Things We Don’t Talk About On Dates, Ladies

There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned date. A meeting of hopeful minds, two could-be lovers unwinding over a mid-priced meal. The wine flows like lava and the conversation is bottomless, like an order of breadsticks from the fine Italian eatery Olive Garden (be still, my heart!). Yes, a date is like a lemon – bright and… acidic? And… I guess it sort of stings when it squirts in your eye without warning. I think I’m doing this wrong; the point is, when you go on dates, I want you to think of a lemon. A lemon can be one of two things: a refreshing garnish for your cocktail, or a defective person. (By defective person, I mean you. We are talking about you.)

How might a sane and rational woman, a lady, morph from someone worthy of courtship into part of a family whose members are left to rot on suburban lawns? It’s simple. You get sauced, and all of the promises you made to yourself before embarking on your evening of merriment fly out of the window along with your dignity (or your undergarments, depending on the hour).

Don’t get all doe-eyed on me, sister. Magazines, television, films, music videos, your grandmother, your mother, your younger sister who somehow managed to get married before you, your friends who have more sex than you do, that one blog you pretend not to read because it has a cutesy title that screams YOU’RE NOT 21 ANYMORE BUT YOU’D LIKE TO BE? READ ON, the unmarried woman who owns the cafe that charges four dollars for a twelve-ounce iced coffee, are you serious, that is way too expensive, and your disapproving landlady have been telling you since you were pushed out of your mother’s gently-used-but-married vagina: there are things you just don’t speak of on dates.

I see you’re recalling something. I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but could it be you’re remembering how you found yourself discussing your last relationship while you were on a date? You tip-toed around it, avoiding it all night like a wine spill or expelling gas, but it happened anyway, didn’t it? Your date volleyed back, sharing something equally innocuous about their last relationship, and you thought, “Okay, this doesn’t seem like the end of the world. Are we doing this right now? We’re doing this right now! Adult-like!” Then one of you maturely changed the subject, segueing into other topics of relevance, like the Woody Allen film neither of you have seen or particularly care about seeing, or the couple beside you who is desperately attempting to resuscitate one another, with tongue, dear god, do people still make out like that in public? That is simply boorish, we would never do such a thing, we discuss our past relationships with flourished hand gestures and knowing head nods and we move on when appropriate and god, I hope we are the disgusting making out couple an hour from now.

How many times must Cosmopolitan, Kate Hudson, and Grandma Ninny tell you that you do not discuss your escape from indentured servitude until Date Three, at least? Grandma Ninny was married sixteen times, did you know that? She knows what she’s talking about. You are not allowed to be vulnerable, drunk, yourself, or honest while on a date. If that worked, fishermen would sit at the edge of their boats murmuring, “Fish – I just, tried my hardest, you know? It’s been so long since I’ve been fishing, and the last fish I caught gave me food poisoning and I’m… I’m scared, fishies. Please jump in my boat.” Do you see fishermen doing that? No. They trick the fish by giving it something tasty, and when the fish shows it’s hooked, it’s ripped from the water and is left to flop about, suffering until it can no longer fight for air and then it dies. Let’s not even get into what they do with the body afterward. Do you see where I’m going with this?

And another thing. Stop talking about your job. Your date does not want you to be financially independent, have interests, teach them things, or give them any insight whatsoever into worlds they’ve never known firsthand due to their contrasting life experience. Your job is insignificant, just like your middle name and your credit score. Bleh – boring. No one wants to talk about your accomplishments that have, in no way, shape or form molded you into the person you are. Really, the way you pass the time for over sixty hours a week is of no consequence.

Do not show up on a date and discuss how stressed out you are by your career. This is totally rational advice, you are totally rational, that is why you are never stressed out about your career. Rational. Reality. You are a reasonable, realistic, rational person who is never stressed out. You are an exclamation point. You are fun. Whenever you are about to say something related to your job, replace it with something fun like, “I’m having so much fun,” or, “This bar stool is fun.” People like fun, people do not like careers.

Lastly, do not speak of the things you’ve read. Reading is intimidating. Telling someone you’re a reader is like telling someone you’re a brain surgeon. “I just finished the new Jennifer Egan and successfully performed a hemicraniectomy. What’s the last book you’ve read / brain surgery you’ve performed?”

No, you must pretend not to read, and you must especially pretend not to read articles that tell you how to behave on dates. People want to date a freethinker who, in spite of themselves, will act with conviction and not in accordance with what society markets as acceptable dating behavior. No, no one wants to date that person, the one whose actions are dictated by embittered, neurotic writers. It’s best you don’t mention it. TC mark

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  • PerspicuousJ

    uh. I see you had a date that didn’t go well.

    Also the wine ran like lava? Sounds like there were still mushy grapes in there.

    • http://stephgeorge.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

      No bad dates here.

    • Random

      I liked the lava line. Comes out slowly but soon enough everything is covered and destroyed (aka ur drunk and talking about exs, weddings, and books)

  • Anonymous

    must pretend not to read? give me a fucking break, what kind of mouth breathers are you dating

    • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

      that is the question we need answered here

    • http://stephgeorge.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

      Don’t worry. I do not date people who think reading is negative. The last time I heard anyone, male or female, label reading as ‘lame’ was probably 6th grade. Seems more embarrassing to admit you don’t read than to admit that you do.

