Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Unconventional Internet Research

Our first date was a bar at Dupont Circle in downtown D.C. called The Front Page. It's not the classiest of locales, but it's right next to a Metro station, it's well-lit and very public and they have good Manhattans.

The well-lit and very public is the key to any good first date. Nonthreatening and unpretentious – that's all I wanted. Get her to feel safe enough to show up, and I think I can take it from there.

I was late, but it wasn't my fault. At the time, I lived in a suburb of D.C. called Gaithersburg, Md. It's the last stop on Metro's red line. I raced home from work to take care of the dog and jetted over to the station to head downtown.

Midway through the trip, the train stopped moving – and stayed stationary for several minutes. That's when the police boarded the train car in front of me.

The texts started flying.

"I'm so sorry I'm running late. You literally won't believe this, but there is police activity on the car in front of mine. The train is stopped. Someone is being led off the train in handcuffs."

"It's no problem!" she said. Though she surely thought, At least his excuses are creative.

I raced up the escalator to where she was waiting, and she smiled and hugged me. The date went well.

As we started planning a second date, we decided it would be a good idea to make a dinner reservation at a restaurant near her office. Then, I could swing by and pick her up after work and head straight to dinner.

She told me she worked at Freed Photography in Bethesda. What she didn't know then was I already knew that.

With online dating, there's always a risk. When you "meet" someone new online, you just want some verification she's a real person. What better way than through social media? As I've mentioned before, Emily fancies herself a woman of mystery. She didn't want to be found on Facebook. Previously, I only knew her first name and where she went to school. Normally that's enough. Even when I knew her full name, she was unsearchable.

Although I knew by now she was who she said she was, and I didn't need to verify her identify on Facebook, it was a matter of pride. No one was unsearchable for me. I could find anyone. Except her.

It was time to get creative.

I recalled a conversation where she said she worked at a photography studio in Bethesda. OK. That's something.

I google-mapped Bethesda and searched for photography studios. Luckily, there were only a couple of options in the portion of the map I had open. Armed with the names of a couple of studios, I headed to their websites to see if they listed a staff directory.

My first search? Freed Photography.

Sure enough, listed on the staff page, was a pretty girl named Emily Lampe.

My luck continued when I searched for Freed on Facebook. Lots of photos. People tagged in nearly all of them. And then, boom. A staff party. Hey, she looks familiar. Tagged in the photo: Emily Lampe.

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