Posts Tagged ‘Dating While Poet’

Dating While Poet #4: First Day of Spring

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Much like myself, this post isn’t really going anywhere but contains valuable information. You will likely find it of more usefulness than my other posts in the “Dating While Poet” series, because this one isn’t about me actually going on a date and therefore offers something beyond examples of what not to do that, although amusing, fail to be instructive because, unless you’re me, you already knew not to do those things anyway. (And if you are me, Chris, stop reading your own blog and do something constructive with your day.) As I’ve said, this post isn’t about me going on a date. It does, however, involve a beautiful woman asking for my number. Unfortunately, this was only so she could enter it into the computer at the bookstore and call me when the book I’d ordered arrived. In all fairness, I would like quickly to clarify that this was a book I’d already planned on buying when I walked into the bookstore, and that I wasn’t just ordering it because the girl at the Information desk was pretty. Although, in further fairness, I was just ordering it because the author of the book is pretty. I’m going to change the subject now.

It’s the first day of Spring and I woke up in a good mood, knowing perfectly well that you’re only supposed to capitalize the name of a season if it’s a poem and you’re addressing it, but not caring at all. That was how good I felt. Like with most people, when I find myself in a good mood I want to make it even better by doing something crazy that I don’t normally do. Unlike with most people, going outside in the daytime for a reason besides work counts for me as one of those things. I decided to walk to a bookstore and purchase comedienne Kristen Schaal’s The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex, which I’ve been meaning to buy because it has funny stuff on the inside and a picture of Kristen Schaal in her underwear on the cover. It’s been out for a year and a half, and I would have bought it sooner, but I had to wait until I was having a really good day so the funniness of the book wouldn’t be negated by my depression over the fact that I’m never going to marry Kristen Schaal, despite the fact that I’m an adventurous yet soulful lover and spell her name right more than half of the time.

      My idea of an unattainable Love Goddess

I felt so unstoppable that instead of walking all the way up to the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, I decided to throw caution to Zephyrus and go to the bookstore three blocks from my apartment that I usually avoid because everyone who hangs out there is so much cooler than me. Yes, I walked right into that cool bookstore with my head held high, and I kept it that way. There was a woman drinking coffee while wearing the biggest pair of sunglasses I’ve ever seen, and I didn’t start crying even a little. It was like there was some kind of cool forcefield around me, which I attributed to the fact that I was wearing my pants with the dried paint on them. I got them at Salvation Army, so there was already paint on them when I bought them, rather than the paint being on them because I was actually painting something myself, but I had spent the walk to the bookstore mentally preparing to lie about that if anyone asked.

The logical guess was that the book would be in the Humor section, except for the fact that it’s probably actually funny and no books in the Humor section of a bookstore are ever actually even a little bit funny. It wasn’t in the Sexuality section either, so I went over to the Information desk to ask. I did notice on my way over that the woman sitting behind the Information desk was gorgeous, but I made up my mind that this was definitely not going to ruin my day and force me to go home and write something about it. If you’re wondering why a professional writer would consider a day ruined if it results in him doing his job, don’t worry, I’m seeing my therapist tomorrow and I’m going to open with that.

When I say that the woman behind the information desk was gorgeous, I’m not exaggerating for effect. She was probably a model. Normally that’s just an expression, but when you’re talking about a startlingly tall and skinny woman who’s dressed uncommonly stylishly while working a part-time job at a trendy store in SoHo, it’s not. I mean she was literally almost certainly a model. And if that usage of literally made sense to you despite the fact that there’s no way for someone to figuratively almost certainly be a model, shame on you, you’re what’s wrong with America.

I’m not going to describe the woman beyond stating the fact that she was gorgeous, because if somehow she ends up reading this, the odds that she would be flattered are infinitesimal compared to the odds that I would get banned from that bookstore. So if you’re her, and you are reading this, don’t worry, I’m talking about a different woman in a different bookstore in the same neighborhood that I ordered the same book from on the first day of Spr—  fuck.

