With online dating, I’ve found the frequency of misunderstanding to pervade the relationship. Take, for example, my brief relationship with the Banker. She was the last woman I met when I was actively looking for my One and Only. I fell for her the moment I saw her profile picture. And really, I’m not a shallow person by nature, but the tendency with dating sites is to fall for their selective imagery first, their selective biography second, and then make up a personality for them, one that suits the qualities you want. And in her, I gave her all the qualities I wanted.

The Banker and I chatted through the site, then through instant messaging, and finally e-mail. It was there that the relationship would end, but not before we met in person one evening.

She hadn’t seemed interested in ever meeting, despite suggesting otherwise on occasions when she wanted something. It wasn’t until I called her on this that she gave in and invited me over for drinks with her friends. This exquisite exhibit of a woman that I’d so constructed, this outstanding Banker whose vanity so often humbled the world, lived in what might have been the darkest part of the city. Her home was unfurnished except for a dozen parties of bottles, wine-stained couch, and a beanbag chair. The evening had one of her friends over, a crass man who joked openly about how badly he treated women. The Banker thought he was hilarious. The illusion was breaking.

A few days following, our regular e-mail correspondence drifted to that evening. Among other things I was thinking, I told her in these exact words that her friend didn’t seem noble. It was this that provoked her to fury. I knew there was another reason, but this was well enough for me. In the last e-mail she sent, in perhaps as little as a single sentence, she gave me every reason to withdraw.