Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I am, in fact a, literate, privileged white person who loves the Decemberists.

Last night, I went on a date. I know, what, I’m actually writing about a date?! Well, one of the three men I was seeing ended up politely telling me that he’s too focused on his career right now and doesn’t want to date. I’m not upset; he was sweet but it was early on and we had only been out a few times. At least he was polite enough not to ghost like Swayze on me.
I ended up bored at work yesterday, scrolling through Tinder and Bumble. I’ve had very few matches these days; I don’t know if it’s because I’m pickier because I’m pretty satisfied with my other two menfolk, or if I’m going through a drought period of matching. That actually happens; there will be weeks where I’m flooded with matches and people talking to me, and then weeks where I match with nobody. It’s been this way since I joined. Yesterday, I matched with precisely one person. In a strange twist, though, he actually messaged me and we started talking. Yes, I have to say, for the amount of matches I have on both apps, the amount of people I have talked to is quite low, and the amount I’ve met in person is even smaller. I get ignored a lot, honestly. It doesn’t bother me, it’s all part of the weird app dating scene. And again, at this point, it’s more out of curiosity than anything else. I’m quite satisfied with the man I’m seriously casually dating (that’s a thing), and my FWB. But, as there’s no monogamy happening at this point, why not scope around and see what’s going on?

So, he messaged me. In my profile there has always been, and will always be, a reference to  It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. At the bottom of my profile is this quote:

(Not the picture, obviously, although I should probably just put it in my pictures.)

I get a lot of response/questions about that quote. The FWB messaged me about it originally, saying, “My spaghetti policy is very strict: I don’t accept any impastas.” I knew we would get along. On my first date with casual-yet-serious, the line was brought up, and we ended up talking about It’s Always Sunny, which he didn’t know much of, but knew enough to converse and for me to try to convince him to watch some more of it at some point (still working on that). So, this gentleman, whom we will call Dan, started right in with It’s Always Sunny references. I was impressed/pleased. Awesome, this guy knows his stuff! We ended up talking for a bit, and he jokingly called me James Bond, and asked if I was free for a drink. Normally, I wait a while and talk to people for at least a couple days before I meet them. He works between Mountain View and Palo Alto, and suggested somewhere around there. Now, that’s a good 20-30 minutes in light traffic for me to drive further north towards the city, making my commute home longer. When I told him this, he suggested we meet down in Los Gatos, which is much closer to home for me. I figured, what the hell, and accepted. Plus, he wanted to meet at a place with funky pizza and fancy cocktails. Don’t think, just go. So I went.

Now, I will say, his profile said he preferred wine over beer (that’s a plus). Faulkner over Dickens (also a plus). And Magritte over Warhol (disagree entirely). I told him before I left that I love Warhol, so he was aware of this situation and my counter-stance. He also said he’s looking for a hiking buddy, and I’m not into that shit, and I also told him that. He didn’t mind. Dan was there before me, somehow, and I sat across from him at the table. We were talking casually at first. I ordered a fancy cocktail and he ordered the same one, even though he originally told me he was just going to have a glass of prosecco. He was not impressed with the drink, apparently. I, being the asshole I am, had to immediately ask him about why he’s anti-Warhol. Dan told me that he had gone to school in Pittsburgh, and so had been to the Warhol museum, and that he hates it. “It’s garbage. It’s not art.” I, of course, will not take that shit. This is pretty much how that conversation went:

“So, why do you consider Warhol and other pop art, NOT art?”
“Because it doesn’t take a long time! It’s not skilled; anyone could do it.”
“All art has to take a long time and be complicated to make in order for it to be classified as art?”
“No, of course not, but…”
“But that’s exactly what you just said. Is the fact that it’s taking everyday objects and turning them on their heads to show society how little we value things, is that what upsets you? The fact that it’s a representation of popular culture skewed?”
“Yeah, it’s not really art! It’s like, here’s a soup can, great. Anyone can do that.”
“But that’s the point!!”
“I don’t know, I just don’t like it. It’s not art to me.”
“But a painting of a pipe that says, ‘this is not a pipe’ underneath it is?”
“A man with an apple in front of his face? C’mon! Surrealism makes you think way more than Warhol ever could.”
“I disagree. I mean, I do like Magritte, and surrealism. But Warhol was right, too: ‘In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.’ How else do you explain the Kardashians?”
“No, they’ve been around way longer than 15 minutes. And Kanye! That’s why.”
“They were popular before Kanye.”
“Yeah, but he’s like, extending their influence.”

