Why Must Daters Talk?

Last night, at Little Giant on the Lower East Side, two earlythirtysomethings were on a date. He was wearing a black t-shirt, his skin was an unhealthily alabaster and the baby fat of his youth had given way to the slight pudginess of middle-age. He worked for Apple or maybe Gucci. It was unclear. She was cute and worked designing software for PDAs. He was talking expertly about earlytwentysomethings.

Sitting next to a couple on a date is one of the more trying experiences of eating out in New York. This is especially true when the couple is made up of two horrible individuals: Each trying to impress the other with the breadth of their knowledge, holding forth, laughing too quickly, being fake-vulnerable. But at a certain point the unease becomes addictive. Your interest in your own conversation wanes. All you want to do is eavesdrop. It hurts so good.

At one point, over his bavette with summer panzanella, he told her, "The thing about the generation in their early-twenties is all they care about is Myspace, big parties and taking pictures of themselves." And then she said, "Yeah," in this infuriating and slightly incredulous way that one greets unexpected and insightful news from a credible source.

A single tear of rage fell from my cheek into my scallops.

Later that night, a guy was telling me about the worst date conversation he'd ever overheard. It happened at Marlow and Sons in Williamsburg and included this line: "This Can album changed my life. I hope it changes yours in the same way."

There was also a lot of talk of "making work. Both people were nominally artists. Later I figured out that I had dated the girl who was having that conversation, so.