Vulnerability is the closest we can get to intimacy with our clothes on. And the only way to go there is to push through the sports talk. This week, Amanda and her date try to go a little deeper.
Vulnerability is the closest we can get to intimacy with our clothes on. And the only way to go there is to push through the sports talk. This week, Amanda and her date try to go a little deeper.
Hiwote: Last time on Dating…
Amanda: I didn't hear anything from Eric. Like sometimes you start to like overthink things and think through it. I'm like, okay, like I have done different or better. And then sometimes it's like, again, I go back to that sometimes it's intimidating and that doesn't necessarily work out. So trying not to like dwell too much on that.
Jesse: I know I just feel like we asked Amanda to go on this date with us. Like we promised this journey that wasn’t supposed to end with her getting ghosted and I feel like that sucks!
Jesse: I’m Jesse Baker. This is Dating.
So Amanda’s date wasn’t supposed to end this way. I didn’t think it was going to go like this. And I certainly didn’t plan for it to go like this. And it sort of has me questioning what I even know about compatibility. What makes us like each other? And does that happen immediately or is that something that can come over time? And when I have these kinds of questions, when I’m feeling existential, I call Esther Perel.
Esther: It’s really to understand what actually brings people together.
Jesse: She’s a couple’s therapist, and one of the smartest people I have ever met when it comes to thinking about love and desire.
Jesse: What about this notion of compatibility? Like two people are compatible. What does that even mean? And is that vocabulary we should toss out or is compatibility a conscious decision? Or what does it mean to be compatible?
Esther: I think that issues of chemistry and compatibility are often dimensions that are very central in what we call destiny relationships. Destiny relationships is the view that looks at relationships as it was meant to be. It can be fate in the hands of God, divine intervention, destiny relationships start big because it was meant to and end big because it obviously wasn't meant to.
Whereas growth relationships look at things that can develop over time in context, as circumstances change as people experience things together. And they become aware of their complementarity of their shared values, of their shared sense of priorities in life of how they want to live life and who could be a good companion for them on that.
Jesse: So Hiwote, as my co-producer on this show. As someone who worries about whether people like each other, whether they have shared values or interests or what they really want out of a relationship? What did you hear in what Esther said?
Hiwote: Yea I mean, it makes me shift a little bit how I set people up because it makes me think a lot about not looking for the person that can be the most romantic even if that’s what the person says that way. Instead to look for who could this person grow with and who could this person have a future with? But I also think there is maybe a third option, right? So I think sometimes people just date for fun. And...
Jesse: Is this a date for fun? Like is that what Amanda is doing?
Hiwote: No no no, I'm gonna tell you why I said that.
Hiwote: Last time when we were talking about Amanda, I suggested someone that I had dated in the past - Brian. And I think he was looking for a growth relationship. And it didn’t work out because I just wanted to have fun. I just wanted to date someone who was different from a lot of the people I had dated in the past. But the more I talk to Amanda, the more I think her and Brian could be really compatible.
They both don’t wanna settle. They both have really similar interests - they both love sports. And they know who they are and they know what they don't want.
Amanda: I’ve come to the standpoint that I’d rather be alone than settle and be unhappy.
Brian: At one particular time in my life, I did settle and it didn't end the way that I wanted it to. And so I won't do that again.
Hiwote: They take their careers seriously and they are very established in those careers. And they are looking for something that sounds very much like a growth relationship.
Amanda: I want something where it’s supportive and you know, equal responsibility in a marriage and that sort of thing.
Brian: I want it to be a true partnership. I don't want to be the one at all times who has to lead. I want someone that complements me and I complement them.
Jesse: Okay. Okay fine. But will he be on the show?
Hiwote: Well, I texted him. I just said “Hey, I'm working on a podcast about dating. Do you have some time to talk about this?”
Hiwote: He responded with “Who is this?”
Jesse: So do you want me to call him?
Hiwote: Yea you should call him and talk to him.
Jesse: So Hiwote’s gonna sit this one out. I'm going to give Brian a call and see if I can pique his interest in Amanda.
Jesse: I think this could be really awesome. Umm she can fill a space and she brings a tremendous amount of curiosity and smarts and energy and I think … I think you’ll, well I've just now met you so I can’t say you’re gonna love this, but it’ll be fun. We want everyone to date a little better and a little smarter and maybe a little less superficial.
Brian: Yea, Less superficial would be spectacular.
