When Facebook and Real Life Collide

A few months ago, I found myself enmeshed in a dispute with someone who had winked at me on match.com. When I checked out his profile and saw I was one year older than the upper limit of his preferred age range (though he and I are the exact same age), I couldn’t refrain from asking why he had bothered reaching out to a senior citizen. “Women in their 20s are just easier,” he snipped…

A few months ago, I found myself enmeshed in a dispute with someone who had winked at me on match.com. When I checked out his profile and saw I was one year older than the upper limit of his preferred age range (though he and I are the exact same age), I couldn’t refrain from asking why he had bothered reaching out to a senior citizen. “Women in their 20s are just easier,” he snipped. “Women in their 30s only want to talk about work and Facebook.” The exchange descended from there, and I ended up blocking him from further communication.

I was stung. To be fair, I am perhaps a tad overinvolved in Facebook. Maybe it is the first thing I click when I wake up and the last page I visit before bed. Whatever. Then I got an e-mail last week announcing the launch of Addiction Thursdays—a new night at the James Hotel’s Jbar dedicated to a different vice each month. First up: Facebook. I knew I needed to be there.

Along with my friends Kate and Corey, I was among the night’s first arrivals at 8 p.m. We picked a corner of the banquette with good sightlines and watched more tables fill up as we waited for our Facebook-themed cocktails (I tried the Poke Me; $6). We mobile-updated our statuses (“Amalie Drury is Facebooking from Addicted to Facebook night at Jbar") and flipped through an issue of Playboy with Marge Simpson on the cover; Corey had picked it up at a convenience store next door, figuring it would make a good conversation starter. Screens above our heads glowed with Jbar’s Facebook fan page; DJ ADM began spinning in his booth; and a few other girls we know joined our group. (Get it, children of Facebook? “Joined our group?")

Soon I spotted a familiar-looking dark-haired man across the room with whom—gasp!—I had gone on two match.com dates early last summer. “You guys! Look! It’s He of the Many Food Allergies!” I hissed.

“Allergies?” asked Corey, unaware of the legend associated with this particular Match candidate.

“We were at dinner, and he pulled out this laminated list of everything he can’t eat,” I explained. “Chicken, wine, chocolate, spinach, black pepper: It was, like, 40 things I eat every day.” He glanced our way and established eye contact, clearly noting our stares.

“Oh boy. We’re busted,” Kate said.

I grabbed my notebook. “That’s OK; we’ll go say hi in a minute,” I stalled. “Let’s just work our way around to it.” 

We approached another table, this one filled with younger guys, and posed our icebreaker question of the night: What’s your status? “My status is that I’m hanging out with three beautiful older women. Cougars!” baby-faced Kevin crowed, smiling at our trio. We forgave him when we found out he was just 21. Kevin’s friend Austin said his status was that he felt guilty for not being at a friend’s birthday party. “Why didn’t you go?” I asked.

“Ugh. It’s at Goodbar, in Lincoln Park,” he answered. “We’ll probably head up there after this, but it’s just going to be a bunch of preppy bros. Hey, is Marge really topless in there?” He gestured toward the Playboy, which we let him peruse briefly before moving along.

Once we had canvassed practically the entire bar (“Steve wants to go to Enclave to meet Johnny Drama”; “Nicole’s self-esteem is plummeting by the minute”; “Dan is married"—and so forth), we proceeded with the unavoidable. “I think we know one another,” I said, sliding into the banquette near my one-time date. We shook hands, and I asked his status.

“Still single,” he answered. “Hey, what’s with all that chocolate cake over at your table? Can I have a piece?”

“But I thought you were allergic,” I said.

“It’s worth it,” he replied.

A minute later, I presented him with a plate of cake, a fork, and a napkin. “Well, nice to see you. Hope all is well,” I said and turned to walk away before glancing back. “Hey, are you on Facebook?” I asked. He nodded, still chewing. I pulled out my Blackberry. “Cool. I’ll friend you.”   

Jbar’s next Addiction Thursday is December 10, with a focus on holiday sweaters. For table reservations, call 312-660-7200.

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