The problem with being in a good mood is, it doesn’t take much to screw it up. That’s why in general I advise strongly against it. The literal model explained that they were out of The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex but that she could order it for me and it would arrive tomorrow, and I managed to get through the conversation and give her my information to enter into her special model computer that probably does weird secret model stuff that normal computers don’t do without looking at the floor and mumbling so quietly that she had to ask me everything twice. I did somehow manage to forget what I normally do with my arms when I’m standing still, but that’s to be expected. It won’t ever happen again, though, because this time I made a mental note to notice what I do with my arms the next time I’m talking to an ugly girl and remember. So look out, pretty girls, because the next time you have a 30-second conversation with this guy, you’re not even going to believe how natural his arm movements seem.

Anyway, remember that useful information I promised you at the beginning? Here it is. Obviously, I wanted to keep talking to this woman. Also obviously, I couldn’t think of a plausible reason to do so and just left. And because of this, I finally figured out the correct answer to the age-old question of whether beautiful women like jerks. The answer is that technically they don’t, but it comes to the same thing. And here’s why.

Now, the reason you always hear people say that beautiful women like jerks is because beautiful women keep ending up with jerks, so you can’t really blame people for concluding this. But in reality, concluding that beautiful women are especially attracted to jerks is like concluding that lightning is especially attracted to golfers. It’s true that golfers are the ones who always end up getting hit by lightning, but there’s no inherent quality golfers possess that causes this. Lightning is equally attracted to all human beings, because our bodies are all mostly water and lightning is attracted to water. And even though, all things considered, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be struck by lightning no matter where you are, being on a golf course makes it considerably more likely than being anywhere else. And golfers are exponentially more likely than non-golfers to be on a golf course.

In other words, in order for me to end up dating this woman, I would have had to keep talking to her. It’s unlikely that I would have ended up dating her even if I had kept talking to her, of course—but it’s impossible that I would have ended up dating her if I didn’t, and unlikely outranks impossible. Since I had no valid reason to keep talking to her other than that I found her attractive, I would have had to make up some phony bullshit reason to keep talking to her on the spot. And in order to be capable of doing that, I would have had to believe at least one of the following two things:

A) She is so stupid she’s not going to figure out that my reason for continuing to talk to her is a phony bullshit one, or
B) I am so awesome she’s not going to care that my reason for continuing to talk to her is a phony bullshit one.

And in order to believe either of those things, I would have to be a jerk. Remember, I’m not saying I would have to be a jerk to believe that anyone would be interested in me. I would have no trouble believing that a woman who’s read my poetry book or sat through one of my brilliant lectures on Frankenstein would want to date me. To be perfectly honest, I would think she was crazy if she didn’t. But here, we’re talking about a woman I talked to for half a minute and who knew absolutely nothing about me. And for that matter, I knew absolutely nothing about her. So in order for either of criteria A and B to be met, I would have to be walking around in a constant state of thinking either that all women are stupid or that all women find me awesome based on absolutely nothing. And walking around in a constant state of believing either of those things is the definition of a jerk.

So, in conclusion, this is why all jerks play golf. No wait, that’s not it. But hey, isn’t it weird how that’s also true?

Dating While Poet #3: The Meatpacking District

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

I met a girl at a product-testing study for a hangover remedy. They rented the top floor of a bar, got us all really drunk, then gave some of us the product and some of us a placebo and told us to fill out a questionnaire about how we felt the next day. They also gave us free cans of the product on our way out, which obviously everyone drank as soon as they left, including the people who’d been given the placebo. I kind of suspect the officiators did not know how to conduct a study properly. Anyway, I got her number and asked her to meet me for a drink the next night at a place I like in the East Village. She texted back and asked me to pick a place in the Meatpacking District instead. I called Danny and asked him for the name of a bar in the Meatpacking District that wouldn’t give me a panic attack. He said there was only one of those. I texted the girl the name of that bar and met her there. I was five minutes early and she was half an hour late. Actually, she was only ten minutes late, but then stood outside the bar talking on her phone for twenty minutes before she came in, which I know because I could plainly see her through the window. I spent that time pretending to do things with my phone, which was difficult because my phone can’t really do anything. I just held it up in the air and pressed the screen over and over with my thumb while trying to look engrossed. It wasn’t even unlocked. Luckily, no-one was sitting behind me. Then she came in and this happened.

