All in a Good Date

Our Modern Love series continues with a unique perspective on dinner and a movie.

by Frank Morgan

Last week I was watching a documentary on the world’s largest penis when it hit me — this would have been a pretty good date. Now, before you get all horrified, I know how bad that sounds. In fact, if I asked a lady to go with me to a documentary about the lengths to which men go, I’d have a fist-shaped bruise on my face and possibly a criminal record. This sort of date would have to be a group thing, and it sure as hell wouldn’t be a first date. But bear with me, dear readers, I’m going somewhere with this.

I knew my next column was to focus on dating. Problem was, I didn’t want to go over the same boring stuff as everyone else. In other words, no Cabo/spring break shit shows, no crazy one night stands, no grudge fucks and no chemical romances. I wanted to talk about the essence of a good date and I kept hitting a wall. Sure I’ve dated, but my dates don’t seem to work out the way normal dates should. In high school, I made reservations for dessert at a very fancy Italian restaurant. My first girlfriend, my very first date. We missed it. Her dad came back early and I had to explain to a Vietnam veteran why I wanted/deserved to take his daughter out for tiramisu. Since he didn’t know what tiramisu was, I had to explain who I was, why I wanted to pork his daughter (I’m paraphrasing) and what tiramisu was. What with all the stammering, blushing and explaining, we missed the reservation. I like to think I’ve gotten better at dating since then. Hard to get worse, really.

In the interest of journalistic integrity, I’m no ladies man. I’m shy, I have awkward moments and I don’t have lemon-juicer abs. Not everyone gets my sense of humor. That said, I’ve had some amazing dates. I’ve discussed employee benefits with sex workers in San Francisco (long story), I’ve eaten geriatric food after rockabilly covers of 80’s metal (great story), I’ve explained the ins and outs of mosh pits (mid-mosh) and I’ve had a whole lot of coffee (‘cause coffee’s delicious). For me, a date’s a chance to get to know a person, to put your best foot forward while they do the same. The best dates do tend to be fun, though.

So, what made that penis documentary date material? First off, cheesy movies make awesome dates. Good movies take your entire attention, but crappy ones can be ignored and/or ridiculed while still providing an easy icebreaker. Secondly, it was in a group. There’s safety in numbers, and meeting a person’s friends is a great way to learn more about them. Lastly, it’s a chance to get to know me better. Since we spent the whole time drinking wine and making fun of the show, she would’ve learned a lot about my sense of humor, and me hers. I like trying new things, seeing things I’ve never seen before. Lord knows that documentary fit the bill. I also like doing this stuff with friends. If we were dating seriously, I’d want to do random things like this with her. I’d want to make fun of creepy documentaries, I’d want to go to cardboard fights and beach bonfires. If she doesn’t like this sort of thing, it’s better for both of us to find out early. Would it be a first date? No way. Would I warn her, give her a chance to gracefully decline? Of course. Was the documentary alternately horrifying and hilarious? Dear God, yes.

The more you slap labels and expectations on dates, the more likely you’ll be disappointed. Some dates hit you in the chest, leaving you short of breath, excited and scared. Some dates leave you smiling like an idiot. Some dates just plain suck. There is no perfect date. But good dates? They’re everywhere.

The author, Frank, only made one length pun. He is proud of himself.

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