On Boston’s dating scene

It’s rare that an esteemed blogger like yours truly deigns it necessary to lower himself to the level of the Boston Herald, but in this case I couldn’t resist. This article about dating in Boston and why it kind of sucks caught my attention. If you’re too good for that rag, I’ll give you the tl;dr: the local dating scene is a source of much frustration due to unfriendly people, insular locals, the cold, high living expenses, and—of course—those gosh darn social media sites and dating apps.

As an active participant and self-proclaimed expert on Boston dating, I’m calling bullshit on pretty much all of that.

If you aren’t going out to meet people because it’s too chilly for your delicate widdle piggy toes, well—obviously you don’t want to meet people that badly, now do ya? The people around here are plenty friendly as long as you’ve actually got something to say. And blaming technology is just flat fucking lazy.

The living expense thing, however, is definitely a big part of the problem. Pretty much every Boston resident of dating age is paying off a buttload of student loans. Dinner anywhere even remotely hip ain’t cheap. And I think it’s a lot worse for older singles—for whom the dating pool is already more limited—because so many of them have chosen to pay the exorbitant rents that come with living alone. Many of them can only do so because they’re getting assistance from relatives or working multiple jobs, and I often hear them say things like “I had cereal for dinner three nights this week.” That particular demographic, I think, is about to be the subject of a lot of supposedly intelligent reporting about health, finance, and social standing that’s going to make me shrug and say “yeah, no shit.”

While the article cites Boston’s wide variety of nightlife options as one of the scene’s strengths, anyone who’s been out and about lately knows that’s total horseshit. It’s something I’ve been harping on for years. Yeah, there’s a lot of restaurants and bars in the area, but for the most part you’ve really only got two options: shithole or boring overpriced garbage. Having a large number of something absolutely does not mean you have variety. I can count maybe half a dozen legitimately fun places with actual things to do that also happen to be within walking distance of the subway. Your bars and restaurants are boring as fuck, Boston, and it’s keeping us all from getting smooches.

Which brings me to the people. Bostonians themselves are a problem here, but not in the way the Herald suggests. You know who’s typically kind of dry? College-educated liberal Millennials. Seriously. When all you’ve got to talk about on a first date is that last thing you marathoned on Netflix, I mean…why wouldn’t your prospective paramour move on to the next option? And I’m not just ragging on the ladies here; I love snooping on obvious first dates, and holy shit dudes, you’re frickin’ dull. My god. The goal is to interest the other party, not put them to sleep. Sometimes when I’m out and about in Cambridge or Somerville on a weekend night, and I look around at the room, and I find myself surrounded by people who dress the same, talk the same, try to intelligently expound on simple concepts they obviously don’t understand the same, constantly screw up irony even though they rely on it so heavily for their humor the same…I can kind of understand why certain parts of the country shit on the coasts, and I can totally see why it’s so hard to find someone to date. Very few local Millennials immediately stand out, which is a huge detriment in an activity where a first impression is likely your only impression. There’s a reason I generally prefer to hide among the “insular” townies. They’re fun from the get go.

“But Scott Colby!” you shriek. “Now that you’ve crapped on most of your neighbors, what, exactly, do you suggest we do about this?” If I knew, I’d already have turned the answer into a dating app, made a bazillion dollars, and moved somewhere warmer with better nightlife. I think it comes down to time. Checking boxes next to mutual interests does not build a rapport. Going out on a zillion first dates eats up hours we don’t have and leads to frustration. There’s a balancing act here somewhere, and when it comes to dating apps and websites I think it’s more an issue of how we use them than of the construction of the sites themselves. Use your head? Show some restraint? Be picky about where and when you meet people? Give the people you choose to meet more time to become interesting?

I don’t know. But I do know it’s the day after Valentine’s Day and CVS might have a shit ton of cheap candy unless it’s already been picked through. Get your Extra Care Cards out and get to it, losers.

How are the Red Sox going to blow it this time?

