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Jan. 10, 2022

The List: Aziz Date 1

The List: Aziz Date 1

Aziz knows what he likes in a partner. So much so that he's got a list of requirements. This week, he explores what straying from the list does for his love life.

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Aziz knows what he likes in a partner. So much so that he's got a list of requirements. This week, he explores what straying from the list does for his love life.


[00:00:00] Hiwote:This is Dating, a series of recorded first dates. 

[00:00:06] Aziz:We can make that dream come true right here, right now, James. 

[00:00:10] James:That would definitely be something that I normally wouldn't do on a date. 

[00:00:13] Aziz:I won't make you do it. 

[00:00:14] James:Ok, ok, I'll sing the chorus. 

[00:00:16] Aziz:You will?

[00:00:17] James: (Sings to the tune of "I'll Make a Man Out of You" from Mulan)You're a spineless lot. I forgot the words. So I'll make them up as I go, Mr. I'll make a man out of you. I've definitely never done that on a date ever.

[00:00:45] Jesse:Okay, so "must be good at karaoke" may not make the list of what you want in a partner. 

[00:00:50] Hiwote:Yeah, but someone who's bold enough to sing on your first date, just might. 

[00:00:57] Jesse:I'm Jesse Baker. 

[00:00:58] Hiwote:I'm Hiwote Getaneh and This is Dating. 

[00:01:04] Jesse:We're producers on the show, and we're a bit at odds over whether or not having a list is a good approach to dating.

[00:01:11] Hiwote:The more you date, the more you're like, okay, here are the things I know I definitely want, here are the things I know, I definitely can not have. 

[00:01:19] Jesse:If you have a list, I think you're going to miss out on a lot of people who don't match that list because your list is going to change based on the person that you're with. You may add to that list. You may subtract.

I think a list can really get in the way. I mean, look at our dater for tonight. His list is really limiting who he goes out with. 

[00:01:45] Hiwote:Okay. Yes. Our dater for tonight, his names Aziz, and that's not really his name, but that's what we're going to go with. And his last relationship as he defines it, was in 2013.

[00:01:56] Jesse:He's on all the apps, but his dates haven't led to a lasting connection. 

[00:02:00] Hiwote:Yeah. And his list of deal breakers is not long, but it's really precise. 

[00:02:08] Aziz:Yeah. So I came up with I'm embarrassed to talk about it. I came up with a list and I got talked off of that list. 

[00:02:19] Hiwote:Okay. 

[00:02:20] Aziz:So my list is like one, I want them to like absolutely love nature. I just have a very strong connection to nature and I think it would be hard for me if someone just didn't appreciate that the same way. Two is I want them to be comfortable on the dance floor. And while that sounds silly, there's a couple of pieces that show up there for me. One is just like, a comfort in your own body. Another is like a connection to music, which is like a huge passion of mine. And then the third one was they just have to be a really clear communicator.

[00:02:59] Jesse:Before we set Aziz up on his first blind date, we're going to set him up with a dating coach. Her name is Logan Ury. She's also a behavioral scientist and an expert on modern dating. 

[00:03:12] Logan:Okay, and what about your dating history? What do I need to know to understand your dating story? 

[00:03:18] Aziz:The past, like year or two, I've started to take my pursuit of a partner a little bit more seriously and have had some challenges. And so I started asking my friends. I asked them why they think it would be if I was still single in a year. And they said that it would probably be because you are unwilling to compromise. 

[00:03:40] Logan:Where are your friends getting this idea that you're not willing to compromise? 

[00:03:43] Aziz:My friends think that I tend to go to the absolutely most attractive people and that leads my pursuit of someone, but I did have a list, I had a list of things. And so I think that the compromise idea was, you have to move away from having a list. 

[00:04:01] Logan:Where does this attractiveness piece fit in? I know in the gay community, there's a lot of baggage around that question, whether it has to do with like how you present or how masculine you seem, ethnicity. I know it's a layered question in every community, but I think especially with the gay men that I've worked with, physical attractiveness comes up early and often. If you're being as honest as possible is attraction actually like the secret one on the list. 

