Be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle,-Philo of Alexandria

Lost lonely-hearts who never did much wooing, billing or cooing

search for soul mates on the deux ex machina of eharmony; braying

cell phones ring and dinging computers snap, crackle and crank out

profiles of a person. Airbrushed photos flash by, resumes embellished

by Madison Avenue marketing panache, as machismo men prowl for slim

gals with the face of Cleopatra, and women hunt for men of means who

are not short, fat or bald.

Mister Lonely-heart worries he won’t know what to say after he says hello,

fears once in bed he may not be able to rise for the occasion.

He claims to be a business executive, (assistant manager at MacDonalds),

scuba-diver, (snorkels in uncle’s pool), and flies a seaplane, (once took

a scenic ride).

Ms Lonely-heart worries about humongous boobs and a body bulging

in places she must hide and struggles with simmering panic attacks

realizing no man has ever touched her down there.

She claims to have a robust trust fund, (grandpa paid for college),

to be a seasoned flautist, ( toodled in the high school marching band),

and vacations in Tuscany, (once went on a single’s tour).

He fears rejection if she learns of his freaky dreams, like the one

where he slides down a banister that turns into a razor blade.

She fears rejection if she reveals her recurrent whacky nightmare,

zig-zagging away from an avalanche of rainbow colored shattered

glass while hearing her older brothers calling her “lard-ass.”

The internet can’t guarantee it’s safe to be yourself when meeting

someone new. Folks afraid of intimacy can easily get stuck

in a pusillanimous push-me-pull-me concubinage until

they find the courage to let down their guard and take the risk

needed to keep loneliness at bay.

The next time you meet someone you haven’t seen for a while,

instead of asking: “How are you?” Just query: “How goes the battle?”

Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie St. Leonia, N.J. 07605