In her new book, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, Canadian comedian Ophira Eisenberg explains how she spent her twenties “traveling from futon to futon and gathering data,” trying to figure out who and what she wanted. Here, she spills the details of her dating-related science experiment.
Q: Explain how your single years were like a research experiment.
A: As I like to say, for years I traveled from flask to flask, futon to futon, gathering data, figuring one day I’d put it all together and, like a mad scientist, build my own perfect Frankenmate. By allowing myself to date a lot of different people, I slowly started to understand what I liked, what worked for me, and moreover what didn’t work for me. Mean to waiters? No, thank you. Unresolved anger issues? Maybe we can go to therapy together. Sing in a barbershop quartet? I can work with it.
Q: Some dating handbooks advise women looking for love to play hard to get and cut out casual sex; why did you decide to go with the opposite approach?
A: I wish matters of the heart could all be boiled down into a handbook, but I think it’s so much more complicated. Heck, I think men are more complicated than that! But the fact that I took the opposite approach was unintentional and organic. I probably would have benefited from playing harder to get every once in a while, but I also sought out guys that I not only liked, but ones who liked me, which meant we didn’t have to play the games. I certainly had crushes on men that weren’t into me, but I’m not enough of a poet to enjoy that for long. I needed to get in the action. Some people are like orchids, only blooming when they have perfect conditions, but I saw myself more like a weed — able to thrive anywhere.
Q: Was your dating life as fun as it sounds or did you hit some downsides?
A: I’m so glad it sounds fun! I certainly cried tears, suffered heartache, rejection — all the normal stuff that happens along the way. But I also had so much fun. I’ve always really enjoyed the company of men, so I will say that I approached dating for the most part like it was an adventure that I wanted to be part of.
Q: Do you think your years of casual dating gave you any clarity when it comes to figuring out what you want from a relationship?
A: Definitely. I shopped around, found a few things that I liked, and also got kicked out of a few stores. By the time I met my now husband, I had skills and could identify a good fit. I am grateful for all of my experience because it led me to happiness.
Q: Can you offer any wisdom when it comes to finding the right relationship?
A: I’m not a dating expert — just someone who wrote a funny book about my experiences, but here it goes anyhow! I don’t think anyone should feel pressure to settle down too quickly. It’s OK to take things slower and explore your options — even if it takes years. I guess I’m evidence that taking the slower route can still lead to true love! And I’ll never get those hours back from my twenties, staring at my phone waiting for him to call. If it’s driving you crazy — just call him! But I would recommend only calling him once.