Monday, August 23, 2010

The Only Thing I'm Sort Of Good At, Is Referrals

We all know about the dangers of alcohol, but when they show you those movies and afterschool specials where a few beers destroy entire families (anyone remember The Last Prom?), you never see the subtleties, the minor issues that can blow up when a touch of alcohol boosts the emotional potency of a given situation. It may not destroy a life, but it can make tough to live with it.

Take Marshall here. Marshall is single and lonely, like many of my subjects are. "I'm out with some friends and I meet this girl," he said. "Friend of a friend. We seem to be hitting it off, but then she starts talking about this other girl, talking her up like she wants to set me up with her. I don't like blind set-ups, so I'm waiting for her to finish so I can politely talk my way out of it, and she finishes with, 'and she just moved here and she's looking to meet someone and you seem like a nice guy who's fun and into a lot of interesting things, so, do you know anyone who might be interested?'"

"Seriously? Maybe that was her way of implying that person was you."

"No, you should have seen the sincerity in her face. And I was just dumbfounded, so she breaks the silence with, 'I mean, can you think of anyone?' And I just didn't know how to respond, and she says, 'I'm sorry, are you insulted?' And I said, 'Little bit, yeah.' And she genuinely had no idea why. I mean, it was one of the most humiliating moments of my entire life and she just has no clue why I might find that degrading. So I just say, 'Well how do you know I wouldn't want to meet her?'"

"What did she say?" I asked.

"Well, during the whole pitch she did mention that the girl was Asian, and she just assumed I wouldn't be interested in dating an Asian girl. She said she didn't know if I was open-minded like that."

"Well, there's your answer, dude. She didn't mean anything by it, she wasn't implying you were unworthy or anything, she just didn't know."

"Well, I guess I can see that now." he said. "At the time it didn't seem like the strongest explanation. I was just so mortified."

"So what happened with her?" I asked.

"The conversation pretty much ended there. After that whole thing it was like, I felt so small I couldn't even talk to her. I think maybe I overreacted. I can get emotional when I drink."

How do you tell someone to prepare for something like this in the future? There's pretty much no way, except to tell them not to drink. I doubt this incident is going to make Marshall give up alcohol, but what do you say? Give them a card that says, "Your judgement is impaired, this situation may not be what you think it is," and say, "Read this when you're drunk and upset?" Doubt that works. All I can do is give a reassuring, "Doesn't matter. You're obviously meeting people. You'll meet others."

Will he? I don't know. It's not my job to know. It's my job to convince him he will, because if he doesn't think it, he probably won't. Holy fuck, dating. Glad that's over.

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