How Seinfeld Became My Dating Litmus Test » VSB

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How Seinfeld Became My Dating Litmus Test

NBC screenshot

 

It was 2006. Her name was Ashley. We met at one of those “young professional” mixers people only attend to meet attractive young professionals of the opposite sex. She was an attractive young professional of the opposite sex. We exchanged business cards and made plans to “connect” in the near future. The connection ended up being drinks a week later.

We hung out for a couple hours. Drinking, talking about our jobs, and getting progressively more familiar as the night continued. The shift from “two people meeting for drinks” to “two people who very well might hook up at the end of the night” had begun. I like to think it was because of my charm, but it was more likely the half-priced happy hour mojitos.

I asked if she was getting into anything that night. She said “I don’t have any real plans.” — which roughly translates to “Whatever you want to do.” I said “Ok.” — which roughly translates to “Oh shit, I might get some ass tonight!!!”

Then it happened.

The TV above the bar was on CNN. They were doing a feature on Michael Richards, who’d just begun his apology tour to make amends for his racist outburst during a stand-up show. 

I asked her thoughts about the Richards’ story.

“Who?”

“Michael Richards. Kramer from Seinfeld.”

“Oh. That guy who said that racist shit? What about him?”

“You didn’t know who he was before this?”

“I mean, I heard he was from Seinfeld. I wouldn’t have guessed that, though.”

“Word?”

“Yeah. I didn’t watch that show. Seemed mad corny to me. I guess people like that type of humor. But it seemed wack as fuck.”

I never looked at Ashley (or half-priced mojitos) the same way again.

We hung out for the rest of the night. But, I could not get past her Seinfeld hate. How could she not think George Costanza was one of the five funniest TV characters ever? If I called someone a soup Nazi, or a “close talker,” would she even get the reference? And what the fuck was I supposed to do with all of my Festivus jokes? Just…not say them???

She spent the night at my place. Nothing happened, though. She had somewhere between three and seven mojitos too many, and I was raised right.

The awkward morning convo was the last time we spoke in person. She apologized profusely for drinking so much. And might still think that was the reason no relationship — or even no second date — ever materialized. I didn’t have heart to tell her it was because she’d never understand why “marine biologist” makes me chuckle every time I hear it.

Famed 20th century philosopher Rob Gordon once said “…what really matters is what you like, not what you are like… Books, records, films – these things matter. Call me shallow but it’s the fuckin’ truth.” This may not be true for everyone. But it is definitely and unquestionably true for me. No other personality quirk matters as much to me as a woman’s sense of humor. I can deal with practically anything else:

You’re an atheist? Well, I believe in God, but I see your point! You’re a republican? Oh well. Republicans buy sneakers too. You don’t want kids? I don’t blame you. Baby rabbits are better than baby humans. You hate my family? Yeah, those niggas are crazy.

But, I just can’t deal with someone who doesn’t find humor in the same things I do. Of course, she doesn’t have to find humor in every single thing I find funny. That would be disturbing. Because my sense of humor is disturbing. But since 99% of relationship time is spent talking — talking during dinner, talking before, during, and after sex, talking on the way to work, talking while trying to stay awake in church, etc — I can’t imagine spending that time with someone who doesn’t recognize and appreciate the same ironies, references, and inside jokes. And yes, this makes a diehard Seinfeld fan and a person who thought Seinfeld sucked completely incompatible.

Fortunately, I found someone who shares my sense of humor. She loves Seinfeld, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and even tries really hard to get into Louie.

It’s not all perfect, though. She still hasn’t finished watching The Wire. But, I’m letting that slide.

For now.

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Andre

    “The Opposite” changed my life.

  • cakes_and_pies

    “Seinfield” is the type of show that decides whether some gets you or not. I was once talking with a group of people including a guy who was mutually flirting with me when the show was brought up. I mentioned being “sponge worthy” and he had no clue. Wasn’t the be all and end all, but this did play in my head :http://youtu.be/1ytCEuuW2_A

    • I do that all the time. LOL

    • Damon Young

      it’s funny. i know what sponge worthy means, but i don’t know what a sponge is (or does)

      • A sponge is for birth control. You insert it, and the spermicide within kills any swimmers that make it up there.

