Drugan-Eppich: The dating game

Bret Belden

From the Loser

By Tim Drugan-Eppich

It dawned on me the other day that I might be old enough to declare a successful escape from young love.

Others might be distraught at being 21 and never having had a girlfriend, but I feel as though, on this issue at least, the cards have been dealt in my favor. This is not a slight at relationships by any means; it is just my opinion — my viewpoint, my observation — that they look incredibly exhausting. I am obviously no authority on the subject, but in a time where everyone is given a voice, I will speak as though I am.

Take the beginning of any relationship, the initial dates. What an incredibly troubling predicament. For someone who has never really learned what is an appropriate thing to say at any given moment, not coming across as a complete moron presents a formidable challenge. The expected course of action is to give the person you are with a highlight reel of your personality. For someone with no highlight footage to pull from, this presents itself as a nearly impossible task. The aspects of my personality that my friends find enjoyable are also aspects they have told me to never expose to the female species. This leaves me trying to be somewhat interesting while drawing on less than a percentage of my real personality. It is the setup for a very tense dinner out.

Even if I manage to keep my big, opinionated, inappropriate mouth in check, my behavior is there to ruin the fun. Little did I know that it is not advisable to do a snot rocket while making a first impression on someone. And less so, after she exclaims how gross it is, to inquire whether she would rather you walk around all night with a big ol’ booger in your nose. Also, apparently it is childish to — instead of holding your date’s hand — run up and down the sidewalk sliding on the slush left over from the previous snowfall. Because God forbid I have a little fun.

Who knows why anyone would want to spend more time with me after such a horrific night out, but if they do, the following interactions don’t improve much. At this point, the more horrendous aspects of my personality and my horrible habits begin to shine through. Habits … like the inability to sit through a movie without providing a running commentary on the stupidity of the characters, the incessant need to bargain on everything I buy, and my enjoyment of ruining songs on the radio by belting them in a thick Scottish accent. One benefit of these new developments is realizing the things you already found annoying with me now don’t seem so bad. Things like that I whistle, or I feel everyone should know the status of my digestive tract, and how close the food I ate yesterday is to being expelled.

And if any emotional understanding is needed, I can be sure to disappoint. My understanding of others’ need for compassion has leveled off on the same plane as an eight-year-old. It appears that I have the immense range of three emotions, those include amusement, grumpiness and back to amusement. So when my date opens up about her trials and tribulations, I am sure to get the expected emotions mixed up: laughing when I should be somberly nodding and then when I should be gasping at the injustice of it all, leaning back and laughing again. Then I find enough stupidity within myself to inquire how she could possibly be upset with me. Even if I desperately try to be somber and listen with intensity, I get distracted, and remember a funny joke I heard, and the chortling begins again. And accompanying it is, understandably, increased anger from my date. I suppose some people are just good at listening, and others’ gifts lie somewhere else. I’m still looking for mine.

I started this column harping against relationships, but I suppose they can’t all be bad seeing as people keep getting into them. The only constant in all of my failed attempts have been yours truly. So perhaps what the reader should take from this column isn’t a warning against dating. It’s a warning against dating me.

Tim Drugan-Eppich is a junior majoring in English.