I’ve lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for 5 years. Is it New York-centric to assume everyone knows Williamsburg? Do I have to explain its history as a gentrified post-East Village/former artist enclave? There’s a lot about hipsters on this site, so I’m going to assume you all know where Williamsburg is.
Well, there’s a weird attitude that is informing the dating etiquette around here and it’s not cute. Maybe not anymore though, because I’m getting older and the condos keep getting taller, but I’m pretty sure there’s still a special breed of dude here called the Williamsturd. A girl can be a Williamsturd too, but I’ve never dated a girl, so forgive the gendered character sketches below. I’m just trying to tell a story.
It’s not only our Brooklyn bros that are stinking up the joint. In this ironic, post-post-modern cultural landscape we’re stumbling through, us ladies had a part in this. We didn’t want rules. No one knows which end is up. We said no to traditional gender roles. We had too many choices. Now we can’t make any.
I don’t have answers to any of this. But, being critical and stereotyping could be a start. So, consider this handy guide if you are a young 20-something dating in the ‘Burg. And remember, no matter what form the Williamsturd comes in, his MO remains the same: he is non-committal, immature, and has questionable grooming habits (yet he’s forever getting laid). Below are a few I’ve encountered and want to spread the word about. It’s ‘cause I love you. And because I don’t want you don’t step in doo-doo too.
Type #1: The Craigslist Guy: Newsflash! If you live in Williamsburg long enough and are lonely enough, you will go on a Craigslist date. Or 15. You’ll probably meet a bunch of duds, before you happen upon a guy who seems not only normal, but moderately attractive, well-dressed, and wants to take you out to dinner (gasp!) instead of a dive bar. He’ll be self-deprecating. He’ll tell you how pretty you are, but in an aloof non-threatening way, of course. You’ll love it.
Then, just when you think it’s safe to invite him to a dinner party you’re hosting, he’ll show up with Carlo Rossi and another girl. Good thing you accidentally fried a dead mouse in your broiler while making tofu stroganoff for said party. Then, unbeknownst to all ya’ll, you’ll serve your guests mouse-infused stroganoff. In retrospect, he and his unwelcome guest deserved it.
He won’t return your calls after that. Maybe it’s because of the mouse…When you see him in a bar with the same girl, he’ll tell you how awesome his life is (literally, he’ll say “things are going great for me.) and he’ll act like no time has lapsed. You’ve been turded.
Type #2: The Bartender: I know plenty of lovely bartending guys in my ‘hood who are not Williamsturds. However, when you find a Williamsturd, and he slings booze for profit, you’ve got yourself a problem. You’ve also got yourself a nice exchange of free, never-ending drinks. But there is a price to pay if this bartender turns out to be a type two turd.
I mean, for serious: his job is to flirt, take shots, and become everyone’s BFF in the hood. Isn’t that how you met him? He gets paid to do this. Try to date a bartender at certain bars in the ‘Burg, and in addition to competing with a generally sleaze-ola scene, you’re contending with long hours. A hallmark of interacting with the Williamsturd is that it’s a night-only affair: keep this in mind to make sure he’s not pooping on you by avoiding daytime activities.
The Williamsturd bartender also must create a local, loyal, tip-giving following that will include unsavories you’ll be forced to engage with while hanging out on his shift. There will be a “crazy girl” regular. She’ll be a speculative 21, and she’ll be all up in his face in daisy duke jean shorts, tights, and a powdered nose, if you know what I mean. It’ll be so annoying. The bartender will engage her. He will not introduce you to her. However when she leaves, he’ll tell you how “crazy she is,” how he “wishes she would lose his number.” You’ll wonder why she has it in the first place.
You’ll finally say “Smell ya later.” At least I hope you will.
Type #3: The Homeless Guy: Okay, sometimes being tolerant can really backfire. Take it from this girl here. I’ve met three guys who seemed dateable in Williamsburg, but they actually were not. Actually, they were homeless. Not like the crusty punk, pandering- for-money-in-a-plastic-cup kind. It is the artfully “transitional” kind. The kind, where, you’re looking at his big man-bag, admiring its hip design, but wondering why he’s always toting clothes. He never mentions his roommates. Something doesn’t add up. And he is way too eager to spend the night at your place…Ding, ding ding! It’s because he has no home, sister! Shit stinks.
What’s weirder is that this guy is always employed. He does odd jobs. He’s a server, maybe. He’s a dog walker. He has a phone. He has cash on him. Sometimes he even has access to a car. He has all the accoutrement that contradicts homelessness anywhere else. But, right, we’re in Williamsburg.
The Homeless Guy will want a relationship. It will seem earnest and surprising. And soon. But he doesn’t really want a relationship. He wants to turn your place into the fucking Four Seasons.
The homeless variety will also be attractive because he will always be the fun guy-about-town. His friendliness is out of sheer necessity. He can’t go home to take a mid-day nap because he has no keys to where he’s couch-surfing. This guy takes naps in McCarren Park. Of course he knows every passer-by—he’s a guy who sleeps in public spaces. This nomadic lifestyle is so perfectly honed by this Williamsturd variety that you won’t even be hurt when the whole relationship jig is up. You’ll be astounded by his brazen craftiness.
Then you’ll probably be pissed that this assclown dirtied your sheets, ate all your food, and that you have to avoid certain bars, parks, and stoops in the hood because they aren’t just his stomping grounds, they are his living spaces.
Type #4: The Over-30 Teenager: This breed of Williamsturd is wimpy-malicious. He’s an artist, musician, or, probably, a writer. He’s all of these. He is genuinely stoked on his creative aspirations and refuses to make the sacrifices required of a life with some semblance of adulthood. These boys may have twin beds, may be constantly short on cash, and/or may not own a watch/pair of dress shoes.
He “dates” girls in their early ‘20s. Creepy much? It’s not really his fault, since women his own age have financially evolved past him. Again, that post-post-feminism rearing its ugly head. Fart.
I dated a painter when I was 23, who was a 15-year-old in a 37-year-old’s body. We spent our time doing non-costly things like listening to the Smiths on his twin bed, and sharing an iced coffee. Another Over-30 Teenager I spent time with was fresh out of cash on our first date (and on our second, third, and final date). Ever optimistic, I was digging him until I wanted another drink after our first round. He went for his wallet for show. We knew it was a barren wasteland. Ever chivalrous, this crafty ‘turd had a way around his financial ineptitude.
“I got this. Watch,” he said and got the waitress’s attention. As though I was about to be impressed.
“Um, we had a vodka soda here and somebody must’ve taken it,” he lied to the waitress, completely confusing her, because she was the only one on duty. “So, can we get another one?”
I was mortified by this ruse, which would’ve been charming when I was 13. He then insisted on smoking pot in such plain sight, I was embarrassed, and then we pushed on to another bar. I lagged behind as he wheeled his fixed gear bike to the closest bar, where he had a water and tipped with his last dollar.
As a generation without a template by which to follow, none of us are at fault for these romantic pitfalls. We’re just bumping around trying to find our way. I get it. Just don’t be crappy about it.