Me: Everything okay?
Date: Yeah, why wouldn’t it be?
Me: No reason.
Date: Oh my God, I was so drunk last night.
Me: Me too. I guess that was kind of the point.
Date: That was weird. Wasn’t that weird? We were like rats in a cage.
Me: I don’t know. If someone’s going to get me drunk for free all night and all I have to do is send them an e-mail the next day about whether I have a headache—
Date: RATS IN A CAGE. So what do you do again?
Me: I’m an English teacher. You?
Date: I’m the [I can’t write this part accurately because her job made no sense. I think she’s someone’s assistant or something]. And I love it! But really, I can’t even drink tonight. I’m just going to stick with white wine.
Waitress: What can I get you?
Date: Vodka tonic.
Me: Citrus martini. What were you up to today?
Date: I’ve been running around like crazy trying to find a dress for New Year’s Eve. I finally found this one, it has ruching, and [edited for length, but it took about twenty minutes, so this may well be the same story she was telling someone on the phone outside the bar]. So yeah, it has ruching. Sorry, do you know what that is?
Me: Yeah, I know what ruching is.
Date: Oh my God, really? Are you bi?
Me: I think in theory everyone is, but no, not actively.
Date: Then why do you know what ruching means?
Me: Well, I’m an English teacher, so I guess I know what it means because it’s a word.
Date: That’s funny. You’re funny!
Me: Thank you.
Date: So you’ve never made out with another guy?
Me: Well, yes, I have, but just in those situations where two girls say they’re going to make out, but only if two guys make out first.
Date: Uh-oh. You’re not poly, are you?
Me: No, not really. But I’ve had girlfriends who were, so I guess I was at those times.
Date: Because that is a dealbreaker for me.
Me: It’s not what I’m looking for either, at this point. But when you’re in your twenties, if you’re dating some girl who’s like “We’re going to have a bunch of threesomes!”, you’re going to be like “Okay, sure.”
Date: (blank stare)
Me: Uh… right?
Date: So you’ve had threesomes?
Me: Well, yeah, I have.
Date: Oh. What was that like?
Me: Not a big deal, actually. I mean, when you’re growing up, you think if you ever had a threesome you’d be happy every day for the rest of your life, but then it happens and your life doesn’t really change at all. It’s like how before I published a book, I thought—
Date: No way! You wrote a book? What’s it about?
Me: Well, it’s poetry, so I guess it’s not about anything.
Date: I write poems! (rustles around in purse; produces phone; shows me poem she posted on Facebook)
Me: Well, that certainly… rhymes.
Date: Can I hear one of your poems?
Me: Uh… sure. (recites poem)
Date: You’re really intense. You remind me of Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers.
Me: I knew I shouldn’t have gotten a short haircut.
Date: Well, there’s no way I’d be on a date with you if you had long hair.
Me: Uh-huh.
Date: So what are the five questions you would need to ask someone to determine whether you could ever be serious with them?
Me: You mean like, if I was going to marry someone?
Date: Yeah. You can ask me your five, and then I’ll ask you my five.
Me: Okay. Let’s see… Do you believe in God?*
*(Okay, I was the one who brought this up, so technically everything that happens afterwards is my fault, but she tricked me.)
Date: Yes! Absolutely. I unequivocally believe in God.
Me: Okay… So, what does that mean to you? I mean, do you believe literally in one of the Gods from the major religions, or just…?
Date: No! Religion, no way. I’m just spiritual.
Me: Oh, good, okay. So that means believing that…?
Date: That everything happens for a reason.
Me: Well, sure, in the sense that effects have causes, but where does God come into it?
Date: I believe that everything is destined to happen, and God is what’s doing that.
Me: Doesn’t belief in a constant state of all-encompassing divine intervention go considerably beyond what is generally meant by “spirituality?” That sounds like a fairly hardline religious doctrine.
Date: Okay, how about you? Do you believe in God?
Me: I’m a theological noncognitivist.
Date: What’s that?
Me: It means I don’t think the term “God” has a definition, so I can’t answer the question.
Date: So you’re an atheist.
Me: Not exactly. An atheist’s answer to the question “Do you believe in God?” is “no,” an agnostic’s answer is either “we don’t know” or “we can’t know,” depending on whether they’re an agnostic-temporary or an agnostic-in-principle, and a theological noncognitivist’s answer is “what do you mean by ‘God’?”
Date: So does that make you an atheist or an agnostic?
Me: Neither. It’s its own thing. I guess it’s similar to the position of the agnostic-in-principle, except theological noncognitivism doesn’t mandate the impossibility of reaching a definition of God, as far as I know. On the other hand, I guess I would call myself an atheist if I were talking to a fundamentalist who is asking me specifically about their definition of God, since I am an atheist with respect to that definition.
Waitress: Another?
Date: Yes.
Me: Yes.
Date: Okay, have you ever almost died?
Me: Yeah, actually. One summer during junior high, me and my friends built a zipline in the woods, and when I went on it, the pulley broke. I fell pretty far, but I landed on my back in some bushes and was fine. Then I looked to my right and saw there was this jagged stump from where we’d cut down this one tree. I was almost impaled. I missed it by like six inches.
Date: Aha! So what do you call that?
Me: What do you mean, what do I call it?
Date: I mean you could have been impaled, but you weren’t. You landed in some bushes. What do you attribute that to?
Me: Well, the bushes were directly below me, so… gravity, I guess?
Date: Really? Gravity, that’s it? You don’t think that was God saving you?
Me: If God wanted to save me, why did I fall in the first place? He could have just made the pulley not break. Plus if it was “destined” to happen that way, then he didn’t technically “save” me.