[00:04:28] Aziz:I'm happy to consider anyone, but I feel like physical attraction is pretty important. And if I'm not physically attracted to them and want to have sex with them, it's going to be hard to envision a partnership. Um, but I think what I've been open to most recently, for example, like there was one friend that we just get along really, really well and passionate about the outdoors, and he's just passionate in general and like a really good guy and smart and made a ton of money, and now he's using all of his resources to help people. I wasn't physically attracted to him and I've been open to that developing, but it has not. 

[00:05:07] Logan:With that particular person, why do you think that's the case?

[00:05:10] Aziz:I'll really speak some truth to something that's kind of embarrassing to say, but he's available.

[00:05:19] Jesse:So I just heard that smart, kind, and available are not on the list. 

[00:05:25] Hiwote:Right. But Aziz likes the chase and the thing that he can easily have just doesn't feel attractive.

[00:05:39] Logan:You're 35 years old. You have a lot to offer. You probably have met someone by now that it would work with. I think you only like people who don't like you, and if somebody likes you, they become ineligible. And with that pattern, it's really hard to get into a relationship. Okay. So attachment theory is one of my favorite pieces of research to call upon in these situations because there's a lot of love gurus out there, and there's a lot of theories, but this is one of the bodies of research that is most based in actual experimental design. 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 and who is turned off by people who are secure. I think the work is how do we retrain your brain through exercise and habits to basically identify people like you and are upfront with, oh, that person's secure and I should try to be with them versus, oh no. I only like these avoidant people who reject me and pull away. 

[00:06:42] Aziz:Yeah, it sounds like some deep work let's get in there. 

[00:06:46] Jesse:Okay. Aziz seems ready, but is his date? 

[00:06:50] Hiwote:Yeah. So his name is James, and obviously he loves music as you heard at the beginning of the show, and he seems to check a lot off of Aziz's list including being really into nature. 

[00:07:03] James:So I used to be a consultant like a corporate consultant. I'm really passionate about reducing waste and over consumption, increasing access to the outdoors. 

[00:07:12] Jesse:And James also happens to check a lot off our list too. The hope in setting up these dates is that people make a real connection.

[00:07:21] James:I am an extroverted introvert. Otherwise I wouldn't be doing this. The thing about the introversion thing, personality type that really resonates with me is I like to have really deep, meaningful conversations very quickly. 

[00:07:34] Jesse:So do we, James, so do we. 

[00:07:37] Hiwote:So for this date, we're going to start with the cameras off and we'll send them questions in the chat. And because Logan told Aziz to be interested and curious, why don't we start with this?

[00:07:55] Aziz:What's something you wouldn't normally share on a first date? 

[00:08:00] James:Ooh, something you'd normally wouldn't shine on a first date, let's see. 

[00:08:05] Aziz:So this is my first blind date, by the way. I was telling Logan it's like double-blind. 

[00:08:10] James:Oh, wow. Congratulations. 

[00:08:13] Aziz:Thanks. Have you been on a blind date before? 

[00:08:15] James:Yeah. I was actually telling Logan I really like them. And that was part of the reason why I said yes to this project. I okay. Maybe I will share that I love karaoke. That, I have never shared on a first date because a lot of people don't like karaoke and I like aggressively like karaoke. I'm actually in a karaoke club. We used to meet once a month pre pandemic, but, you know, since pandemic we haven't met at all, so I'm really feeling the karaoke loss right now.

[00:08:43] Aziz:What's your go-to karaoke song. 

[00:08:45] James:So I like a lot of Michael Bublé incidentally. But I will say at that particular Karaoke club we have themes, for every month it's a different theme. And so you're effectively barred from singing your go-to song. But I like a lot of Disney songs as well. The one that I was most recently super excited to sing, but I didn't get to sing because our March karaoke club got canceled was Mulan and I was super excited to sing I'll Make a Man Out of You. And now it's just it's a forgotten dream. 