The Boston Red Sox have won 11 baseball games in a row and sit six games ahead of their closest competition for the AL East crown. They’ve clinched a playoff spot. They look good, they’re peaking at the right time, and they seem to have mostly gotten over that whole “our pitching sucks” problem they had earlier in the year. They’re a contender.

Except they’re the Red Sox, so they’re going to fuck it up. It’s what they do. They set high expectations and then vomit all over them in spectacular fashion. To those of you thinking I’m too much of a Negative Nellie, I ask you: have you looked at the god damn roster? It’s so combustible it started five separate wildfires in Cali last time they visited the Angels. Shit’s going down in October (or maybe November) and it’s going to be some Maury-level “Neither of you is the father!” drama. Let’s go over the most likely culprits behind this pending baseball arson.

The Price is wrong

The Red Sox gave David Price roughly a bazillion trillion and twelve dollars so all the locals would stop complaining about their lack of an ace. This is a guy with a 3.20 ERA in 251 Major League appearances. He’s at 3.95 this season, but his peripherals suggest he’s pitched better than that number and he’s had a little bit of bad luck. He’s a 5.12 in the postseason. He made four playoff starts for Toronto last year and gave up at least three runs in each. You can’t say he had a really ace-like postseason since that time the Rays made the World Series. Betting on Price to go kablooey on a cold fall evening in Fenway seems smart. Odds: 3-1.

Hanley being Hanley

Hanley Ramirez has been almost too well-behaved this year. He lost weight, learned to play a decent first base, and generally kept his act together despite his inability to find a god damn helmet that fits. Still. He’s kind of an adventure with pop flies. He’s never seen a borderline strike he agreed with and he likes to talk to the umpires about it. The Baseball Writers of America voted him Most Likely to Charge the Mound and Drop the Pitcher with a Shining Wizard. Fine, I made that last one up, but can’t you totally see it happening? Odds: 5-1

Big smelly Butthole

Sure, things would have to be going pretty badly for Clay Butthole to end up in a high leverage spot, but I couldn’t leave him out. Butthole’s been pitching better since he cut his stupid hair, but like the team in general, he’s setting us up. If Farrell turns to Suckholz in the thirteenth inning of a tie game in a close series I’m frickin’ going to bed. Odds: 4-1

David Ortiz can’t run

Ding ding ding, I think we have a winner! David Ortiz is a hell of a ballplayer. He’s forty years old and somehow OPS-ing 1.038 even though he really can’t run at all anymore. And that’s the problem. Balls down the line or in the gap that should be doubles end up as singles or outs at second because his myriad injuries have sapped what little speed he has. I can picture it now: Ortiz leads off the bottom of the ninth with the Sox down two and a man on second. He hits a frozen rope into the right field corner. The runner scores, but Papi either holds at first, the next batter hits a single, then the two after that strike out, or he tries too hard for second and gets thrown out by a mile. Watching one of the most beloved Red Sox players ever end his career in the middle of a “He cost us the series!” shit storm is the worst possible way this season could conclude, so that’s what’s most likely to go down. Odds: 2-1

Honorable mention: Eduardo Rodriguez making sure everyone in the stadium knows what he’s about to throw; Mookie Betts blowing out his ACL during an outfield victory dance; Robbie Ross; Craig Kimbrel discovering the last few molecules of that bacteria that wrecked Daniel Bard in the clubhouse shower.

I don’t understand real estate prices

For real. Even though developers in Boston and the surrounding areas keep knocking down all the fun things, real estate prices and rental rates keep going up. This makes no sense. Who wants to live somewhere there’s nothing interesting to do?

Take, for instance, a travesty that has befallen Cambridge’s Porter Square neighborhood. The Gourmet Express, a 24-hour pizza and various etcs. restaurant and convenience store, has been demolished to make way for a 27-unit residential building. This is a debilitating body blow to the neighborhood that should have resulted in the collapse of the area’s real estate market.