Clearly this was not going anywhere. I get his points, on some level, but he was not budging at all. And, of course, neither was I. I can at least concede to liking Magritte and not putting down all surrealists; they’re just not my favorite. I recognize why they are artists and their contribution to the art world, because I’m not a total asshole.

So, I changed topics. “You like It’s Always Sunny, too? I love that show.”
“Yeah, I like it, but, I mean, I don’t know. There’s just no redeeming value to it.”
“Why does it need to have redeeming value? Can’t it just be a silly show for people to enjoy?”
“Well, yeah, it’s funny and everything, but it’s just a bunch of self-absorbed alcoholics getting into shenanigans.”
“Yes! Exactly! That’s the point!”
“Yeah, but, I don’t know…I like things with redeeming social values tied into them, that are like, re-affirming, somehow.”

Okay, that’s fair. But hi, contradiction, how you doing? Maybe the redeeming social value for me is the fact that it doesn’t have one. Maybe I enjoy a silly show that is nothing but silly and totally unrealistic and whacked out that makes me laugh and forget about things? Makes me forget all the bullshit and daily worries and anxieties that I host inside? That’s redeeming, in my opinion. But, it’s not HIS opinion, so fuck it. We kept talking about TV shows; he asked what other ones I watch. We had none in common except for Parks and Rec. We switched to music. He asked about my love of the Decemberists, which is deep and unending, and I admitted that. He said, “so, that makes you a literate privileged white person, you know?” Yes, yes, I’m aware. I asked about his favorite bands, which turned out to be Brand New and Death Cab for Cutie. I immediately pointed at him, incredulously, and said “Uh, so, you know you’re a literate, privileged white person as well, right?” He laughed and agreed. But seriously? You felt the need to call me out as a literate, privileged white person, when you are the exact same thing? Sorry, 25-year-old white male software engineer in Silicon Valley, I will not put up with that shit. I am aware of my white privilege. I recognize it. Please don’t shame me for my favorite band when your favorite bands are equally as based in nerdy white privilege, thanks.

For as much as we disagreed, it was kind of fun to have nerdy passionate banter about things. We got a second round of drinks and ordered pizzas. Everything was going along okay; at least we were laughing about the uncomfortableness and how we totally disagreed on nearly everything. We ate our pizza, kept talking and I gave him my theories on the differences between the Decemberists, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, and Radiohead, along with the hardcore fans of each band. Basically I was just making broad, sweeping generalizations and judging people, but it was quite fun. I said I was an example of a typical Decemberists fan, and he is an example of a typical Death Cab fan. I’m not wrong on either one of these, by the way. He was wearing a hoodie and plastic Rivers Cuomo-style glasses, and a band t-shirt with jeans. He was coming from work. Hi there, Silicon Valley software engineer stereotype, nice to have a date with you. In fact, when I relayed this to my boss this morning, he said, “sounds like a Silicon Valley programmer: self-centered asshole.” We talked about books, and actually agreed on some literary topics. He hasn’t read any DFW but House of Leaves is on his bookshelf, waiting to be read. He also said some redeeming things about fighting the patriarchy, I will give him credit for those. I even told him straight-up, "Okay, you're not completely terrible. That just redeemed you."

