“Efficiency, efficiency they say,” a famous violist once wrote about a ghost, I think, or World War I, maybe: “[g]et to know the date and tell the time of day.” It almost applies here.1
A date– whether a moderate success or a resounding failure; whether a transcendent lesson in abject humiliation2 or even if there were boobs3 involved– need not consume, entirely, the attentions of its participants. Their time and effort need not be wasted, if (as is likely) they are ultimately uninterested in pursuing the relationship further, nor spent One Hundred Per Cent in the creation/undertaking of an incredibly basic social contract/preliminary interview for potential mating. We can instead4 date While Doing Something Constructive (With Our Stupid Lives For Once). Efficiency, like the great John Cale once sang about, possibly, I bet, can not only maximize our productivity and learning potential, but– when deployed properly– can guarantee that even the shittiest date was not for naught.5
Forget silver linings, by architecting your dates as Constructive Ventures you are blueprinting silver foundations; even if the date, or ‘building,’ completely falls apart, you can still ‘sell the plat to an eccentric billionaire who seeks to build the worlds largest soldering iron’, i.e. learn how to count using an abacus.
[SIDEBAR: “A. Gordon Agagag, Gold Medal Philanthropist or Silver Spoon Lunatic?”
Alexander S. Gorton, heir to the Gorton’s Fishstick Fortune, was born on July 16, 1968 in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The first of one children, Alex was likely the product of the legal consummation of the marriage-cum-merger of Herbert James “Herb” Gorton, II, and Lilian “Lily” Sukkot, daughter of tent magnate Allen Sukkot. He is presumed to be a mistake.
Being that Herbert– the youngest of 12 children and diagnosed Schizoid Man– and Lilian– the second of 8 children but almost certainly a lesbian– were so poorly regarded by their families6 there seemed little chance that either of their respective estates would pass down to them. This fact, when combined with the vastness of their families, freed them from their obligation to procreate. And given their particular attitudes surrounding the act (almost completely disinterested in other people and completely disinterested in penises, respectively), one would assume they wouldn’t have bothered to do so. But, fortunately for baby Alex, both the Sukkots and the Gortons were highly law-abiding peoples, at least where contracts were concerned, and Herb and Lily felt obliged, if not at all aroused, to make their marriage legal. Little did they know that the resulting happy accident would prove to be an incredible boon for the Gorton bloodline.
The Fishstick Killer
Not everybody in Gloucester loved the Gorton family. In the summer of 1978 a series of grisly tragedies befell the entire sticked fish industry. On the morning of June 14th, Mrs. Paul (titular) was garrotted with her own halyard while trying to raise the flag for its (titular) Day. Misses P. Paul (1895 – 1978) had little to do with her son’s company, but her death did attract both John Paul and Edward J. Piszek to her funeral. It was here that they, and their families, …7]
Arts and Crafts
You’re creative, right? Or you want to bang someone creative? It’s safe to say that you’d at least like to be perceived as creative– because otherwise you’re just someone of limited occupational success who is bad at math? Well so does everybody else.
Does that follow? Or agree? Maybe, maybe not– but one thing we can both agree on is that what follows is a collection of excellent Arts and Crafts ideas for you to explore on dates!8
Remember the scene in Lady and the Tramp where the Lady and the Tramp are eating spaghetti and then they realize that they are eating the same strand of spaghetti and they kiss about it? And before that the Tramp touches a meatball with his nose and the Lady thinks he’s so fine and she has such a slumdogthrilldownthere that she pretends that that was an ok thing to do in public instead of vomiting all over the spaghetti? And those ching chong China Cats, just creeping the fuck out of everyone, turning people off to Siam forever? That’s why it is called Thailand now: because of those Lady-framing jerkcats. That, and ethnic pride9 slash burgeoning nationalism.
Well yarn is just like spaghetii, motherfucks, and if one of you starts at the collar and one of you starts at the hem in three(?) short hours you can have an unattractive, ill-fitting sweater vest to fuck on top of!10 Slash clean-up with after.
