Tag Archives: date

Chop Style: Avoiding the Freshman Sydrome

First things first… The first thing is that we’re happy to announce that this blog was recognized yesterday by the City Paper in their annual Best of Baltimore issue as being Baltimore’s Best Local Blog. The BoB award carries a lot of weight in this town, and most of your finer local establishments display one on their walls from some year or another, so we’re excited to have one of our own to put in the office. We’re looking forward to spending long hours staring at it while we’re lazy and distracted and saying to ourselves “What the fuck are we going to write about today?” which is how blogs are made.

We also want to thank the CP staff for paying enough attention to remember that we are a blog. If we were handing out advice to a beginning blogger, it would not be “don’t write anything at all for 3 months” which is exactly what we’ve done up until yesterday. It means that much more to us for having been offline these 90 days.

A visual approximation of the Chop being the best.

So like we said, we get a little award suitable for framing. But the real prize when you win one of these is that you score an invite to the annual Best of Baltimore party, and get to hobnob and schmooze and glad-hand with the other winners, and of course, be privy to an open bar.

So we went there yesterday, and we did that. We even managed to get a date for the event. And without saying too much about it, we didn’t look at it as one of these “Oh I just need somebody to go with so let’s just go and hang out or whatever” dates. It was more like one of these “She seems pretty awesome and I really want this to go well and I’m kind of nervous about it and I still sort of can’t believe she said yes.” kind of dates. The best kind.

Which brings us to the main idea of this post. For a big date, or any type of big event whether it’s a job interview, a holiday, a wedding or what have you, the temptation is always there to go shopping beforehand and find something new to wear. It’s a temptation we usually resist, and we recommend the rest of you do the same.

Think about the beginning of high school. The first day of ninth grade is a big fucking deal for most kids. You’re out of middle school, and thrown in with a lot of older kids. You may be meeting kids from other middle schools, taking new classes, dating for real for the first time, and you’re trying you’re level best just to fit in, let alone cut a great figure down the hallways.

Maybe it’s different for girls, but for most of us boys your mom dragged you to the mall to hit the back to school sales and made you try on jeans and shirts for hours on end, wouldn’t let you get any of the things that you really wanted, or anything that wasn’t on sale, or anything that couldn’t double as church clothes- in short, anything good. So the first day of school rolls around and now that the clothes are bought you actually have to wear them, and in addition to all the hassles and stresses and pressures of starting high school, you’re constantly thinking “Do these jeans look like Dad jeans? Do these look like floppy clown shoes? Does this shirt make me look like a doofus?” And you wish you’d never gone shopping at all.

We’ve got it better as adults. Most of us have a much improved sense of style and a better sense of self than we did at 14, and we’re free to buy and wear what we will without any help from Mom. All the same, the Freshman Syndrome still persists.

Sure, those pants look great, but do they look great on you? That sweater is nice enough to be an investment piece, but will it itch your neck until you wash it a few times? New shoes are great to have, but they’re even better after you’ve broken them in and they’re not stiff and unforgiving. At the end of the day, looking good is mostly about confidence, and it’s hard to be very confident in something you’ve seen only once in a store mirror. The clothes that really inspire confidence are the ones that we know fit the best; that we’ve seen in our own mirrors, that we’ve been photographed in, that have generated plenty of compliments in the past. Better than new clothes are your favorite clothes.

Having a closet full of clothes that we can count on is one of the best things about being a bona fide adult. In our case, we’re always prepared for anything from a wedding to a funeral to a formal event, or even a date… no trip to the mall required.

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Tragedy: a Tragedy @ Single Carrot Theater Tonight

When the young thespians behind Single Carrot Theater decided to find themselves a home they searched far and wide before settling on Charm City. It goes without saying that we think they’ve chosen wisely, and their arrival here has illustrated something that we often say about Baltimore: it’s probably a crummy place to visit but it’s a wonderful place to live. That’s true not only for people, but for theater productions as well. While many touring productions that come through are artistically questionable and barely profitable (looking at you, Hippodrome), local productions are consistently interesting and unique.

Tragedy opens at Single Carrot tonight. Film at 11.

That’s as true at SCT as anywhere. Baltimore is certainly a city of niches, and the Carrot has found theirs and settled into it quite well. They’ve quickly become a cornerstone of the Station North neighborhood and have been winning awards and new fans at such a consistent rate that it’s almost hard to imagine when there wasn’t a Single Carrot. That’s how naturally they fit into Baltimore’s cultural landscape.

Tonight’s sold-out show marks the official opening of Will Eno’s Tragedy: a Tragedy (with sneak previews having been staged this week). The New York Times famously called Eno a “Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation.” While the Chop doesn’t pretend to know too much about theater, we do pretend to know about news. Or fake news. Or news that is dumb enough to be fake. We watch plenty of it anyway; like watching Tony Hayward on the Hill as we type this avoiding questions about an actual tragedy, and let us tell you, it is certainly tragically absurd. So we’re excited to see art imitate life on stage tonight… and more than a little scared that life will out-ridicule the ridiculous.

