Aziz and Manny are both keenly aware of their attachment styles. But we're all different around different people, right? This week, Aziz reverses the power dynamic.
Aziz and Manny are both keenly aware of their attachment styles. But we're all different around different people, right? This week, Aziz reverses the power dynamic.
Hiwote: Previously on dating.
Logan: I mean, would you want to see him again? What questions do you have about him?
Aziz: Yeah, undecided I have like per your instructions and a lot of people in the hopper that I'm like trying to line up.
Logan: What are the things that make you less excited about James?
Aziz: I am torn because I feel like I'm looking for a firecracker and this is my issue. I feel like I'm a firecracker and I don't know if I need another one.
Hiwote: This is Dating: a series of recorded first dates.
Logan: All right. So we are going to invite him in and the date will begin.
Manny: Y'all building this up. Oh my God.
Aziz: You're stuck with me for an hour, Manny.
Hiwote: Probably the hardest thing about playing matchmaker is finding the right person in the right city. And now I also have to worry about whether they've dated before?
Manny: I told Logan I'm like, so he's gay and he's Jewish, and I don't know him? I probably known him. It's not a big community.
Aziz: She said he's gay and lives in San Francisco. I was like, yeah, of course I'm going to know him.
This is Dating
Hiwote: I'm Hiwote, I'm a producer on the show. And, you know, I spend a lot of time talking to the daters that come on the show. I'm really invested in their success. And you might remember Aziz. He's the guy that came in with a long list of deal-breakers and he's also the guy who goes for the most attractive, usually most avoidant man in the room. And Logan, our dating coach called it from the very first time they met.
Aziz: So you said I may have an anxious attachment style.
Logan: And you can imagine how that relates to adult romantic relationships, which is that people who are anxiously attached, they constantly want to be in connection. They really, really worry when they're not in touch. And look, I know we're just getting to know each other, but a lot of the patterns that you're describing to me are quintessential anxious, attached dater who is obsessed with the chase.
Hiwote: So it's been a few months since we set Aziz up and he's been going on dates on his own. And just thinking about what's come up in his coaching sessions with Logan.
Aziz: I think I knew prior to us connecting that one of the biggest turn-ons for me is someone that knows and celebrates their passion. And seeing that fully expressed, no matter what it is to me is like the highest form of like resonance and creation coming from a human. That to me, nothing is sexier. I think another realization is I do have my own like insecurities and it doesn't excite me to pursue people that are not as interested in me. It's not a challenge that I'm excited by as much anymore. And that is a big transition.
Logan: That's really powerful. That's amazing growth. And. It takes people so many years to move from: love to me, is the chase and convincing someone to like me to, love is two people showing up and choosing each other. And I think it's really so heartening to hear that you're on your way to that second one.
Hiwote: So we're setting Aziz up with Manny, who is affectionately known as the unofficial mayor of San Francisco.
Manny: (Phone rings, he answers.) This is Manny. Sorry, it was a DC number.
Logan: And you thought it might be Kamala?
Hiwote: And I totally get why he has that title. He has never met a crowd that he didn't know how to address. And he literally knows everyone, including the man I'm about to set him up with.
So what are you looking for now?
Manny: I think the number one quality that's important for me in a partner is that they care about what they do and that what they do matters a lot to them. They feel like they have a reason for doing what they're doing, whatever it is. So I would love to find a man that has that similar passion for life and for what they do and just someone to support and shelter me. And I do think I'm beginning to be ready for a very long-term partnership.
Jesse: Hiwote, I'm really excited for this date. I feel like they are both in a place where they are open and we might even have a little fun.
Hiwote: The two of them are super fun, so this'll be good. But Jesse, I just always get nervous when people say they want a long-term partnership because we can't control that. All we can try and do is create a fun, meaningful first date. And they determine whether that goes on to a second date.
Logan: So before we let your date in, do you have any questions for me? Anything you want to talk about? Anything you want to ask the producers?
Manny: Are we just talking, are you asking us questionsand we're both answering?
Logan: So basically he'll join. I'll give a few instructions, I'll go off of video and then in the zoom chat, which I'm sure you've had lots of experience at this point with zoom chat, I'll ask questions that sort of guide the conversation. Then actually we're doing something fun and experimental at the beginning, but I'm not going to tell you what it is yet.
Logan: Okay. I'm off camera now. And Jesse is actually going to jump in with a fun way to kick this off.
