One of my favorite new things this month has been Charlie Beckerman’s new podcast, Serial Dater, which is about—well, a lot. It’s about one week in 2011 when Charlie decided to "say yes to everyone” and went on five dates with five different guys in seven days. It’s about internet dating and meet-cutes and all kinds of blind dating—the evolution of this process that is basically interviewing strangers for the position of life partner. It’s about how we tell our own stories, serializing life into eras or phases or, yes, episodes. It’s also about this time Charlie got winked at by a cute airplane pilot, which, come on.
As of its second episode, which was released yesterday, my favorite thing (besides the mid-date revelation that a guy is obsessed with fan-written Pride and Prejudice sequels) is Charlie’s discussion of “job talk” on first dates—the often-awkward conversation about what you do (i.e. who you are), in which both partners are half trying to make themselves sound interesting and half trying to gauge how cool the other person’s job sounds. Specifically, doing this as an emerging artist or writer is tough—do you define yourself by your day job, or your creative dreams? Are you “allowed” to say you’re a writer if you don’t have a book out yet? This isn’t just relevant to dating, of course—we do this every time we meet someone new, every time anyone asks, “what do you do?” Charlie’s dates boil down to a sort of scientific experiment on all the different ways to “pitch” yourself, the different walls we hit at various points during the process of meeting someone new—some of them the other person’s fault, and some of them, if we’re honest, ours.
This has all seemed especially great in the wake of the news of Looking’s cancellation by HBO. Among other things, the show felt important as a true representation of queer characters’ POVs on television (that is, gay men as more than a straight main character’s accessory), and I’m sad to see it go. I’m feeling lucky that Serial Dater is here to help fill that void, by both telling queer men’s stories and interrogating modern romantic life. If you want to help give this new project a foothold and make a difference in representation going forward, listen and rate on iTunes!