He was contemplating the advantages of suicide as he sat in his cubicle when his thirty-third call of the day rang in. “LoveActually Dating support services. This is Brian, how can I be of assistance?”
“Hi, Brian,” replied the female voice, “my name is Judith and I’ve been using your dating app for the past 6 months and it has matched me up with an unparalleled string of complete losers. You advertise an 85% satisfaction rate and, excuse the pun, but I’m not getting any satisfaction.”
“OK, Judith, thanks for calling. I’m sure that I can help. Have you tried powering down your phone any time in the past 6 months and then re-starting it.”
“Of course,” she replied impatiently, “It’s the first thing I tried.”
“Great, now do you mind if I mirror your phone and take a look at your dating profile and your settings?”
“OK, I guess. Don’t you need my passwords or something?”
“No, actually your first name and phone number are plenty. Let’s see…. OK, you are 35, from the Bay Area, currently living in Fresno, California, and enjoy skiing, snowboarding, long nights, fireplace, wine, conversation, etc., etc. Do I have the right Judith?”
“Yep. Sounds like me.”
“OK, let me get into your settings.”
“I usually don’t allow that on the first phone call,” she quipped.
“Ha! Good one, Judith. You didn’t mark “sense of humor” on your qualities. Let’s add that now, OK?”
“Sure.” Her trepidation at calling was disappearing in Brian’s apparent enthusiasm and confidence in the task at hand.
“OK, now under the question “How anxious are you to find a suitable partner?” you clicked on “beyond desperate.” What if we move that up to “very interested” and see if we can weed out some of those unsuitable matches.”
“But I am beyond desperate, Brian. This is my fifth dating app in three years and I haven’t gotten… I haven’t had a really good date in a really long time if you know what I mean.”
“Yes, ma’am. I think I get it.”
There was a long pause. “Judith, are you still there?” he asked.
“Brian, you didn’t just call me ma’am did you?”
“I–um–it’s just the training we get, ma–ah, Judith.”
“Brian, can you activate the camera on my phone?”
“Well, yes, I can, but I’m not supposed to. It would take me a minute.”
“Just do it. I’ll wait.” She could hear him clicking frantically at his keyboard in the background. “Ok, I just saw the green light come on. Do I look like someone you should be calling ma’am?”
She could hear him gasp as he saw the live picture of her flash on his screen.
“Ah–uh, no, Judith. A-Absolutely not. I-uh-if you could just button your shirt back up I think we can fix your profile and get you a much better result.”
“Just breath, Brian, it’s OK.”
“May I just say, that I don’t think your current profile picture does you justice.”
“No? I don’t think they will let me post one topless, do you?”
“Well, no, but…”
“Yes, I can fix that later. What else can we do.”
His breathing had almost returned to normal as he scanned the rest of her settings. “What I’m thinking is that it pays to be more selective so that you can attract someone who really fits your interests. What if we change your “absolute requirements for a match” from ‘under 60 years of age, breathing, and must be employed’ to something like ‘under 40, fit, and interested in both indoor and outdoor activities.’”
“Ha, I like that! ‘Indoor and outdoor activities’–a bit suggestive, don’t you think?”
“I can take that out if you don’t approve.”
“No, let’s stick with it. You have a kind of cute sense of humor also, Brian. Any other recommendations?”
“Why don’t you go with the changes we’ve already made, select a new profile picture, and see how things go for the next few weeks.”
“And if I’m not satisfied with the results?”
“I just texted you my direct line. I’d be happy to be of assistance to you for any of your future needs.”
“Goodness, Brian, I do believe you are flirting with me.”
She could hear him sigh audibly over the airwaves. “Believe me Judith, I certainly would be if I weren’t slowly dying in my cubicle here in Singapore.”
“Story of my life, Brian. Story of my life.”
5 thoughts on “From Singapore, With Love”
Those last two paragraphs finish this off perfectly. Very amusing read.
Thanks, Carol. This was a really fun one to write. It was a response to a prompt in a creative writing course I am in and once I came up with the idea for it, it almost wrote itself. However, I wrote the last line at the very last minute. I kept feeling like something was missing. I’m glad you liked “Judith’s” response!
I loved Judith, great character and you nailed the dialogue. Hope the course goes well.
Really? Thanks, again. I think writing authentic sounding dialogue is really hard and I’m never sure when I’ve hit it until I get a response from our writing group. Judith got funnier and funnier the more I wrote–I liked her a lot by the end also.
Authentic dialogue is tricky. I use ‘research’ as an excuse to eavesdrop for that very reason. Reading dialogue aloud helps a lot I find.