I told him my theory that, at heart, we are all garbage people just trying to be better every day, but that honestly, most people don't have their shit together and we are all secretly awful and just trying to get through the days. He told me he fundamentally disagreed, and that there are no bad people, not really, just people who have had bad experiences who then act out. I mean, that's so sweet and naive on the one hand. On the other, I had to again point-blank disagree, as I know people who have not experienced trauma who are total assholes, and people who have experienced horrible things who are gentle, loving souls. (The garbage people theory is mostly a joke and based on the fact that, at heart, I feel like I am a garbage person. Most people would disagree with that statement, but I feel that way a lot of the time.) I wish I could be that wide-eyed. Alas, I've been through too many fucked-up situations to be so trusting and naive. Maybe he's Anne Frank in disguise? I would love to believe that most people are truly good at heart, and in fact, a lot of them are. But there are so many people that I've known and had to interact with who are just awful individuals that I can't believe they were turned that way from bad experiences. I don't know. Human behavior is not one of my areas of expertise. Or maybe I really am a jaded, cynical bitch. Garbage person #1.

We had finished our second drinks and were winding down the evening when he looked at me very seriously. “Okay, now, we’ve talked about things important to you: books, movies, TV shows. I’m a foodie; food is my thing. Do you have any likes or dislikes?” Now, here’s the thing: I fucking love food. I eat a lot. I will eat a lot of things. For a long time I was a picky eater; but in the past few years my palate has broadened and there’s a short list of things I don’t eat, and even then I can be flexible if need be. I don’t like nuts, but I’ve eaten them in things recently and I didn’t die. I’m not a fan of fruit or things with seeds in them, honestly. Weirds me out and the texture of most of them is just gross to me. Minus peaches, oranges, lemons, limes, and cooked apples. Otherwise I probably won’t eat fruit. Maybe a bite or two of a banana or a blueberry or two. It’s my own thing; I get it. But I didn’t mention either of those things to him. I explained that I love all sorts of cuisine: Asian food of all varieties, sushi, Mexican, Thai, a good burger (bacon cheeseburger preferably). And then I admitted the three foods I actually hate and generally don’t eat: tomatoes, celery, and rosemary. He nearly had a heart attack. Now, I can handle tomato paste in, like, curry or if it’s not at the forefront of the food. I don’t like pizza sauce. I don’t like marinara. I don’t like tomatoes on my sandwiches. I barely use ketchup or hot sauce (minus Frank’s because I’m from Buffalo, you goon). Have I knowingly ingested tomatoes in the past few years? Yes of course I have. Do I prefer not to eat them? Yup. I hate the texture of celery and it tastes like wet dirt to me. A Bloody Mary is basically the most disgusting drink I can think of. I would rather die from a horrible hangover than drink that shit. Oh my god no no no no no DISGUSTING. Gimme a mimosa or a bellini, please, thank you. I will begrudgingly eat celery if it happens to be in some soup, but I will try my hardest to either pick it out or just eat around it. Otherwise, nope. And how do people eat rosemary?! It legitimately is a pine needle just fucking hanging out in your food. It makes as much sense to me as chopping up a pinecone and sprinkling it on your food. Just, why?! Ugh.

Dan, however, was not amused. “What?! Those are, like, the best foods! I feel like you just insulted my best friends.” Seriously. Because I apologized for insulting those foods, and he corrected me with, “No, not foods. Friends.” Urm. Right, then. He apparently worked in an Italian restaurant for almost two years, and instead of being disgusted at the sight of pasta sauce, was still deeply in love with it. Ok then. He politely walked me to my car, we hugged goodbye. I sent him a message thanking him again when I got home and admitting a Death Cab song came on while I was driving and that I do like some of their songs. I haven’t heard from him. I’m not expecting to. Cons: most of the date. Pros: a free meal and cocktails, a blog post, discovering a new restaurant that I can go to with someone who actually likes me. I think I win.

I just really needed a picture of Colin Meloy as a palate cleanser. That's the only reason for this picture. Although do we really NEED a reason to look at the most perfect man in the universe except for the fact that he is perfect and just the BEST ugh seriously stop that, Colin. You're too perfect.

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