Jesse: All right, don't kill me. But we've sort of decided that meeting online is like a little overdone, right. So we thought to kind of break the ice and to give you two, a chance to kind of rewrite how you met. We're going to start with a little bit of improv.
Jesse: Okay. Good. No one's running away. Um, we're going to give you a situation and it's your job to go with it. Aziz, you're at your nephew's high school graduation. And it's crazy loud, your familiy's your whole big extended family's out there, and they are throwing a big party. There's music, there's food. It's awesome. But Manny lives next door and it's too loud for him. And it's always too loud and every weekend you guys are doing something in the backyard and he is fucking over it. So he comes to the door. You got your whole family you're trying to process in the backyard and here's Manny knocking,
Manny: knock, knock, knock.
Aziz: Hi, how can I help you?
Manny: I'm so sorry to do this. I know that we've we keep talking about this, but it's just so loud back there and I don't want to be that guy that's like making your life so difficult by saying how loud it is.
Aziz: Then don't be that guy come in here and join us. Jeremy just graduated. We're so proud of him.
Manny: I want to, but my pet parent is having a migraine and I really feel bad for it and I don't want it to die.
Aziz: Oh my god.
Manny: As much as I wanna celebrate with Jeremy, I have to take care of my parrot.
Aziz: I am so sorry. What is your parents? Your parrot's name?
Aziz: Lucy it sounds like what Lucy needs is some quiet, is that right? Cause we actually have a soundproof scream room in Jeremy's apartment. If maybe you want to put Lucy there and then you can come hang out with us.
Manny: It's not a bad idea at all. I could definitely do that. Well maybe we try that and then if it doesn't help, maybe we could just turn it down just a little bit.
Aziz: You know what, I'm, I'm going to tell my family to calm it down regardless because they can get a little hyphy. And I feel like they, if not you and Lucy, there's probably some other neighbor, that's not saying something. So I'm going to ask them to turn it down a little bit, but. I think you should join us and maybe yeah, that sounds good?
Manny: Yeah. It sounds like fun and I love fun. So me plus fun equals a great combination. And if my parrot's migraine's taken care of, then I won't have any worries.
Aziz: Great. And once Lucy's migraine is gone, we'll have Lucy join us as well. I feel like I'm supposed to get your number now, but I feel like since you're joining me at my family's party, I'll probably get your number later. Can we assume that?
Manny: I think assumptions are dangerous.
Aziz: Fair enough. So should I just get your number now?
Aziz: And, scene. Jesse, these are fun.
Manny: Yeah. I'm honestly surprised at how good we are at it.
Jesse: My face hurts right now. My face hurts from smiling and probably like bearing down from that whole last little bit, because I just didn't know how this was going to play.
Hiwote: Yeah. That could have gone completely left.
Jesse: But they were good. They were so good.
Hiwote: They were, but you know, it actually shouldn't be too surprising because they're both such yes people.
Jesse: Right. And I mean, Aziz may have said that he did improv. So I, I feel really good about the fact that we'd set him up and he looked, he looked great.
Hiwote: He did amazing as did Manny. And I'm actually curious, I wonder if they could do this date without prompts.
Jesse: So let's, let's see where they take this.
Manny: What I do want to ask? Is Aziz like, is that from Aziz light in the fifth element or is it different?
Aziz: Okay. I love that you know that, cause it's maybe the best movie ever made. But it's Farsi also, it's Arabic. It basically means my love. It's a term of endearment, but my great grandfather's name was Aziz.
Jesse: I love the fifth element as much as the next person, but maybe let's send them something else. Let's send them a question about tradition.
Manny: Hey Aziz, what's your favorite family ritual?
Aziz: Hmm. Okay. My grandma who lives on Russian hill has Shabbat dinner every Friday night. So when we moved into the city, cause the majority of my family now is in the city, my dad and his siblings, we had to find a place that accommodated her dining room table. It's like a 16 person dining room table. It's like the tackiest thing you've ever seen, from Italy. They brought it from Iran. It's like hand painted. It's treacherous.
