Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Wayne Newton – "Danke Schoen" (1963)

Picture show, second balcony
Was the place we'd meet
Second seat, go Dutch treat

A number of newspapers publish “blind date” columns that report on blind dates set up by newspaper staffers.

The Washington Post’s “Date Lab” is typical of these.  Post staffers look over questionnaires that potential daters submit, then play matchmaker.  They invite a young man and young woman to meet at a local restaurant for drinks and dinner on the newspaper.   (On occasion, they pair up a more “mature” couple, or a same-sex couple.)

Where you can find
“Date Lab” each Sunday
Then they debrief the daters and write up an account of the date that appears in the Post’s “Magazine” section, which is part of the Sunday paper.

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Most “Date Lab” participants are wishy-washy and indecisive, and the upshot of most “Date Lab” pairings is  . . . nothing

The Post can usually be counted on to match couples who are reasonably compatible.  (Rabid liberals aren’t matched up with rabid conservatives, and svelte triathletes aren’t paired up with pudgy couch potatoes.)  So the dates are usually pleasant – the couples find each other physically attractive, and are able to sustain a pleasant conversation for as long as the date lasts.

The main problem with “Date Lab” dates is chemistry – or, to be more precise, lack of chemistry.  The daters have very high expectations: perfection is acceptable, but just barely.

As a result, “Date Lab” dates usually one-offs.  The couples may share digits, then exchange a text message or two – and occasionally they will meet for a second date.  But most of the time they don’t. 

“Date Lab” fine print
I can’t tell you how many “Date Lab” columns end with the couple engaging in some desultory follow-up that leads nowhere – e.g., “Jack texted Jill a week later and suggested they get together for a cup of coffee, but so far the couple have been unable to find a mutually convenient time to meet.”

If the millennials who make up the vast majority of “Date Lab” participants are representative of their generation, we’re not going to have to worry about overpopulation.

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Sometimes there are other problems that derail any potential relationship.

In the most recent “Date Lab,” the participants were a 30-year-old male speechwriter for a mental health nonprofit (we’ll call him “M”) and a 25-year-old account manager for a health-care consulting firm (who we’ll refer to as “F”).

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The date seemed to start off OK – both M and F had started drinking before they met at the restaurant where they were having dinner, so the evening “buzzed with a sense of mild inebriation.”

The two were able to converse throughout dinner “with nary an awkward silence.”  According to the Post, “they were on the same page when discussing the Hollywood/media sexual assault allegations that seem to surface daily.”  (Note to all you women: guys don’t necessarily tell the truth on dates.)

The bar where F and M met
Also, F concluded that M “wasn’t a total creep.”  Things were really going well!

But the date jumped the shark when the waiter dropped off the check, which was $70 more than the allowance provided by “Date Lab.”  F said M suggested that they split it down the middle, “which cooled her on him even further.”

“As much as women’s equality is a thing now, and whatever, I do think that chivalry is not dead and should not be,” F told the Post. “When a guy offers to pay, it [sends a message] of, ‘I’m interested in you and I want to keep this going.’

In other words, F is all for gender equality except when it comes to pulling the old plastic out of her purse.

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I’m old.  But when I was young, it was de rigeur for the guy to pick up the tab for a date.

This made sense in part because men usually made more money than women back in the day – especially those men who were dating younger women, which was almost all men.   So it seemed fairer for the man to pay.  After all, as Karl Marx once said, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”  

But today women and men are pulling down comparable salaries.  

It’s not clear from the “Date Lab” article whether F or M makes more money.  F is younger, which might indicate that she makes less.  But M works at a nonprofit organization, while F is employed by a for-profit company – and has a job description that sounds a little higher-powered to boot.  So it’s probably 50-50 whether F or M makes more coin.

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While considerations of gender equality and economics dictate that F and M should have split the bill even Steven, F wanted to have her cake and eat it, too – plus she wants M to pay for the cake.

Let’s face it – she’s a hypocrite.  (She’s not alone, by the way.  Click here to read a recent Boston Globe article reporting that almost two-thirds of women believe men should foot the entire bill for a first date, and that over 40% of women are “bothered” if men expect them to go Dutch.)

Which is too bad because she’s pretty hot.  (Which may explain her attitude – good-looking women are used to getting their way with guys.)

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“Danke Schoen” was recorded in 1963 by the 21-year-old Wayne Newton.

Many other singers recorded that song, but it was always identified with Newton – who was the quintessential schmaltzy lounge-singer.

Here’s Wayne Newton performing “Danke Schoen” live:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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