What Improv has taught me about dating

I am basically a jack-of-most-trades. Not only am I a writer and a seamstress, but I’m also an improvisor. I do Improv comedy and recently have formed a professional competitive group. We do mostly the “whose line” style of improv because that’s what we like the best. That isn’t to say that we can’t do serious or dramatic improv, we just like the games and the funnier side of it.

This isn’t necessarily the point of this post, however. I’m writing to show off what doing Improv has taught me in regards to dating. You’d be surprised. We have a lot of scenes and games that involve taking someone on a date. We have played games that have hetero- and homo-sexual relationships depicted. (I personally love the homosexual scenes.) But I have noticed a few trends and my take on why we do them and how to take these scenes (and the lessons learned therein) an apply them to dating.

One: Dates INVARIABLY start at Italian Restaurants.

Why is this?
Because it’s a SAFE choice. Most people will like either pizza or pasta, or some combination of the other things Italy is famous for and no one is going to really complain about their date’s food choices.It’s fairly reasonably priced at most Italian eateries and you look relatively impressive taking your date to a fine eating establishment.

What should we do to change it?
Do something different. Yes, rule of Improv number one is just go with whatever happens in your brain, but seriously, Italian restaurants? This also explains why your dates IRL are boring, well, at least partially. Don’t say McDonald’s as your first go-to either, and definitely don’t take a first date there, unless specifically asked (for whatever reason your date enjoys going to Mickey D’s. I don’t judge.) Pick any other type of food, if you’re pretending to be at a restaurant, anything, whether you know anything about the kind of food or not. Trust me, your date will be more impressed.

Personally, some of my better dates have started at Denny’s (or ended there, if we did a movie or something first.) And, I’m allergic to seafood, another thing Italian restaurants have an abundance of.

Two: Karma punishes the creepy and awkward.

Why is This?
It’s the way we set up the games. We do it because the audience wants to see a clear antagonist and discomfort is amusing to us because we have all felt the same way. Sometimes, you don’t know what to say and it comes out wrong and you’re punished for it. It happens in real life too, so why not make a joke of it in Improv?

What should we do to change it?
Let it go. Let the karma reward you or punish you as the scene (and Karma itself) deems fit. In real life, you only have to impress your date well enough to get that second date. (and third and so on etc.) Improv is supposed to teach you how to just go with it, and to relax, you can’t control everything all the time so let your Karmic punishments and rewards happen naturally.

Three: There is a VERY strict guideline to how much you can compliment someone.

Why is this?
Because everyone has a different opinion of what is too much, too little, sincere, insincere and creepy. And I’m sure there’s other adjectives in there too, but whatever. Too much, you’re punished. Too little you’re punished. Come off as creepy or insincere and you’re punished. Good Lord, it’s enough to drive you mad.

How do we change it?
Compliment sparingly. At the beginning of your date, compliment their looks. In the middle, compliment their wit or something similar. Make sure that you only compliment things once and be sincere. “Love your dress” is great the first time. The fifth time it’s just creepy.

And finally.

Four: You will be creepy and awkward no matter what.

Why is this?
Because Karma is watching.

How do we change this?
We don’t. It’s human nature. Even if you’re (performing/dating) someone who you’ve known forever, there are masks, shields, defenses, charms, glamours, what have you, all up on your date. And don’t deny it, you’re putting them on too. Like a mask, or a suit of armor. Or a character. Roll with it. Karma likes a good show.


About kaikiriyama

I'm a writer. I write everything from shorts, to novels to screenplays and then some. I like comic books, ponies, zombies, pokemon, monsters, demons, vampires and mythology. I walk a fine line between badass, scary and girly. View all posts by kaikiriyama

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