Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Han Solo

Once I completed the Arch challenge, it was pretty clear to me that I should start enforcing standards. People are always telling me that I'm single because I'm too picky. For those people, this blog is proof that I'm decidedly open-minded in terms of whom I'll grant a first date, and that having standards is categorically different from being picky. Decidedly and categorically. I'm simply not going to have meaningful conversations with someone who has fundamentally different interests. The Hungarian would not have been interested in hearing about the Radio Lab episode on inter-species emoting.

When I recovered enough from the Arch challenge to venture out for another OKCupid first date, I decided to go for someone radically different. Sick of all the impotent types I found myself on dates with, I thought it'd be fun to go on a date with an asshole; an honest-to-goodness asshole who put statements in his profile like, "You should message me if... You probably went/go to a good school. You're literate... you prefer modern art/architecture (Bauhaus = yes, Raphaelesque cherubim = not so much)...You should have your shit together most of the time..." At the very least, I was sure to get a good story out of it. To be clear on just how much of an asshole I expected this guy to be, here are other choice snippets from his profile:

"...sometimes I just sit back and go with the flow (and heckle the idiots who are in charge, when necessary)."

"...I read a lot, a few books a week. Too much to list here... any well-written textbook on any subject... Academic journals..."

"...Do you like picnics with Brillat Savarin and jamon? Foie gras burgers..."

His job category was listed as "Executive/Management." Clearly, I was dealing with a bona fide, egotistical Han Solo.

Outfitted in jeans and a nice top, the SF norm, I made my way to a popular cocktail bar to meet Han "grey pants/jacket + blue shirt" Solo. He was more goofball than asshole, making many quirky faces and kooky gestures perhaps belying nervousness or discomfort. The closest he came to being an asshole was being too conversationally clueless to make me feel listened to. He didn't ask followup questions when he clearly should have. For example, when I told him I'd been spending all of my time reading and writing lately, Han "I read a lot, too much to list here" Solo didn't ask me what I'd been reading or writing.

The more I learned about Han Solo, the more it became obvious that he entirely misrepresented himself in his profile, sometimes ambiguously, other times outright. He states in his profile, under the section asking what he does on a typical Friday night, "I hate being a couch potato, so I do go out quite a bit, even just for casual dinner. Or sometimes I do go find some all-night party in a warehouse/forest and stagger home at sunrise... And that goes for all the other nights of the week as well. Either way, I don't sleep very much." When I asked how often he goes out, he responded, "Once or twice a week." He genuinely felt that this counted as "quite a bit." The closest Han "stagger home at sunrise" Solo came to an all-night rager in the past week was having dinner with his brother.

He displayed more conversational incompetence by creepily demonstrating a depth of knowledge about my identity that I never revealed to him. He admitted to Google stalking me, which would have been fine if he either hadn't mentioned it or if he had used the information as an ice breaker. However, throughout the date, Han "this is why you're" Solo would lean in, make a creepy face reminiscent of the witch offering Snow White a poison apple, and in a lowered voice, state some fact about me like, "You won a Hitachi Scholarship in high school."

Han Solo was so quick to pay the bill, that my offer to pay my share came awkwardly after the fact, and I was unable to insist in order to send him the signal that I wasn't interested. However, I give him huge props for taking care of the bill without second thought and for not making a big deal out of it.

Later that evening, in order to "level the playing field," Han Solo texted me with the URL to his website. The title of the website was, "The Lair of the Motherbrain." It was a "click to enter" style site, and the object one was supposed to click to enter was a throbbing brain. This was the first and last throbbing organ of Han Solo's I would ever choose to see.

Post-mortem for the boys:
  • Ask girls questions about themselves. Almost everyone loves to talk about themselves. Almost everyone loves it when other people show interest in them by asking them questions.
  • Show that you're listening and paying attention. One way of doing this is to try to make a reference or two to something meaningful that a girl said earlier on in the conversation.
  • When you hit the age of, say, 22, and you're serious about finding a girlfriend outside of a Star Wars convention, scrub your websites of nerdy, gamer, Star Trek/Wars/etc. language.
  • If you're doing online dating, make sure you're representing yourself honestly in your profile. Get a few of your friends together. Show them several other men's profiles side by side with your own. Don't tell them which one is yours, and see if they can pick it out.
  • It's not unusual for you to stalk the person you're about to go out on a date with. However, if you're going to do it, there are some rules.
  1. Consider stopping yourself short and not diving in too deep. The more you know, the harder it'll be for you to hide that you've stalked her.
  2. If you fess up to stalking her, be casual about it, and play down the extent to which you stalked her. "Oh, I just searched for you on facebook" is a great one. Admitting that you Googled the person is tougher because often, you'd need to figure out more facts about her before the Google results become meaningful.
  3. Only bring up one or two things you learned about her from the stalking. Any more than that, and you will appear creepy.
  4. If you bring up a thing or two that you learned while stalking her, make it conversational. "Hey, so facebook said you grew up in Southern California. Are you from LA? What was that like?" Just because you feel awkward about it doesn't mean that you should bring it up in an awkward fashion. And for that matter, if you feel so awkward about it, then it's probably a sign that you shouldn't bring it up at all.

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