Dating offers a lot of practical career experience. Find out how with this wry look at extracurricular activities — and their unexpected perks.
Do you ever feel like you’re in a career rut? I’m going to tell you a great way to get out of it. No, it’s not quitting. Or being fired. Rather, simply… date. That’s right — date. One of the most wonderful, educational side effects of dating is you’ll soon be exposed to more jobs than you ever imagined existed. The world is filled with fascinating occupations, and thanks to dating, I’ve gained invaluable experience in most of them. My imaginary résumé is now 34 pages long. And that’s just for the last two years.
Don’t misunderstand — it’s not just what I’ve learned by hearing about my dates’ jobs, though that also would be an important source of knowledge. I say “would be” because these women I meet for first dates generally don’t have my complete attention, since, as they’re speaking, I find myself pondering one of three things:
1. What’s the quickest way I can end this date without her thinking I’m a jerk?
2. I wonder what she looks like naked?
3. Of all the Three Stooges, I wonder why Shemp never got the respect he so richly deserved?
No, I’m talking about the specific career skills I’ve learned, thanks to my extensive dating lifestyle. Take my recent relationship with Sarah. Inspired by President Obama’s leadership, I became a politician and actively campaigned to be elected as Sarah’s boyfriend. If chosen for this honor to serve, I told her, I promise to put your needs first, to have a policy of open communication, to eliminate relationship programs that aren’t working, and to consult regularly with my team of advisors and experts on how to please you. I was elected by a landslide.
Though far from being a professional actor, I nonetheless used my finest thespian skills to convince Sarah that I love helping her shop for clothing, that “chick flicks” is an unfair label because those wonderful movies have so much more to offer, and that my favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon was — same as hers — to take part in a public protest of some corporation’s policy on animal testing. What a coincidence! My, we simply have so much in common! And you look so sexy holding that boycott sign!
Next, I summoned my best abilities as an amateur psychologist to make Sarah understand that, owing to her never having received the love she so desperately desired from her father, she was determined to find a father figure in her romantic relationships. I then spanked her and forbade her from going out that night until she cleaned up her room. She wanted to understand more about her father fixation, but unfortunately I let her know that our hour was up and we’d continue at the next session.
My skills as a teacher came into play as I enlightened Sarah about the things in life I liked – good food, good entertainment, and good sex; and the things I wasn’t so hot about – pretty much everything else. I taught her which of my friends and family members to avoid and which were worth her time and energy. This saved her countless hours with my cousin Donny, whose absolute fascination with the history of tollbooths in America, when he gets going about it, is better than any sleeping pill. I guess Sarah turned out to be a pretty good student, because she got a B+ on my final and generally did well on my weekly pop quizzes.
I’d always considered being a magician to be a glamorous career, and fortunately during my relationship with Sarah, I gained loads of experience in making single-guy things disappear. Before her first visit to my place, I made all photos, letters, gifts and traces of other relationships vanish into thin air. Clothes on the floor, gone. Dirt and dust, gone. Videos and magazines, the titles of which would make Larry Flynt blush, gone. My ear hair, nose hair and assorted hair from additional body locations — gone. Abracadabra! The Great Markini has done it again!
Thanks to Sarah’s being high-maintenance, I had plenty of opportunities to exercise my skills as an accountant, estimating how much of my income I’d need to reserve for restaurants, gifts, trips, flowers, cultural events — you name it. And she did. I figured out how many deductions we could take if we were married, had kids, used a home office. I even envisioned a romantic ending: We’d both plead guilty for involvement in a fraudulent offshore tax shelter scheme, be sentenced to community service, and there, Sarah would change into a caring, sensitive, low-maintenance person, telling me money doesn’t matter. As you see, I lead a vivid fantasy life.
The point is that dating offers a lot of practical career experience. The woman I end up with won’t just get a man: She’ll get a scientist, a security guard, a cook, a politician, a masseur, a mechanic, a social worker and an athlete. Perhaps that’s why it’s taking me so long to find her — I want to make sure all those guys love her as much as I do.
Mark Miller has sold movie projects to Warner Brothers, been a writer/producer on numerous TV sit-com staffs, a humor columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, a current humor blogger for The Huffington Post, creator of a series of Game Changers interviews for The Huffington Post, and is a part of the Los Angeles storytelling community. He has also performed stand-up comedy in nightclubs and on TV. His first book, a collection of his humor essays on dating and romance, is published by Skyhorse Publishing. Its title: 500 Dates: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Online Dating Wars. But Mark says he’d trade all his success away in a minute for immortality, inner peace and limitless wealth.