Is dating still a thing?

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Is dating a thing anymore? Pretty sure I’ve been on zero this year, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had enough wine to drink Gilgamesh under the table on the banks of the Euphrates. This year has given me a chance to expand my palate, get a sommelier certification and taste great wines on a daily basis. Whether it’s for the holidays coming up, weekends with family, virtual dates or the desire to forget 2020, here is a list of my top wines of the year:

Casa Ferreirinha Esteva Douro 2018 ($11)

It’s dark purple hue is unmistakable. Made with a blend of grapes I probably can’t pronounce, this affordable red offers a glimpse of the potential in Portuguese red wines from the Douro Valley. It’s full bodied yet balanced with complex flavors, and pairs well with whatever you’re burning in the kitchen. …


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In the summer of 2015, I decided to work on a goat cheese farm in France. Sounds romantic, exotic, adventurous, right? Two days before hopping on a plane to the coastal city of Nice, I called the farmer and asked him what I should pack. “You need boots,” is all I could get from his broken English. I nodded toward my fresh Columbia boots, which were shiny and still emanating that new shoe smell. But it wasn’t until I got to the Miami airport that my decision to live at a stranger’s farm and milk his goats got to my head. …


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I was driving my car to Home Depot with the windows down. I prefer hot wind over cool air in the Summer. A mosquito flew in and got itself stuck under the wind shield. Not really “stuck”… more like trapped. The little fucker kept hitting against the glass and buzzing up and down, most likely questioning why this clear force field was there, or probably not thinking at all. At times, the mosquito just sat there, with its sticky legs, scratching its head. Then it would buzz up and down again. Dude. …


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“What do I have to do?” I asked.

“So you’re gonna play a cop and you have to shoot my little brother,” my friend responded.

Three years ago, I was asked to play a cop on stage for the 35th annual African American Homecoming Pageant at Ohio State. The scene was easy to memorize and didn’t involve a lot of choreography. Just be a suspicious cop. Ask what these two black kids are doing. Then shoot the one trying to pick a fight with you. And run off.

This was post-Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and many other members of the black community who had lost their lives to police brutality. Before I got to the performance hall, I had dusty, heavy butterflies in my stomach. …


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This shit sucks. My dad’s been bumping into walls with his brand new VR set and my mom’s been doing Zoom calls at full volume while shoving frozen asparagus into an old oven.

But it doesn’t have to suck.

Restaurants have been turning into retail shops, selling bottles from prize-winning lists, and shops have been delivering as if people are more worried about an empty wine fridge than wiping their ass with napkins that say, “Live, Laugh, Love”.

And dating. Well fuck dating. What about fucking? Christ. Most of us aren’t gonna have sex again until 2023 when bars open back up with strict rules like don’t move unless “Simon Says”. It’s hard being optimistic right now. And news headlines aren’t helping. So if we’re gonna be stuck at home, let’s train our palates and prepare our wine IQ for when every horn dog on Earth hits the streets looking for the truest of gentlemen. …


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Pour some cheap Ragu into a non-microwave-safe bowl, then microwave it. That’s how Wesley felt as he sat across from a rose wrapped in loud plastic that he hoped would be crumpled by other, softer hands. The can of fat tire melting along his fingertips wasn’t part of the plan. He was surrounded by people talking to people, yet the empty chair across from him looked natural in this sea of communication. Wait a little longer. She’ll come. Wait a little longer. You weren’t wrong. Wait a little longer. You were drunk. Wait a little longer. Life is all about second chances. He holds back tears because he’s in public. …


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I did it for the money. If that’s a problem, you should stop reading this shit and eat some pretzels. It went like this: Two days ago I saw a truck under the Kensington bridge on my way home from Eddy’s. As I passed it, I heard the hot ticks coming from the hood. You know, when you turn the car off after a long ride. It looked empty and unlocked, so I made visors out of my hands and looked inside. Four white balls stared at me. I heard them say come in, but it was muffled enough to raise some doubts. It sounds stupid: getting into a car with strangers. But I was broke as shit and most of my cash came from strangers who needed favors. Pick up this, drop off that, watch my baby while I shoot this smack, get three Dr. Pepper’s, stroke my dick under this broken lamp post. It was 5am under the bridge that day, and it was cold and sad. I opened the door and saw two guys wearing headsets. The kid behind the wheel looked like a “Jack” with anger management, while the other had an ugly mustache and nostrils big enough to fit both my thumbs. …


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Congratulations. You made it by a hair’s breadth. She likes you enough to tell her friends she went on a date with someone who didn’t wear a Blackstone vest or have white claw breath. Fall is around the corner and the leaves aren’t the only ones praying for a cozy landing in love. But the stakes are higher now, the competition fiercer, and the wine choices tougher to crack. You’re out to lunch if you don’t think her friends stalked your insta, looking for red flags such as a caption ending in “ — for the boys” or broken smiles. Her best friend already gave her 83 reasons not to date you, hell, she probably made a damn pie chart with your only hope being the tiny sliver that says, “If you were 38, then yes, I would accept him.” Doubt is the beast with no regard for love, so buckle up, throw out the mango claws, and show her you’ve been sent to Earth by Cupid himself because he was too busy playing archery with Chazz Michael Michaels. …


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“The moon is more of a friend than the sun because it only sheds light on what truly matters: silver hair blowing in the wind, waves sliding in unison, peaks and valleys of sand dunes, salty mist on the skin, buried toes in the sand, drifting clouds with no destination, stars that no longer exist, sounds of sea foam being swallowed by wet sand, mute conversation, pulsing constellations, the silhouette of a fading memory, and a notion that just like the infinite sea, an infinite love exists in all who breathe.

If everything matters, what would ever be the matter, when we live to live on things to matter?” …

About

Shawn Zylberberg

Actor and writer based in Miami

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