Friday, May 14, 2010

On Dating: The Center of the World by Andreas Steinhöfel

(In which I can’t believe I’m taking Glass’ advice.)

“Right. Well, I’ll give you a mother’s tip – in fact, I’ll give you three if you promise to leave me alone after that.”
“Cross my heart,” I say hurriedly. My eyes gradually get used to the dark. I see Glass gesticulating. Her hands are two vague, faintly shimmering blobs, huge moths fluttering about wearily.

“First, on no account let him know he’s the first date you’ve ever had. That’ll make him just as nervous as you, and if a sexually aroused man is too nervous – “

“Glass, no one’s talking about sexual arousal here!”

“Second, never ask him if he loves you.”

“Why not?”

“If he says no, you’ll wish you’d never asked. If he says yes, you can’t be certain whether he’s just doing so to avoid an ugly scene. In both cases, you’ll be devastated.”

“But he might say yes and mean it.”

“How old is he?”

“Not as old as Michael.” It’s too dark to see if or how Glass reacts to this little sideswipe. “About eighteen.”

“Then he may still tell the truth.”

The floorboards creak as I shift my weight from one foot to the other. “And number three?”

“Wash under your armpits.”

“Very funny, Mom!”

“Good night, and see you at breakfast.”

“Stupid witch.”

“I love you too, darling.”
One of the biggest reasons why I enjoy reading this book is the balance between humor and drama. Steinhöfel’s description of characters and experiences plays between sarcasm and emotionality, thus creating an experience of a rollercoaster ride at every flip of the pages.

The confusion of the main character, Phil, in almost every aspect tries to reach out to the reader. It makes me feel as if I’m reading a part of my own story. Anyway, who’s never – in the slightest bit – confused with matters concerning romantic relationships?

I’m no dating expert and I’m not a dating newbie either. But I still screw up regardless of the fact that I’m not completely inexperienced. These three tips were useful. Seriously. But they’re difficult to follow, to say the least. I mean the first two because it’s hard to deny the truth and to suppress the questions that have been for a while fighting for an orifice in your psyche.

Okay. So whether you’re a Phil or a Glass, dating requires more than experience. It’s about control.

And in case you were wondering, Michael is Glass’ current boyfriend and he’s in his fifties.