[00:09:15] Aziz:Well, we can make that dream come true right here, right now, James. 

[00:09:23] James:That would be, definitely be something that I normally wouldn't do on a date but like, I don't really want to sing for four minutes. It's a really long song. 

[00:09:28] Aziz:I know, acapella. I won't make you do it. 

[00:09:32] James:Ok, ok I'll sing the chorus. 

[00:09:35] Aziz:You will? Great. 

[00:09:36] James:Okay. Let's get down to business to defeat the Huns. Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons? You're a spineless lot. I forgot the words. So I'll make them up as I go, Mr. I'll make a man out of you. I've definitely never done that on a date ever.

[00:10:18] Jesse:Okay. So this guy came to play. He really did. He's like putting it all out there. He's singing Disney tunes. I mean, who could ask for a better date? 

[00:10:29] Hiwote:I know he did not miss a beat and I just love him for that. 

[00:10:34] Jesse:I know, but here's hoping Aziz does too.

[00:10:36] Aziz:So I had something I wanted to share, but before I do that. I would say that I used to sing. 

[00:10:41] James:Yay. 

[00:10:41] Aziz:I did jazz vocals and acapella in high school, I was in a couple of musicals, and then totally stopped doing all of that. The thing that I wanted to share, this is like going the total opposite direction of you went kind of happy, I'm going to go from sad, which is my parents are getting divorced. I would certainly not share that on a first date. But it has been a total learning process in going through that and like kind of finding own footing in a way like separate ly. I'll say the positive side of that, cause I don't want this to get too dark, is I am connecting with my parents individually in a totally different way. And learning to see my mom and my dad completely as individuals instead of as partners to the other person or my mother, or my father. And that has been like really, really beautiful, connecting with them as individuals and also seeing them kind of grow into these parts of themselves that they didn't have the ability to do because they started a family pretty early.

[00:11:49] James:I see, do you think overall having connected with them individually and then also of course, having seen them together for a long time, do you think overall it's a better decision for them either individually or for you as a family? 

[00:12:03] Aziz:I trust that they're doing for them, what is right. It's obviously hard for everyone to see it happen. But I think that, and it's also inspired a lot of like individual growth and work for both of them. James, you said that you did environmental studies, I think, and you like to be outdoors. What are like the main things you like to do outdoors?

[00:12:27] Jesse:This is not a question we asked him to ask. This is Aziz going back to his list of what he thinks he wants. 

[00:12:34] Hiwote:Must. Love. Nature.

[00:12:40] James:Yeah. Great question. So I grew up skiing a lot and I also was in an inner city high school club where we went camping and backpacking and kayaking a lot. So that exposed me to all these activities that were really wonderful. I would have experienced them, had my parents, let me join the boy Scouts or the Cub Scouts. But I think as like brand new immigrants to America, they were always like, what is this crazy thing where you just go off into the woods with a bunch of random strangers. And like career-wise, I now think a lot about, well, how do we replicate those experiences for more people? And then also how to use those experiences to help inspire people to be better environmental stewards.

[00:13:21] Aziz:Yeah, it's interesting because environmentalism seems to be this like one sliver where progressives and conservatives can actually find agreement in this day and age because they share the love of the outdoors. 

[00:13:33] James:It's really interesting. Have you heard of Jonathan Haidt. He's a social psychologist. And so he's published some work about the moral pillars that people have and specifically the differences between conservatives and progressives. So everyone has these like five different distinct moral pillars. And the biggest difference is that for conservatives, they kind of care about all five, somewhat equally. But for progressives, they tend to care about two of them, way more than the other three. And the two that they tend to care about: one is fairness and one is caring. And so it's interesting because his whole point of this work was to use this lens to help people have more empathy and understanding for others rather than just demonizing them.

[00:14:16] Aziz:I feel like that is like a whole black hole that we could get into, but we have limited time, James. 