        • Sahel

          Sucks if you have sperm that went through SERE

        • cakes_and_pies

          I remember asking my Mom for the sponge because I thought it was a pink doughnut with a wrist band. That happened in ’86. She didn’t find that funny until I turned 30.

      • miss t-lee

        It was referencing the Today’s Sponge, which was actually taken off the market (just like on the show…lol)
        Extra funny since she was stockpiling them, and I still love that interview.

  • anon in CA

    I have only seen a handful of Seinfeld episodes since it has been in syndication but I love Louie! If I’m ever in this situation hopefully the guy has a little more patience than you did. BTW, my cousin and friend were the guys that heckled Kramer. I was supposed to be at the laugh factory that night too but I decided to stay home.

    • Its a small world after all

    • Rawtid

      Louie is pretty damn funny

  • SimplePseudonym

    While I absolutely LOOOOOOOVE “Seinfeld,” I can totally understand how it flew under the radar and missed a lot of folks- especially a lot of black people (like Ashley, above). If you guys remember, it came on Thursday nights, which was 90s black night on Fox w/ “Martin,” “Living Single,” and “New York Undercover,” if I remember correctly.

    • BeautifullyHuman

      I loved those Thursday nights! I need all those shows on box set. New York Undercover is like my street Law & Order, but with good music.

      • SimplePseudonym

        …and Fiiiiiiiiiiiine Malik Yoba (and his cute Puerto Rican pretty boy partner whose name I don’t think I ever knew).

        • BeautifullyHuman

          Detective Eddie Torres or Michael De La Renzo.

        • BeautifullyHuman

          I couldn’t get with Malik Yoba…dude stays with ashy a** lips. Even to this day.

          • Rawtid

            bwaahahaha he does!

        • Sigma_Since 93

          You mean dude from the Beat It video???

      • You gotta throw the season after Eddie died in the trash tho

      • miss t-lee

        Girl…okay? They need to stop playing and put that out.

    • veryaveragebrotha

      I don’t think the issue is that she missed it, it’s that not only did she not like it, but she went on to express her disdain for it…you can’t date someone who thinks your sense of humor is corny/whack…you just can’t

    • I eventually got into Seinfeld via syndication…we were a Thursday Night Fox family

    • I was a child when Seinfeld was current. I kinda watched it with my parents because they loooved it. I also watched other strange (read: non-Black) shows like Mad About You and Caroline in the City. I was a weird kid in general. lol

      • Rachmo

        Yo Mad About You is the truth

      • She Who Reads

        I forgot about Mad About You!!!!! I liked that.

      • When i was younger i thought Paul Reiser and Seinfeld were the same person #races

        • I got Paul Rudd and Paul Reiser confused for a minute.

          • Lea Thrace

            That is blasphemy. Paul Rudd is the shiznite. Reiser is just another neurotic white dude who has funny moments.

      • mochazina

        i love mad about you. my hubby doesn’t. i forgave him.

      • Amber

        I totally forgot about Caroline in the City but I liked that show. I wonder if it’s on Netflix

      • Damon Young

        mad about you had its moments

      • Sahel

        Hmm,did you watch felicity

        • Dude, I watched almost everything the WB aired in the late 90s. Try me lol

          • Epsilonicus

            I used to watch Felicity thinking that college would be full of romantic drama.

        • Boo Radley

          Right up until she cut her hair. I don’t know why it ruined it for me, but it did.

        • Rawtid

          yep and dawsons creek

      • KKay

        I watched the same shows. I guess I was in middle or high school when these were on.

        I was a weirdy too. When was about 13, I used to stay up late and watch depressing-azz chinese movies (subtitles and all). Then I moved on to french (still depressing), and german (kind of depressing).