We’d love a chance to get to the theater more often, and to cover it in this space. It seems to us though that it’s generally not the sort of event to which you drag all your old punk-rock buddies, and it would be awkward to go alone. To us the stage is best appreciated with a date. Not just any date will make a great theater date though. She’s got to like theater of course, as well as being all-around wonderful and someone we’d want to see a lot more of. Lucky for us, we found a great theater date for tonight.

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Single Carrot Theater is located at 120 W. North Ave in Station North. 443-884-9253. Tragedy opens tonight and runs until July 11.

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House Rules: Who Should Pay on a First Date

Ahem. This is one of those topics that has been done to death on the internet, radio, TV… just about everywhere. Asking who should pay on the first date is pretty much like saying “Please beat me over the head with your reactionary and ill-considered opinions until I never want to date again.” Any attempt at sincere discussion inevitably devolves into a misguided understanding of Feminism, Chivalry, Economics, Sexual Politics, Chauvinism, etc. etc. etc. While the Chop has heard plenty of opinions, we’ve yet to add our own voice to the fray, until now.

The Chop knows whereof we speak on this one. We’ve been on enough dates of all sorts, including free, that one method of financing them stands out as far and away the best.

While we do sort of subscribe to the old rule of “the one who asked for the date should offer to pay”, we find it absolutely works best when we pay for dinner and she offers to pay for the movie or drinks or whatever comes next. It’s really the only system that’s foolproof against trying to split things between credit cards, trying to be overly judicious about fairness or devolving into score-keeping.

We’ve found that when both parties bring an abundance of generosity to the table, everyone gets the best of both worlds. It works well for all involved.

We’re glad to pay the bar tab, but if she’s buying us drinks we know she’s a keeper.

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Going All Pro @ CA, Bar Bacon Comedy @ Golden West Tonight

We think we got it now. It’s all starting to make sense. It’s the weekend now, right? Like that time when everybody knocks off work and goes to do fun stuff? That’s howcome you haven’t been around so much, huh? You were waiting for the weekend.

Well it’s here, and there’s no shortage of fun stuff going on this weekend. We don’t know what you’re thinking of (hell, we never do, do we?) but we’ll definitely clue you in on what we’re up to.

First up we’re heading over to the Creative Alliance to catch the premiere of Going All Pro, the latest documentary from Baltimore’s own Charles Cohen. Going All Pro is an up close and personal look at Oriole Park’s Clancy the beer man. If that leaves you scratching your head, then shame on you, Baltimore. It means you haven’t been out to the Yard often enough.

When you go out to your neighborhood bar, you get to know the bartender a little, don’t you? You expect to see him there after a while and he becomes a friendly and familiar face and it wouldn’t be the same without him, right? Well, take it from the Chop, who watches more Oriole baseball than is healthy, and most of it from a sneaked-into box seat in section 12… these guys are just the same. Fancy Clancy is as much a fixture downtown as the Bromo-Seltzer tower.

Going All Pro premieres at CA tonight. 7 pm.

Director Charles Cohen is something of a Baltimore fixture in his own right. You might already be familiar with the Baltimore Community Issues Examiner from his contributions to Citypaper, including one from 2004 about Fancy Clancy and other publications or from any of his other films, including The Last Season, an excellent doc about the closing of Memorial Stadium. The Chop can remember seeing that one premiere, and there was no shortage of grown men crying, to be sure.

A q&a with Clancy and Cohen will follow the film, and lucky for us it’s only 41 minutes in length, which means we can make a 9 o’clock date at nearby Salt. That will leave us just enough time to get back uptown for Bar Bacon.

Bar Bacon hits the Golden West tonight. 11 pm.

It’s Volume III, Book II tonight… whatever that means. We suspect it has something to do with comedy duo Velvet Glovular, Seaton Smith, Sean Jokes, Dorian Grey, and Mike Moran. “A Comedy Tour of Paradise Island” means you can trade in that PBR for a seabreeze. We won’t tell.

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The Chop Sorts Out Your Love Life.

Here we are again on a Sunday, Baltimore. Nowhere to go (unless you want to go to this), fuck-all to do, and a hangover to cure. We figure Sunday is a good time to wax philosohphical, at least until there’s Sunday O’s games or softball to play.

What we’re on about today is something that has unfortunately been pertinent lately, to wit: There’s only one right way to cancel a date.

On second thought, be an adult and pick up the phone.

Let’s get this on the record, Baltimore. It’s a question of basic etiquette, and applies across the board to men and women, boys and girls. Things happen, plans change, stuff comes up and we all need to take a rain check once in a while, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Do it right, and it speaks well of you. Do it wrong, and you can expect the phone not to ring again. Here’s the right way to cancel a date…

This is how the Chop does it:

>>> 24 hours notice is required. Anything less than 24 hours could even be considered a stand-up. If someone’s agreed to go out with you, its safe to assume that they’re looking forward to it. Dropping plans on such short notice is not only disappointing, but adds the sudden problem of having little to do that night. Even if alternate plans are easy to come by, it really sucks to have to call up your friends and say “count me in, I just got stood up.” It’s also entirely possible that you are not the only person he/she could have asked out that night. Think about that.

