Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Things I learned from an OkCupid Improv show

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Last night, I dragged my roommates to the Upright Citizens Brigade, an affordable comedy club down the street that I've been meaning to go to. The show that I chose happened to be a pre-Valentine's Day special, called the "OkCupid Show," followed by a Vday mixer at Birds next door. Now, obviously in light of my past experiences I found this very relevant to me and my current life.

The premises of the show was two online dating experts and comedians would advise a first-timer on three OkCupid dates that they picked for him beforehand. It sounded interesting enough, but when someone started handing us "Hello My Name Is _____" nametags and asking us if we were single or in a relationship (to which I replied "Super Single"), I began to panic. Had I gotten this all wrong? Is this audience participation, as in they are going to pick three random single people to date on stage? I was terrified.

When the hosts asked all the singles to raise their hand and keep them up, I didn't, to the shame of singles everywhere. Luckily, however, the dates were already pre-picked so we really had no need to fret.

The man of the hour who was brave enough to go on three dates in front of a live audience was named Brad. He got pretty drunk throughout the night, though to be fair he had two comedians loudly whispering in his ear the entire night. Oddly enough, I actually learned a few valuable tips for a first OkCupid date:

1. Before the date, peruse the person's profile for possible "conversation starters." Example: The person lists "The Little Mermaid" as being one of six things that they cannot live without. 

2. When there are lulls in conversation, remember to power through; Don't wallow in the awkwardness!

3. Throughout the date, ask yourself: Is this a callback situation? In other words: would you like to go on a second date with this person?

4. Talk about something you are good at! It's the first date people– you are supposed to bring out the positives and personal strengths that make you all shiny and pretty. You don't want to go straight to the baggage, (i.e. your deep depression and possible eating disorder circa 2001). That's for later! Way later. 

5. Don't be "rapey." Brad had this habit of leaning all the way over the table during his dates, or and on one occasion, asked the girl what they are planning later that night. This was when one of the hosts jumped in the middle of the date, called a time-out and then told him "This is getting a little rapey." Being engaging is good...creepy is another story. There's a fine line folks. 

6. Don't shit on anyone. Not literally. Well, I guess that wouldn't be good either. What I mean is that don't get down on someone because of where they live, what they do for a living, or what kind of music they listen to. It's not attractive or makes for a good impression. 

7. Compliment the person from the get-go. It's a nice little booster for them and sets the scene that you are interested and appreciate their outfit or what-have-you. Everyone is somewhat nervous on a first date and insecurities that you never thought of come up. Like– what if I look nothing like my profile pictures anymore? I know I just took the picture a week ago, but maybe my hair has grown since then? When pressured to compliment the girl on his third date by the hosts, Brad nervously blurted out "You have very nice breasts!"  

8. If you don't have a traveling photo of yourself on your profile, then get the fuck out of OkCupid. I guess the same applies to Couchsurfing. A traveling photo says that you are at least somewhere adventurous, not a hermit and willing to explore/try new things (like online dating). It also gives a sense of normalcy to a person that is judging you purely on a few answers to some randomly selected questions and profile pictures. 

9. If you aren't drinking before the date, you better be drinking in the car. I like to have a beer before a date, some people take a shot. It's liquid courage. Just don't get drunk or belligerent. That's enjoyable to witness for no one. 

10. If you see someone you know during the date, get rid of them ASAP. Throughout each of Brad's three dates, there was a distraction. First there was his broke and extremely inappropriate coworker, then his two flamboyantly-gay friends, then his Armenian car maintenance-man. Not to mention the crazy Greek couple that was serving them "dinner." Seeing someone you know takes the attention away from your first date. The other person is either left behind while you and your friend talk, or in the gay guy situation, might find them more interesting than you! They are already going on a first date with you, so please don't make them go on another first date with your friend too. They didn't sign up for that. So whatever you do, tell the friend that you will talk to them later and say goodbye as quickly as possible. 

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