You, fellow geek, may be wondering what a rakishly charming, roguishly handsome, disarmingly witty hipster actor has to say about connecting with The Better Sex. As the Short, Jewish Warren Beatty, my experience and advice are rather limited. I have only the scores of beautiful, intelligent, talented women that I have loved to provide some insight. In other words, if I had a nickel for every dame who’s spun The Kid’s head with her gams and her whims, I’d spend the day at the Coinstar. Except not really. I have felt the pangs of love rarely, and had them requited even more sparsely. It has always been pure, unadulterated, and bestowed by ladies so far out of my orbit that I have never been closer than Uranus to their Suns. Within this penile pathos, a certain wisdom pops up. Yup, that’s love in my pocket, and I’m very happy to see you.
Full Disclosure: Regardless of my transformative abilities to take on any character, shape, size and ethnicity, my experiences in this realm are limited to those with women. While most of “to blathe” is universal, there are understandings that our straight sisters and homosexual siblings have that are their own experiences, secrets and protocols. It would be presumptuous to think that a straight guy inherently knows the ins-and-outs of the ins-and-outs of another team. You can stare between those catchers’ legs all you want, but we’ll never quite read the signs. If you’re a lady looking for girl-talk, let’s beseech our BadAss gals Britt, Meredith and Sarah to share their perspectives. If you’re a dude who digs dudes or a chick who digs chicks, we got some of those in our midst, too. All that This Author can offer is some hetero harangue.
Learn to read the signs. The first and foremost consideration we, as men, should have for women is that they are better than us. In every way. They’re softer, prettier (not counting Prince and Rob Lowe), and most importantly, have crazy super powers. They’re like X-Men. They can make babies and share their feelings. Women have intuition. Next to your old uncle who’d get a swollen knee when it was about to rain, that stuff’s pure paranormal. Chicks also outnumber us men, so if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And you can’t beat ‘em. That should be the first thing we discussed. Historically, women have had it pretty rough. They’ve been disenfranchised, disrespected and disregarded while us men wage our wars, pee standing up and listen to Steely Dan. And yet they continue to put up with us, occasionally giving us the benefit of the doubt. Now that you’ve been berated into hating your hairy, ballsack-riddled self, you may be wondering what you could offer this awesome gender. Most importantly, you can be friends with girls. They may be better, but they share all of our same interests, inclinations and inklings. In that respect, they’re no different than men, and should be regarded with the same fortitude and attitude our boys get. Like the Spice Girls said, “make it last forever, friendship never ends.” There is simply no substitute for a relationship built on camaraderie, an affinity for the same good-bad movies and, if you’re really lucky, fart jokes. When it comes to romance, things get a little more complicated. Assuming that you’ve based your connection on actual stuff that matters, you already want to protect each other, comfort and assist one another, because that’s what real friends do. If y’all aren’t there, go back to Go, collect your $200 and start rolling those dice again. Maybe switch to The Thimble. If you’ve got that foundation covered, you can always go the obvious route, which is actually telling someone that you like-like them. You want to hold their hand, kiss them, cuddle and potentially get freaky. It’s a good idea to parse those out over a long period of time, just to make sure. There’s an inherent huge risk in telling someone how you feel about them, but don’t forget that the payoff is the best thing in the fucking world. There is literally nothing better than loving another person. That’s the best, so it’s worth the risk.
As a bachelor, you surely love hanging around in stained undies and eating over the sink. You wouldn’t want anything getting in the way of bigoted tirades over M.M.O.R.P.G’s and Call of Duty. You’re fully invested in a lifestyle of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies between being your own personal Jean-Claude Van Hand. Let’s say that somehow, this solitary life of Internet trolling and instant ramen isn’t quite cutting it for you. Maybe you need some love in your life. But how, in this era of constant connection, globalization and specificity could you ever find it? If only some ingenious geeks would put together communities where we could safely, civilly meet and chat with other people we might like, daresay love. Unfortunately, no one’s figured out quite how to do that, but it could be a very valuable idea. If any computer-wizards out there want to collaborate with me on an internet-savvy solution, maybe a web page where we could post photos, thoughts about ourselves and our tastes, please hit me up. I’ve got a Compaq Presario with a 386 and a 28.8 baud modem you could use. Barring that, there’s a bar. It might sound crazy, but if you go where there’s people, you’ll meet people. Some of us don’t think we’ll meet a like-minded individual while nursing a Bloody Bull on a stool-top. You probably won’t, because that’s not your bag. You need to do you in order to stop doing you. If you love movies, go to movies, because you love movies. Your Love probably loves movies, too, so there’s a better chance that you’ll see her from across the way outside that lonesome revival cinema one night when you least expect it. For all those solitary nights in that flickering light that you don’t, at least you get to go to the movies. The same goes for the library, the diner, the record shop and daresay, the bar. So eventually, while going about your business of enjoying the things you enjoy, you see her. If it’s through friends, you’re introduced, you have something to talk about. You still have points of interest in those places you’re interested in, from the album she’s holding to the flick you both just walked out of. I like to get a piece of pie after a movie. You know that one. More likely than not, much more likely, you will be rebuffed. She’ll have a boyfriend or a girlfriend or not be interested. That’s alright because it just means that the connection you’re looking for, that perfect storm, that confluence of magic, is still out there. Do not be disheartened, friend-o, because even when you thought all the New Releases were rented, that’s only an excuse to dive deep into the genres, to catch something you might’ve missed in the theaters.
