

Then we kissed for a bit. But, while my fair Emma’s angelic lips are sweet as butterscotch on a hot summer’s day, Slippy’s were like kissing an ashtray in a ’91 Civic.

Slippy and I said goodbye and went home. I wanted to see her again. I saw in her what I wanted to see, and that was perfection. We texted each other soon afterward, but as little as possible, to appear coolly disinterested. Already, though, I could see that there was something more forming, a kind of connection, a soul-similarity.

A week passed. We exchanged more vague information about ourselves, our plans for the next week. There were many hahas, by which I mean:

“yeah haha just got off work”

“haha nice im just hangin watchin some always sunny haha what are u up to tonight?”

Finally, we worked out our awkwardness and met again. Miraculously, we both had a Wednesday off. She came to my apartment in Santa Monica. Everything was perfect.

Except for one small problem.

Slippy, my future bride, my raison d’etre, appeared to be quite high on cocaine. She had not slept and was sweating quite a bit. So we wandered around my apartment a little. We even did the kissing thing again. It did not take.

We went to the beach for a while and walked around. In the harsh bright of day I saw that she was a different sort of mutant than I thought. And no amount of my loneliness would make her what I wanted her to be. Vice versa seemed to be true for her, because she chain-smoked and hardly talked. We said goodbye, promised to text and never did.

So I went back to my job and the tapes. But I kept trying, because bitterness is useless when there could be someone special just around the corner (like Emma). And you yourself might be someone’s favorite mutant in the world.

Hunter Patterson is a screenwriter and L.A. native.

L.A. Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles. If you have comments or a true story to tell, email us at home@latimes.com. We pay $300 a column.

MORE L.A. AFFAIRS:

When a relationship is all wrong, but you still want to hear those three little words...

How she plans to manifest Mr. Right -- and get off the dating merry-go-round for good

A late start, bad taste and a false move can’t keep this love affair from its happy ending


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