“TRACEY,” Lux said. “Were you nice?”
“Yes, I was nice,” I said, as I opened my laptop.
“But were you POSITIVE?” She took a sip of her Starbucks. This was her third Venti of the day. And well…it showed.
“Yes Lux,” I sighed. “I was positive.”
“Oh my god,” Lux gasped. “Did you? Did you talk about The Cat?”
“No. I did not talk about The Cat.”
“Guys, I don’t know. He just wasn’t into me. Let’s move on.” I had gathered the members of my Social Media Marketing Team in order to brainstorm ideas on how to get a big surge of readers before our One Year Anniversary Party, which was coming up soon. Instead, all they wanted to discuss was my failure with Date Five.
“Sorry,” I said to our very sweet 19 year old intern, Lily. Today was her last day but I’d asked her to come because she is incredibly smart and creative and I wanted to hear her input. Emily and Tara were stuck on a call and so they couldn’t join and Anna had actually left the company a while back to go travel, so she was not there either. Archie was wrapping up a meeting and would be joining later. This left Lux, Lainie and Floyd, who kind of just shows up to these meetings whenever.
“So these are the stats,” I said and pointed to the chart on my screen. “As you can see-,”
“You know what your problem is?” asked Lux, with unnervingly wide eyes.
“What?” I asked cautiously.
“Remember how I told you you were burned out on online dating and so I did your profile for you?”
“Lily,” I said, turning to her. “You don’t know this story but I wasn’t having much luck at online dating so Lux re-did my profile – pictures and everything, and it’s been a big success.”
“Oh cool,” she replied.
“THE MOST POPULAR GIRL ON MATCH.COM!” Lux shouted.
I shot her a look. “Okay, can we get back to -”
“AS I WAS SAYING,” Lux continued. She leaned towards me. “You were burned out on things so I wrote your profile and now it’s awesome and you’re getting a lot of responses. But now you’re burned out on dating itself.”
“No, I -”
“Oh please,” she sat back and rolled her eyes. “I know you, Tracey. You’re sitting there, vaguely interested, and the whole time you’re thinking about getting home to your Bud Light and The Cat.
“That’s not true,” I insisted.
“Tracey,” Floyd said in a warning tone. “…Isn’t it?”
Lux was eyeing me intensely. “I think I need to start going on your dates with you, encouraging you from the sidelines, keep you focused.”
I laughed. “Will you be feeding me lines like in ‘Roxanne?’
I was met with four sets of blank stares.
“You know,” I said, moving my gaze between them. “The movie with Steve Martin? Where he’s got that big nose and…nevermind.” It hit me then that probably none of them had even been born when that movie came out. They probably didn’t even know who Steve Martin was. “Okay. So back to the stats. See – ”
“Do you have any dates coming up?” asked Lainie.
“Yeah,” said Lux, and she broke a cookie in half and set it on her napkin. “Have you been responding to the messages you’re getting?”
“I have,” I said slowly. “It’s just that…”
“Oh geesh,” Lux sighed. “What? What is it this time?”
“It’s just that, and I’m not complaining, I’m totally grateful to you Lux, but it’s just that every time I open that inbox, there are so many messages I get overwhelmed. I’m just like ‘Aack!’ and I have to shut it down.” I started to speak quickly to defend myself. “It’s just that I’m busy planning the party and I’ve been trying to get back into working out and cooking and trying to do some behind the scenes blog maintenance, adding the pingbacks to the older posts, being a little stressed out with the new job. I’m having a hard time finding the chunks of time to sit down and get through it all.”
“Well, how long can it really take?” asked Floyd. He was engrossed in his laptop so I was surprised to see he was listening.
“It takes a lot of time actually,” I insisted. “You know, they message you, you have to look at their profile, see if you want to write back. Then you have to answer their questions and think up something interesting to ask them. It’s really time consuming.”
Lux was shaking her head. “You’re a writer. That’s the problem. You’re over thinking everything! If they look decent enough, just send a quick, fun note. I know you, you’re agonizing over every little thing you write.”
