By Josh Leskar
Of course it would happen. I spent all this time doubting it, writing a story about how it worked for everyone and didn’t work for me, and pouring my heart and soul into the woe that has been my experience with online dating. Countless hours wasted on so-so dates that led nowhere. I had sworn off online dating for good.
Then, I met Julia.
It was my last hurrah, casting one final line into the sea of online dating before packing up my tackle box and cutting my losses, deactivating my account and closing the door for good. I opened up my web browser, keyed the letter “O” and watched the familiar website pre-populate in the status bar. My pinky reflexively tapped the return key, and I began my final perusal.
As happened from time to time, one match in particular caught my eye. Her photo exuded this sort of genuine happiness – not simply by her bright smile, but also by something much less tangible that I couldn’t quite place. And while I certainly found her attractive, this wasn’t some love at first sight nonsense. I didn’t instantly fall head-over-heels from a headshot on a dating site. She was just another woman who, I assumed, would be fun and interesting, and with whom I could probably get along.
I was intrigued enough to click, and she seemed absolutely delightful. We had tons in common: she had just run her first marathon; I was gearing up for my third. She was Jewish; I’m Jewish. She liked ice cream; I liked ice cream. If that isn’t chemistry, I don’t know what is.
So I sent off my relatively standard note, mentioning our similarities, detailing myself with bit more color, and asking a few questions I had after reading her profile. I hit send almost instantly, going against my general, “measure twice, cut once” attitude. Hell, what’s one more message before I left the world wide web of courtship?
But to be honest, I didn’t exactly have high hopes. I rarely did these days, and not in some, “throw-me-a-pity-party” way, but based on my past experiences, my response rate of return isn’t exactly what one would deem successful. I can’t quite articulate what drove me to send the message instead of just deleting my account as previously planned. Perhaps it was the romantic equivalent of a Hail Mary – I had nothing left to lose. Perhaps there was some small part of me that wanted to believe in love online. Perhaps it was just my gut telling me that this was the right thing to do.
Yet to my pleasant shock and surprise, I was welcomed with that rare, elusive  nestled next to the ‘Messages’ folder, and we exchanged a few messages before meeting soon after the New Year. When we finally did, she exceeded my wildest expectations. Her smile was even more infectious; she was intelligent and witty; she was inquisitive and perceptive; she was just as happy as her photograph led me to believe, and her enthusiasm for life was palpable. I knew almost instantly that she was someone around whom I wanted to be.
I don’t know if we would have met any other way, so perhaps I gave up on online dating a bit too early. Who knows where this relationship might go, but one good experience has certainly altered my perspective. And as good as Julia looked on paper, she’s even more wonderful in person.
Eventually, I did delete my account: just not for the reason I originally intended.