Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

Comedian, Date Thyself

In the grim darkness of the future, in the distant year 20XX, unironic intellectualism is looked down upon. Only comedians can do the thing where they think about things and then say the things about those things that are good but also bad things. I believe they call it intellectualism.

I actually really enjoy this new age of comedians as public intellectuals. Although maybe “new” is a bit of a stretch. There was that George Carlin guy, and that Mark Twain guy, and probably like a bunch of other famous guys whose names I would know if intellectualism hadn’t been positively ruined.

This Vanity Fair interview with Aziz Ansari isn’t about his status as Socratic gadfly to the status quo, but it does touch on online dating:

We’ve become souls divided, he maintains, between the real self and the cell-phone self. And we get ourselves wrong! When Aziz was writing stand-up about online dating, he experimented with filling out the forms of dummy accounts on several dating sites. The person he truthfully described he wanted to find “was a little younger than me, small, with dark hair.” But the woman he’s been dating for the past two years and is now happily living with in Los Angeles is a little older, taller, and blonde.

Match.com’s own research algorithm confirms the surprising discovery that the partner people say they want online often doesn’t match up to the one they’re actually interested in. “Who knows who you’re eliminating?” said Aziz. His current love wouldn’t have made it through the filters he placed on his own online dating profile.

Same for me. It’s a bit baffling, but Aziz, myself, and researchers have all found this to be true. Honestly, online dating is probably the first time in history that people have had the opportunity to articulate and apply these sorts of preferences en masse, so we’re not exactly overturning centuries of conventional wisdom here. The whole concept is weird, from start to finish.

It’s just fascinating to realize you can be wrong about what you think you’re looking for in a romantic relationship. It’s the one thing almost everyone wants, and when we talk about what we want, we’re wrong. Kinda makes a guy wonder what else we could be wrong about.

When was the last time you tried a new food? When was the last time you listened to a new album by a band you don’t love? When was the last time you read some poetry, or wore that shirt you haven’t worn in forever because it doesn’t go with anything?

Here’s to something new this summer.