Date: Okay, well, you can choose to believe that, but why wouldn’t you choose to believe it was God?
Me: Wouldn’t that be kind of obnoxious of me? I mean, people die all the time. Someone probably just died in a car accident within a few miles of here while we were having this conversation. Six million Jews died in the Holocaust. I’m supposed to believe that God let all those people die, but I’m so great that he intervened to save me?
Date: Okay, well, you know, fine, whatever, we can just call this whatever and go dutch and keep talking as friends, but seriously, like, when it comes to dating, if I’m going to say that I’m on a date with someone, then it’s really important to me that that person be an optimist.
Me: Does someone really need to believe that the world revolves around them in order to count as an optimist?
Date: What’s your second question?
Me: Okay, um… What’s your favorite song?
Date: It’s [some song I’ve never heard of and don’t remember]. What’s yours?
Me: It changes a lot, but right now I’d have to say that my official favorite song is “Don’t Worry Baby” by the Beach Boys.
Date: Really? Wow, I wouldn’t have expected you to have such an upbeat favorite song!
Me: (defensively) That song’s not upbeat! It’s a bittersweet ballad.
Date: Okay, but why do you consider it an insult to be called upbeat?
Me: I guess you’ve got me there.
Date: It’s because you’re an atheist.
Me: Theological noncognitivist.
Date: So what does that mean again? Is that like an atheist or an agnostic?
Me: I told you, it’s a distinct third thing. An atheist’s answer to the question “Do you believe in God?” is “no,” an agnostic’s is—
Date: So then do you believe in Jesus?
Me: In what sense? I mean, I believe that there was such a person as Jesus, and if the records of what he said and taught are basically accurate, then I think he was a really good person and I respect him highly as a philosopher. I don’t think he rose from the dead or walked on water, but I don’t think Gandhi or Martin Luther King did those things either and I still respect them. I think of Jesus basically the same way I think of those people.
Date: Oh, good! So you believe Jesus existed?
Me: Yeah, I would say so. We don’t know for certain that he did, but we don’t know for certain that Socrates or Homer existed either, and I’m still perfectly happy to make reference to such-and-such a thing having been said or written by Socrates or Homer.
Date: But you said you were like an atheist?
Me: Well, I said I was a theological noncognitivist, but then you asked me to dumb it down. In any case, most atheists believe in a historical Jesus anyway. A few don’t, and have gotten into the whole “Jesus didn’t exist” thing, but I see that as a bad strategy and just an arbitrary selective application of the general level of doubt that we could be said to have about any number of figures from that long ago.
Date: Oh, okay. I just wanted to make sure, because some people believe in, you know, the Big Bang or whatever.