[00:14:24] Jesse:Okay. So Aziz is clearly drawing a line here that he is not, he's not into going deep on morality, so maybe it's time to turn the camera on. 

[00:14:35] Hiwote:Yeah. And the advantage of us doing this virtually is that they're both doing this from their apartment. So let's use that. Let's do a little show and tell.

[00:14:47] James:We need to turn on our cameras and show each other our book cases. I guess I'll be, oh, shoot. Hang on. Okay. 

[00:14:59] Aziz:Hey. 

[00:14:59] James:Hi. 

[00:15:00] Aziz:Good to see you. 

[00:15:00] James:Nice to see you. 

[00:15:02] Aziz:So what do you got? 

[00:15:03] James:There are plenty of things on here by the way that I actually haven't read. 

[00:15:06] Aziz:I'm taking a look. I love that you have a an hourglass. I had one for years and then I broke it. Okay, I'm going to show you mine in a second, but do books on a shelf that you haven't read, does that feel good to you or does that kind of haunt you? Because I feel like I've had experiences with both ends of that spectrum. 

[00:15:22] James:Oof, okay. So as someone who's like strongly organized in life in general it used to really haunt me and I've actually actively tried to make that not the case anymore. 

[00:15:34] Aziz:I see, I only have things on my books off that I have either been gifted or that I personally bought. My problem is that I buy a lot of books, like my appetite is bigger than my eyes can handle. Which is weird, cause anyways, but yeah, I have it in sections. Sorry. It's a little bit, it's a little bit difficult to showcase, but I have my urban planning and gardening books here. I used to do landscape architecture 

[00:16:01] James:Oh nice. 

[00:16:02] Aziz: Getting To Yes. One of the, arguably the best, have you read it before? 

[00:16:07] James:I think so many years ago. Yeah. 

[00:16:09] Aziz:It's like the best negotiating book in the world. Have you readTiny Beautiful Things

[00:16:16] James:No, 

[00:16:17] Aziz:I would highly recommend that of all the things on my bookshelf. I think that's the book that I was most moved by. 

[00:16:24] James:Interesting. Okay. 

[00:16:26] Aziz:I'd encourage it. So what book from your bookshelf or off of your bookshelf would you recommend for me to read? 

[00:16:32] James:I don't have it on my bookshelf. It's very easy to answer for me. For a while. I actually bought copies of this book for people.

[00:16:39] Aziz:Oh, I love that. 

[00:16:41] James:It's calledIshmael,it's by Daniel Quinn. 

[00:16:44] Aziz:That's funny. 

[00:16:45] James:Have you read it? 

[00:16:46] Aziz:I know it, but I haven't read it. 

[00:16:48] James:It's interesting. It's fiction, but it's fiction designed to explore his philosophy, all of his books, and he's written many, many books, all of which I've read, explore this philosophy andIshmaelis the first in technically a trilogy, but it's the most well-known one because it won some award. His philosophy is very encompassing. It's about how we live, the way we live, blah, blah, how the world is, the structure of the way it is, our economic system, our political system, our educational system, everything. 

[00:17:17] Aziz:Hmm. So funny story about Ishmael. The reason I know about it is a woman that I was dating in college was like obsessed with it and she I feel like she gave me a copy and I never ended up reading it, cause I was like, well, you've talked about it so much. I'd probably know what the book's about but I never actually read it.

[00:17:37] Jesse:Okay. So I don't think Aziz is going to rush out and readIshmaelanytime soon. 

[00:17:45] Hiwote:Right. 

[00:17:45] Jesse:But do we have connection here? What's going on? 

[00:17:49] Hiwote:I mean, I think that they're enjoying this activity, but I do not sense a connection and definitely not a romantic connection. 

[00:17:59] Jesse:But what were we really expecting of a bookshelf?

[00:18:03] Hiwote:Why don't we try to see what happens with this last question.

