I found out my sister-in-law has a profile on match.com.
Last night, my husband and I were in the car on our way to pick up a pizza when his phone buzzed. It was a text message from his sister who had spent the weekend skiing in Utah with friends from college. She was updating my husband with her new flight information because she managed to catch an earlier plane going home. Thinking about why she would go through the trouble of changing flights, I wondered aloud if maybe she had a date to watch the Super Bowl with someone.
“Well, she did join match.com,” my husband said.
“What?!” I was incredulous. This was news to me.
My husband said something about an e-mail his sister sent in which she quickly mentioned that she had gone out with a few guys she met online. When we got home, I made him show me the e-mail.
“Wow,” I said after reading it.
My husband looked at me like I had six heads. “Wow what?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “Just wow. I can’t believe she’s on match.com now.”
Well, I can and I can’t. His sister is a doctor; she’s 28. She’s been single for two or three years and hasn’t dated much in that time. She’s smart as a whip and extremely outdoorsy. She’s social, but rather awkwardly. When I think of her putting together a profile on match.com, I imagine her writing taglines that say things like, “East Coast girl looking for West Coast fun,” or “Outdoorsy doc looking for hiking partner.” She’s kind of blunt, and she’s not exactly the warm and fuzzy type, so I just have a hard time picturing what she would write. Which is exactly why I had to make a phony e-mail address so I could sign up and find her profile.
I’m an ass.
It took me a little while to find her profile, but eventually her picture popped up among the other headshots full of smiling, wide-eyed women. I recognized the photo as having been taken at my rehearsal dinner. I was able to read part of her profile without clicking on it, and just as I was about to click for the full version, I stopped.
Would she know? When she clicked on the link to see the list of people who recently viewed her profile, would she know that this ridiculous username was actually me? If she clicked on it, would it take her to some profile that would reveal my true identity? Would she be angry, I wondered, if she realized I was spying on her? Or would she be amused by my curiosity?
I thought about how I would feel if I realized one of my family members had found my online dating profile. Slightly embarrassed, probably annoyed. I wouldn’t want my brother or his wife or my parents to have that view into my personal life. I would feel violated, as though something truly personal had been mistakenly revealed, and now everyone would know that I’m just looking for someone who I can split a bottle of 90+ Malbec with and who doesn’t mind that I can’t slice a bagel without cutting open my finger. I’d want to take those details and draw them close to me, protecting them from the judgment of people who already know me.
So I closed it. I closed the browser window, closed my laptop, and pushed it far away from me on the coffee table. I think it would have been unfair of me to cross that line, and even though my sister-in-law would probably never find out if I had, I would feel terrible if she did.
I do have to sign back in eventually, though, because I keep getting e-mail alerts about new singles in my area. This time, the only person’s profile I’ll be checking is my own, and that’s to delete it.