Friday, January 27, 2012

The Dating Dreamworld

Things usually sound better when you describe them to someone than they really are. I was recently describing the plot to Back to the Future III to my brother, who saw it (with me) upon its theatrical release, and I guess decided that seeing it once was enough, and had forgotten the whole thing.  After I told him about it, he said, "That actually sounds pretty good."  I responded, "Well, yeah, but it's really not executed all that well.  It's actually quite silly."

This is eerily similar to internet dating, because a lot of people aren't nearly as interesting as they describe themselves.  Which isn't so bad, because you're obviously on the website to attract people.  And the competition is fierce on there, so you gotta be awesome.  Sometimes, however, you meet someone, and the expectations may be a little high, so that doesn't work out.  I'm, of course, putting myself in this category.  I certainly seem to fall short of everyone's expectations.  Or something.

It can also be equated (as pointed out by a very astute friend) to a job interview.  When I pointed out that I keep interviewing, and am still unemployed, she said, "So, what's next?"  I replied, "Temp jobs?"

But in reality, internet dating is very similar to job hunting, and sometimes, for whatever reason, you just aren't the right fit for the job.  Or the guy who interviewed just before you got it.  Or they hired an internal candidate (a.k.a. an ex).  But after awhile, you sort of have to wonder if it's just bad timing, or you need to work on your interview skills, or you need to reconsider the kinds of jobs you're looking for.  Naturally, we all want our dream job, right?  With great benefits and a big paycheck.  Of course.  But it can't happen for everyone, can it?

Recently, I met a woman who I liked on a personal level, but had a rather poor gum-to-tooth ratio, shall we say.  Not necessarily a deal-breaker, but that was the reality. Anyway, I had met her once for coffee lunch-break, and once on a Sunday afternoon for skeeball, so I had asked her out on an actual date, because she definitely seemed into it (she had emailed me the previous day saying simply, "Hope you had a good weekend."  Nothing else.  I know as grand romantic gestures go, that's not a huge thing, but it at least indicated interest.)  The response I received:
 I think I'm realizing that despite how  (truly) dateable you are, after much "but he's a great guy!" debates with myself,  I'm getting more of a friends vibe. Unfortunately. That said, I did have a great time spending time, but I want to be honest about where I'm coming from. That said, if I see you on campus you can bet that I'm going to smile and wave, because I really am glad I had the opportunity to meet you. 
So, while I'm great and (truly) dateable, apparently I'm not the right candidate for this job.  Or the last twelve or so jobs I've applied to, because this response is pretty typical in my dating history.  Now, my female friends all say that this email is nice and good and honest.  They think this because (I don't want to generalize here) they like to wear make-up and dress up nice and have a clean house whenever company is coming over.  So they appreciate the nicely-dressed, well put-together response.   I, ever the realist, see it as the same old horseshit.  Not that this girl wasn't telling the truth, because I'm sure she was, and if I'm being honest with myself, I can't say I wouldn't have been writing a similar email somewhere in the not-too-distant future.  But I was at least willing to go on that real date.

So, I'm not angry or bitter or anything (although it's weird that she claims she feels a friends-vibe, and then says if she happens to pass me on the street some day, she'll smile and wave.  Thanks, buddy.), but I am disappointed because when you take off the make-up and the nice clothes, this email is the same as all the rest of the ones I've gotten from so many nameless, long-forgotten women who knew me for a matter of hours and decided that, even though I'm great, I'm not the one.  I'd rather she just think I'm a dick and be done with it than be great and for whatever unknowable reason not be suitable for her.  I mean, she says I'm "dateable," and yet she won't date me.  Hell, I know plenty of men that I would consider "ridiculously undateable" if I were a woman, and they're goddamn married.

So, this brings me back to my brilliant "Dream Job" analogy.  Honestly, the best candidate may not be out there.  Maybe they have another job that they're happy at, or they didn't see the posting.  Maybe that lightening bolt ain't coming.  Maybe you have to hire who does apply and make it work, even if they're not quite as dynamic as their resume (of if they're Back to the Future III).  I'm not saying  people should settle, but let me put it this way; I haven't loved every job I've ever had, but I was always happy to have it.  Sometimes, you need to hire someone and see if they can handle the job.  But you'll never know if you don't give them a try.   

