artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


11 October 2008

What the heck do 40-somethings talk about on dates?! I'm so not good at this![More:]It was so much easier to make small talk 10 years ago, when I was still in my 20s! Back then, I had hopes and dreams: "maybe I'll take oboe lessons. Maybe I'll volunteer at a soup kitchen." Now it's much less glamorous: "maybe I'll take my car in to get the brakes fixed." I don't want to come off as a totally boring person!!

Last guy I talked to was divorced, and I tried asking him about his kid because I thought that everyone loves to talk about their kids and what they do all day, but he just gave one word answers and kept turning the conversation back to me, which meant I had to go into more detail about the car's brakes.

What interesting things do people talk about?! Nearly all the movies and tv shows out these days are aimed below my demographic, so I can't relate to them. My hobbies are girlie-ish, like knitting, which a guy might not relate to. And I can't stand the name-calling in national politics, so I've been trying to ignore most of the details. What? What is there to talk about?

Sorry for being grumpy--have been suffering from tonsillitis all weekend, *whimper* probably my next topic of conversation!
Hipsters love to knit. Just find some dudes in skinny jeans.
posted by mullacc 11 October | 17:04
I like to talk about food.
posted by box 11 October | 17:25
Or, more broadly, I like to listen to people talk about things that they're really interested in.

Food isn't the only thing I'm really interested in, but it's one of the least obscure.
posted by box 11 October | 17:27
Even when you're talking about knitting and brake jobs, it's you that I'm listening to you talk about, y'know?
posted by box 11 October | 17:28
I have no idea. I sat here for almost five minutes trying to figure out something to say to you. I think that what I normally do is just poke around until I find something in common, no matter how mundane, and just go with it. (Do you both work? What's better, bringing lunch or eating out?)

Talk about something you saw online recently. One thing I thought was cool was a flickr set with old playground equipment. Or, talk about something like which buildings you like where you live, or about cool hidden places you enjoy.

I dunno.
posted by Stewriffic 11 October | 17:31
Also, read this neat undercover expose by Nellie Bly. Ten Days in a Madhouse.

Having read or seen something recently can be a natural opener.
posted by Stewriffic 11 October | 17:41
Places you've been, food you've eaten, people you find interesting, music you like, work (if you enjoy it), things local to where your at.

That said, I'm right there with you.
posted by -t 11 October | 17:43
Gee, I've been trying to find things to talk about too but I keep coming up with rubbish.

Just be yourself and allow the evening to flow naturally. Laugh at the awkward silences and talk about them. Every date is about expectations. Be clear on yours and you will feel comfortable with yourself.
posted by MonkeyButter 11 October | 17:51
i think it's about being in a positive, open mood and starting the ball rolling.
Is this about being on a date or chatting up someone randomly?
posted by ethylene 11 October | 18:03
I bring home the NYT from work, and my wife talk about that and NPR stories we've heard, but we mostly talk about things that need to be repaired, problems with the kids, and how we need more money and whether we will have any retirement left. And my wife's hobby is all-natural funerals, so I know way more about embalming than I ever wanted to know.

We also critique the restaurants we vist and solve our friends' problems for them, free of charge, in absentia. Then she talks about trips she wants to go on that we can't afford, and then I proposition her and get turned down. Then we both worry that McCain will win and talk about converting our yard into a vegetable garden.

Sorry, this isn't very helpful.
posted by craniac 11 October | 18:45
Do you mean you don't have hopes and dreams anymore? I'm sure you do. Right?
posted by the_jam 11 October | 18:54
Even when you're talking about knitting and brake jobs, it's you that I'm listening to you talk about, y'know?

This, this, yes!

So it doesn't matter much what the subject is; it should shift pretty fluidly in any case.

Example: He mentions (let's say) that he's re-reading _One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest_, which he picked up at the local library book sale. Obviously, you could talk about the book if you're familiar with it, or ask about it if you're not.