Manny: I can see it. Shabbat is such an amazing ritual. I love Shabbat, but it's not, I guess my family's Shabbats were more, like they were terrible in a lot of ways. So we would all go to, we would all sit at the table and then my mother and I would fight, or my father and I would fight. And my sisters and I would fight. There'd be fighting. There'd be crying, some person would leave. And they were dramatic always. But one of the things that we did do that I loved, which was very my family was on Saturday nights after Shabbat, we would all, and this would happen almost every Saturday night, we would drive to Barnes and Nobles together and then separate. And we'd each go to a section of Barnes and Nobles that we liked. And we would take a stack of books that we thought we would want to buy. And then we'd bring the books to the coffee shop and we'd each be able to get one coffee drink one like hot drink and one pastry. And we would sit with our stack and we whittled down the stack to just one. And we've been able to buy one thing every week. It would encourage us to read, but it also allowed us to explore. And what I would do eventually was I would go to the LGBT section, which was next to the native American section. And this is like baby closeted, Manny.
Aziz: I was gonna say how old?
Manny: This is baby closeted Manny. And I would put like gay erotica in like a Native American photography book and stand there and read it, turn the pages and then come back with a stack of like fiction. But I used these trips to engage my early gay exploration.
Aziz: Your parents were like, why is he so interested in native American photography?
Jesse: Okay. Okay. I think that they are ready. I think they're ready for the next question. Do you think they're ready?
Hiwote: Yeah, let's take it to sex.
Manny: I knew, I knew she was going to take it to sex. Sex on a first date? Sex in the first five minutes. Are you kidding me?
Aziz: Yeah, it's clear this person isn't a gay man.
Manny: Sex in the bathroom? At El Rio? Yes.
Aziz: What do you think, I mean, to ask you the craziest place you've had sex, but I don't know if that's...
Manny: You can ask me anything.
Aziz: Okay, great. I asked it.
Manny: Craziest place you've ever had sex. Okay. Last Halloween. I then I was invited to this party in this greenhouse in the Bayview, and I was all dressed up and I was with a bunch of friends. And anyway, we were in this like stone, like outdoor garden and there were people, there were like people around and he like totally blew me and rimmed me and people walked by and we're like, oh, sorry. I like looked up and was like it's fine!
Aziz: Where was this? It wasn't like on the sidewalk?
Manny: It was, it was in the courtyard behind this structure and it was a party and there were people there and it was very public and that was just a year and a half ago.
Aziz: It sounds like Berlin, you know, just a night in Berlin.
Manny: It was awesome. Actually it, it blew my mind.
Jesse: I am feeling like super called out right now.
Hiwote: I don't even mind it because they're giving us all the tea. We just heard about a public blow job and rimming that's nuts.
Manny: What about you?
Aziz: Yeah. I mean, there's a couple, I think the one I would want to share with you was things got a little feisty at The Stud (RIP) one night and the development next door was still underway. And so we like climbed into the construction site and I got a blow job in the seat of a tractor. So now that's like, that's like the bar that needs to get topped.
Manny: That is hot,it's very like Butch Kate Winslet in Titanic, you know?
Aziz: Right. Full Titanic moment. Next question is, do you have any reason or have you recently ever been like, oh, I like this person enough to not have sex with them? Is that like a thought you ever go through?
Manny: It's a thought I go through, but usually a date is going well in my mind, if you think they are attractive and that comes from not just physical, but the conversation, everything. And if you do it just feels and it's going well, it probably is a better idea not to have sex on the first date because it leaves things to the imagination a little bit more. So I think we should bring no sex on the first date back personally. I think we should.
Aziz: I'm kind of, I'm kind of exploring it, make out, you know, if it's going well, you just can't prevent that.
Manny: I mean, the argument though is if they're bad at sex, don't you want to know that pretty soon?
Aziz: I feel like I'm going to know if they're bad at sex by how they kiss.
Manny: Yeah, I'm excited for a sex again. I'm getting ready for it.
Aziz: How are you getting ready?
Manny: Just like eat healthier, exercise more, you know, grow my butt a little bit.
Hiwote: I love Manny for this. Cause who's not trying to grow their butt for the summer?
Jesse: Does that mean we're going to send them another question?
Hiwote: I think we have too.
Manny: Okay, let let's get into it. What's one thing you usually wouldn't admit on a first date. I'm an open book. I feel like I say, when I go on dates with people, I try to let myself, I let it all hang out. You know, I don't really like hold back or like try to keep things secret too much.
Aziz: There's gotta be something Manny. Come on now. Come on now.
Manny: Oh God, it's kinda scary. What would I not admit on our first date?
Aziz: I can go if you need some time.
Manny: Yeah. Okay.
Aziz: I am like with Logan's help waking up to a lot of learning around like attachment style. Are you familiar?
