If People Had Honest First Date Conversations
AUGUST 4, 2016
BY JENNIFER GARAM
Me: Oh my God, I just feel, like, instantly attracted to you.
Him: Yeah, I totally want to fuck you, too.
Me: And it’s so easy to talk to you! The conversation just flows. Do you have any wounds?
Him: Wounds? What do you—
Me: Like, deep psychological wounds. Usually I only feel this kind of connection with people who are deeply wounded. Like me. Because our wounds resonate. Which is what creates that feeling like we’ve known each other forever, and also the immediate, intense chemistry. According to Harville Hendrix anyway, that’s his theory in Keeping the Love You Find, which really speaks to me as, you know, The Truth. So . . . do you?
“Usually I only feel this kind of connection with people who are deeply wounded.”_
Him: Well, my father abandoned me when I was a child.
Me: I knew it!!! The attraction is so strong, I knew it was something big like that. How old were you?
Him: He left when I was 5, and we’ve been estranged ever since.
Me: Perfect! Your wounds will get along great with mine. Because I like to abandon myself and focus all my energy into taking care of and healing deeply wounded men. Are you in therapy?
Me: Uh huh . . . Open to it? Like, couples therapy?
Him: I think it’s a little early for . . . uh, and the way I was raised—don’t have feelings, don’t talk about your feelings—therapy pretty much goes against that.
Me: So, would you say you’re cold and withholding?
Him: Yup, definitely cold and withholding.
Me: But you seem so warm and available tonight.
Him: That’s because I’m hot and cold. I can be very loving, and then completely withdraw.
Me: Hot and cold is MY TYPE! The way it interacts with my insecure attachment and abandonment issues causes pain that feels both excruciating and familiar. Anything else?
“Hot and cold is MY TYPE!”_
Him: Well, I’m a workaholic, so there’s that.
Me: Great, both of my parents are workaholics, so that’s totally in my wheelhouse. Don’t worry, I’m completely comfortable feeling neglected by you because your top priority is your job.
Him: You seem like you have really low self-esteem.
Me: Yeah, I do.
Him: And are pretty needy.
Me: Guilty! Super-needy. Basically a bottomless pit of need.
Him: My Mom smothered me so your neediness is definitely going to trigger me.
“I’m basically a bottomless pit of need.”_
Me: I knew it! I knew there was more. Because you feel like my soul mate so we have to be resonating on multiple layers of woundedness. How did your mother smother you?
Him: I was never allowed to express what I needed and always had to put what she wanted first. When my father left, she started confiding in me about how depressed she was. But I was only 5. And I felt like I had to take care of her and be the grown-up.
Me: So you have depression in your family?
Him: Oh, yeah.
Me: Cool, cool. I’m severely depressed. Most days I can’t even get out of bed!
Him: So I’ll probably try to caretake you, like I had to do with my Mom, and then wind up resenting you.
Me: That sounds about right.
Him: And when you express your needs, I’ll project that you’re my mother smothering me with her needs and destroying my childhood.
Me: And I’ll project that you’re my father neglecting and emotionally abandoning me, in the never-ending cycle of pain I’ve been recreating with every man I’ve ever dated. At which point I’ll become even more needy.
Him: That’s when I’ll probably disappear, and escape through workaholism, binge-drinking, or one of my other avoidant behaviors that I use as coping mechanisms.
Me: And we can both unconsciously act out our childhood trauma on each other in such a way that it will essentially be like my father is in a relationship with your mother.
“We can both unconsciously act out our childhood trauma on each other.”_
Him: That’s how it always goes.
Me: By the way, what are you looking for?
Him: Well I sure as hell don’t want to be in a relationship. I just want someone I can fuck, who’s cool with me fucking other people.
Me: So you can avoid your feelings by keeping things on the surface?
Him: Yup. You cool with that?
Me: Well, I really like you, so I’ll say I’m cool with that, because I believe that I can change your mind by proving how fun and entertaining and worthy of your love I am.
Him: That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. But you’ll still fuck me, right?
Me: Oh, yeah, totally.
Him: So . . . should we get out of here?
Me: Yeah. You’ll pick up the bill, right? I know I’m supposed to be feminist or whatever, but I really just want to be treated. Whenever I offer to chip in and the guy accepts, I get pissed. Plus I’m broke and there’s no way I could afford this place if you weren’t paying.
Him: I got it.
Me: You don’t mind? I mean, I just feel worried that you’ll think I’m taking advantage of you or using you because you have that high-powered job and are like, loaded—
Him: The upside of workaholism . . .
Me: And I know, feminism, blah, blah, blah, but honestly your job really impresses me, and intimidates me, and I feel like you’re up on this pedestal and I’m just so lucky that you picked me and like me and want to spend time with me and like, I don’t deserve you, and when you figure that out, when you see the real me, you’re going to realize that I’m not who you thought I was and you’ll leave me.
Him: Oh, that happens to me all the time. Women put me on a pedestal, and I feel this pressure, because I know I’m not who they think I am, who they want me to be. So I reject them before they have a chance to see the real me and reject me. Ready to go?
Me: Oh yeah, just, if I sleep with you tonight, you’ll call me afterwards, right? You’ll ask me out again? Because if you don’t I’ll feel like I’m going to die from the God-sized hole inside me.
Him: Um, probably not. I probably won’t call.
Me: I think you’re just saying that. I’ll change your mind . . .