60% of the time, it works every time.
After a while, a long while, longer than you could’ve ever imagined, you’ll meet someone. It’ll be wonderful. You’ll be happy, probably happier than you’ve ever been before. If you’re not, you might be doing it wrong, so start over. There is no accounting for lust, for flings, for your ding-a-ling, and that can be complicated. Infatuations are perfectly swell, assuming you’re totally honest with yourself and your partner. See, honesty is a cornerstone of this whole shebang. Unless you’ve got the pout and the chicken strut of that man himself, you’re likely to neither get what you want nor what you need on a regular basis. Being truthful is your check and balance, the closest way you’ll manage your expectations and emotions. At any stage of a relationship, sincerity will cut to the chase without fail. Telling the truth isn’t a cure all, in fact, it can be a detriment. You might find out that she doesn’t like you, or that you don’t like her. You might discover that you’re not emotionally prepared for a relationship, to share the responsibilities and obligations that come with a collaborative partnership. Holy shit, maybe you’re not quite the person that you want to be. In order for this whole thing to work, you need to understand that even though you’re still undercooked, you’re the person you want to be loved and, assuming you know this street’s got two sides, do the loving. This is a classic riff on the “love yourself before you bring someone else into it,” which is a hard concept to wrap our heads around. The easiest way to explain it is to ask yourself whether you have the qualities, the inclinations, the compulsion, of the guys who inspire you. Chances are, those are folks like Carl Sagan, Eleanor Roosevelt and Spartacus, so you’ve got a shit ton of work to do. Go ahead, we’ll wait. Lament not that this is a long, arduous process, because it is not a toggled switch. It’s a cumulative effort that is not mutually exclusive from accomplishments, like meeting Your Love. In the best cases, the process of evolving into who you will be goes hand-in-hand with going hand-in-hand. If you do manage to wrangle your way into her Wranglers, be upfront. If you told her she had a beautiful body, would she hold it against you? Being polite and contrite is a great way to flirt. Keep your mouth shut, not just because listening is sexy, but because learning as much about a person is a great way to tell if they’re crazy and you want to hang out with them. Should the relationship be casual, tentative, but rife with attraction, go ahead and lay it out there, but never assume that a kiss on the lips makes for a kiss on the hips. “No” generally doesn’t mean “no,” it means “Get the fuck away from me, apologize and disappear.” To paraphrase a prolific Lothario, Mr. Louis C.K., historically, men risk getting turned down by women whereas women risk being raped, murdered and chopped up into little pieces by men.
Cut the cord.
You meet, you greet, you want to rub her feet. Let’s discuss specifics so you don’t blow it trying to get it blown. Dating is fun and terrifying, an emotional minefield containing less hints than whatever came bundled with Windows 98. Like being elected to national office and producing feature films, the vast majority of making a good impression on a date is through confidence. Confidence is not cockiness. Confidence is not a sense of ego or control, but rather the idea that nothing will go horribly, irreparably wrong. That means no matter what happens, it’ll be a good time, which is a great litmus test of discovering whether or not you and your date can have fun under any circumstance. You should always have a plan, even something as simple as dinner and a movie, but don't be stifled if the plan doesn’t come together, because the grand scheme is that you two are together. Be chivalrous, but never be obvious. Hold a door open, raise your ass out of your seat when she gets up, and pay the check. Those aren’t always tried-and-true. Some women don’t like that stuff, but they’ll tell you if they don’t. It’s totally groovy to ask if picking up the tab is kosher, but always be prepared to do it. Maybe she’ll want to split it, or do it herself. That’s mighty gracious of the lady, so thank her. That wasn’t so hard. All of those classic, antiquated, rote manners are very fluid and often confused with infantilizing or disrespecting gals. That’s not true. By following those rules, you’re simply making it obvious that you know them to begin with, that you’re aware of some basic interpersonal grammar. They are actions which replace the words, “I know how to make someone feel important, comforted and considered.” These days, grabbing a bite to eat and catching a flick can be costly, upwards of $12,000. If you’re young, or a successful working actor, that can be untenable. But you don’t have to pay to play, player. Go to a museum that’s free or accepts donations. Have a picnic. Take a hike. If y’all are comfortable with each other, cook her dinner. If you don’t know how, learn. It should go without saying that spending time together is paramount, so any situation where you can enjoy each other’s company is the right situation. Dress nice. That doesn’t mean break out your arm-garters and tails. She’ll always look better than you, so keep it simple and comfortable but avoid those black t-shirts and cargo shorts. If you’re doing something fancy, let her know, and vice-versa. It’s always nice to illustrate that the whole experience is a joy, so consider curating a musical mix for the car ride, or a plan for after the date, like a walk. Don’t use more than one squirt of cologne, which should be sprayed into the air and walked into. Don’t take your phone out once. Put that shit on Airplane Mode and forget it exists. It’s 1990, as far as your technology is concerned, so unless you’re Gordon Gecko, keep it in your pants. If you are Gordon Gecko, you’ll either have a manservant for that brick or some sort of fashionable case for it. Also, no one will love you. After a date, it’s always best to leave things malleable. It’s perfectly swell to say what a wonderful time you’ve had, even that you’d like to do it again, but unless something specific comes up other than your pud, let the experience brew, both for your own edification and hers.
