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Discussions with Adam

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Every so often, Megan or I sneak out of each other’s presence — sometimes only mentally, where one of us is looking at shimmering objects (as we are both prone to do) while the other chatters merrily away about the landscape, American history or last night’s date. But occasionally even physically, we are not within eyesight of one another.* And usually, this is when we take a phone call.

After a date a few nights ago, I hopped on the phone with Adam. As conversation is wont to do these days, we ended up talking about my most recent first date. More and more, I’ve noticed men actively want to tell me their dating stories — from relationships lost to dates ending in disaster to simply the frustrations of trying to get a girl to respond via the internet. So I told Adam I was surprised so many guys were not only willing to talk, but leading the conversation there.

Adam, however, wasn’t that shocked. “If you’re lonely and you get frustrated…your friends probably don’t want to hear about it anymore. The guys you’ve been meeting are just glad someone will listen. Someone who gets it.”

Funny thing about guys across America: they’re not what I expected them to be. It’s darn near impossible not to buy into the Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus mentality, and as open minded as I am to people being humans regardless of their gender, it’s still hard to believe that men would actively want to talk. Yet here I am, being proved wrong day in and day out. Which makes me think: Do guys in the Bay Area just not want to talk as much as the rest of the country due to their veneer of “cool”? Or, is it simply easier to open up to a stranger whom you’re fairly sure you’ll never see again, even if a film camera is involved?

*Makes me want a pair of glasses that always show Meg’s location in the corner, though. As much as we cherish, and certainly require, time away, I’m more and more accustomed to knowing her exact whereabouts.

One Response so far.

  1. E. J. says:

    There could be contextual issues influencing this as well. I mean, I did a little of what you are describing, and thought a lot about why afterwards. Part of it is definitely what Adam observes: it’s an obviously relevant topic, given your project. But I personally felt like I had to converse about it more than I might normally, because I felt somewhat constrained from asking about your background. The awareness that the normal “What’s your life been like?” “Where did you grow up?” “How are your relationships?” questions would occur to anyone, and would likely be a subject of conversation time after time made me consciously avoid them, lest I contribute to you having footage of yourself answering the same questions 50 times. Or, to put it more simply: the new thing in front of the camera on these dates is the guy, which creates a subtle contextual pressure for him to talk about himself. And then, as Adam says, a natural topic is dating, relationships, and the successes/failures thereof.

    I think that in circumstances where I wasn’t (a) on camera, and (b) so unlikely to have an opportunity to move from date 0 to date 1, I would be less inclined to talk about prior romantic frustrations and failures, for fear of coming across as needy/wounded/hung up on someone else. Maybe it’s the lack of (b) that makes your Bay Area guys less forthcoming.

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