Jesse: So Brian is in, but before we set Brian and Amanda up on a date we’re going to have Amanda check back in with Logan Ury. Logan’s a relationship scientist and has been coaching Amanda through this whole thing.
Logan: I will talk to you about the person who we set you up with and why, but I'm curious if you've been on more dates since the last time we talked and how that has gone.
Amanda: So it's funny. I will say, I feel like it really put myself out there, but it's just, it's still such a weird time and they're just a lot of creepers. I'm sorry. I'm like it's, it's a pandemic. No, I don't want to have sex with you.
One guy we're messaging, talking and he's a former head hunter who went back to school because he wanted to be a social worker. So I'm like, Oh, this is a good person, like, he's divorced. He's got an older child.
Amanda: Oh God, that date was awful. Like, I couldn't get a word in edgewise. I don't even think he was listening to me.
Amanda: Like my head hurts after that. [Laughs]
It was awful.
Logan: Tuning in to today. We chose this guy because he actually sounds like he has some of the same good qualities as the person you went out with. He's a little older, he's more established. He's looking to settle down with someone who can be a complement for him in his life. I know a consistent theme for you is, you'd rather be alone than settle.
Logan: You'd rather be by yourself than with someone that drags you down.
Logan: And as we were looking for someone and we're like, who will elevate her, who will be her partner in this, you know, exciting journey that she's on. And so this is the person who we think could be a great match.
I want you to be vulnerable on the date. People are drawn to vulnerability. when you're trying to connect with someone over zoom, it's kind of hard. The only way to do it is to actually like to go to that deep place. And so, I want throughout the conversation for you to be saying to yourself, like, am I being real or am I performing? Am I trying to fill the space or am I actually connecting? I want you to focus on really like digging deeper and skipping the small talk.
Amanda: Got it. Okay.
Jesse: Amanda’s date Brian, is working through his best zoom shot and waiting on his call with Logan before the date.
Logan: It's kind of hard to see you because of the light behind you.
Brian: Yeah. I was trying to adjust it.
Logan: I wonder….
Brian: I should sit somewhere else.
Logan: Sometimes, I mean, yeah, that's good. Or I was going to say sometimes like a lamp is better than the overhead, but...
Jesse: Brian’s positioned himself in front of this giant portrait of the American Flag so he has stars and stripes coming out the side of his head, his lighting is not the most flattering, and you can hear his nerves.
Logan: Yeah I think that’s good.
Brian: This is kind of a funny background, no?
Logan: I mean, you seem very patriotic. I think it's kinda nice.
Brian: Really? Yeah. I don't really want to have that right now.
Logan: Ok [Both laugh] I see that, uh, your date is here, so we're going to let her in.
Logan: All right. She's on her way in.
Amanda: Hi, Brian. Very nice to meet you.
Brian: Hi, Amanda. Nice to meet you. How are you doing?
Amanda: Doing well, doing well. A good start to the week. Can't complain.
Jesse: On this date, we decided to give them something to do to break the ice. We sent them a list of ingredients with the idea that they could make a cocktail together to start the date, something that would break up the monotony of answering the questions we were sending them on the group chat.
Logan: We're doing this because one of the biggest issues in modern dating is that dates feel like job interviews, people just sit across from each other, asking each other the same small talk questions over and over. And instead we're injecting a sense of play, a sense of an experience. Plus, people look most attractive when they're doing something they're really good at.
Jesse: And we knew Brian was a bartender in his former life, so we thought this is also his chance to kind of flex his muscles and show off what you can do.
Amanda: Add two ounces of vodka, one ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice, one egg white, and a half ounce of simple syrup to a cocktail shaker or glass jar with lid.
Brian: You got your shaker?
Amanda: Yes. Okay.
Brian: Let me put some ice in here.
Amanda: I know.. Oh, it says a little bit after, but I think ...it’s probably fine to do it.
Brian: Breaking the rules. Fun or frightening? Oh, wow.
Amanda: Do you wanna go first?
Brian: Why don't we go ladies first on that?
Amanda: Um, frightening. Um, I have always been afraid to break the rules. Like I'm one of those people where if my parents asked me something and I knew I like stayed out or did something wrong, I always told the truth. So very much frightening for me.
Brian: But you did break the rules, it sounds like.