But you don't need to. The conversation might go any number of directions. "Library book sale! Oh, I love the book sale! Did they do the dollar-a-bag deal like last year?"

Or "Cuckoo's Nest, boy, I haven't seen that movie in twenty years. But I watch The Shining every year or two, especially around Halloween. Do you like Halloween? Do you dress up? Do you give out candy?"

Or "Ken Kesey, huh? I never read any of his other books, have you? He's not an author I ever got into, but I love [favorite author's name here]."

Or whatever springs to mind. It's easy to get trapped by the idea that you're talking about a subject, rather than just letting the talk wind its way around.

(Talking to the guy about his kid sounds like a winner to me, a non-parent, but I can also imagine a parent might want to reserve some talk about a child until he knows his date better.)
posted by Elsa 11 October | 19:29
I hope my kid with asperger's doesn't get kicked out of the gifted program by his constantly-smiling, rigid teacher. Does that count?
posted by craniac 11 October | 19:29
What the heck do 40-somethings talk about on dates?!

Kids today!
posted by jonmc 11 October | 19:54
I'm in my mid 40's, and I talk about lotsa stuff. I have no problem talking about stuff. Of course my favorite topic is ME ME ME ME.

Hmmm, maybe that's why I'm still single after 40 plus years?

Just kidding. Seriously, why should date conversation be any different than any other conversation? I guess perhaps there's the keeping open of the getting in the pants thing, but other than that... what?

I am ultimately curious about things, and have no problem talking about just about anything. If nothing else, getting to my old age, I figure I'm me, and if someone hates that, oh well. There's billions of people in the world, just one more that thinks I'm an idiot isn't really that big of a deal. Imagine being George Bush where you've alienated whole continents!
posted by eekacat 11 October | 20:46
Oh, crap. i don't know where that second sentence came from.
i think i may have copied that from another window and put what i meant to say here wherever that one came from.

Somewhere someone is wondering why i'm suddenly talking about ways to start a conversation on a date.
posted by ethylene 11 October | 20:48

And if he can't talk about music, I'm gone.
posted by Riverine 11 October | 21:40
Look, when the conversation tanks, just ask him how tall he is cause you just bought a basement freezer unit and you're concerned about having enough space.
posted by MonkeyButter 11 October | 22:21
I have nothing constructive to add (sorry) but have to say MonkeyButter's comment made me laugh out loud.
posted by Specklet 12 October | 02:51
@Elsa: This. And when fishing for conversation, you do learn the most interesting things that can and may eventually trigger your "OMG, HE'S CRAZY" button.

Like, when asking a potential date when he thought he'd be in Manhattan next (he lived in Yonkers) he told me that he was going to listen to some guy give a talk. When I asked him who it was, he mentioned that it was one of the more visible guys from 911 (I refuse to link to them but someone else can if they want to) and then he started in on his conspiracy theories.

And he was sounding so promising, too...
posted by TrishaLynn 12 October | 03:04
"When she asked me if I could see if I fit in her fridge, I knew there and then: I'm going to end up dead or married.
I was ready, either way."
posted by ethylene 12 October | 08:13
You know how periodically someone keeps wanting some kind of Datingfilter?

What about MetaYenta.
People submit their pertinent stats and interview and the MetaYenta network goes into action.
The old ways can be the new ways with the old processes and the new technology.
We pick 'em out, set you up, and all Crossing Delancy, you end up dating the pickle man.
posted by ethylene 12 October | 09:04
Geez, just life experiences. You have 'em! At 40, you've got lots of personal history. "Tell me about yourself" becomes a lot more than just "I like music, reading, and kittens!" Where have you lived? What was your favorite of those places? What did you like about it? What was the best vacation you ever took? Friends? Aspirations? Blind alleys? Philosophies of life? What you still want to do and dream of?
posted by Miko 13 October | 11:01
Hey, I like music, reading and kittens, too!
posted by ethylene 13 October | 11:16
Stolen from the Onion || I'm locked out.