>>> A phone call is the preferred communication method. There’s no getting around this one. Its just good manners. On the one hand, its still the only way to be sure that your date actually knows you’re canceling. An email, text, etc may not be read immediately, and even if a date was arranged by email, a phone call is still the only good form to cancel. On the other hand, it’s true that sometimes text/email is a lot easier and less awkward, but you know what? some things in life are hard and uncomfortable. Dating is often one of them. Grown-ups pick up the phone.

>>> You actually need to have a reason. It’s perfectly understandable that some things will rate higher on a priority list than dinner and a movie. Your dad having a heart attack or your boss making you work a Saturday night or the basement of your house suddenly flooding are all perfectly legitimate reasons to cancel a date; however, “I’m real tired from work” or “My sinuses kinda hurt” aren’t. If your excuse is lame, its a pretty good indication that you don’t actually want to go out in the first place.

>>> It’s down to you to suggest alternate plans. If you can’t get to the movies on Friday, suggest the same movie Sunday instead. Can’t do happy hour Thursday? Lunch on Saturday is appropriate. If you’re punching a hole in someone else’s calendar, it’s only right that you should then work around their calendar to re-schedule, not the other way around.

>>> Bonus points: Offer to pay. Without re-opening the age-old argument about who should pay for a date in the 21st century, it is a nice gesture to offer to get the tab next time out. It shows that you’re serious about wanting to go out again, and actually regret missing a date.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Following those simple steps will keep your dance card full and your phone ringing. Neglecting any of them is tantamount to saying “I’m a big flake who can’t be counted on for anything, and probably isn’t worth your time and trouble.” Which are you, Baltimore?

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What We’re Not Doing Tonight…

That’s right Baltimore… today it’s all about what we’re not doing tonight. Namely, We’re not going to the Walters’ for Ignite Baltimore #5. Mainly because we were in Europe and couldn’t put ourselves on the RSVP list in time. We got the wait list, but standing around Charles Street in the cold all night while the rest of you try to become the mayor of the the Walters on Foursquare is not our idea of an enchanted evening.

Ignite Baltimore #5 is sold-out at the Walters Art Gallery tonight.

For those of you unfamiliar, Ignite Baltimore is a wildly popular quarterly speaking series in which volunteers are given five minutes and 20 slides to say anything they want about anything they want. Now, the Chop is all for events with an intimate feel, and we love it when organizers remain fiercely independent in the face of success, but we cry foul on Ignite. You see, this isn’t the first time we haven’t been able to get in the door, and the event has reached the point where they’re simply refusing to grow. We say ideas are cultural currency, and supply should equal demand. They need a bigger venue.

We’re also not attending the Citypaper Cosmic Cocktail Party at the AVAM. Frankly, $50 is a lot of money to dress up and get drunk on a weeknight, especially since the event is only 3 hours and not in any way charitable.

'Dirty Boots...'

What we are up to tonight is another date. And this one is what you’d call a hot date. In fact, some of you may even remember Cowboy Boots from way back in October. We’re really pretty excited that she remembers the Chop, and we’re going to propose for our first date that we flee the hip district altogether and head up to Clementine for a nosh and a couple of Stonewall Pints, made of Ace pear cider, bourbon and fresh ginger. A little more laid-back than the first time we met, we hope.

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Date Night

Wasting no time, the Chop picked up the phone and got himself a date for his first Friday night back in town. Maybe not what you’d call a hot date, but we’re keeping our mind well open, since the nature of our work precludes much interaction with the fairer sex while we’re abroad.

And while dating girls in college (no, not grad school, but actual college is one of those things that most men want to do as much as possible while they still can, we’ve found that it doesn’t usually work so well in real life. We fear we’re in for an evening of listening to inane pop-culture references, youthful know-it-all-ism, and statements like “I listen to anything that has a good beat…”

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of dateworthy events in town tonight. We’ll see where we end up.

CA residents' open house is tonight, 7pm.

It might be over to the Creative Alliance for their Residents’ Open House. See the opening, have some cocktails, and watch Celebration play an acoustic set for free. Hard to go wrong there.

Then again, if she doesn’t fancy herself highbrow, we might get up to the Metro Gallery for Humiliated III, cause hey… why not make a potentially awkward date even more awkward by listening to stories about other awkward dates. Very meta. It could go really well for us, or really badly. Probably no in-between.

Humiliated III @ Metro Gallery, 8pm.

Of course, if it does go well, the laughs don’t end as Bar Bacon hits the Golden West tonight at 11:00. We might suggest it as an afterthought, or might drop her off early and slide in there solo. Either way, its a good night.

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