[INSERT: “A Pattern For Your Very Own Sweater Vest (To Fuck On Top Of)”
By, my Mom]
Scrapbooking, or, as it is known when your sweatshirt has a hood attached to it, [de]collage, provides you the chance to kill two birds with a single book.11 You are not only learning a hobby that is the pitch perfect combination of irony and sincerity and, therefore, a valid and valuable Quirk,12 but also allowing each other perhaps the clearest glimpse into your sense of humor, taste, creative process, aesthetic, and work ethic.13 You are, in the best of all possible worlds,14 gazing at the resulting mishmash of half-formed ideas and magazine pieces and baby pictures, and seeing, soft-eyed, the Jib.15
[SIDEBAR/CHART: Quirk Exchange Rates, 2010 projected16
|Unfashionable| Glasses Frames 0.1/ \/ 75%
Socialist 0.75/ \/ 25%
Anarcho-ContradictoryIdeologicalSystem 1.8/ /\ 140%
Libertarian 1.2/ /\ 20%
Piercing 0.1 per trad; 0.2 per odd/ ~,\/ 25%
Ear Rind 0.2 flat/ \/ 150%
Tattoo 0.2 per/ \/ 25%
Beard, kempt 1.0/ /\ 150%
Beard, disheveled 0.6/ \/ 25%
Moustache, pencil thin 1.0/ /\ 1000%
Moustache, waxed 0.5/ /\ 25%
Liking Lady GaGa 0.00/ \/ (><)%
Uncritical, Hugely Effusive Acceptance of Everything NPR 1.0/~
And so on in that fashion…]
Content-wise: What did they bring pictures of? What did they look like as a kid? What have they achieved (if there are evidences of their achievements)? In terms of experience: How do they collaborate? What level of irony or sincerity do they display in their choices and construction? Is it sufferable or in? Do your approaches compliment or match each other?17 Think about yourself for a second: If you are thorough and delicate do you prefer someone with the same craft-loving hand? Do you find their slapdash, half-hearted and brash erratic pastings dismissive and disrespectful and worry that if this is how they treat your most beloved of personality flourishing paper arts How Will They Treat You? And your child? And your collections of accrued insincerities?18
This is obviously ridiculous, but the point remains: think about thinking about how what they do– even in their tiniest actions– makes you feel.19
As long as you can resist the urge to make a dick or a boobs or a working butthole,20 sculpture can be your ‘in’ to you showing your date that you have working human hands that could, mayhaps, be working them, someday, an hour from now, in their car, for money. It’s not much– only a couple of bucks and, if you’re lucky, an expired but passable bus transfer21— but with the economy like it is, it’s best not to look a gift handjob in the mouth.22
Actually, upon further consideration, short of making a working butthole or a vagina of serial killer level authenticity and detail, most ‘adult’/childish sculptures should probably work for a significant, non-terrible section of the population AS LONG AS you are not attempting to use the sculpture as the basis of an actual proposition– as long as you are not single winking it.
[SIDEBAR: “On Winking”
It is important, crucial really, to at least Double (and no more than Quadruple, although even that is pushing it) wink in the scenario related above (sculpting a peener in an attempt to charm someone romantosexually). Which is to say that your wink must wink at itself; it cannot be an actual attempt to seduce or impress. That is what single winking is, and it is not acceptable in this context. This does not mean that you have to wink twice, just as it does not mean you have to hold your wink for twice as long, rendering your stupid face into some crinkled, de facto Popeye;23 it is just that your wink must somehow convey 24 the fact that it is jk’ing– that you are winking at the fact that you are winking.
Now if you feel that your date would appreciate it, or if your personality is so clownlike and desperate that you can’t even help yourself, you can try to lay down one of the aforestablished multi-winks.
Triple Wink: Like the Double, the Triple Wink is still a single, physical wink. But whereas the Double winks at the idea that someone might, in the present situation, sincerely wink, the Triple winks at the very idea-slash-institution of winking. Unlike the Double Wink, in which the exaggeration is physical exaggeration is generally slight, and the meaning is derived, in large part, from context,25 the Triple Wink contorts the face into an ironic grotesque, cartooning your grin into that of a cheshire snake devouring prey. Or the above-noted crinkled Popeye.
