Tags: bad date, dating, markoe, new love
I kind of like cooking. Therefore I like cooking dinner for my friends on special occasions. But on this, the twentieth day of the first month of a new year, I am making a new house rule:
Do not bring your brand new one true love to my house for a home cooked meal until you have gone with them at least a year.
I have a number of friends who are currently engaged in the difficult, sometimes barbaric, seemingly endless search for the right person. They have my sympathy. I was dating my brains out for years and am still so so sick of the whole idea that the thought of having to return to that moment again makes me shudder the way I do when I imagine voluntarily making trips out to the coin operated laundromat now that I own a washer and dryer. Thats not a good analogy. Dating is so much worse than the laundromat. Though the laundromat still gives me nightmares.
But here is what I learned about dating: You can not tell who it is you have become involved with until around month four. It is just impossible. The first three months are a honeymoon period where both parties put on a great big fake show for each other. Then, after that, it takes at least another 8 or 9 months to gather enough information to guess whether or not this new relationship is going to last. That year will turn out to be a combination of exhilarating (Hey! Hot new sex!!) and frustrating (I can’t believe what just happened last night!) This is all just par for the course. That’s the way a new relationship works.
The only thing I am saying is that during this sometimes exciting and frequently tumultuous period, there is no real reason for you to bring this new person over to meet me. Because in at least 90% of cases, it will turn out that you are only weeks away from sitting me down to listen to you deliver a speech where you will want my empathy and sympathy as you explain in detail how the afore mentioned new person turned out to be a total asshole.
Obviously I am going to want to give you that empathy and sympathy. You are my friend. I want the best for you in all circumstances. All I am asking is that you restrain yourself from making it my responsibility to cook dinner for someone who is about to ruin your life, before the fact.
Its a lot of work cooking dinner. I search through recipes. I fret. I have to drive to the store ten times. Then we clean the house and sweep the porch and wash the tablecloth . Its expensive and exhausting. And don’t forget all that energy spent dressing up before hand and cleaning up afterward. And then, of course, we have to lock the dogs in the back of the house so they won’t eat all the snacks or get hair all over the guests. And boy, they hate that.
Though I don’t mind doing it for people I like. Because I love when they do it for me. But here’s the thing: I absolutely mind doing it for people I am not only going to never see again, but am going to later find out are personality disordered cretins who have treated a friend of mine badly. Call me crazy but I don’t want to work hard to help an amoral vindictive monster have a lovely relaxing afternoon or evening. Which brings me to the stress of searching for topics of conversation to engage a person who, in a few weeks, we will all have agreed was mentally ill and all decided we hate. I don’t want to serve them horsd’oevres and wine and find out where they are from.
I guess I should mention at this point that I have several friends who have brought more than four such relationship candidates over for a long long evening. In one case, five.
Or just as bad: what if I end up bonding with this new person? And then later find out that YOU are the one who acted like the big asshole? I chose my friends pretty carefully. And I don’t need or want that kind of information about someone I thought was my friend.
So go ahead and fall in love briefly with whoever you chose. Obviously you don’t need my permission . If you want to waste your time and money and dreams on fantasies about this new person, before you have any real idea who they are…well, its your life. You alone will wind up with the cocktail party anecdotes and the short story rights to whatever crazy thing unfolds. Just do me the courtesy of not insisting that I join you as captain, chef and entertainment committee on your voyage before the whole ship capsizes.
As my friend John Hodgman likes to say at this point: That is all.