      • MsSula

        Yo! I was not even in the States when those shows played, but I became a die-hard fan of them by way of syndication. I have Nick at Nite to thank for a lot of my American Culture 101 knowledge.

        Like I thought Just Shoot Me! was one of the funniest underated show out there. Loll. Yes I have a weird sense of humor.

    • Asiyah

      I see your point. It is my own individual litmus test but I know that Seinfeld isn’t for everybody. It’s just that I’d rather be with those bodies that like it lol

      Loved me some Martin!

      • cynicaloptmst81

        Martin is my litmus test.
        No Martin. No me.
        Know Martin. Know me.

        • BeautifullyHuman

          Yes, girl!!

    • Damon Young

      interesting point. perhaps that’s why i never really got into any of those shows. of course, i watched them when i could — well, martin and living single. i never got into ny undercover — but i dont seem to have the same reverence for them that many other black people do

      • You don’t like NY Undercover? The TV show with the best soundtrack ever???!!! I rebuke thee in the name of the Lord!

        • Damon Young

          I won’t even say I didn’t like it. I didnt watch it enough to get an opinion. Never seen an episode in full.

          • panamajackson

            Man, I think I’ve seen EVERY episode. i loved that show.

            • BeautifullyHuman

              As a music lover, I even loved the intro music to the show.

        • KKay

          I remember at the end of every episode, they would show some group playing at the club.

    • I watched NY Undercover FAITHFULLY.

      • Epsilonicus

        Same here!!

  • She Who Reads

    I just tried to watch Seinfeld.

    I’m with Ashley.

    • BeautifullyHuman

      I could never get into it either. I enjoyed “Friends” and “Will
      & Grace,” but Seinfield was never my cup of tea.

      But give me some Martin or Fresh Prince any day! H*ll, even give me some Golden Girls…that’s my ish.

      • Tosin Otitoju

        Will and Grace!!!

      • Rawtid

        Yes! I didn’t like Friends either but Will and Grace was funny. Yes to all the rest you mentioned!

      • camilleblu

        will & grace was hilarious! *karen* had nary a fukc to give about anybody, and i loved her for it.

      • She Who Reads

        I have friends who love Will and Grace, but I’m not sure I know anyone who watches Friends like that. However, Frasier was my show. And, of course, Golden Girls, but that goes without saying. That’s classic television.

        Contemporarily, Modern Family is EVERYTHING!

        • Lea Thrace

          I have seen EVERY friends & seinfeld episode more than 5 times. I can quote soooo many episodes. Love both of them.

          Gave up on Will and Grace after about season 2 or 3. Jack got on my darn nerves.

        • ED

          Modern Family is hilarious

          • Val

            Manny, Lily and Haley crack me up.

            • She Who Reads

              Especially Lily! She would steal the show if Manny wasn’t so charismatic.

        • Angel Baby

          Friends was one of my favorite shows!!! To the point that when the last show happened some of me and the college roomies at the time went to the last showing to watch it in the park with other fans. We were given masks to wear of all the different character faces and everyone almost cried. I remember my mom had bought me the game when I was younger too bc I watched it that much. So yeah! LOL

          • She Who Reads

            Really? Like a watching party? LOL.

        • Asiyah

          I used to love Friends! But then I got older and I realized the jokes weren’t as funny as I thought they were. Still enjoy the first 5 seasons of it.

          And I love Modern Family!!!! It actually made me like Sofia Vergara lol

        • Damon Young

          i think modern family is…good. not great. i seem to be in the minority with that, though

          • MsSula

            I am part of that minority. I think Modern Family is good but definitely not great. It gets too much into its own head… as in the show is sooo self-conscious about being avant-garde funny that it makes it meh.

      • Angel Baby

        I liked Friends and Will & Grace too!

      • Yoles

        Golden Girls IS that show!!!!!!!!!!

        • BeautifullyHuman

          All day!!!

