Dating Around

They’ve broken the system.

We used to get it, there was a ladder to the top, a room where everybody was inside doing dope with the cool people. If you wanted to make it, you knew how to do it.

But not anymore.

Not that the media has been alerted. The media keeps going on like it’s the twentieth century, and we’re still interested in charts, lists, a veritable pecking order of what’s important and what is not.

But that just does not work anymore.

It started happening about six or seven years ago. The internet cacophony. Everybody was online, everybody had an opinion and they wanted to express it. Meanwhile, the institutions to do just that were established. We thought everybody was gonna have a blog, but the truth is we just wanted to post on Facebook and then tell stories on Snapchat and are now all on Instagram.

Actually, that’s not true.

Oldsters are on Facebook. Hipsters are on Twitter and vapidity rules on Instagram. As for Snapchat, it’s like Second Life, something overhyped that never broke through.

This is important. Because now you no longer get the jokes, you cannot connect with others on a superficial level, because they have not seen the same movies, the same TV shows or listened to the same records, even though certain products are vaunted as being ubiquitous. “Game Of Thrones” is not, it only reaches a small fraction of viewers of a hit show in the pre-cable era. Drake and Ariana Grande are acts inhabiting the lower half of the Top Forty in the sixties. As for politics, we’ve all got our own sources and don’t disabuse us of our beliefs or disbeliefs.

It’s a veritable crisis of culture.

But in America, where it’s only about money, don’t expect anybody to address this. At best we can debate climate change, but our society, its likes and its mores? No way.

Not that anybody studying for a business degree has any idea what a more is, at best they believe it’s part of the title of an Andrea True track.

So we’re isolated and lonely. Not because we have smartphones, they allow us to interact with our friends, but how do you become a part of the culture at large? It’s veritably impossible.

You go somewhere and everything they’re talking about you don’t know or you haven’t seen.

The only icons we know are the tech companies. Apple, Amazon, Google and the aforementioned Facebook and its variants. You can pledge fealty to one, abhor another, but it’s all we have in common.

To the point we’ve got a whole culture of “influencers” online. All in their own niche promoting products via these tech titans, they own a sliver of eyeballs. And it’s all about selling, even if it’s just yourself, and even though we’ve been told over and over again these people are icons, not a single one, from Jenna Marbles to Logan Paul to PewDiePie, have broken through in the culture at general. It’s like hearing over and over about a minor league pitcher who never makes it to the majors.

So you sit and wonder, am I the only one, who feels out of it, who doesn’t want to invest in trying to catch up and finding out it’s not worth it, like viewing every episode of “Orange Is The New Black”?

And the truth is a lot of what’s successful is not hyped, and takes time to percolate. Like “Fauda.” New episodes are in the past, but the show is just reaching critical mass.

This is the opposite of “news.” News is about the new, what’s happening now, it’s not about the old, it’s not even about trends. It’s as if you have to run and see all the movies that open each weekend, even though it would eat up all of your time, and then next week there’s a whole new crop and only one is successful and is not remembered that long anyway.

No wonder people live in their silos.

And the reason we’re in a golden age of television is it’s all about story. We’re searching for humanity. And you’re certainly not gonna get it in pop music, nor in superhero movies, but on the flat screen.

And it’s still like the internet in the early days. They’re not exactly sure what works, so they’re trying new things, which leads us to “Dating Around,” which I don’t recommend watching if you’re single, which I don’t recommend watching at all unless you want to delve into the human condition.

To what degree are we self-aware? Have we developed our personalities? Are we good conversationalists? How do we manage uncomfortable situations? These are the building blocks of life, pushed under the rug in the news, but more important than ever in a world where we feel lost, where we cannot identify with what we’re being force-fed.

Moving to the big city, in this case New York…

That used to be a thing, now most people can’t afford it. And they’re too tied to their families to do it.

Your career. Is it all right not to be on the path to fame? Certainly the media says you’re inadequate if you’re not striving to be a world-beater.

Are you willing to bend, or do you need to be accepted for who you are, to your detriment and ultimate aloneness?

Do you judge too early?

Beauty fades. You’re intrigued by the most beautiful people and then you know them and don’t want them.

And what we have in common is our fear, which very few acknowledge.

And do you know how to get along? You may be right, but is it working for you?

All these concepts come up in “Dating Around.”

Netflix green-lit this show obviously thinking they had to get into the reality/dating show genre. But it being Netflix, they needed credibility. The problem with network TV is it’s all manipulated, cut for drama, starring bozos who will do anything for their few minutes of fame.

But “Dating Around”…

Is inherently uncomfortable.

How do you meet people if you’re single?

This show is a great advertisement for meeting people at work or through clubs or charity. Where there’s no pressure. Where you can truly get to know somebody.

And is there a shoe for every foot? Watching this, I’m not sure. One woman says she never has a relationship and then abandons the man after dinner.

Then again, do you know when you know?

These are the questions we ask ourselves every day. These are the questions not in the media. How do we navigate our own lives? What should be the target? How do we meet people?

The twentysomething Luke is a bore. The women run circles around him.

The divorced Gurki really isn’t looking for a relationship, she hasn’t looked at herself, she’s too busy looking outward.

As for Leonard…

What happens when you’re single and old. Even if it’s not your choice. Leonard’s wife died of cancer.

Leonard looks weird and acts a little weird. Is there someone for him?

A couple of these people you think would have a hard time finding anyone.

And then there’s the widowed gym teacher who reads texts from her live-in post-college daughter during the date. Reminds me of a woman I went out with who took calls from her mother. Just hearing her revert to her adolescent self, servicing her mother, convinced me this was no one I wanted to end up with, even though we’d had such a good conversation the night we met.

Conversation. Do you know how to do it?

You might think dressing up nice solves all problems. And I’m not underestimating attractiveness, but if you think it solves all problems you’ve got a lot to learn.

“Dating Around” is a funny show. It can be boring, but you can’t turn it off. Because of its humanity.

That’s what we need to focus on more, we’re all just people, human, what’s it like to live in 2019?

It’s not about arguing about politics, dreaming of being a rapper… The truth is almost none of us will be famous, and fame ain’t what it’s cracked up to be anyway, neither are riches. Sure, a modicum of both are to your advantage, but overload yourself with these and you end up chasing something that doesn’t exist while you get more and more unhappy inside.

Watch a couple of episodes of “Dating Around,” you’ll have more questions than answers.

Just like life.

Dating Around

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