A few months ago, I got very concerned that the entire genre of situational comedy had lied to me, that no one had been on an actual date since 1992, and that I probably should have just accepted cousin Matthew’s proposal instead of holding out for someone with better prospects. Okay, that last one might not have happened to me. But being surrounded by people who were either chronically single or had married young made me very concerned that I had been incorrectly led to believe that dating was a thing. Shows like Sex and the City gave me the impression that sometimes, people went on “dates” in order to get to know other people before committing to a relationship with that person, and it turns out, this sometimes actually happens. Dating is alive and well, but finding the attractive and steadily employed men that the ladies of SATC seemed to always date is more challenging. Dating isn’t a fun and exciting Carrie Bradshaw-esque boy buffet, but rather a Liz Lemon-y comedy of errors. (It is worth noting that even Liz Lemon, usually mocked as a failure with men, has dated my secret boyfriend Jason Sudeikis, as well as Jon Hamm, Matt Damon, and James Marsden. Liz is doing okay for herself.)
Yep, it turns out dating is a made for TV situation, where the misadventures can be exploited for laughs. In real life, it’s more of a “you must laugh to keep from crying” situation. As evidence, I shall present you with the gems I have gone on dates with over the past few months:
Cheapskate Metro Guy: I get that we’re still sort of maybe in a recession. I have no problem with thrift. I do have a problem with you demanding that I rearrange my work schedule to make happy hour for a first date. You could also, you know, suggest a restaurant you can afford. He otherwise turns out to be an okay guy, until we’re headed home and he decides to get off the Metro a stop early because of the price difference. If you’re not familiar with the DC metro system, yes, you pay based on stops, but the difference between stops is something like 10 cents. If 20 minutes of your time spent walking is not worth a dime to you, I worry about your values. Call me superficial, but this guy sealed the “never getting a call back” deal when, within the space of two days, he called, texted, e-mailed, and instant messaged me. I am surprised he did not also utilize smoke signals and a carrier pigeon. Too much, buddy. Too much.
Ronald Regan Bobblehead Guy: Cute. Athletic. Not cheap. Invited me to a 4th of July party at his place, which had a killer view of the fireworks. Unfortunately, this place also had a killer view of a bobblehead which I had hoped was ironic, but realized it wasn’t when it was on a shelf containing every biography of Reagan ever written. My political leanings are more Liz Lemon than Avery Jessup, so this was…offputting, to say the least. (” Just because I think gay dudes should be allowed to adopt kids and we should all have hybrid cars doesn’t mean I don’t love America.“) In a less contentious election season, I might have made a go of it, but not this year.
Ivy Leaguers, aka, half the men in DC: Every single one of these guys wants you to know that at one point, they could have pahked their cah in a certain yahd. Going to Harvard does not exempt you from being a d-bag. Have a personality, please.
No Furniture Guy: This was one of the best first dates I’ve been on, probably ever. The guy was tall, cute, sarcastic sense of humor, liked good beers. We had much in common, and I was slightly smitten. And then I learned that he had no furniture. Not in a “oh I just moved and haven’t made it to Ikea” yet kind of way, more of a “my clothes are on the floor and not in a dresser because I can’t stay in for an evening and take the money I would have spent at the bar and use it to buy a dresser at the Target I live next door to” kind of way. I know people have student loans. Yet I don’t think it’s so very much to ask that a guy not be using a cardboard box for a coffee table.
Good on paper, incompatible in person guy: It’s sad when it comes as a relief to meet a guy who has a job and a house (presumably, a furnished one). After nursing a crush on this guy for months, he finally asked me out. We met for dinner at a pub (his suggestion), where he proceeded to inform me that he wasn’t much of a drinker. “I don’t really like the taste of beer,” he explained. Okay, I thought. It’s an acquired taste. We could work on that. We moved onto discussing interests. “I really like camping,” he said. I have had no less than two relationships end due to my lack of desire to sleep outside, ever. I was growing wary. “And I don’t really watch a lot of TV.” And that, as my television best friend and mentor Liz Lemon would say, was the dealbreaker, ladies.
My conclusion: Dating exists. And it is just like on TV, in that it is hilarious, though so far not conducive to finding one of these “relationship” things I hear so much about. For now, I’m enjoying the adventure, and the opportunity to sit in bed with my laptop and write about it afterward. I couldn’t help but wonder, though, would I ever meet a nice guy who I could sit on the couch (because he’d own a couch) and watch 30 Rock with?