  • nillalatte

    Seinfeld? Who is Seinfeld? LOL… nah, I’ve watched Seinfeld for about 10 mins and I find watching grass grow much more exciting. Seinfeld is boring as h3ll. The only thing I can say good about Seinfeld is that he is consistent; Consistently not funny! Sorry, dude. You and your STB can giggle all you want. I’ll just sit in the background sipping from my drank and let y’all have that moment. Y’all so cute together! :D

    • Rawtid

      i agree!

    • Damon Young

      Are you trying to get banned?

  • BeautifullyHuman

    I can understand where you’re coming from, Champ. If a man disclosed to me that he did not like Martin…I think I would seriously have to bypass him. Martin is my all-time favorite show and considering I can recite most episodes by heart, a dude would probably get curved with that admission. Lol

    If you can’t laugh at Jerome then you’re probably too serious to hang with me because I’m pretty silly.

    • Speaking of…..i had my first sh t am i old moment when I made a breath smelling like similac reference and she ain’t get it (she was 21)

      • BeautifullyHuman

        90s baby. Smh

    • Yoles

      i did not like martin and i HATED the jerome character but i swear I’m an absolute delight.. I’m fun i swear.. full of #fairyfvckshit thats what my friends say….

      • BeautifullyHuman

        Girl…

        But you’re still cool peoples! I have nothing, but love for you. :-)

      • MsSula

        Reading these comments, I want to make the argument that perhaps Humour is generation-based. Meaning, I can totally see why you wouldn’t like Martin.

        While I enjoyed Martin, I don’t think it’s the greatest show ever. The humor can be a bit too much for me at times.

  • Tosin Otitoju

    Not a Seinfield fan, don’t recall ever watching it, but I had heard your Seinfield terms – wasn’t there also a fuggedabout it episode, in addition to the marine biologist, etc. Don’t know what they mean tho, or why they are funny. But it looks like if i got Seinfield knowledge without consciously watching the thing (there must not have been a lot of different episodes or like there were a lot of reruns or I knew people who made a lot of Seinfield references?) your potential significant other could pick up Seinfield culture in less than 40 hours, and not knowing this stuff is not a smart way to weed people out.
    Anyhow, the tall-haired guy – Kramer? – was more goofy than anything, Seinfield was a white-ass show if I recall, but if it makes you happy…
    Is the show still on?

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Seinfield was a white-ass show

      That was my issue with Seinfield and Friends. How are you gonna live in Gotham and not run across ANY black folk in seven years??? We out chea in these streets. Did the coffee house and the diner have a whites only sign???

      • camilleblu

        *raises fist in solidarity*

        • Sigma_Since 93

          *fights back the tears*

          You are the real MVP Camilleblue!!!

          • camilleblu

            lol…i feel like you might could be sitting at your desk listening to *fight the power* and side-eyeing all the pink toes in your office.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              Wo-maaaaaaan listen. Being the only fly in the buttermilk in this department, there are a lot of pink toes in this piece! lol

      • jolly

        haha my point too! But I’m pretty sure Friends was more “color-people” friendly than Seinfeld. I wonder if someone has thought to make this list http://madamenoire.com/76543/tv-shows-with-little-to-no-black-people-that-you-should-be-watching/ in the reverse and how effective that campaign would be.

        • Amber

          No it wasn’t. Seinfeld had way more diverse interactions with POC than Friends.

          • jolly

            You win. I’ve watched a cumulative 10 minutes of Seinfeld in my lifetime.

      • that was before I knew to care about that kinda stuff lol

      • Val

        Yep. And then Friends got its token Black person in the form of Aisha Taylor.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          I thought that was Gabby Union? You gotta love Aisha as Lana Kane in Archer…..

          • Val

            I don’t like Aisha in anything.

            • I like her in her podcast. Hater. lol

              • camilleblu

                lol @hater

              • Val

                Meh, she’s just not funny at all to me.

              • Girl on Guy is good but her latest string of guests have bored me a tad.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              I thought we were cool…………….. *looks at Val side eyed*

              • Val

                Lol. We are.