[00:18:15] Aziz:I feel like we're on like a reality TV show, you know, where they're like oh a message came in!

[00:18:21] James:We kind of are. 

[00:18:22] Aziz:It's true. Here's the last question. What is something you want the other person to know about you, but haven't had a chance to share yet? 

[00:18:31] James:Hmm. You can go first. 

[00:18:32] Aziz:What is something I want you to know. You know what I will share with you? I enjoyed my time. That's what I will say. 

[00:18:44] James:Thank you. Likewise. 

[00:18:45] Aziz:I don't know where this is going to go. I, I found this more enjoyable than I expected it to be, to be quite honest. This is like a lot of firsts for me. First blind date, first virtual date, first double blind date, since we weren't seeing each other for awhile. I think it's certainly like, it is been like a new experience that I'm kind of excited to reflect on. So thanks for sharing the time to do that. 

[00:19:12] James:Yeah, of course, thank you. I'm glad that you didn't miss out on this wonderful opportunity. So I thought of something I had on the tip of my tongue. You mentioned you did improv, right? I did stand up for the first time ever. 

[00:19:22] Aziz:Cool! 

[00:19:23] James:Last night, 

[00:19:24] Aziz:you did stand up last night?

[00:19:25] James:Yeah, it was the first time ever. 

[00:19:27] Aziz:How did it go? 

[00:19:28] James:Great. It went so well. It went so well. 

[00:19:31] Aziz:People laughed? You didn't break out in a sweat and go into a death spiral. 

[00:19:35] James:No! People laughed. And they were like, and they were like, you were great. And people were surprised it was my first time ever doing it. So what happened this week was Sunday night for whatever reason, I couldn't sleep. I don't know why, but my brain was going into overdrive. And my brain was going overdrive very specifically, it kept spitting out this comedy routine. And all I could think about was a comedy routine. And I have this rule where if I can't sleep because I'm thinking about something inanefor over an hour, then I will actually get up and write it down. So I wrote it down. I like talked it out a few times, made some edits and then I signed up for an open mic. I got the lottery. And I went two days later and it was great. 

[00:20:18] Aziz:Wow. Yeah. I'm impressed. 

[00:20:20] James:Thank you.

[00:20:21] Aziz:I don't know if I could do stand up. 

[00:20:24] James:I'm sure you could. Yeah, I'm super excited. I signed up for another one but these are all lottery based. 

[00:20:30] Aziz:Maybe this is the start of your comedy career, I love it. Maybe see you in the comedy circuit. Maybe I'll just be one of the people in the audience the next time you perform. 

[00:20:45] James:It was great chatting. It was great meeting you. 

[00:20:47] Aziz:Thanks for the time. Take care. 

[00:20:49] James:Yeah, you too.

[00:20:51] Jesse:I have no idea if that date went well. So I think it's worth having Logan do a quick debrief call with Aziz so that we know, does he want to see James again?

[00:21:12] Logan:Hi. 

[00:21:13] Aziz:What up! 

[00:21:15] Logan:Oh my God. I'm dying to hear what you thought. 

[00:21:17] Aziz:It was more fun than I expected. Taking away the fixation on the physical and having this connection with this person felt genuine. 

[00:21:28] Logan:Yeah. Tell me how much you liked him before you turn the camera on. Tell me how much you liked him once you turned the camera on.

[00:21:33] Aziz:Yeah. Good question. I'm surprised to say this, but I don't think it changed that much when the camera turned on. What are you smiling about? What are you smiling about? 

[00:21:46] Logan:I just really liked him. Like I was like, oh, this guy has like so many good qualities. I thought everything he said was super interesting. I don't want... that doesn't... that's not a reflection on your connection with him, but I just thought he was a really good match for you. 

[00:21:58] Aziz:Oh, I mean, I'll share with you. He was really apologetic about things that I didn't feel like he had to be apologetic about. And so that to me was like, oh, where's that coming from? I'm like, wait, what are you apologizing for? It happened like at least three times that I can count. 