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Matt Dursin and the Infinite Sadness

My brother recently posted this blog, wherein he chronicled 25 memorable songs from 25 years ago, which would be 1986, the year he sort of "came of age."  I was ten, so I don't remember them quite as fondly, but still, I noodled with it for awhile and decided that I could do something similar, only six years later, when I was sixteen, 1992.

However, alcohol may have addled my brain because my memory isn't as good as his, and so I took to the interwebs to see what songs were big in 1992, and came up with a lot of crap (all apologies to Nirvana.)  I may have been sixteen, but I guess I still wasn't cool enough to listen to Boyz II Men or John Secada.  In fact, I don't know anyone who did, and borrowing my brother's criteria, does anyone ever hear any of these songs on the radio anymore?  Maybe Tom Cochrane's "Life is a Highway," but that's about it.  Now, 1994, well, that's a whole blog post right there.

However, while noodling and driving my parents' car around while visiting over Christmas, I actually listened to the radio, and heard some late 90's stuff, and realized that similar to the way the songs of 1986 were colored by my brother's experiences as a teenager, the music of the late-90s will be forever colored/tainted by what I was going through back then, good and bad.  For example, I heard Alanis Morrisette on the radio while driving around town, and I probably almost careened off the road I winced so hard.  Some songs take on a life of their own and change their meaning over time, but Alanis tunes will always remind me of the awful bitch I was dating back then.  I honestly don't even remember what song was playing on the radio ("You Oughta Know," maybe?), but they were pretty much all the same, anyway.  Perhaps the reason I was never able to get passed the memories and take her music for what it is was because she pretty much faded into obscurity, or because negative emotions are so much more powerful than positive ones, or perhaps there was actually something very visceral about it.  Looking back, was it actually kind of good?  Don't they say that really great art is supposed to make you want to throw up because it does such a job on you emotionally?  Is that the reason for my reaction, or was the awful bitch I was dating so awful that she has ruined that entire section of my life?  I mean, I can listen to The Wallflowers or Smashing Pumkins and not want to tear my eyes out.  Perhaps it's because I claimed them as my own, and wouldn't let Awful Bitch take them from me.  Or maybe they're just better.

Let's look at another f''r-instance; Semisonic's "Closing Time" came on while I was driving with my brother and his family, and while discussing the the origins of the song were that the band simply needed something to end their shows with, my sister-in-law put forth a theory that the "closing time" referred to in the song is a more metaphorical time.  Specifically, the "time" the singer is talking about is the period after college but before you have settled down, "time for you to go out into the world."  Not literally because the bar is closing, but metaphorically, because you've graduated, and "you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."  Of course, I threw it out there that that time has not come for me yet, so I guess this bar never closes.

Personally, that song broke when I was living in L.A., and the car I was renting had no cd player, and I had no cd's to play on it even if it did.  Long story short, that song was played so often that it bore a hole in my tiny pea brain and I eventually purchased the album.  It wasn't that good, and I can't even remember another song from it, and I later sold it, along with the rest of my youth, online.  But whenever I hear that song I am reminded of the good times I had in L.A.  However, much like Alanis, I never actually hear that song unless I am driving my parents' car and listening to the radio, but when I do, the memories do start to flow.

So, tehre we have it, two sides of the same coin.  Sometimes, I think that I should maybe download some of these songs.  It would be simple enough, and I would always have them on hand in case I felt nostalgic.  But that's the thing, do I want them?  Were they any good?  Have they become like Christmas music, where once a year is pretty much enough, and yet you've heard them so many times you don't really even "hear" them anymore?  Would owning them somehow rob me of the memories if they became just another song in my phone, or would it finally exorcise the Alanis demon?  Did the memories color them, or did they color/taint the memories?  Chicken or the egg?

Thoughts?  Anecdotes?  An imponderable?