  • Nicole

    I can’t quite tell if you are going for satire here. You started out funny, got useful, if a little meandering … but then came: “Lastly, do not speak of the things you’ve read. Reading is intimidating.”

    Seriously? I’m not even asking that in a rhetorical, pejorative way. I am actually curious. Seriously?

    • http://stephgeorge.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

      No. Not seriously at all. (This comment is serious, though.)

      • Nicole

        Oh good! I laughed audibly while reading this. : )

  • http://entropicalia.wordpress.com Alison

    You could also bring up your unexpected political beliefs, the philosophy you studied and your love of a certain sci-fi program. Not that I’ve done anything you’ve written about or what I just mentioned before. I would never do that.

    • http://stephgeorge.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

      I smell a sequel!

  • http://maxwellchance.wordpress.com Duke Holland of Gishmale

    I hate when girls read and use them brains and stuff. 

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    While I know this was intended to be humorous, I strongly believe in not talking about work on a date. It’s BORING.

    • Guesty

      truth

  • Ash

    I hated the tone of this article. I can’t tell if your trying to be funny or not. Maybe it’s just because the idea of women or ‘sisters’ dumbing themselves down for a date is not really comedic to begin with. 

  • guest

    stephanie this was actually really funny, reminded me of your older articles, wheres the line on how much cleavage is too much(is there such thing)?

    • Mlo

      yeah you don’t want guys getting chubbys too early in the date right stephers?!?! too much fun…

  • Nbeezy

    hahahaha yes.

  • Maxwell Smart

    Topics of conversation on my first date with my now-fiancee:
    *the conflict between Israel-Palestine
    *impressionist composers
    *that restaurant in Japan where you can pay to fuck the barnyard animal of your choice and then eat it
    *why modern art sucks

    Results? Got to third base at 4 AM in the front seat of his car. I call that a victory.

  • kk

    That last paragraph is so win. This might be my favorite article of yours so far, keep up the good work!

  • Mr Shankly

    This was quite hard to follow. I liked it though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Timberman/922794 Steven Timberman

    I know you meant this for women, but I think almost all of it applies to gents as well. And for some things, even more. Dear lord, if you have a penis between your legs and want to get a woman, do not even attempt any level of emotional vulnerability on the first date, ever.

    Emotional unavailable though? Everyone eats that shit up.

    • http://www.twitter.com/mexifrida Frida

      Sad but true.

  • Amy

    Yeah but really, every guy I’ve been on a date with in the passed 6 months has talked about their ex/asked me about mine within the first 20 minutes of a date. I keep my answer pretty brief but like, I NEVER bring it up on my own. There needs to be a list of these rules for men. There also needs to be instructions for men in NYC on how to be a good kisser. You suck at kissing, men of NYC!

  • Anonymous

    ” What’s the last book you’ve read / brain surgery you’ve performed?”” 

    SO TRUE LOL

  • martin

    “gently-used-but- married-vagina” pissed myself when i read that!!! But thats something “women” should discuss during a date how banged up your vaginas really are.

  • Sally-good-question

    Guys always talk about their exes, their current f* buddies, their jobs, their resumes… 

    Further, wtf does this author suggest that we talk about. If I spend an hour with homeboy, and all he can talk about is the “fun of the barstool”, it’s f*in’ over.

  • heehee

    guys, read the last paragraph. she’s being purposefully outlandish throughout the piece and then closes it by saying something real: no one wants to talk to someone who’s lives are dictated by embittered, neurotic writers. quite a clever article

    • http://stephgeorge.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

      I love you.

    • http://stephgeorge.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

      I love you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1198922828 Marianna Elvira

      thanks for clearing that up for some people, MJ.

  • heehee

    guys, read the last paragraph. she’s being purposefully outlandish throughout the piece and then closes it by saying something real: no one wants to talk to someone who’s lives are dictated by embittered, neurotic writers. quite a clever article

  • Tristan

    Hahahaha this was so good and entertaining. Well done.

  • http://twitter.com/KevinMelendez Kevin Melendez

    “Fish – I just, tried my hardest, you know? It’s been so long since I’ve been fishing, and the last fish I caught gave me food poisoning and I’m… I’m scared, fishies. Please jump in my boat.”

    Too too funny! Wonderful Article :-)

  • http://twitter.com/KevinMelendez Kevin Melendez

    “Fish – I just, tried my hardest, you know? It’s been so long since I’ve been fishing, and the last fish I caught gave me food poisoning and I’m… I’m scared, fishies. Please jump in my boat.”

    Too too funny! Wonderful Article :-)

  • Rachel

    Were you talking about my blog?(www.guidetomenhattan.com) I totally deserve that type association with the title. Also talking about writing dating advice… bad idea…

  • shainanana

    lots of hate for the reading comment.  people, she’s not saying don’t read, dumb yourself down, or talk about how much reading sucks.  she’s just saying that talking about what you read is stressful because what if it doesn’t sound smart enough or what if they think your taste sucks or what if you haven’t quite heard of the book they read but you know it’s one of those books you were supposed to know or what if the last book you read was something truly unmentionable like nicholas sparks or something, quick what was the last book you read that was smart?  oh god why don’t you ever read anything smart?

    that is why talking about what you read on first dates is stressful.  

  • karina

    I’d totally date you!

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