Who Doesn’t Like to Have a Good Time?

4 Mar

Everyone deserves a good time

At the time, I was working for a media company that put our travel/lifestyle magazines, and as a result, often had access to event tickets, including Broadway and off-Broadway previews. This job coincided with my reentry into the dating market (JDate) after a Jew-high-inducing Birthright pilgrimage to Israel. Suddenly I was armed with a supply of cool things to do on a first date. Despite the seemingly high proportion of beautiful, intelligent, and successful women, I didn’t seem to be attracting the type of women who I’m likelier to have a connection with: fun, interesting, somewhat upbeat, but still cute enough to arouse my curiosity in a kiss. When I chatted with many of these ladies, they came off as bland, J.A.P.py, and impersonal. So I looked for those few chicks who were “cool” but still ventured into the JDate world of young urban professionals whose dates often included comparing Birthright organizers, temples, and grad schools.

One such girl, whose handle was a reference to Atlas Shrugged, seemed to merit a try. She was quirky, liberal, a bit hipsterish without being a total hipster, and liked cool books (I had more reverence for Ayn Rand at the time). The only superficial issue I had with her at the time was her hair. It kind of looked like Betty’s hair on Flinstones: flat on top and geometrical but ungroomed bangs up front. She had a sweet face but this hair was totally unflattering. I invited her to see Fuerza Bruta, the interactive show that takes place above your head and features water, burlesque, and various performance art and dance pieces. Now, as I soon realized, inviting someone to the theater on a first date was a risky proposition: some girls, thinking that I was going out and buying them expensive orchestra seats just to impress them, hesitated. In some cases, I would explain that the thickets were comp, which of course took some of the luster out of such invitations. But this girl was pretty casual about it. The show itself was pretty awesome and my date thanked me profusely afterward  for taking her there. But before “curtains,” I took her to Heartland Brewery in Union Square for drinks, bites, and get-to-know-you conversation.

As soon as I saw her in person, the attraction switch was immediately turned off. There was nothing wrong with her, but she wasn’t my type. For all I know, I wasn’t hers either. And the awful haircut didn’t help at all. It was one of the few times in my dating life when I wanted to and give someone a bit of rude, impolite, but hard and necessary truth. Someone had to. I can only hope that her friends and family have since intervened and set her straight. But I digress. She was a perfectly nice urban planner who was working in sustainability, yahti yahta. Yet when there’s no chemistry, even alcoholic lubricant can’t properly oil the wheels of social interaction.

We traded lame interview questions, both soon realizing that we couldn’t wait until the lights went down and the show started, so we could be immersed in an experience that didn’t include the two of us. So once we got past the questions urban Caucasians ask each other (what do you do/where do you live/where’d you go to school), moved on to the ancillary questions (where are you from/whom do you live with/what do you eat/drink) and moved into the likes/hobbies arena, we were both exhausted. A stranger passing by our table would probably ask themselves why we were torturing each other by perpetuating this rigmarole. It wasn’t even awkward. It was just…kind of pointless. So there we were, sheepishly grinning at each other, both counting the minute until we could pay the check and rush to the show when suddenly a thought cloud went up over her head and her face lit up ever so slightly.

“So, what do you like to do for fun?” she asked, with the desperate exuberance exhibited when you’re blanking on a test question and suddenly have the slightest glimmer of a thought.

By my look she could tell that this question, while innocuous, was pretty much the nail in the coffin of our schmoozing. Any chance we had of rescuing this evening and reigniting this underdog of a missed connection was now gone. Anytime I eavesdrop on a first date and hear the conversation get into namedropping and lists, I can pretty much tell it’s over. And so can you. With the last shred of energy I tried to think of a suitable answer, but my languid brain had shut down. I looked back at her and, with moronic confidence, replied:

“I like to have a good time!” putting an emphasis on the last syllable.

Shockingly, this idiotic comment, which embarrassingly enough had just confirmed its presence in my mind by escaping from its dark neural prison, seemed to enliven her.

“Nice! Me too!” she declared.

We finally had a strong shared passion: both of us enjoyed having a good time. While moments ago we were resigned to a forgettable evening of platonic boredom, it now seemed conceivable that we’d put down our buffalo burgers and Farmer John Oatmeal Stouts, strip our clothes off, and bone right there on that table, across from the Union Square Farmer’s Market and the crackheads of Union Square Park. But the moment passed. We paid the bill and hurried to Fuerza Bruta.

I never saw her again, but a new meme was born. For a good 6 months or more, whenever my friends and I went out, especially to the cheesy Murray Hill/Turtle Bay bars we semi-ironically frequented in those days, we would get a few drinks into our systems, then, acquiring a target (a gaggle of girls such as a bachelorette party was the ideal mark), we would strike.

“You ladies like to have a good time?” one of us would cry out. What happened next was a fascinating survey in social behavior. The  more rational, respectable, and sometimes less inebriated girls would respond with, “That’s the most retarded thing I’ve ever heard. Who doesn’t like to have a good time.” But the party girls, the ladies out to paint the town red (or vomit-color) reliably responded with a “Whooooo!” or a “Yeeeah!” In fact, this absolutely preposterous questions kicked several parties into high gear, resulting in memorable raging for our group. I don’t think I could ever ask this of a girl I seriously like, but I think back fondly on my chance discovery. The unlikely social force of this absolutely ridiculous and empty proclamation still impresses.

4 Responses to “Who Doesn’t Like to Have a Good Time?”

  1. Maya March 4, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Your blog is funny! ~Maya

  2. Datestable March 5, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Thanks, M-dog! How’s your book doing?

  3. lovelabors April 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    I love that Birthright was that cause of your dating escapades on jdate. I am a fellow Jew, but I am terrified of jdate, an altogether enigmatic phobia, but I avoid that site/will avoid it until I am absolutely desperate. Thanks for writing, great stuff.

    • Datestable April 17, 2012 at 9:51 am #

      Thanks, Love. It’s true. Only an event as cataclysmic as Birthright could move a man to the levels of madness required to sign up for jDate. At least I lived to tell about it! It’s kind of a break glass in case of emergencies for when you’re 35, Jewish, and on your last dating breath.

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