Connecting the musicians via telephone, we asked them to discuss the steamy and eternal anthropological dialogue that we call love and relationships. Over the course of three chapters, the conversation will explore attraction, body image, breaking up, medieval times, Judaism, loneliness and fame. But, we begin inside the romantic warzones of dating.
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Chromeo, ‘Jealous (I Ain’t With It)’
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Vampire Weekend, ‘Diane Young’
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Is dating harder when you’re famous?
Dave: First of all, French culture doesn't have the concept of dating. I remember when I moved to the US 11 years ago, if I had dinner with the same girl a couple of times in the same month, all of a sudden we were dating and I had lots of obligations that I had no idea existed. It took me years to grasp that concept. In French culture it is very old school: you ask someone to be your girlfriend. There is no grey area like in the US.
According to the ‘Dating Factsheet’ I have in front of me, couples wait until the sixth to eighth date before they are willing to enter into an exclusive relationship.
Ezra: I don’t think I’ve ever dated. I’ve had girlfriends who I knew already, and it became romantic. I’ve had girlfriends that I have met at a party, and we went back to my place that night, y’know? Little by little, we spent more time together.
Dave: This is the new Ezra. Ezra the sexual predator. I haven’t seen this side of him.
Ezra: Dave has known me for years. He knows this is who I am. On point though, my parents for instance, they were set up on a blind date. They liked each other, went on a few more dates and ended up having kids and getting married. I have never been in a situation like that. For me, it is alien.
Dave: With your six to eight date rule, does this mean that you can play along with that game and space out those dates over three months, going on six to eight dates with loads of girls at the same time? Then, all of a sudden you will have this crazy polygamy thing going on, because you could be dating someone, not yet being exclusive, but getting the intimate rewards of dating. Are you saying you can do that and technically be in the clear?
Mathematically, yes. I suppose it is an algorithm for maximising your sexual activity.
Ezra: I think that would get you into trouble. Backdating things, revising history. It sounds like a nightmare.
Dave: I have done my fair share of romantic history revisionism. There is an expression in French; what do you call the ropes in Donkey Kong?
Dave: Yes, vines. You notice how a monkey never lets go of one vine until he has grabbed onto another one? Well, that analogy exists in French to explain male dating patterns. Nine times out of 10, there is an overlap. That’s when you need to start deleting Skype contacts and call histories. There is a lot of deletion going on. For Ezra and I, we're two Jewish guys, so the concept of historical revisionism is very sensitive to us. So, I find it hypocritical that, when it comes to romantic history, Ezra and I like to pretend that things never happened.
Ezra: It’s true! The categorical imperative of not revising history should cover everything. We shouldn’t be allowed to pick and choose.
Dave: From Auschwitz, all the way to whoever I was talking to last month. If we had any backbone, we would apply it to all areas of our life.
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My ideal first date is when I don’t have to go to the bathroom all night.
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Ezra, you may need to be hypothetical here due to your lack of dates, but what would your perfect first date be? Apparently the most successful first dates happen in Italian restaurants.
Dave: According to who? Billy Joel?
Ezra: I don’t have much experience here, but that is that something a woman would really like? It seems corny.
Dave: For 80% of the normcore population, restaurants are either Asian or Italian. Nobody is like, “Dude, I've got this bomb Ethiopian spot you gotta try out!” And nobody is going to take dates to a Chinese restaurant.
Ezra: Wait! Why not?
Dave: Slurping all over each other? You would do it, wouldn’t you? Because you’re a contrarian.
Ezra: Yes, I am a contrarian. In New York, Chinese food is very low key. It’s like meeting for coffee.
Dave: My ideal first date is when I don’t have to go to the bathroom all night. If I take someone home, and they sleep over, then my perfect date is not needing the bathroom all night. I’m talking about sitting down in the bathroom. My perfect date is when I don’t need a number two. I get a lot of anxiety over that.
Ezra: That is very awkward, having to leave your girl to do a number two. Is she just sitting in the living room? You could put Netflix on. Give her an episode of Mad Men to watch. So is your ideal date, like, one glass of wine and a chat?
Dave: Well… You’re like me. We don’t drink a lot, no?
Ezra: No, we are not big drinkers. (Both laugh) When was the last time you got drunk?
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That is very awkward, having to leave your girl to do a number two. You could put Netflix on...
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Ezra: Okay, I get drunk multiple times per year, I think. However, if I’m surrounded by fratty type dudes, I will get very drunk. In a date situation, if a girl was drinking a lot, I would have to keep up. That would cause problems.
Dave: For full disclosure, it should be known that there is a spectrum of your friends that I do not approve of.
Ezra: You don’t like my frat boy friends? I relate to the idea of getting drunk, but my body is not well made for it.
Dave: I’ve gotten it out of my system.
Ezra: I bet you have never done a keg stand?
Dave: No? I don’t even know what that is.
Ezra: Do British people know what a keg stand is? I’ve done a keg stand. At a big party, you get a metallic keg of beer. You take the tube and you put it in your mouth, then your friends hold your legs in the air while you’re holding the keg. To be quite honest, I’m not entirely sure why. All the blood goes to your head, and your mouth fills with beer. It’s quite a fratty thing to do, but I just wanted you to know I’m capable of it.
Ezra: I think the concept of drinking games flies more in Anglo culture than francophone culture. I’m all American, at the end of the day. I’ve played beer pong, power hour, keg stand. Where I grew up, people called beer pong Beirut. I don’t want to know the etymology of that is. I imagine it is a tasteless reference to the Lebanese civil war or something.
As much as I am enjoying this, we’ve veered away from our topic of dating and relationships?
Ezra: I heard recently that Nuts magazine has gone out of business? It was macho, tits, sports and stuff. In this conversation we have covered women, alcohol and we just did sports.
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Interview: Joe Zadeh
The second chapter of Vampire Weekend and Chromeo’s Guide To Love, titled Love In Medieval Times, will appear on this very website next week.
Vampire Weekend's 'Modern Vampires Of The City' album is out now (review). Chromeo's 'White Women' album is released on May 12th.