For one thing, now there’s nowhere to get pizza at three in the morning. For real. There is essentially a pizza curfew enforced in Porter Square. Combine this with the recent conversion of Central Square’s Hi Fi Pizza to a fucking Clover and it’s not hard to imagine a dystopian Cantabrigian future where there is no pizza, only overpriced flatbread that’s a poor facsimile of our beloved pies of old. Herman Cain tried to warn us about this horror. Please tell me I’m not the only one who listened.

Gourmet Express was also frequented by quite the gang of misfits. Stoners, drunks, losers, bums…the place was full of the supposed dregs of society. Personally, I’d redefine that term so it includes investment bankers and people who enjoy the Big Bang Theory, but I digress. You’re probably wondering what the problem is. After all, the place in which those dregs congregated is now gone. Isn’t that a good thing? No, you fucking dope! Answer me this: do you know where the dregs are now? You don’t, do you. That used to be a really easy question to answer: they were in the Gourmet Express! Now the dregs could be anywhere. They could be in your bushes. They could be breaking into your house while you sleep looking for pizza that’s now become much more difficult to acquire. There could even be one behind you RIGHT THE FUCK NOW. You looked, didn’t you? Ha ha! Loser.

Similar scenes are playing out across the Boston area. Prices along Route 1 have failed to fall despite the loss of the Hilltop Steakhouse and the pending removal of the big orange T-Rex. Rent in the Seaport is sky high even though the closure of Anthony’s Pier 4 means there’s nowhere to get Ritz crackers with cheese from a chain-smoking waitress while enjoying an array of seascapes. This makes no sense.

Real estate is stupid.

How to make Boston a world class city

Since the introduction of the failed Olympic bid, there’s been a ton of talk about transforming Boston into a world class city. No one can give me an actual definition of what that really means, but most people insist it involves improvements to our transportation infrastructure and replacing every single fun or useful thing with an overpriced plastic condo building or a generic classy restaurant that serves twelve dollar cocktails you could fit in a Dixie cup with room to spare. Although that transportation stuff would be nice, the second part of that run-on sentence can kiss my hairy white ass. You want to make Boston a world class city? Here’s how you do it, bro.

  • Every bar should have coat hooks installed underneath it. If I’m sitting on my coat or hanging it up in some back hallway on top of a disease-infested stranger’s, you’re doing it wrong.
  • I have it on good authority that Boston’s mosh pits “fucking suck,” especially those in the House of Blues. Upgrade the pits, please. We cannot allow places like Worcester and Springfield to lap us in the punk rock demographic. The effect would be catastrophic.
  • Two words: Happy Hour. Let’s get some cheap beverages up in this shit. It’ll help with both community building and the local birth rate. It’ll be great.
  • Preserve Route 1 in Saugus as an historic landmark that can never be changed. For real. We need a giant orange dinosaur a lot more than we need luxury condos. Besides, living in luxury on Route 1 is impossible because it would violate at least 18 well-established laws of physics and another seven that I just made up. The Hilltop Steakhouse should not be a hole in the ground. Weylu’s should still be smiling down at passing motorists from its majestic perch. And I swear to the Force if anything ever happens to the Kowloon there’s going to be a fucking problem. John Cena needs somewhere to eat chicken fingers after Raw at the Garden.
  • Require two-ply in all bathrooms. I don’t know the exact number of people who visit Boston and never return after wiping their sensitive bits with the sandpaper installed in most restrooms, but I’m sure that number isn’t zero. You can’t be world class if you make your guests’ bungholes itch.
  • Get the Bruins some defensemen. For real. This is probably the most embarrassing part of the city now that the Red Sox are done.
  • Build a fence around Rhode Island. Like, a really big one. And electrify it. Treat that dump like a velociraptor pen.
  • After the fence is built, round up all the people who think Boston isn’t a world class city and deport them to Rhode Island. We’ll all be much better off without those tools. And no, terrible bloggers who ironically used the world class thing as an excuse to write a half-assed post should not be included in the list of deportees.