Quadruple: At which point you turn your wink into a running gag, you wink at the idea of having ideas or action. Or of communicating in general: David Letterman with a random word; a Space Ghost interview; the end of the Dennis The Menace movie where that evil hobo is farting beans. The wink happens multiple times and can be any variety of intensities and fullness of body; it can even be the same tightly-crafted well-executed wink repeated perfectly again and again. Not for everyone, the trick to executing a quadruple wink that wink-enthusiasts will actually enjoy (and not– depending on level of politeness/timidity/worry for your fragile, stupid ego– humor with thin, stretched out courtesy smiles and even thinner nose laughs)26 is rhythm– mastering the invisible jazz that underlies the structure of any recurring/meta bit. It is difficult to explain– certainly beyond my expertise–27 but is reasonably easy to get a good enough grasp (of) to avoid being a fucking shame in the eyes and nasal cavities of others. Just be sure to get out while you’re still getting genuine approval (ideally, Costanzesque,28 at your peak), lest you slide, accidentally, unaware, into performing the obnoxious and hated…
Quintuple: The quintuple wink is the end of the line: there is no sex or sep or eight -tuple wink; when you use the quintuple you are just being an asshole. Any kind of semiotics is gone, your attempt at significance ceases to mean. The actual act is not so different than the Quadruple, in fact it is arguably what the quadruple becomes once it has not only gone on too long, but as gone on too long to have gone on too long after going on so long that it had redeemed going on too long the first time. All patience is exhausted, friendships or budding romances ended, all passing embryos and fetii: retarded. If you ever see the other person again there is a good chance that you’ll try to bust it out at some point with the same hopes, and the same result. You have most likely ruined everything within two or three degrees of the relationship. Rebuilding is impossible; you have no choice but to find a new plat of land (figurative or literal) and start building again. And for all that is good and holy, try to avoid collapsing inwards into…
Infinite Regress: While there can be no further numerative iterations of the wink, there is always the possibility of Infinite Regress– a level of self-consciousness so self-consuming that you are literally, figuratively, spiritually, figuratively literally, and literally figuratively consumed. Yet, unlike the Buddha, for whom the annihilation of the self led to a transcendent purity of soul and spirit, the achievement of Infinite Regress just renders its accesor infinitely insipid, self-indulgent, and unleashes a brand of paranoiac narcissism that is poisonous and terrible and will entirely dis-integrate the mind from the human body.
For example, Jorge Luis Borges, upon writing a pretend editor’s explanation of a translator’s comment on a double-nested footnote to a pretend story about an infinite mirror in a library full of every permutation of language, lost his ability to see.
David Foster Wallace hung himself after a surplus of stray parentheticals29 completely sapped his brain of the ability to produce seratonin.
John Hodgman, in 2005, was literally turned into a computer after completing the full list of United States Shadow Congressmen and their Dubious Achievements; one for each congressman, but the women are immune due to the Shadow People’s inability to replicate the neither the up-do, nor the skuit. Thus launching the successful ad campaign: “Parent’s Day Ripe Grandma,” for VH1.
Charlie Kaufman was granted immortality. After which, he will retire to his giant space egg for a sentence of 311 trillion years,30 during which time he will have to rethink every thought thunk throughout existence (and exhaust every unimagined contingency) in order to repopulate existence for (yet) another go upon his emergence.
And how do I know this? I know this because I know that I knew this once and, as such, know that I’ll never not know this (forever!) again. [But it should be written better] /
And how do I know this? I know this because you know this– we were dead the whole time (and then, in increasingly smaller font, time time time time time)!].31
1It could be a Modernity thing (always a safe bet).
2And therefore neither a success nor a failure because it transcended that, it became an entire different category of human experience– it lapped magisteria!/NOW what, Stephen Jay Gould?
3Boobs should be one of the few words always bolded in writing (and in conversation). For other “Other Words of Great Aesthetic Import,” please refer to the Addendappendices, pg. 379.
4To change subject mid-paragraph.
