One of the best parts of dating a person, especially at the beginning of your relationship, is getting to pick their brain for cool stuff. Everybody's into different things, and therefore everyone knows about different obscure items--books, movies, bands, whatever--that could be busted out to woo or impress a potential partner. I mean sure, your friend the line cook at the recently three-starred restaurant might tell you about this authentic but out of the way Thai place in Queens that all the chefs go to, but he's much more likely bring a girl he's trying to impress there.
So as you get to know someone, you get to collect these little intellectual offerings and slowly come to think of them as "yours." Eventually, after you break up, you may even present a former boyfriend or girlfriend's gems as your own to the next person in line. These tidbits can also be used as currency to convince your friends that your current partner is cool and worthy. If you can turn your pal onto some awesome, next-big-thing band courtesy of the dude you recently started dating, chances are good your pals are going to be convinced the guy's worth keeping around.
It's important, when you're single, to keep your repertoire fresh and interesting, perhaps by reading blogs or magazines or something, so as to have enough ammunition to court potential partners. "I just saw the greatest black-and-white documentary about the Armenian genocide at the film forum," you might say. "It was narrated in an Inuit language that only three living people speak, by this director whose career I've kind of been following for a while. It was a real breakthrough film. Incredibly moving."
The longer you're with someone, the more of their material you absorb, which is great, but the less fresh material you're motivated to come up with. I mean, at some point you don't really feel the need to try and impress them anymore. At least not with your excellent taste. It's a shame, though, because neither of you get exposed to any brand new areas of knowledge unless through a friend, which never really has the same urgency. Especially since people seem to choose friends with similar bodies of knowledge.
So even though Frank will keep learning about, say, comics and rock music, and I'll keep reading new books and finding out about new restaurants, neither of us do or will know shit about contemporary art. And though it would be kickass to be able to talk about galleries like I have some clue what's going on, it doesn't really seem worth breaking up with Frank for, especially since it seems like lots of the dudes in the contemporary art world are gay.
Anyway, though, so all of this is a roundabout way of saying that I thought I'd share the three best things I've discovered through Frank with you guys, both so that these items are continually appreciated by new people, and also so that maybe karmically I'll get someone to share their best stuff with me without me having to sleep with them. So, ahem, here goes, in no particular order:
1. Achewood (www.achewood.com): simply the best, funniest most awesome web comic ever made. It takes a little while to get the hang of it, so go back and read the archives if you're interested, but any time I start to get depressed or full of a killing rage, reading Achewood makes me happy and at peace again.
2. The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling (www.friendsoftom.com): a radio show on listener-supported free-form radio station WFMU out of Jersey city, the Best Show makes me laugh so hard that when I am listening to it at work people regularly ask me if I am okay. And the answer is yes. I am happy, because I am listening to the Best Show. It too takes a few listens to get into the swing of it, but just know that the long, absurd calls are this guy John Wurster, former drummer for Superchunk and Tom's comedy partner.
3. Dr. Who. I never watched Dr. Who growing up, but the new ones starring Christopher Eccleston and then David Tennant--on BBC America and also available on google video search--are addictive. Watch them. Love them. Develop an incredible crush on David Tennant, regardless of your sexual orientation.
Kay folks. That's my current A-game. Hope you enjoy it. Maybe it will even get you laid. Anyone got anything good they're willing to share, let me know. Right now, were Frank and I to break up, I think the only dudes I could get into the sack with my material are thirteen and currently receiving wedgies.