I stood there staring at my phone. I had received 82 new email messages that morning from an online dating site I’d never even visited, yet alone utilized. Having never been a serial dater in real life, and having no real desire to embrace romance after the year I’d just had, I simply assumed a technical glitch had occurred and chose to ignore the messages.
The night before, in a stroke of drunken genius yet to be replicated, my brother had decided to take my love life into his own hands. His solution? Signing me up with a dating site as their newest community member looking for love online.
After my initial mortification subsided, I considered whether my brother had a point. Maybe it was time for me to move on. To rejoin the real world. To see what Cupid had to offer. What did I have to lose? After all, my brother was the one footing the bill.
So I spent the remainder of that day sifting through emails from men all claiming to be smart, funny, cute, and loyal. Kind of like a bunch of Labradors, I reflected. From the same litter. Indeed, it became increasingly difficult to keep track of who’d sent me which email. That is, until, I came to an email from someone named “GMAW.”
What the hell is a GMAW, I thought? Some sort of microbrew? I hesitated, then opened his message.
Surprisingly, I was smitten from the beginning. To start, GMAW’s message came addressed not to “Stripper Attorney,” which is how my brother had originally described me in my online profile, but to my personal screen name. I was pleasantly surprised. And definitely intrigued. So much so that I penned a reply.
And thus it began. With just a few messages, GMAW and I quickly bonded over any number of things. Love of family, similar careers, confusion over why Peyton Manning had chosen “Omaha” as his gridiron battle cry.
With our love of football and our mutual admiration for the Manning brothers - Eli for me (a die-hard Giants fan), and Mr. Omaha himself for GMAW (a long-time Denver ticket holder) - GMAW and I forged a close relationship over the next few weeks. But our relationship never crossed the line into romance. Instead of flirting with each other, we focused on more weighty issues. Life. Death. Divorce. An inexplicable dislike of the New England Patriots. I found myself eagerly anticipating our nightly chats. Because GMAW actually listened to me, offered me fresh perspective and helped to clarify my thinking. He never once judged what I had to say.
I’m not sure exactly why GMAW and I met. Or why we forged such a unique relationship. Was it due to fate? Or to football? I honestly don’t know. All that really matters to me is that we did meet. For that, I think I owe my brother a big thank you. And perhaps I owe one to the Manning brothers as well.Kelly E. Connolly is an Eastern Attorney who writes on the side. She has been interviewed on television and the radio, and by The New York Times, USA Today, and CNN. She shares her home with an elderly, mischievous cat and is still searching for love online.
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