By Simran Kapoor Jul. 04, 2016
In a world of too many greys, it is comforting to have some black-or-white absolutes. Like knowing you couldn’t date a guy with a dog named Tuffy.
So. You’re a young woman out on yet another first date. You’re jaded, you’re faded, but you must do this because you promised your anxious parents you’d keep an open mind. So you order your teas and settle in to listen.
Information is pouring forth like cheap wine. Sun signs, family trees, first dates, last relationships, best TV shows, worst movies, and other banalities are rattled off on autopilot until your ForeverMoist lip gloss finally gives up and gets dry. But you find you haven’t yet come to the critical conclusion – is this guy worth a second date? He sounds smart, throws some clever quotes around, follows the Euros, has clean fingernails, and knows that Merlot is a wine (unlike your last date who, when asked if he liked Merlot, famously said, “Who is she?”)
It’s going to be 11 pm and your curfew is running out. You need to make a decision. You need a sign but the cosmos is sleeping and couldn’t be bothered to send down lightning your way and even the Waldorf isn’t close at hand to carry out serendipitous ideas like taking different elevators hoping to arrive at the same floor. You’re wondering how to play this and then he helpfully says, “And we have a dog named Tuffy.”
You take a deep breath. You want to laugh and cry at the same time: Laugh, because you now know, with manic certainty, that there can never be anything resembling another date with a guy who has a dog named Tuffy, and cry because you wouldn’t have missed Game of Thrones, if he’d simply opened with, “Hi, I’m Aakash, and I have a dog called Tuffy.”
The world is full of idiots, but thanks to social media, nobody is sounding like one. They’re all saying the right things, updating themselves with information, keeping track of the cool movies, mouthing clever reviews. Which means, you can look forward to many, many hours drinking many, many cups of tea and sifting patiently through the bullshit to arrive at the dregs, where the truth usually resides. And even if you do have the time to get there, you’ll find that it tastes like shit and leaves such a bad taste in your mouth that you wonder why you had the damn tea in the first place.
If you or your family owns, or has owned, a pet by the name of Tuffy, I know, hand on my heart, that I cannot have much in common with you so there is no point wasting our time.
The internet is to be thanked for many things (shout-out to the miracle of online ticketing and online stalking here) but it is also the thing that has given birth to a generation of giant bullshitters, who present carefully curated public profiles so our real selves lie submerged like ice floes, with only our visible social selves projecting cool and white. So you can look forward to hours of talk time, which, if you’re an unsociable person like me, is an idea that makes you want to repeatedly jab yourself in the eye with a very small screwdriver.
When it comes to choosing prospective boyfriends, friends, or even colleagues-worth-getting-wasted with, I’ve realised that it’s always useful to push conversations in directions that drive to quicker conclusions and help you ruthlessly slash the world into two well-defined camps: My Kinda People and Are You Kidding Me? I call these the Absolutes. In a world that is increasingly grey, it’s nice to have Absolutes who present a rare opportunity to be fantastically black or white.
Tuffy is definitely one of my Absolutes. If you or your family owns, or has owned, a pet by the name of Tuffy, I know, hand on my heart, that I cannot have much in common with you so there is no point wasting our time. Modi Kaka, that saintly man sitting cross-legged in Pahlaj Nilahlani’s video, is another Absolute. So is Marmite, that yeast extract that tastes like an unholy mixture of salt and battery acid.
All of them make for wonderful Absolutes. You either have poms called Tuffy or you don’t. You either dig Modi Kaka or you don’t. You either love Marmite or hate it. The lukewarm “like” cannot be associated with them. In a world of “everything is relative”, they are refreshingly Absolute. And like the vodka, they are a dull dinner-party must-have.
So I now plan to put into my iPhone this little note that lists out my Absolutes. The next time when first date and I sit down and order some good wine, I will discreetly look into my phone and drive the conversation in the direction that elicits hints to some, or all, of these questions.
* Does he own any article of clothing with Ed Hardy emblazoned on the front through which the faint outlines of his nipples can be seen?
* Does he send texts of the ‘how r u’ variety?
* Does he have black (or any other colour) hair sprouting from his shoulders?
* Does he have Prince written on the rear window of his white SUV?
* Does he have “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You” on his playlist?
* Does he say he likes to read and then proceeds to quote from The Fountainhead?
* Does he usually ask women “Are you modern?” in an attempt to find out if they drink or smoke or will sleep with him on the first date?
* And most importantly, does he know that Merlot is not a hot Catholic chick wearing a short skirt?
Two things may happen here: I might very well have the excellent wine thrown in my face, or I might actually walk out of that date having welcomed a new inmate into my asylum.
Both, I assure you, are more fun than going through the dregs of those endless fucking cups of tea.