I went on some forty more first dates, some of which led on to second, third and fourth outings. If campus visits eluded me on the job market, in the dating world they—or their equivalent—came with some frequency. There was the 25-year-old who dressed like a vaudeville character and pursued me so ardently I was almost alarmed; after we had dinner one night she led me to her bed, mounted me and cried, “I did it! I’ve been trying for so long!” The next day she texted, “I can’t see you again, Andrew. I just moved here and I’ve realized I need at least another year to get my bearings before I’ll be ready for anything.” There was the science teacher who looked me in the eye over our first date and said, with terrifying earnestness, “I am Walter White.” That night, in bed, she confided that her brother was dying, and we lay awake until 4 a.m. talking, I comforting her as best I could. Two days later she texted me, “I’m searching pretty furiously for a husband, and don’t sense we have the crackle of chemistry to justify going out again.” Then there was the young academic writing a dissertation on pain—the yin to my yang—but this connection proved just as short-lived.

    I kept hoping for some measure of the commitment that seemed, whether in love or work, like the precondition for a pleasure that could be redemptive. I didn’t want to accept a view of life as an archipelago of isolated encounters, or accede to the logic—reinforced by the utility-driven instruments colonizing our lives—that people mattered for their short-term use value. Still, I saw that as Tinder and other apps became an integral component in the new sharing economy with Uber and Airbnb, so bodies were taking their place alongside cars, apartments and offices—briefly dwelled in, tried out, passed along.


Holy fuck the self-involvement.

1) My brother-in-law just got tenure. he's a tenured professor at a university ranked number one in his specialty. He got there by being not-tenured somewhere else for four years and working on interesting stuff, which he got to by getting his Ph.D. somewhere else and working on interesting stuff. He did these job hunt things but mostly, he contributed to his field with others in his field and met people in his field which led to opportunities in his field.

    The Restorationist dandy interjected. “See, that’s where I’m getting stuck. Of course there’s the whole Horatian epistemology that couples pleasure with knowledge-acquisition, riiiight?” (Riiight? is a filler academics use in lieu of um or so.) “And that gets taken up by Sidney and folks like him in the Renaissance, riiight, and then later you get Wordsworth saying knowledge is pleasure. But now you’re saying pleasure can bring about political action?” He paused, training his chili-pepper-inspiring eyes on me. “I mean, how do you get from the one to the other?”

    “Well,” I said, shrugging, “I think pleasure’s always been political, hasn’t it? It never just occurs in a vacuum.”

...I don't know how you write that and not see that someone with influence over your career is asking you to defend your thesis in human terms to a skeptical audience. Is asking you to speak that which you have written, is asking you to expound upon your professed body of knowledge in a non-constrained environment. And I don't know how you write that and don't acknowledge your own non-answer, your utter failure to recognize the intent of the question, the hopeless self-involvement that precludes you from teaching anyone else what you know because apparently you can't even have a conversation about it.

2) buddy of mine just got engaged to a girl he met on OK Cupid. Met her - fuck - six years ago? They're a great couple. Love 'em both. They work. And "how we met" is as entirely fucking irrelevant to them as it is to me as it is to anyone - "how we met" matters fuckall compared to "how we stay together."

    Undoing my belt, she leaned forward and said into my ear, “I want to know all about what you’re going to do to me. Where are you going to put this?”

    Caught off guard, I weighed the question in as literal and academic a fashion as one could, then said—I kid you not, reader, I actually said this, and without a trace of irony—“Your vagina?” She drew away, looking at me, first quizzically and then with slight exasperation. After a moment she recomposed herself, this time addressing me with the unflinching resolve of someone aiming a .44 Magnum: “Come on. This is your audition.”

    This was my audition. I mulled this over. I scarcely knew this woman. Until three hours ago, the entirety of our interaction had been digital; now she loomed before me, a perspiring presence demanding that I prove my mettle as an improv filth-talker.

Dated a girl once who, first time we got naked, explained that she liked to be "defiled." Okay. Is there a better time to bring that up? I can't think of one - if you've got kinks, let's get them out in the open where we can try them on. I didn't end up dating her for long - she was one of two I was juggling at the time, and also stated ten minutes into our first date that she wanted seven kids. No harm, no foul - she knew what she wanted, I knew I didn't want that, and I went a different way. I mean, look - same date she told me she had herpes. This is a woman with a number of specific handicaps to free-wheeling dating and she put 'em all on the table. I hate to think of the self-righteous panic that date would have put this guy in.

3) The author is losing sight of the fact that both processes are a means to an end. There's this overblown terror of Tinder that seems to come from a certain segment of the Internet that, for some reason, didn't exist when Hot or Not came out. Courtship is a ritual, and, like dancing or flirting, what matters is your ability to demonstrate competence at the ritual. The point is to get through the ritual. This does not mean "wallow in the details." It does not mean "learn to be a pick up artist." It means "do what you need to do so that you can deal with the other person like a human being."

    We paid the bill and both departed for my place, she in her minivan, I on my bike. Twenty minutes later, back at my apartment and half breathless, I set about shoveling out the two litter boxes, then swept up the fugitive gravel strewn about both. I put on a João Gilberto album, sat down on the futon and breathed. Half an hour went by.

I mean, it's like bringing a croquet mallet to the driving range. Yes you can hit balls with it but this is some straight-up Woody Allen shit.

The secret to success is to try hard not to fail. Actually, that's not even a secret, is it? It's the sort of solved-by-inspection insight one gets from, you know, trying at something.

It does not happen if you sit idly by, not putting forth the vaguest effort, and then wallowing in your failure.

    Just then I received a message. “Make me some cannoli,” a young woman demanded without salutation. Was it a double entendre? Was I naïve to wonder? I clicked on her profile: 29, newly minted M.D., had just moved to my city to do her residency; was family-centered, More Suave, dazzling in both scrubs and sequins. A doctor, and a fetching one at that! I felt my poverty and concupiscence in equal measure. That opening line, though—I couldn’t decide whether I was indignant or stimulated. I decided to write back: “Hi! That’s not normally something I do for strangers, but then, most strangers aren’t as cute as you. 😉 How are you liking this place and your residency so far?” She never wrote back.

No. You say "Fuck yeah. Ready by 5. Here's the address" and then you go home and MAKE CANNOLI. If she shows up? She's already in the house. If she doesn't? Cannoli.

THAT is the secret to success: make the fucking cannoli.

posted by ButterflyEffect: 403 days ago