Monday, February 18, 2008

The Forced, Awkward, Intimate Situation That People Like To Call “Dating”

So it’s been about a month now since Dream Girl officially went out of my life forever (again). And it’s Valentine’s Day. And everybody keeps harassing me. So this weekend I figured “What the hell?” and went on my first real “date” since college. I met her on LiveLinks. J/K.

A couple months back I said searching for a new apartment was a little like dating. Here's another thing akin to dating: applying for a job. Both situations essentially involve me spending the whole time wallowing uncomfortably in my attempt to come off as smart, but not too smart, and certainly not like I'm trying to come off as smart; personable, but not like I'm trying to come off as personable; confident, but not like I'm trying to come off as confident. I’m sitting there and trying to listen to her, or at least make it seem like I’m listening to her, when the truth is the whole time I’m so utterly obsessed with myself and my attempts to impress her that I end up not caring about her at all. In short, I felt like Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers.

What impresses me about dating is how two people can spend so much time talking without having an actual conversation. We talked about the most banal shit. I really don’t care where you went to college. Or whether you think Simon Cowell is an asshole or just honest. What I really want to know is what you think about God, and the political season, and American leadership in a globally interdependent age that moves beyond triumphalism. I want to know how your brain handles complex issues. I don’t even particularly care where you land on the ideological spectrum (that’s not true) so much as I care about how you got there. Do you just think George Bush is an idiot, or can you articulate why?

But I can’t ask you any of that, because it’s all so taboo on a first date. So, Tory, tell me: what’s your favorite ice cream flavor again?

“There’s a new book, and we’re gonna write it. You can win if you run a smart, disciplined campaign, if you studiously say nothing…nothing that causes you trouble, nothing that's a gaffe…nothing that shows you might think the wrong thing…nothing that shows you can think. But it just isn't worthy of us, is it, Toby?...It isn't worthy of us, it isn't worthy of America, it isn't worthy of a great nation. We're gonna write a new book, right here, right now, this very moment. Today.”

Here's another thing I don't like about dating: You can't order chicken wings. Would someone please explain to me the POINT of a dinner that isn't comprised of chicken wings?


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