Sunday, August 15, 2010

Unforeseen Celiac Awareness Campaign (OkCupid Edition, Part I)

Internet: I am dating.

Unclear exactly what possessed me, but I signed up for OkCupid (or, as I call it: OkStupid). I do know that the actually signing up occurred at a moment when I had three job interviews freshly scheduled and was full of hope that I would soon be transitioning into the next phase of my life. Dating seemed like a way to speed that transition along!

I was also curious about who the heck is single here in NYC! I can't remember the last time someone caught my eye, other than the drop-dead gorgeous eye candy model types we get to enjoy around here. But a mere human male? Been wondering where the good, single ones are. A friend had used the OkStupid with some success and very little frustration so I decided to give it a go. Oh, and it's free!

To be completely honest, I was also in it for the promise of good email. The source of the best email I have ever received (to date - keep hope alive!) was recently gone from my life and, good god, I missed receiving witty subject lines and saucy missives. Most of my friends work full time, write for a living, and/or have families, so good email is in short supply; saucy email is nonexistent.

But then I had to fill out my profile. I don't know what other online dating sites are like, but OkC has a section where you're supposed to provide info about what kind of media and food you like to consume. I hadn't anticipated either. After hemming and hawing for a bit, I decided not to talk about food - or celiac disease - at all. In "real" life, while celiac has been a pain in the arse at times, it has never ever been a deal breaker in friendship or love and so I felt ok about leaving it off. Also? It is part of my life, but I am not defined by what I can and cannot eat.

Another thing I hadn't anticipated? That boys would start contacting me right away! There were a load of wackjobs that I just ignored, but also two or three decent seeming fellows that I decided to make plans with. Thankfully, it is summer and so I was able to plan outdoor meetings that needn't necessarily involve food. My suggestion to meet at the High Line? Huge hit. After chatting for an hour, decided to get take out from Chelsea Market for an al fresco dinner back up there. By that point, conversation was flowing and it was easy to mention the gluten thing. Was I a wee bit nervous about it? Sure. And then stunned by how not an issue it was!

(Brief tangent: I was at the park with a fellow celiac yesterday. She mentioned how her friends and family urge her to do a celiac/gluten-free blog, but she is resistant since she strives to make the gluten thing a non-issue in her life as much as possible. Despite the existence of my blog, I totally see and support her point. I've struggled with whether be gluten-centric on here. The tipping point is that the info I have to share about being gf is what I think will be of most use in the world. People waaaaay more qualified than I am are out there blogging about my other passions such as nutrition policy and sustainable agriculture. I'll stick to what I know best: livin' la vida gluten-free. The details of my online dating experience alone warrant posting on an identifiable gf blog. Shared stories with said friend and received emphatic agreement. So:

Date at the High Line? I stop at Friedman's to order my dinner. Boy orders from there too - AND orders his meal gluten free. 10 bonus points! We spend about 10 minutes answering his gf queries and don't touch it again all night. Nice.

Second date (new person): Disclose gf when emailing to make plans. Decide to meet in between Veniero's and Tu Lu's. Brilliant! We get coffee and treats at the different venues and gf doesn't come up until planning next outing. At which point it's clear that boy has done some research, as asks excellent questions.

Third date (second date with guy from High Line): Decide to meet and play the evening by ear. Not an easy thing for a gf girl/boy to do, but decide to just go with it. Arrive at meeting spot - and boy has list of gf-friendly restaurants in hand!!! Huzzah! And joy spread across the land. Ended up at Rice, aka my favorite restaurant in NYC and ice cream later in the evening. It was so delightful to not worry about food - and to not have to do the planning!

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