Aziz: I very much resonate with a like anxious attachment style and I like, feel like I have needs in a relationship that I've been. Shy or like conscious about, and now I'm like, oh no, this is actually a need that I need to communicate. And I actually need to find for a healthy relationship and also having conversations with my mom about it and realizing that it's like passed on from her dynamic with her father and her dynamic with me. And, and how, just like this awareness kind of helps shift relationship patterns in a way that serves you better than. I'm an anxious attachment style, Manny. That's not something I usually like to dive into on the first date.
Manny: That's fair. I thought I was, I feel like I'm either anxious or anxious avoid it because I'm like, I don't need you. I'm good. I'm on my own. I'm independent. It's like, well, so does that mean I'm avoidant?
Manny: What would I be afraid to admit first date? Wow. Well, I don't like, I think children are annoying but I'm, I would be comfortable admitting that on a first date. I don't like children or dogs. I think they are definitely overrated. But I would admit that on a first date.
Aziz: What are you afraid of?
Manny: I mean, I would say like, I, I'm afraid of getting to a point where I'm no longer desirable and I haven't found a partner yet. And I think in our community, that is the real thing. And it's, it's everyone loves you, but like, then you're like, everyone loves you in the gay community and you get attention and then you stop because you've passed the gay death. And I guess yeah, I, that's probably not something that I would want someone to know, cause you want to be confident. You want to be like, yeah, I don't know, you know, whatever, but the truth is is that there is anxiety in me, in a lot of my friends who are still single and gay that like, if you do start becoming less desirable in the way you look, in the gay community, it is much harder to find partnership.
Aziz: Yeah. I mean, I think everyone struggles with that and that is like our version of the biological clock. Yeah, I think admitting your like needs and fears is kind of sexy, also.
Manny: I feel that.
Hiwote: It's interesting because even though he calls it the gay death, this is totally a conversation that everyone has with themselves, at some point when they're dating. And I'd say it transcends sexual orientation, it's almost the death of desirability.
Jesse: Yeah. I mean, I also feel like it's not just for people who are dating. I mean, I feel like if you're in a long-term relationship or you've been married for a million years, you have the same anxiety. You worry that one day you'll wake up and your partner will no longer find you attractive, you know, or vice versa. But I just love how brutally honest and vulnerable they're being with each other right now. They knew each other in a very superficial way before. And as we close in on the end of this date, they've kind of come to this place where they're relating in what feels like a really genuine way.
Manny: What's the one thing you want to ask me, but haven't asked yet. This is our final question, Aziz. I want to ask you how you feel going through this process with Logan and bringing in someone to help you find love and like what what was it like to ask her to do this? And how has it felt for you to be in this process?
Aziz: I am approaching connection from a very different place and I feel like Logan's support is like, really, really helpful and welcome in my new approach. I think I kind of had a checklist mentality and I'm just like approaching things from a place of curiosity. And just like, if something feels good move towards it and just be in integrity with how you are feeling and communicate that, and if it doesn't work out, that doesn't mean something's wrong with you. It just means that the connection wasn't there. And Logan has really helped me especially during pandemic, I switched gears and really focused on work. And I was like, I don't have the emotional capacity with everything that's going on to like work on my love life as well. And I think connecting with Logan helped me realize that that was also a disservice to myself. And no matter what is going on, we need to find ways to thrive and sex life and love life is a big part of that.
Manny: Sex life!
Aziz: It's coming!
Manny: Coming. What's one thing you want to ask me, but haven't asked yet?
Aziz: Manny, one thing I want to ask you that I haven't asked yet. Should we go on a date in person?
Manny: Oh, wow. Was that?
Aziz: Are you available for that?
Manny: Yeah. Yeah. I, I, yeah. I mean, we should, let's go to dinner.
Hiwote: Uh oh.
Jesse: Did you see that?
Hiwote: Yeah. Manny looked down, that's not good body language.
Jesse: Do you think he feels put on the spot or something?
Hiwote: I think that has to be it
Manny: Do you want to go on a date?
Aziz: I just asked you, yeah, it wasn't a hypothetical. I enjoy your presence. I think I've always been a little bit intimidated cause you're so busy with so many things, but I like really enjoy you as a human and would love to continue getting to know you and whatever direction it goes. I just think you're an inspiring person. So I'm glad that we're connected.
Manny: Let's do it. I'd like that.
Aziz: Good to see you, babe, talk soon.