5This is not entirely correct– the shittiest date was never for naught as it provided its survivor with that most valuable of social artifacts: the Story. It would, as a result of its soul-scarring awfulness and re-relatability, become an experience, a memory, something to– once suffered-through– treasure. And furthermore, anyone with the least modicum of self-awareness/slightest sense of humor should be able to recognize this mid-date, thus allowing them (at some point) to relax, write the night off, and just revel in the terriblosity.
What the Constructive Venture Strategy (or ‘Consumer Value Stores’) excels at is the ability to salvage the most disappointing, the most mundane, the most underwhelming, and the most forgettable of dates. Why do you think hit syndicated television atrocity Blind Date always has its couples learn how to pole dance, or kickbox, or get nude in a hot tub? A. Pandering, pure and simple. Also: B. Jerking It.
6e.g. They forced them into the first marriage-merger they could find: fish plus tents.
7For the rest of A. Gordon Agagag’s amazing life story please refer to the Addendappendices, page 497-506
8Well can we at least agree about the fact that there are a number of ideas?
10Lady and the Tramp was made in 1955 and these acts have, accordingly, been adjusted for inflation:
– Whereas the Tramp nudges the meatball with his nose you should pass a yarn ball to your date by impaling it on your erection (and flipping it)/you should, instead, work yourself with a cable knit needle (is that what the fat ones are– one of the fat ones), and then let your date taste it.
– Whereas [other part from the dinner scene]
– When Tony and Joe wop it up showing you to your table, talk dirty to each other like paesans.
– When those crazy Ching Chong China Cats are fucking with your shit, firebomb a Mahjongg parlor.
– J/K. Just order some Pad See Ew and fuck on it and use the bean sauce as butt lube.
– Thailand. Not China.
11Swinging wildly at the sky and the ground, as you run down the dock, screaming.
12Part merit badge, part currency– the resume by which you win dates in the aforederided subset of American society.
13While it is exactly this tendency– the use of (some of) these qualities as standard-bearers by which to judge the potential success of your hypothetical relationship– that I excoriated back in the needlessly unwieldy introduction, it is important to keep in mind that I am making this up as I go along (a) and (b) this whole venture is an exercise in comedic writing that works better when I, the author, take a position and run (the fuck away) with it. Furthermore, the Jib: that part where I rambled on about the Jib. You know, with the Magic Eye reference, and the guys from The Wire. Memories…
14I knew there was something I liked about this town (in which the foliage is 100% clipped-out Oprah smiles).
15See: The Introductory Parts, page x; two footnotes ago, page this one.
16Not pictured: Hype Securities, Backlash Futures.
17Not a homonymic mistake: does their montage contain positive statements about your hands (their dexterity, ability, smallness vis-à-vis the rain)?
18 Will they handwash your Snorks thermos? Will they place your Hummels in optimally erotic positions? Will they serve peanut butter and fluff on your Thomas Kinkaides, thus both devaluing the plates and lead poisoning your stitch and bitch?
19Your eyes ever on the Jib.
20You know, that poops?
21Your classier tricks dates should have a roll of passable transfers in a tear-off dispenser mounted to the passenger-side door. Also: disposable goggles and Kleenex. Lots of Kleenex. (Or Wet-naps).
23First off– as long as there is still spinach, what junta could install you?
24Although, in this context, the ridiculousness of your action all but does this for you…
25Or, perhaps, after, a knowing smile or slight smirk.
26[INTRA-MEDIAL CUNEIFORM: “The Nose Laugh and its Habitats” [and then write this]
27As it refuses to be emmed in by misapplied dashes.
28Which is to say, fleshy and voluptuous and bald.
29And free footnote radicals
30Give or take 40 billion or so.
31Another acceptable tact is to do it with a straight face and/or art eyes– just working thoughtful, in rapt(-but-not-too-rapt) concentration– as if the thing you were building, the thing that you were lovingly shaping with your own damn hands, wasn’t a peener/’giner. Emerge from your trance only once: face still straight, doing the thumb-and-squinted-eye measure thing. This is the only single wink acceptable for this endeavor.