I bit my lip. She was totally, totally right. This is why it was taking me so long to get through the messages and why they got backed up and then overwhelmed me.
“You know, you’re just worrying about things that don’t matter. That poll you put up about responding to guys who write in abbreviations? I voted you should just do it.”
“Yes!” she cried. “Those things are not a big deal! You want to meet someone who has the same values as you, the same outlook on life. In the big scheme of things, who cares if he uses “2” instead of ‘to?'”
“Hmm..,” I said. “Okay, I’ll try to be better at responding. Anyway,” and I turned to Lily. “Have you read the blog?”
“I just started today and I love it!”
“Oh good, I’m glad to hear it,” I said cheerfully. Then I furrowed my brow. “Should you be reading it? I mean, there’s kind of a lot of um…bad behavior in it.”
“She’s nineteen, Tracey,” Lux muttered as she now scrolled through her phone. “Not twelve.”
“Oh, okay.” I said and shook my head. “Anyway, what I need from you guys is -”
“You know, Tracey,” Lux said thoughtfully and she looked up at me. “I can tell you’ve been working out. You look great.”
“Well, thank you.”
“And I know that doing the blog maintenance and just writing in general can take up a lot of time. Honestly, I can understand why you’re struggling to make the time to get to the messages.”
“Thank you again.”
She took a sip of coffee and then laughed lightly, but somewhat maniacally, “You know what you need? Some sort of an intern or something to help you out. Weed out the bad ones and message the good ones. A Dating Intern!”
I laughed. “That would be pretty awesome.”
She then turned her head slowly to the left. “Lily…?”
I sprung out of my chair and put my hands in front of me. “NO. Lily. Lux has had a lot of coffee today. Don’t-”
“I would love to!” Lily exclaimed.
“No, no, no,” I said.
“Why not?” asked Lux. “She’d be great at it.”
“I know she would. That’s not the point. She’s going back to school. She needs to focus on that. Not spending time on my dating life.”
“Well, someone’s got to spend time on it,” Floyd interjected.
“Floyd’s right,” Lux said. “Someone’s got to get this thing moving forward and clearly you’re dropping the ball.”
“I – ” I started.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Lainie said.
“Guys, NO,” I said emphatically.
“It’ll be fun!” Lily said.
“See?” Lux looked at me accusingly.
I was defeated and I knew it. I sunk back into my chair. “Oh, okay. But, but how would it work?”
“Well,” Lux stated. “Lily can go through the messages and then, like I said, just write quick and fun notes to the good ones, set up dates and then send you the calendar invites. Simple as that.”
“Hmm,” I said.
“But you HAVE TO GO, TRACEY,” Lux said. She threw back the rest of her coffee. “I know how you keep backing out on dates. If Lily takes the time to set these up for you, you have to GO.”
“This is crazy,” I sighed.
“I like it,” said Floyd.
“Okay,” I said with finality and then turned to Lily. “I’ll give you all my online dating passwords so you can get familiar with how it works.”
“Sounds good,” she said, nodding.
“And I’ll also give you the log-ins for the fake email account I use for online exchanges. I do this so no one can find out my last name and connect me to the blog, as it’s a bit much for a potential suitor. The fake name is actually my first name and Lux’s last name.”
“SISTERS!” Lux cried.
“Jesus,” Floyd said. “Will you calm down?”
“Shut up, Floyd,” she retorted.
“You’re the one who needs to shut up,” he said.
“Okay, GUYS,” I said. “Can we just get back to what this meeting is about, please?”
“What is this meeting about?” asked Floyd, reaching for a third cookie.
I sighed. “We’re trying to get more readers before the One Year Party.”
“When is that again?”
“Floyd, it’s August 21st. I sent you two invites. You’re supposed to be the emcee. Don’t you ever look…”
Finally, after some time, we got on track.
So I guess, now not only do I have a Social Media Marketing Team.
Now, I have a Dating Intern.