I’m surrounded by a crowd of ravenous, comparison-shopping bachelorettes. In these circumstances, a young man must keep his wits about him. I try to look sexy by looking away from the camera and wearing a blue blazer. That works sometimes; sometimes I have to look away from the camera and wear a fez. Appending class to pop culture always works. “I’m Spiderman in a top hat,” I say to those who are still reading after the pictures. “That may not jive with you, but words are arbitrary, baby.” Most demur, but the wild ones ask: “Who are you?”

“Let me show you.” I show them a picture I took in a lounge on the Lower East Side, and a picture of when I used to ski race, and a picture of the time I was in India. The picture from India shows me and about two-hundred engineers in blue shirts and black pants. I am half a foot taller than them, wearing a white shirt and khakis. This picture tells the bachelorettes that I am worldly and that I stick out in a crowd of Indians.

A topless girl approaches me. “You’re one of my favorites,” she says.

“Already? Things are looking good for us,” I reply. I hear nothing. Usually it costs money to have topless girls whisper sweet nothings and then disappear.

The key to finding your soulmate online is coming across as the right kind of weird. If you’re too normal you are weird. A kitten named Dog and a fish named Sushi are the right kind of different. Use a Macintosh, talk about lattes, and hate Starbucks. Own an iPhone, go to college, and take digital pictures with a Polaroid filter. If you’re not the right kind of weird, none of the girls who shave the sides of their heads will want to talk to you. No one will invite you to drink wine out of Dixie cups in apartments that will give you unique and interesting infections.

The game is in the questions: answer fifty questions the right way and you can find someone who matches you ninety-eight percent. If I’m lucky, I might be able to find someone whose personality matches my own to the same degree that a chimp’s genetics match my own. It’s not important that she smell like the twelve minutes after a rainstorm. Is the sun larger than the earth? What’s her opinion? What’s the right opinion for you to have? Is it a little bit important to you that she answers a certain way or very important? Do I really want to answer this in a way that will remove the dumb girls from my search results? The questions form a flowchart. The flowchart spares me from dating women who think contraception is morally wrong.

Four girls from New Jersey and a woman from the Upper East Side sandblast my façade. If I’ve written the profile properly, they’ll have a nice dialogue with it:

“Is this guy some sort of geek?”

“Well, yes actually.”

“So you read Balzac?”

“Not on purpose.”

“Do you make a lot of money?”

“Did you see where it says ‘writer’ underneath ‘occupation’?”

At this point, they are either terrified or enchanted. My contention is that any fear on their part represents a flaw in my writing. I just don’t translate well into HTML. I should probably go on the offensive if I’d like to actually find anyone, and the search function allows me to do that with eerie precision.

Time to get to work. Who do I definitely want to exclude from my search results? Democrats. Also, Republicans.

“Used up” is actually a body type? Excluded.

How short is too short? I don’t want to get neck cramps while talking to my lovely. Probably best to screen out people shorter than 4’9”. On second thought, probably safer to go with 5’ and up. My neck is delicate from a skiing accident. It’s really quite badass. I should have put that in my profile…damn.

PhiLlY_CuTi3 is the first result of the search. An interesting woman with diverse interests, she lists “just slutTiN iT uP wh1L3 Ma mAN’s away. 😀 ~~~xoxox~~~ <3 <3” as chief among her present occupations. She drinks “desperately” and uses drugs “often.” She must have some fun stories, especially since she makes more than $1,000,000 a year. My impression had been that you have to move to New York for those types of jobs.

I’m not the only one to notice this young lady’s obvious charm. Needy_hungdaddy called her the “perfect mix” and gave her a digital chocolate-dipped strawberry to put on her profile. In the space for a romantic note, he included a thoughtful “DEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMNNN.”

Lethebee is the next result in the search. She has large breasts and is a geek. She matches me 83%. Once she went to Coney Island and took a picture drinking a very large soft drink. In another picture she’s dressed like an angel next to an adorable child in plaid who stares at her breasts. She says the first thing most people notice about her is her boobs. She speaks C++ okay, but C++ programmers tend to be boorish, small minded people.

Maybe a search for my enemies would be more fruitful. The first result is a woman whose username is “MaNeatInksHark.” I guess we are natural enemies. We match 69%. She is wearing greaves in her profile picture. She’s taken pains in her profile to ensure I know that she’s really good at life. In anterior sentences she makes clear that she’s doing absolutely nothing with her life. She hasn’t logged into her profile for five months. Where did she go? Is she alright? Maybe she did something.

The topless girl responds “U R 2 cute.”

“Where r u?” I quickly reply. With her response, I’m out the door.