Me: (in confusion/terror) Uh… What? I believe in the Big Bang, but the Big Bang is about how the universe came into being. It has nothing to do with the existence of Jesus. I guess it could sort of conflict with the existence of God, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. You could just say God caused the Big Bang.
Date: But wasn’t the person who came up with the Big Bang trying to say there was no Jesus?
Me: Probably not, because the person who came up with the Big Bang was actually a Catholic priest. His name was Georges Lemaître, and he was a Jesuit who—
Date: I’m going to run to the bathroom real quick.
Me: You do that.
Other Girl: Are you on a first date with a girl in a spangly top?
Me: Yeah.
Other Girl: I just saw her in the bathroom. She said she was on a weird first date. Good Luck.
Me: I have no idea whether that was a good sign or a bad sign.
Date: So like I said, I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.
Me: How is belief in the divinity of Jesus “spirituality” rather than specifically Christianity?
Date: You believe in spirituality, right?
Me: Sure I believe in spirituality. Spirituality is an emotion people feel, so therefore it exists. Freud called it “the oceanic feeling.” (aside, to myself) Fuck! That’s why it was the name of the airline! Those assholes! God, fuck that show!
Date: What?
Me: Nothing.
Date: So you really think that’s all it is, an emotion?
Me: Well, sure. I guess I’m using the term “emotion” loosely, but it goes on inside people as opposed to being an external force. If people didn’t exist, spirituality wouldn’t exist.
Date: But your heart beating and your blood pumping go on inside you too. Are those emotions?
Me: No, those are autonomic processes governed by the medulla. Spirituality is something we consciously experience and think and talk about, an idea we’ve created to describe how we feel, so that would be happening in the cerebrum. I guess we can’t say there’s a specific part of the brain that—
Date: (sarcastic voice) Oh, yeah, okay!
Me: I don’t… So does that mean you agree with me, or you don’t, or…?
Date: Like I said, we could let this turn into an argument, or—
Me: Well, technically it’s already an argument. An argument is anytime someone says what they believe and gives reasons for it. It doesn’t mean the person has to be angry.
Date: I kind of want nachos.
Me: Yeah, we can get some nachos.
Waitress: More drinks with your nachos?
Me: Yes.
Date: Yes.
Bro at Next Table: Did you say you were an atheist? I’m an atheist.
Me: Um… Okay.
Date: I’m going to go smoke a cigarette. (leaves; bro follows her outside)
Me: Okay.
Me: (to wall) Wall, do you find it odd that she scolded me about being an atheist for over an hour but then immediately went outside to smoke a cigarette with a bro who interrupted our conversation to announce that he was an atheist?
Me: Yeah, me too. And what’s really weird is that she didn’t even have any cigarettes, but somehow magically knew that the bro would follow her and that she could bum one off him.
Me: I should probably leave.
Wall: What about the nachos?
Me: Oh, right, there’s nachos coming. Thanks, Wall.
Wall: You’re going to pick up the whole check, aren’t you?
Me: Yeah, probably.
Wall: There’s really no reason to punish yourself like that.
Me: Why stop now?