Mixology

In 1996, I cobbled together the most awesome, ambitious mix tape for myself. It was four sides, two ninety-minute cassettes full of my favorite songs at the time.

I can’t describe how much care and attention I went through to document the length of every song so that I could cram every one into each forty-five-minute side while minimizing the amount of dead time at the end of the tape.

I had to consider tone—the last thing I wanted to do was put a kick-ass rock song next to a gentle love ballad, unless the juxtaposition was my conscious goal.

When finally doing the actual recording, I had to sit there and play every song from beginning to end, making sure I didn’t accidentally include some of the next song in the album.

I also had to write out every song and artist on the paper insert in the tape case, and I had to make it perfectly matched the other cassette in my series.

And finally, I decorated each side identically with inappropriate stickers my friend Jeff had liberated from the pharmacy where he had worked.

Those mix tapes, as well as the mix tapes I made for other people, were a work of art, and I have never felt the same level of accomplishment or satisfaction with any CD I’ve burned or any of the dozens of playlists on iTunes I’ve put together as an adult.

I wish I knew what happened to those tapes (or the tapes others have made for me).

Carbon Dating

When it comes to the things I swore I’d never do again, I changed my mind last month when it came to dating. I hadn’t been on a date with a stranger since 2004, so I was curious to see how it looks out there. I’m not really very serious about it, but I am devoting time and money, so maybe I am a little bit serious.

It’s been a mostly mediocre adventure. The app I use (the one I’ve had the most success with) doesn’t allow men to make the first move, so I’ve had to impress them with my profile. There’s an art to making a good internet-dating profile, and I haven’t the slightest idea how it works. I know I need to take better pictures of myself. Other than that, I have no clue, so I’ve just sat back and waited. The women on this app aren’t really my type, and my potential relationships with almost all of them will last only until she sees the two Doctor Who-toy bookshelves in my bedroom. However, the occasional off-center one will come knocking at my door.

From there, it’s the messaging. Since you have to wait for her to write the first message, I almost always start out having to answer a question. One woman asked me what my ex’s Amazon review of me would look like (Kate would generously give me 3 stars). Most women who’ve reached out to me don’t make it past that first answer. Other women I’ll be enjoying will stop messaging me suddenly, and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out where the conversation took a turn. If we really like each other, we can move onto a video chat, of which I’ve done a couple, or a physical date, on which I’ve been on two, as of yesterday.

As both dates and I went our separate ways, I muttered under my breath, both times, “I had a splendid time! I’m never going to see that woman again as long as I live!” Because there is a way of saying good-bye that clearly communicates, “I had fun, I really did, but this is going nowhere,” and I clearly heard it from them. I’ve wondered what about me that didn’t inspire a second date, but it could be anything. Because I spent my thirties in a non-conventional marriage without kids, I’m not where most people my age are, financially, employment-wise, or in maturity.

My recent “Weekly Update” project reminded me again that, if this were twenty years ago, I would have been devastated by these results. But forty-five-year-old Jeremiah is saying, “I got to spend an hour or two with an exciting woman I never met before and answer a lot of questions about myself while learning about the life of a stranger.” I didn’t get into this dating thing to find love; I got into the dating thing to go on dates. I want to meet people. I don’t need a relationship, I just need a conversation with someone.

However, if I do find love and/or a relationship, I’m not going to brush that off, I’m just not looking for it.

In conclusion, on the quest for romance, this has so far been a failure. But on the quest for somebody to talk to, even if it’s just through messaging, this has been a roaring success. Is it worth the subscription fee? I’m not sure, to be honest. So I’ll just stick with it and look forward to meeting the next interesting person.