Not true love.
But Otto, what about our relationship? Fuck that. Problems, they will arise, harmonizing in what will surely be a requiem of Woody Allen, Fassbinder (not Fassbender) plus some flavor of The Mountain Goats and Bob Dylan. If you have shitty taste you’ll do Taylor Swift and '90s romcoms. Throw in some musical theatre for good measure. As per the usual, honesty is the best way to avoid most strife. You’re jealous? Say so. Maybe you’ve got good reason to be because She’s Just Not That Into You. Bummer, doggg, bummer. But better you know now and can resume The Quest. Using the Green Monster as an example, maybe it’s all in your head, in which case it’ll be really endearing that you’re so insecure, as long as you get the fuck over it really quick. If you can’t, you’re probably not ready for this jelly, as referenced previously. If you have problems, they can work out problems, in the sense that if you trust your partner, find yourself respecting them and inspired, you can use their advice to improve your station. You basically become each other’s Thelma Schoonmaker. Marty and Thelma like to say that good editing creates the space between the shots. That’s where you want your relationship to exist, between the moments, the logistics, forming a sense of affection and comfort that doesn’t need to be articulated because it is simply part of the story. Often, that simply just doesn’t happen. There’s a lot of great flicks, but there’s even more bad ones out there. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. You walk out of the theater, she changes the channel in the middle, or the whole thing disappears when the streaming license isn’t renewed. There will be blood, dear reader, and it will suck. There is only one real cure for a breakup, which is time. During the period of doubt, loneliness and sheer terror, be good to yourself and your ex-partner. For the former, that means giving yourself a break, taking up a hobby, finding friends, asking yourself what the best thing you can do for you is, in lieu of your ex. For the later, it means the same thing. There is simply no substitute for space and time. There is no TARDIS, Doctor. You will feel pain, you will likely cause it, too, but the best you can do is avoid a sequel, a repeat, because nobody likes repetition. Nobody likes repetition. Nobody likes repetition. This is love, not a game. It is definitely not The Game, a delightful early effort from a young filmmaker who is really going places. It’s also not The Game, a philosophy that is tantamount to rape. Besides giving a bad name to a great James Toback film, the concept of “The Pickup Artist” is everything that amoré is not; dishonesty, selfishness and anything but a big pizza pie. It’s an ethos that attempts, and fails, to distill love from the greatest of joyful mysteries to a mathematical, logistical, engineered equation of coldness. As nerds, bored with the fleshiness of our slide-rules, we get comfort from science, from the idea that we can rationalize anything. It’s our greatest strength, yet poetically, romantically (convenient word, huh?), doesn’t apply to love. Like an Equation of Everything, it simply doesn’t work that way. You’re doing being a person wrong. Trying to booby-trap your way to boobies will only land your ass in a non-sex-sling. If you think that is any kind of satisfaction, you’re an asshole and a child and you should probably get a swift kick in the bollocks. You don’t deserve love. Bummer for you, bro. If this is you, don’t get mad at me, you’re the one trying to trick another person into joining you for the most sacred act of humanity. You’re the jerk. Come at me. I’ll fight you with a love in my life that makes me stronger than anything you can imagine. I’d say, “That’s that,” mattress man.
If love could be as simple as a few thousand words on a reasonably popular film-centric movie website, we’d probably be more popular. Relationships are minefields, battlefields and mostly a game of canfield. Luckily, there are very few true mutual exclusivities, and any number of things can, and will, happen. You will be surprised beyond your wildest desires and brought back down as quickly as your wax wings melt. Be a good person, a real friend and honest, and it’ll cushion the fall. Just because you’ve had some bad experiences in a few theaters, with a few rentals and recommendations, doesn’t mean you should stop watching movies. We’re all in this together, friend-o, clumsily bumping uglies, fists and tunes of our heartstrings, until the final cut. Just remember the best advice from everyone’s favorite Schizo Troubadour Prophet, Daniel Johnston: “True Love Will Find You In The End.”
This is a promise, with a catch.