Amanda: You’re right. It was never anything really bad. The worst thing. Oh, the worst thing I remember. So I'm from Las Vegas. Um, and this was before it was so populated. You could drive up into the desert, into the mountains and we would have like these cookouts and people just stay the night. Um, and my dad specifically said, you can't go and we had this - we we we'd just gotten our Expedition and he's like, and you're definitely can't take the car. And I mean, I might've taken the car and I might've gone and he definitely could tell the next day, and he's like, did you take the car? I was like, yes, yes I did. So that’s like the worst...
Brian: So you didn't lie, but you did do the, you did do what he said not to do
Amanda: True. That's the last time I actually did anything he said not to do. I was like, I, that, that scared me way too much. So...
Brian: So it sounds like the frightened part isn't necessarily doing what you're not supposed to do , the frightening part is talking to your pops about it.
Amanda: Getting caught. Yes. Yes.
Brian: Getting caught! So you're down to do it. That's interesting. Got you. Okay.
Amanda: What about you? [laughs]
Brian: Well, let's see. I don't know how this is going to sound. I'll just say it - sometimes, the rules are there to be broken. Right? Um, because if a rule doesn't necessarily make sense or isn't logical. Well, then I tend to break it. Like I try to be good. But sometimes it just doesn't work out. Yea… So would I say fun or frightening? I would probably lean towards fun I guess, but it’s not because I’m seeking the fun, it’s because I am .. eh that doesn’t make sense.
Brian: Bartending 101
Amanda: Yeah ok [laughs]
Brian: I mean, you just eyeball it. There you go being a rule follower.
Amanda: I am. I am. I'm telling you [laughs].
Brian: I’m gonna eyeball it [laughs].
Amanda: You know, this whole thing about l iving in the city with the small kitchen, your kitchen actually looks a decent size, but this little thing over here.
Brian: That's a small kitchen.
Jesse: This whole thing may or may not have been a ploy just to make sure Amanda saw the inside of Brian’s kitchen. It’s not a space you would generally get to see on a first date. And it is also not a typical New York kitchen. It is big. It is beautifully lit. It is a kitchen you could be chopping vegetables next to him and not elbowing him the entire time. I mean, it is a fantasy- fulfilling kitchen.
Amanda: So where do you live?
Brian: Oh, I was just going to ask you the same. I live in Harlem.
Amanda: Actually, my hairdresser's over there. So ...
Brian: Where do you go?
Amanda: Honey salon?
Brian: Yeah, I know Honey salon. My daughter goes there, that's why. Yeah, I was there last week. I was there last Thursday or Friday. I remember... they basically don't ever want me there. They're like, no, you gotta go now.
Amanda: You go outside.
Brian: Do you have the money? If you have the money that's good. Other than that...
Amanda: [laughs] That's awesome.
Jesse: As someone who is watching these dates and who feels deeply invested in them, I felt like Brian was presenting this moment and talking about something important, opening the door to talking about his kid. And Amanda doesn’t go there. Amanda just moves on to the next question.
Logan: All right. Let's actually send them a question. Let's do something that helps them find that vulnerable connection.
Brian: What moment in your life moment in life defines who you are today? That’s a crazy question. Let me think here... a moment that defines you.... Can we skip that one and come back to it?
Amanda: [laughs] I actually, I will take a little bit of a stab at it and I guess, I don't know if it completely defined me, but I think it definitely changed the trajectory that I was on. And so, in a way, I guess it was a defining moment for me. It was actually when my dad died.
Um, so my dad died the week after I finished my first year of medical school and I was all about like, I'm going to be a surgeon. I'm going to be a surgeon. I was cut throat, like just, and you know,.. that's kinda what got me to medical school, but my dad was like the biggest teddy bear giver of time and energy and everything else.
And I think when he died, I took a step back and I'm like, is that really what I want? Um, So I knew I still wanted to do something with sports because that's what drove me to medicine, but I figured that there was a way I could do that through family medicine. And I think it was like the best decision of my life.
Brian: That's very cool. Okay.
Amanda: Yeah. So, yeah. So anyways, but yes, it's still a deep question, but yes
You mentioned you have a daughter. How old is she?
Brian: She's 13 - eighth grade.
Logan: Yes, this is the Amanda we've been waiting for. The one who is actually going deep and being vulnerable. And this is a great example of a support response. When you listen to what the other person is saying, and you ask them a follow-up question so that they can really dig into their story. As opposed to what we call a shift response, when somebody says something to you, and then you shift the attention back to yourself.