Logan: Oh, hello?
Aziz: Oh, hey stranger. Ok question for you. The like next date thing, did that feel like he was like interested or like, a "sure, why not" kind of thing.
Logan: I'm not exactly sure how he felt, but he said yes. And I think you should pursue it. You know, I've coached many people, but usually: coach them, they go on a date, they come back to me, I don't get to hear what they're like on a date. I thought you were like, so present and positive. Like you sounded like a different person to me, which I think just speaks to the fact that different people bring out different sides of us. And he brought out a very happy present, lovely side of you.
Aziz: Yeah, I think that's true. I also think I'm in a different space than I was when when I went on the date with James. I'm approaching it much differently, my connections and like coming from a place of curiosity. I think with James, there was still a lot about like the physicality. And I think now it's more just like, I genuinely want to a) explore my connection with new people and b) like, explore the aspects of connection that make me most excited.
Logan: Yeah. That totally resonates. I also think, you know, I loved when you guys talked about attachment theory. Something very common with people who are anxiously attached, is like I don't like swimming in a sea of ambiguity. So I want to get to the DTR as soon as possible. I want to know where we stand as soon as possible. Are you in, are you out? And so sort of knowing that you might have an urge to have things be clear early on, when actually in the beginning, like dating is messy, it revs up and then it slows down and then the person goes away for two weeks and actually be like, if this is going to work out, I'm just going to stick this through and see where it goes versus trying to control the outcome. And I, I hear in between your words, that's what you're saying. You're trying to be okay with ambiguity, knowing that in the beginning, you can't control everything.
Aziz: I'm trying to be okay with ambiguity at the same time as acknowledging that, like, if I'm thinking about it a lot, there's a need there that may need to be expressed.
Logan: I think that's extremely well said, keep us in the loop. We can't wait to hear it goes on and we want to hear about the in-person date. And I think the three of us will go to bed tonight, feeling like we made a good match.
Hiwote: Yeah, I hope so. But I'm really curious to hear what Manny has to say.
Manny: Honestly, I probably would do well with a nice, smart, kind, interesting, Jewish man. I don't want to sleep with that person right now you know what I mean? Like, I don't want that Dick in my mouth, so it's tough.
Logan: How did you feel at the end when he asked you on a date?
Manny: Power to you for asking me on a date like that? You know, my honest thought was, I don't really want to go on a second date with you, but I don't want to make you feel, I don't want to reject you on camera or say no. So I'll definitely have dinner with you. And also Manny, you should be more open-minded and he seems like a great guy and why not try it out and see where it goes. But then I messaged him right when he asked me and he hasn't, he hasn't texted me back. Let me just confirm that he hasn't responded. Yeah. I texted him at 5:29 on Wednesday, and then he hasn't responded.
Logan: I'm so surprised.
Manny: And when he didn't respond, I wasn't hurt or anything, but I'm just like, you know, maybe he just actually didn't actually want to go on a date with me.
Logan: That's fascinating. Yeah. I mean, I did think he shot his shot and seemed interested. And so, yeah, we'll stay tuned. I mean, it's technically only been 48 hours.
Manny: That's true. And I get, and I forget to respond to text messages all the time.
Hiwote: Jesse, what do you think happened here?
Jesse: I don't know. It was an exciting date with a big climax second date offer at the end. It felt really good, but with a tiny bit of perspective, I wonder if Aziz read into that body language, if Aziz sense that Manny was going to be another one of the guys that he always goes for.
Hiwote: And we haven't actually followed up to see why he didn't call Manny.
Jesse: But I kind of don't want to, I want it to end like this. I want to believe that Aziz recognized the behavior, recognized that this is another guy who he'd be chasing around the room and not chasing him back. And so to me, this is, this is exactly where the Aziz story ends in a way he really took back his power.
If you'd like to be set up by us on a future date, go to thisisdatingpodcast.com. This is Dating is produced by Jesse Baker and Eric Nuzum at Magnificent Noise. Our production staff includes Hiwote Getaneh, Eleanor Kagan and Taylor Hansen. We also received help from Esther Perel, Courtney Hamilton, Robert Smith, Julia Natt, Julia Silbergeld, the Quarantine Love Project, Hayden Dawes, Lulu Krause, and Eva Wolchover. Original music production and sound design by Paul Schneider. Logan Ury is our consulting producer and the executive producer of This is Dating is Jesse Baker.