The majority of dates I’d been going on weren’t horrible, they just weren’t great. I knew that if I spent enough time searching through each site and going out with a large enough group of men, I could increase the probability of my finding the right one.And besides, even if I canceled, I knew how Internet marketing worked. Your black pants and black or gray top or whatever you’re wearing isn’t good for a first date.

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Dozens of press-pass badges were hanging on his cubicle. I never stayed more than an hour and always made at least two trips to the bathroom.

In the next photo, he was out at an event, dressed in a black fitted shirt and dark slacks. Mench Tastic: I don’t have a lot of time to chat now. What do you think about getting drinks sometime this weekend? They must have suspected me of something, though they weren’t quite sure of what. A prostitute for men with a haggard-office-lady fetish? Just as I was taking a sip from my glass, I saw Mench Tastic walk through the door.

Even so, we shared enough similarities in our personal and professional lives that it felt as if, even as strangers, we’d been a part of each other’s social circles for many years. It could take just one strong drink for accidentally drunk and unwittingly aggressive Amy to rear her ugly head, and the bartenders at Longshots were too unpredictable to entrust with this very important first meeting.

I moused over his photo gallery and started clicking through. Drink in hand, I commandeered my usual position at Longshots: the overstuffed leather sofa in the back corner.

Copy editors would want clarification on the spelling of a name, or to say they’d cut several key paragraphs out of a story because there wasn’t enough space.

It was an infuriating but necessary part of the job.

I told him that I’d once been to Dalian, a small city in the northeast.

I was on a reporting trip, trying to learn about how China’s hyper-productive manufacturing scene was affecting nearby countries.

As we waited for the coffee, our conversation began to wander from city hall to China.

He’d been fascinated with Asian culture and was hoping to travel to the outer edges of the Great Wall.

Longshots offered an extensive menu with pages of specialty drinks and, in the back, several more pages of coffee roasts and flavors. He’d just filed his story, and he wanted to be alert in case the copy desk called with questions. I loved how, in contrast, Jay was so genuinely, naturally inquisitive.