Dating 101: A Lecture-Based Course

Posted on February 12, 2013

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"What? I totally could've gone to Brown."

“What? I totally could’ve gone to Brown.”

Most online dates begin the same way: we re-hash everything we’ve already discussed in our way-too-many OkCupid messages. Of course, I’ve usually just re-read those OkCupid messages on the way to said date (I like to be prepared!), so this is unnecessary. But boys tend to opt for wasting the first twenty minutes of a date repeating ourselves. Anywho, that’s how my date started with Ethan.

“Where did you go to school?” he asked. We’d, of course, already talked about this over email, but I didn’t want to call him out, so I told him.

“Oh, wow” he said. “I didn’t get in there.” The look on his face after admitting this was of complete embarrassment.

“Well, Michigan’s a great school!” I said.

“Wow, I can’t believe you remember I went to Michigan.” He seemed disappointed. But what can I say? I’d just re-read our old messages in the cab. (Plus my reading comprehension is awesome. I went to a really good school.)

“You know,” he continued. “I may have gone to a state school, but I really find that I get along better with a far more intellectual crowd. For instance, all my friends went to Brown. I really should have gone there.”

From now on, just assume that Ethan went to Brown, because that’s how he acted. He told me about some of the great classes they offered, the amazing conversations the students had, and even the best bars that alumni frequent. It was as if he could just say the word “Brown” enough and it would convince me that he’d never told me he went to Michigan.

That was only the beginning of the pretentiousness.

Shortly after he first confessed his love for all things Brown, we ordered drinks. We were at a beer bar in the East Village. I know nothing about beer. Ethan pounced as soon as I told him this, saying I must try this particular lager, and the hops are especially pungent in that one (or something). Then he started tasting the beers. “Can I have a sample of this?” he’d ask. Then he’d swirl the beer in its glass for a few seconds, inhale its aroma and take a very tiny sip. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that’s how one generally samples beer. Once he finally made a decision, we sat.

“You’re probably wondering how I know so much about beer,” he said.

“How do you know so much about beer?” I took the bait.

“I actually brew my own beer.” Thus the lecture on beer brewing began. I learned about all the things one needs to brew beer, how much each part and ingredient costs, how long it takes to brew, and so much more. I smiled and nodded in all the right places.

Turns out, Ethan liked to lecture.

When we talked about food, he told me about the wonder that is prosciutto (The fact that I eat prosciutto all the time didn’t seem to faze him), and with every foreign food he mentioned, he did so with a ridiculous accent. It wasn’t just prosciutto, for example, it was pro-SHOO-to (It’s hard to write out an accent, but you get the idea.)

My next class was on veganism. I’m not a vegan, nor was he, but all I had to do was mention that a friend of mine was trying it out before he went into his tirade. Did you know that the more soy we eat, the more fast food those in third-world countries are forced to eat? (Or something like that…)

He then told me about his recent career switch, and how much more fulfilled he was spending his time saving the environment even if that meant making less money. Honorable, sure. But he did not have to practically scoff when I told him I worked for a print publication (a decidedly non-environmentally friendly career choice).

I got a lecture on sailboats—referring to them only by their technical names, of course. I got a lecture on wines and the wonders that are vineyards. I got a lecture on why squats are the best exercise in the world (you do want to sit down and stand up again when you’re old, right?)

After just two beers, the knowledge I had gleaned was ridiculous. Another woman may have felt annoyed, or even brainwashed, but not me. I felt smarter. I felt like more of a friend to the environment, with fitness tips and a touch of class. And I felt utterly convinced that the only true men are men who went to Brown—like my future boyfriend, Ethan.

—Raz, 26, NYC

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Posted in: My Stories