            • Lea Thrace

              Say it aint so Val. Dont break my heart like this.

              Archer is soooo friggin heelarious tho…

              • Val

                I’ve never seen Archer. Is that on Netflix? Otherwise I mainly know her from The Talk and she’s decidedly not funny, even though she tries to be, on that show.

                • Lea Thrace

                  Archer IS on netflix. Please try at least the first 4 episodes. Once you settle into the absurdity/hilarity of it all, I think you will really like it.

                  • Val

                    Okay, I’ll check it out.

        • There was that phase in the 90s when a bunch of white sitcoms randomly added a token black to the cast

          • Val

            If I’m not mistaken Black Friends fans complained a bit about no Black folks being on the show and that’s how Aisha got on the show.

      • Lea Thrace

        Jackie Chiles would like a word with you…

        http://youtu.be/jpcEietIoxk

        • Sigma_Since 93

          The token black lawyer. Nah I’m good.

          • “You put the balm on? Who told you to put the balm on?”

            • Asiyah

              LOL I just quoted that below lol

              *daps*

          • miss t-lee

            You do know this was an homage to Johnnie Cochran, right?

            • Sigma_Since 93

              Yup. The irony is that when you look at OJ’s dream team, Johnnie was the only fly in the buttermilk.

              • miss t-lee

                Indeed, great at his job.

      • Word. Did George Wallace or Lester Maddox get into the coffee house business in their part of NYC?

        • Sigma_Since 93

          George Wallace or Lester Maddox get into the coffee house business

          Coffee house segregation now…Coffee house segregation FOREVER!!! LOL

          • Asiyah

            @disqus_jaQFOkPNbv:disqus
            @sigma_since_93:disqus

            there were black characters (and other minorities) on Seinfeld, they just weren’t main characters. they didn’t seem like tokens, but the fact that they didn’t have major storylines is problematic and I can see why minorities wouldn’t watch the show.

      • Asiyah

        that reminds me of the episode when George wanted to show he wasn’t racist after saying his black coworker looked like Sugar Ray Leonard by getting a black handyman to be his friend.

        also, the episode when Elaine is dating some guy she thinks is mixed and he thinks the same thing about her and it turns out they’re both just boring white people and they end the conversation by saying “want to go to the Gap?” smh lol

    • Amber

      I loved Seinfeld but couldn’t get into Friends. Seinfeld had way more black characters than Friends.

  • Val

    My litmus test might be Sherri Sheppard. If I’m on a first date and find out that you think Sherri Sheppard is brilliant then we have a problem. Heck, if I was on a first date with Alicia Keys and I found out she was a Sherri Sheppard stan I’d just call it a night and hail AK a cab and send her home to Swizz. Okay, that’s a lie. AK could tell me she’s a serial killer and I’d be like, ‘have you seen Dexter?’. ‘Well why don’t we discuss it at my place.’ Lol.

    But, you get my point.

    I guess it’s really about finding someone who gets us, right? And, these sorts of litmus tests are a good way of saving a lot of time and trouble on that quest. That is, if we actually adhere to our own standards and aren’t sidetracked by a pretty face or some other distraction.

    • I don’t understand WHO likes Sherri Shepherd…. She’s like a cereal box with tiddees

      • Val

        An empty cereal box at that.

      • kidvideo

        Ha Ha Ha….tiddees.

      • camilleblu

        i feel like NOBODY likes sherry shepherd in real life, bc they let her make horrible life choices.

      • Damon Young

        y’all need to chill with the sherri shade. she just got fired, so she actually might be reading this

        • Epsilonicus

          Did she really get fired?

      • BeautifullyHuman

        You’re silly lmao

  • I don’t date frequently enough to have a litmus test yet. But if someone wasn’t struggling to breathe while watching in the loop, I’d know our humor would never align.

    • KKay

      Okay now I’ve got to watch In The Loop. Looks like it has a couple of character from The Thick of It tv series. I absolutely love The Thick of It. I highly recommend it.

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