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Looking for Lava Love-on a budget

Looking for Lava Love-on a budget

Michael Murray, Gureilla – Ottawa Culture at Ground Level

Published: October 2005 – Issue 6

After desiring a relationship with writer Michael Murray for some time, Guerilla determined that the best course of action would be to buy his affection. We took it slow and kept things casual, suggesting only that he contemplate what he might like to contribute to our pages for the standard fifty-dollar honorarium. As we’d hoped, the prospect set Murray’s eyes afire—lit with the smoking and glowing intensity of lava.

Ok. Here’s what happened.

With Guerilla’s fifty dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I went online in my ongoing quest for true love while documenting the experience in a weekly journal. But before I present any of the details, here’s some of what my Lavalife profile looks like:

Lavalife Section: Dating

My nickname: A DOUBLE TAKE

Opening Line: I like to gamble.

In My Own Words (description of me):

“In my own words.” It sounds like the title of a bad poem. One of those poems that is shaped on the page like a swan or a heart. At least, that’s what I think. I guess that means that what I’m writing now is my own lousy poem: a humiliating heart-shaped song of myself. I’m embarrassed and ashamed already.

But hey! I’m here because I’m interested in people, in opportunity. I think the idea of this is fun, straight out fun. I like writing to people and having them write back. Fun, fun, fun! I also like meeting the people, talking with them, and finding out about their lives.

Versatile, me. My friends describe me as “awesome,” “unbelievable,” and “amazing.” I emit a good buzz. I’m wicked funny and dress well. I don’t miss hockey. I’m a writer. Well, I’m trying to be a writer. I’m nice, did I say that? I should have. I’m nice. My instincts are kind and sincere and Jesus Christ I am super rich. I’m optimistic. I think that everything is fun. If it’s not fun, then at least it’s interesting. Taking the bus! Fun, fun, fun!! And Jesus, you should see me when I take off my glasses—”You Are So Beautiful” starts playing in everybody’s head, and all the angels pause, forgetting what they were doing for a moment. I’m a crime fighter, dashing like Batman. And modest. Did I mention my modesty, my irony, my self-deprecating wit, my wealth?

Personal Details

Gender: Male

Age: 39

Height: 5′ 9”

Body Type: average

Ethnic Background: white

Smoking Habits:  do not smoke

Religion: non-religious

Drinking Habits: socially

Language(s) spoken: English

Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Week 1


Well, Lavalife is both highly addictive and banal. I can sit for hours, blankly clicking on the profiles of women I might want to date. But I’m not really processing anything, I’m just staring—very much like channel surfing. Actually, it’s probably more like playing the slots. I like slots. They’re fun, especially if you’re a creative type and you can make a drinking game out of playing. (I am very much the creative type, I really should have put that in my profile.) I wonder if the casino is still doing well? Probably. They have good entertainment there. Man, I remember that one time myself and Matty went down to play some black jack. That was an awesome time! After smoking a joint, we got lost and ended up taking in a Neil Diamond tribute act called “Nearly Neil.” I should give Matty a call, see how he’s doing.

There were expenses associated with my preparation, and I’m now down to about 30 loonies or so. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay to get started on Lavalife. Posting a profile is free, but if you wish to initiate contact with another person, you have to pay approximately three dollars to send an e-mail. Now that my profile is live, the combination of my devastating good looks and magnetic charm pretty much assures me that I will have an avalanche of women plunking down the three bucks to send me alluring messages.

I will now check.

Hmm. That’s funny. It would seem that there have been no responses to my profile. Weird. I wonder if maybe the system was down for the last couple of days or something. Possibly a computer virus.


I have returned to compulsively checking out profiles. I’ve noticed that women have great affection for their pets. Apparently, if you’re not a “cat person” then you might be in for some trouble. Many of the women claim to miss hockey. This disappoints me as I thought one of my most attractive qualities was that I don’t miss hockey. Perhaps they’re lying. Probably, because the truth is that I kind of do miss hockey and I’m glad it’s back. I think that Dany Heatley trade is going to be fucking awesome.


Week 2


I find that I cannot stop myself from checking out profiles. I get no work done, I just sit there—click, click, clicking. It’s like something out of a sci-fi film. No, maybe something from a Stephen King novel. I’m just sitting at my desk, feeling absurdly picky, eliminating people on the basis of their nicknames and other petty impulses. She has brown eyes? Not for me.

Maybe I should bite the bullet and spend the coin to write somebody.


I received my first Lava e-mail today. At first I was very excited but then found out that the writer, nicknamed So_happy_to_be_single, is my ex-girlfriend. She was not looking for a reconciliation. Instead she seemed to think it would be good to make fun of the orange turtleneck I’m wearing in my photo. “can’t believe you used that photograph!” she wrote. She also added that I was only a “social” drinker if by “social” they meant “constant.” Ha-ha. Went on to tell me about how she herself was inundated with solicitations, how she was going out on a different date every night. She was even kind enough to include a rather graphic description of an encounter with some dude in a parking lot. Ended her note by saying “dog doesn’t miss you.” Nice touch.


Week 3


Accidentally broke my computer after reading that e-mail from my ex. I now have to log on at the Ottawa Public Library. Still haven’t received any real messages. Just noticed that a lot of homeless people tend to go to libraries. Kind of counterintuitive, that. I always imagined that libraries would be full of smart people, people interested in reading, but really it’s full of people who are sick of being outdoors.

