Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, June 20

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« Overheard Illustrated: "Killer" James Fritz Headlining Queer Comedy At Zanies »

Dating Mon Sep 19 2011

Chicago Dating 2.011: Pressing the Power Button

Next Entry: Two Necessities for Online Dating: Courage and Chicken Wings

I, like the other seemingly millions of Chicago members of, never intended to join an online dating site. I was a romantic, clinging to the notion that real love was found at the Big Shitty at bar time or over a sticky table of beer pong in a stranger's backyard. After all I mused, what would happen to the world if all our interactions became digital and people could pick out mates like they would a used futon on craigslist.

And then, a series of kismet events happened. First I went on a slew of wretched dates, the final straw being an electronic instrumental concert with a pessimistic young suitor I had met at a bar. Then there was my best friend abandoning me for the glory of the east coast and my suddenly very open social calendar. But the clincher, was coming across an NPR article validating online dating services.

If NPR says it is OK, this yuppie is jumping on board.

So I searched "" on Google; turns out has the convenient URL of I skimmed some men folk and then I took to writing my profile. This took me three weeks.

It seems that once the prospect of actually dating, for reals, and potentially finding love, the for-reals kind, was a reality, it was then terrifying. I have always been one to accidentally trip into love, relationships or beds. Purposefully pursuing love, especially digitally, seemed terrifyingly efficient.

What if I found Mr. Perfect and he a) didn't wink back b) took me to an electronic instrumental concert or c) turned out to love me. Suddenly the potential of life seemed to change.

So I labored over my profile attempting once to make the entire thing a series of limericks until my best friend called me out as only a beautifully blunt best friend can do. In an attempt to get to know her new city, she had joined and was regaling me of stories of winks and chats and creepers. She paused and asked, "Are you not joining because you are afraid?"

And I was. I am. But good god, when has a little ether ever scared me away from a challenge?! And while I'm at it, why stop at Beyond online dating, there are ridiculous amounts of ways to meet other Chicago singles that don't involve jello shots. There is speed dating, blind dates and many less traditional forms of match making in this city.

The plan is to try every traditional and not-so-traditional form of online or group dating in Chicago. From Mac and Cheese Minglers to Cityswarm to Grubwithus to Match, I'm up for it (and you all are welcome to come along for the embarrassingly humorous ride). This is in no way meant to be an advice column and lord knows I am not billing myself here as any sort of dating-expert. I'm just a silly girl, looking for love, recording the journey and living the dream. And hopefully along the way, I'll learn a little something about dating in Chicago that may just benefit the relationship-challenged among us.

If readers have any suggestions, feedback or kind words of gentle encouragement or warning (and yes my mother has already told me to "Nicole, be careful and carry mace!"), please send them my way at write2fritz (at) gmail (dot) com. Check back monthly for updates on the dating life in Chicago, a few new tips and a hopefully magically delightful journey into the non-Jager-Bomb-filled dating world.

Game On.

Tip One: Get Your Honesty On
If you do the online dating, do it honestly. Be realistic about who you are, what you look like and who and what you really want. This may require a therapy session or at least a brutal friend to review your profile and tell you that you are filled with shit for referencing Vonnegut and Jens Lekman in the same sentence. You are not that cool.

Whatever you do, go deeper than "I just like to laugh." Everyone likes to laugh or else someone is lying in his or her carefully crafted 56-word profile titled "Live, Laugh, Love." On the other hand if you don't like to laugh, you should make this your first sentence in order to find a similarly miserable match and live pathetically ever after.

And while we're being honest, put up a wide range of photos that shows you not just at your best but also at your most realistic. You are not just a laid-back, fun-loving, silly guy or girl who likes to stand in large groups of people at bars and have your picture taken. You like playing with kids, or dogs, or video games; you like climbing mountains, the career ladders or social ladders; you volunteer, or work out or stand angstily at hipster concerts; it is nice if your photos reflect more than the fact that you like standing next to similar looking individuals with nondescript light beer in their hands. And for the love of all that is decent, do not put up a picture you took of yourself in the bathroom mirror! No! There is not excuse! Put down the iPhone!

Or disregard all that and go with this writer's suggestions.

Next Entry: Two Necessities for Online Dating: Courage and Chicken Wings

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Saya / September 19, 2011 2:23 PM

Met Boyfriend of almost two years at a Mac 'n Cheese Mingler. As the saying goes -- "I'm not only the Hair Club President, but I'm also a client."

Minglers are on a little hiatus though as I focus on another way to help others make connections: Fear Experiment!

Find out more:

Attendance at an info session mandatory to apply, and only two remain. Come one, come all!

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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