Brian: Yeah. How do you feel about kids? Are you anti -kid? Are you... what are you?
Amanda: I am not anti-kids. Um, I have actually nothing against kids or men I date who have kids. Um, for me, if I had a kid, it'd have to be kind of the right situation, I guess. Um, I’d have to have it with someone who wanted to do equal parenting or maybe even a little bit more. Um, I think the hard part is the career that I've chosen and right now where my priorities are, um, It would be hard without someone who buys into it. So I, yeah, I don't feel like I have to have kids. I think that again, if I find the right person and they, we decided that we wanted to together, then I would do it, but yeah.
Brian: Okay. And you're not like - you're searching to do that within the next year or two or anything like that. You're good.
Amanda: I'm good. I'm good. As you get older, and especially in my field, I get this all the time. Like when are you going to get married? When are you going to have kids? When are you going to .... from everyone. And I'm like, I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. Um, and during the pandemic I actually froze my eggs and I did it more so because I said, if I want to have kids at some point here's this, if I don't, that's fine, but, um. But yeah, I did it just to kind of have that security blanket and kind of get the pressure off myself. So now when someone asks me, when am I going to have kids? Whenever I want, however I want, if I want. It's been awesome actually.
Do you just have your daughter?
Brian: Yeah, just my little mama. She’s not so much a little mama anymore, but ...
Amanda: I can't imagine like how - how has that been for you during, during COVID? During all of this?
Brian: So her mother's a doctor. Um, and so particularly in the beginning, because her mother works at a hospital and so she was with me for the first 16 weeks somewhere around there. In the grand scheme of things probably brought us even closer.
Amanda: Okay. Wow.
Amanda: Okay. Sorry. So add a half ounce of simple syrup or agave nectar.
Amanda: You're really eyeballing. I love it. I love it.
Brian: What do you like to drink in general?
Amanda: It depends on the day. I can drink stiff drinks on stiff days is usually what I-
Brian: You lived in Buffalo so I'm sure you know how to get down.
Amanda: Oh, yes. How is it?
Brian: Not bad
[Amanda tastes drink]
Amanda: Ohhh okay!
Brian: What do you think? What does it need? Or is it good?
Amanda: To me? I think it's okay.
[shakes and pours drinks]
Brian: Cheers. Cheers to us.
Amanda: Cheers to us. Thank you.
Jesse: They toast each other and then we decide that it’s probably a good moment to end the date. So we send them this final question and it’s a very open ended one intentionally. It’s “What is something you’ve wanted to ask? Ask it.”
Brian: Oh, she does not play games.
Amanda: No, no, no games. [laughs]
Brian: It's a, what question have you been wanting to ask?
Amanda: Ummm..I guess we never talked about what you do. What do you do?
Brian: Uh, I work in finance. I'm a mortgage banker.
Brian: I wouldn't say it's a shift, but trying to help people of color understand how valuable home ownership can be to them. So, yeah, that's what I do.
Brian: And I have this whole other speech about the housing disparity, the socioeconomic issues that go along with it. Right? So, yeah, I mean, I could speak a long time about that.
Logan: . He's going off script. He’s ignoring us — but in a good way. He’s taking the conversation to the topics that he wants to talk about. And he’s really being himself.
Brian: Um, So, what do you think about the, I mean, not to get too political on this date here, but what do you, what do you think about what's going on in our world? Like what happened in the capital and even what's happened in our, and in 2020?
Amanda: Ummm I was heartbroken. When I watched the George Floyd video, I mean for days, so unbelievably sad, like crying. But I will say because of it, I think I’ve been able to have some really good conversations with people and I’ve been able to try and make some changes within a place that I never thought would ever be open to changing.
Logan: We definitely did not want to cut off this conversation when they got to this moment. And so we let the date go on for a while, a lot longer than we normally would, but eventually the conversation wandered back to small talk, and at that moment we sent them a note to thank them for going out with us.
Brian: Uh, thank you for sharing your smile and your time. I really had a great time with you and if you'd let me, I'd like to see you again.
Amanda: I would like that. Definitely.
Brian: Okay. So do we like officially trade numbers now or…how does that work?
Amanda: I know. Can we do that on here Logan or do we have to go through you guys or how does this work? [Brian laughs]
Amanda & Brian: Go for it! [Amanda laughs]
Brian: Alright let me grab my phone here…
Amanda Perfect, yes. Thank you. Oh it just came through. I see it. Perfect. Great meeting you.