Discussed Lavalife with my friend Andrea who claims to know about these things. Using diplomatic language, she told me that somebody who looks as “unique and confident” as I do might be better off not posting my photograph right up there for all to see. “Let them get to know you a little bit first, so they will see the force of your personality in your looks,” Andrea said.


I have written a note to the Lava administrators to ask them if my account is working properly. They assured me that it is and that it is not uncommon for men to have to make the first move. They encouraged me to spend some money and write some women. They told me not to get discouraged.


I am not discouraged. No sir. I feel very attractive as I sit here in the library beside a bag lady who is trying to hide the fact that she’s eating an egg sandwich. I feel radiant and confident, and the stitches in my forehead from the accident with my computer are coming out soon. No, I did not lose any confidence or self-esteem when Andrea told me that I would be better off without a photograph of myself. Nor was my confidence shaken when she told me that I should stop trolling for hot girls in their 20s and maybe focus my attention on some of the women more in my “league.” Whatever.


Week 4


I have decided to be proactive. I spent some money and wrote an e-mail to Hotchik21. She likes rollerblading. In fact, she had posted a picture of herself rollerblading. Looks good in Lycra. I wrote to tell her that she looks good in Lycra, figuring that an attractive young woman like her would probably like to receive a compliment from a distinguished gentleman such as myself. Did not hear back from her.

Later, I noticed that Hotchik21 made a change to her profile. Right near the top it read “NO CREEPY OLD GUYS PLEEZ!!”


I have taken Andrea’s advice and removed my photograph. Now a person will have to request to see my picture, and at that point they will already be in love and not quite so intimidated by the fierce intelligence my photograph projects.

I am going to write up a storm. Beautiful, delicate, hilarious, and wonderful messages to all the wonderful women out there (aged 35 to 45 as Andrea has instructed).


I just wrote a woman named SuddenlyScotland. She said she liked whiskey and chess. I sent her a note about playing chess while drinking scotch, about how I approached chess as a drinking game. She seemed charmed and asked to see my photograph. My photograph appears to have intimidated her as she no longer responds to any of my e-mails.

Later I wrote Yoganita. Her profile said that she was socially conscious and liked the Indigo Girls. I wrote to tell her I thought she was very pretty for a gay, hippie chick.


Apparently, there is a function on Lavalife where you can “Block” certain users from communicating with you. The administrators wrote me a helpful note telling me that Yoganita had “Blocked” me from writing to her. Some people just don’t know how to take a compliment. I’m not at all surprised that Yoganita is single.

Tonight I wrote to a woman calling herself LondonCalling. A really funny e-mail about getting drunk on jungle juice at a high school-type party and then throwing up while people danced to the Clash. I thought it would be funny to add that the party took place last weekend, that myself and my buddy Matty crashed it after a night of gaming at the casino. I did not hear back from her. Was notified by administrators that I had been “Blocked” again.


Week 5


It’s funny how easily you can start smoking again. I mean I hadn’t had a cigarette in over a decade, but when I hit the casino with Matty, well, ever since it’s been like I’ve never stopped puffing away. Forgot about how much it stains the fingers and teeth. Turns out that the bag lady at the library is pretty cool. Sometimes we go out to share a smoke and make fun of all the government workers. I’ve told her about Lavalife and what an excellent way it is to meet people, how much it improves one’s confidence and social skills. Donna Mae (that’s her name) seems interested to try it out.


Today I received two e-mails. However, they were “collect calls” which means that I have to pay to read them.

One of the e-mails came from a woman in the Phillipines. She listed her interests as “touching, kissing, oral sex, and intercourse.” Her Lava name was Nanny69. I decided to spend the money and read her letter. “dear sir, I am very much interested in meeting mature gentleman for pleasure. Please send pic and I will do same.” I sent her my photograph, asking if she liked what she saw. I have not heard back.


Week 6


Donna Mae got some new clothes from the shelter and now really looks like she could live in somebody’s home. Even though we were shushed several times by the librarian, we were able to create a Dating profile for her on Lavalife. We nicknamed her Hardstuff. I greatly underestimated Donna Mae. She has an awesome sense of humour and has been very generous with her sandwiches. Really a lot of fun.


I borrowed my father’s digital camera so that Donna Mae and I could take photographs of one another and post them with our profiles. Action shots from all across Ottawa—posed on Parliament Hill, smiling by the canal, hanging from the branches of a tree in a park. Stuff like that, stuff that expresses our vitality and optimism. I am psyched! This will be so cool!


Alright. It turns out that Donna Mae was not “all of that” after all. After a fun day of photography, we went to the Dominion Tavern to celebrate with a couple of drinks. We got a little bit tight, I guess, and it turns out that although Donna Mae can really hold her rum, she is a bit of a nasty drunk. She said some very unflattering things about both my appearance and my personality. She snorted at how my profile says I am 5’9” with an “average” body. She thought that was “rich.” Anyway, I was pretty pissed off about some of the things she was saying so I went out back to chill and have a smoke. When I returned, both Donna Mae and my dad’s digital camera were gone.

Saturday, 11:30 p.m.

Don’t laugh. It’s not funny. I cannot afford to buy my father a new camera. The editor of Guerilla says it’s “not my problem” and refuses to pay any more money for me to document this entirely shitty and humiliating Lavalife experience. So I’m up a creek without a paddle, as they say. Sitting in a stupid library, spending my last loonies writing e-mails to “Hardstuff”, begging her to return my dad’s camera. No, not funny.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Well, I was researching a book I’m working on and typed in “hockey player learn to receive compliment” and up popped this post! Naturally, I had to read it, Michael. Funny stuff. Back to work now…

    February 18, 2014

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