Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cyber-mating, part 3: Under the Bushwick Sun

On many of the popular online dating sites, members are required -- or at least strongly urged -- to fill out a personality questionnaire, which solicits not just essential information, but banal questions such as "What celebrity do you most resemble?" and to fill in the blanks in "Mad Libs"-like sentences such as "-- is sexy; -- is sexier." Another sentence that you're supposed to complete is "If I could be anywhere right now..."

A majority of the women answer, "Tuscany." No shit! You mean just like every other nouveau riche, unimaginative Yuppie in the world who read that book and saw those movies with Russell Crowe and Diane Lane playing overworked/traumatized/lovelorn Americans who discover the true meaning of life is to be found in sunshine, wine and the smiles of gap-toothed peasants? It's like wearing a T-shirt that reads, "I spent two weeks in Italy and all I got was a veneer of sophistication."

Well, my grandparents lived in Italy, and loved it so much that they endured a month in the fetid, tubercular steerage section of a passenger ship to emigrate to Newark.

The reality is that so many obnoxious American Yuppies have descended upon Tuscany that the Tuscans can't handle it. How would the lawyers and designers of Prospect Park like it if every summer their neighborhood was invaded by hordes of Italian young professionals, all smoking like chimneys? Worse still -- what if the Italians decided to start moving to Brooklyn? Yes, my friend, we're talking "My Villa in Bensonhurst."

And if they don't choose Tuscany, then it's another idyllic spot as designated by Conde Naste Traveler. One advertising industry woman claims that this year she went to Bamff, London and Rio, and says she’s happy as long as she gets to “explore new cultures.” As if you could explore a culture in a week or two while staying at the local Hilton. “Look, dear – we're in London! Oh my god, I'm having culture shock – they drive on the right!”

Here are some more examples:

Palazzo Sasso in Ravello (name dropping a five-star hotel)

Hanalei Bay

Greece during a full moon in August, dancing until sunrise. (Yeah, you and Zorba.)

A small pub on the side of a mountain in the west of Ireland listening to live traditional music and enjoying the grey sky...

Crete, watching the sun set into the Libyan sea. (Or in Libya watching the sun set into the Cretan Sea)

Mali (average life expectancy: 53, but what do I care? I love the music! according to the woman who listed it)

The irony, of course, is that the people who actually live in these places – Caribbean islands, rural Ireland, can’t wait to get the hell out of them. They’re usually poor and have to make their living/endure the intrusiveness of gouche American tourists, on whom they are, unfortunately, economically dependent.

But all that is lost to these cosseted suburbanites, who like to think of themselves, as one woman put it, as “world travelers” -- as if they’re Thor Heyerdahl and they rafted to Tahiti.

Perhaps the most horrific response came from a woman who declared that if she could be anywhere in the world right now, it would be "at a Prince concert that never ends."

I'm pretty positive that's against the Geneva Conventions.

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