Brian: Have a great night.
Amanda You too. Be well.
Amanda: Hello. Nice work guys.
Logan: I'm blown away too. I'm blown away.
Amanda: Nice work! Yeah. Oh, absolutely. I'm like looking good, well-spoken - nice work. Yes! It was interesting because I didn't know we were clicking. Like, it was a lot of like superficial talk, you know, kind of just small talk. And I was like, is this going to go anywhere? Like, what are we doing? I was kind of waiting a little bit more. Cause I was like, if it was staying as like superficial as kind of like meh, but, um, then yeah, as we got into it, it just was easy. I was like, okay. I would go out with this guy again!
Logan: Yeah. What did you think about the daughter thing?
Amanda: I was a little bit worried when he said her mother is a doctor. And like, is that a strike against me? You know, kind of a thing.
Logan: I thought that was interesting. I had a few emotions. One thing I thought was like, he gets it, like, he probably knows like a doctor's patients usually come first.
What the hours are like, you know, you never, you always like bring work home on some level. Like, I kind of thought that it probably just made you like more of like a known quantity to him.
Amanda: Okay, fair. Cause I was also like, Ooh, like thinking like did medicine get in the way of it? You know, like, Oh, okay.
Logan: That's true. He might have baggage around that, but like it feels surmountable. Yeah. Um, what about at the end, when he was like being more political and like historic- like talking about history, like how did, how was that part for you?
Amanda: You know what? It actually was nice. I think, um, I was thinking actually just a couple of days ago about being with someone who gets the struggles of a Black woman.
And I guess it's not - like I don't need you to understand every single thing, cause you never will. Um, but I think like, If something happens at work and someone - like there's some, like all the frickin microaggressions I have on a daily basis, but to come home and be like, and to have someone be like, “well, that's not such a big deal” and want to like punch them in the throat. Like, “No, it is.” Like, just let me have this thing, especially right now. I feel like he would get it. Which was nice, because even, not even all Black men get it. I think the fact that he has a daughter helps that as he said. Um, yeah.
Logan: It's interesting because we didn't talk about race, I don't think at all, in like our first conversation. And then when we asked you what you're looking for, like, you're just like, there's a lot of other things besides race, but like turns out that at least so far, it kind of gave you a foundation of connection and understanding that like maybe. You couldn't build with someone else or that would take longer. Like, it just seemed like it was like a nice thing to have in common.
Amanda: Yeah, exactly. No, it was good. And he had, he had a really nice smile. Like it was just really inviting, like it was, yeah.
Logan: I call people like him, a slow burn. Like you don't start with the spark, but they get better over time. Like some people you meet them here and every time you meet them, you like them a little less. He's definitely the like gets-better-over-time guy. And I think that's, those are the best partners.
When we asked the question, like he wasn't as into the questions, like you were more like playing by the rules, you said the thing about egg freezing, your dad passing. Like, I felt like you were just - there were no walls. You weren't performing. Like I thought that you were actually like, what is the most real thing that I could say? And then you said it. So I thought that was great.
Amanda: Did you hear when I said “So I've been working on trying to be more…” that was me convincing myself. It's to say it.
Logan: So final thing - are you going to text him back? Like, what's your next move?
Amanda: Yes, I think I will. I liked him! Again, Nice work guys!
Jesse: And what's an expectation that someone could put on a first date?
Esther: Connecting, creating commonality, eliciting curiosity, interest, wanting more, feeling hopeful, seeing possibility.
Jesse: Whether it’s Esther's idea of nurturing growth relationships. Or Logan’s notion that slow burn dates make the best relationships - maybe a great first date is about giving someone the space to surprise you, to be vulnerable, to take it to an interesting place, and the time to feel comfortable in just being themselves. It’s like space plus time can equal chemistry.
Esther: Sometimes the chemistry grows because gradually you're saying something and the person responded to you in a way that was surprising or kind or moved you or brought you to tears, or you had never thought of it. And suddenly you begin to look at this person slightly differently. In fact, you're not just looking at them with your eyes, you're also seeing them with your ears.
Jesse: So, if you would like to be set up by us, go to thisisdatingpodcast.com. There's a quick application. Tell us a little bit about yourself and we'll be in touch. This is Dating is produced by Jesse Baker and Eric Nuzum at Magnificent Noise. Our production staff includes Hiwote Getaneh, Eleanor Kagan and Taelor 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.