[00:22:14] Logan:Okay. 

[00:22:14] Aziz:I really liked talking about the books. That was such an interesting activity. Yeah, it was a great moment. I think that was probably when I felt most connected. And then obviously like super inspired by his whole standup thing, that's crazy. And like just last night? The night before we connect, he just did stand up for the first time in his life. I thought that was pretty crazy. 

[00:22:35] Logan:Yeah. I mean, I kind of get that that's the kind of guy he is, where like any night you would talk to him, he would've done something cool the night before. I mean, would you want to see him again? What questions do you have about him? 

[00:22:45] Aziz:Yeah, undecided I have like per your instructions. I have a lot of people in the hopper that I'm like trying to line up. So I find myself more curious about setting up dates with them before setting up another date with James.

[00:23:00] Logan:What are the things that make you less excited about James? 

[00:23:05] Aziz:I I'm torn because I feel like I'm looking for like a firecracker. And this is my issue, is that I feel like I'm a firecracker and I don't know if I need another one. That's why I was like so surprised, and it stuck out to me that he was doing the standup. So that to me is like the biggest curiosity, also be apologetic-ness is like the biggest concern for me. It's like a confidence thing, Logan. I don't know why I perceive that as like a... 

[00:23:31] Logan:okay. No, no. Let me comment on this because I've been like waiting to say this. I feel like I thought he was confident, and let me tell you why. Remember the part where he like spoke for two or three minutes about the Jonathan Haidt thing. Like people don't do that if they're not confident. People don't just say I am going to teach you a philosophical, psychological thing because I am confident enough in my memory of it. And also that I'm a good storyteller. And also that this is interesting. Like I thought that was like Big Dick Energy confidence to just go on that tangent and talk to you about it. 

[00:24:05] Aziz:It was a solid tangent.

[00:24:07] Logan:It was a solid tangent. I just thought that he was confident and basically, there's not that many chances in our lives where I'm going to get to hear you on a date, but...

[00:24:15] Aziz:No this is fascinating to me.

[00:24:18] Logan:Yeah. I mean, on so many levels. But what I'm taking out of it is I think that you're very focused on confidence. I think you are looking for signs of somebody not being. I just, I there's so many things about him that I think are a good fit for you. And like, even some of the things that you guys didn't get into, like he was a consultant who like quit his job to pursue his passion.

[00:24:37] Aziz:Yeah, I didn't get to hear about his self-employed stuff. I did want to ask about that. 

[00:24:41] Logan:He's really into nature. He's really into backpacking and camping. I felt like he was a deep person. He was obviously really smart. 

[00:24:49] Aziz:Yeah. I mean, I genuinely enjoyed my time. I would like, I would look forward to spending time with him again. I, for some reason there's like a blockage around like romantic partnership.

[00:25:09] Jesse:I was a little surprised that he was like, no, I dunno, there's a lot of other people in my queue right now.

[00:25:15] Logan:I felt like he didn't want to say on tape, like I wasn't attracted to him. 

[00:25:20] Jesse:Which is fine, cause all three of us wanted to go out with James. So you know what? He was hot and charming and funny and appropriately awkward and nervous.

[00:25:30] Hiwote:Totally agree. 

[00:25:31] Logan:Yeah, the match was a good one. 

[00:25:33] Jesse:Yeah. So it'll be curious to see, I mean, what, what the next match is supposed to look like, you know? 

[00:25:40] Hiwote:You know, I think I have the perfect person for Aziz. 

[00:25:47] Jesse:On Aziz's next date... 

[00:25:49] Aziz:I'm tempted to ask you the craziest place you've had sex, but I don't know if that... 

[00:25:53] Manny:You can ask me anything.

[00:25:55] Aziz:Okay, great. I asked it 

[00:25:57] Manny:Craziest place I've ever had sex.... Okay, last Halloween...

[00:26:10] Jesse:If you'd like to be set up by us on a future date, go to 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.