How to Date a Startup

Ever wonder if you should get in on the ground-floor of something that could be really great? Well, that doesn't just mean a business or job opportunity, because we're also applying this to relationships! Of course, there are many more types than currently represented here, and the way I represent a certain type is definitely not always going to be the case. Therefore, if this particular entry isn’t for you, that’s ok. There’s a mandatory appreciation for rash generalizations and cliche stereotypes, so proceed with that in mind.

1. The Non-Profit

This guy wants to save literally everything – except you. Whales, slugs, tree-sloths, middle-eastern sand spiders, Canadian ticks, the list goes on. He will spend his weekends and free time bombarding people outside their favorite establishments, guilt-tripping and shaming them into feelings. Anytime you express frustration over something, you’ll be served a heaping pile of “perspective” by being reminded of some heinous humanitarian issue that you did not create or have anything to do with.

Your guy doesn’t pass a tree unworthy of an embrace, and every gun-toting conservative is out to destroy the entire world. He deifies himself into a real-life superhero, who by the way, you are overly privileged to spend time with.

If you’re going to date him, be prepared for an abundance of direct sun exposure, neon tee-shirts, hemp milk, veganism, and reverse social racism. Enjoy.

2. The Youth Pastor

This guy just wants to “hang out” with you. He wants to “hang out” as long as potentially possible, or until you have that “sooooo” moment with him (you know, like the movies when the girl has to lead the relationship by asking where the f*** it’s all going?) Ya. That moment. You’re going to have at least one of those with this guy. All the first one will do is prompt him to go away and pray (and talk to his guy friends, and think, and ask his mentor, and read). Then he’ll come back and you’ll have to ask him again because he’s already purchased enough time with the first conversation.

You’ll meet his church family, his pastor, his parents, cousins, coworkers, and maybe even his friends. He’ll introduce you as his “special friend”, but you’ll still remain precariously on the “friends or dating” highway, where he’ll usually keep you until you’re approaching the turn-off for “over it”. Then he’ll sweep in and not just want to “hang out”, OR he will say that he didn’t feel God leading him to you. Either way, there are lots of feelings, lots of waiting, and lots of misplaced expectations.

By the way women, you are not exempt from this equation. STOP thinking that every man who crosses your path is there to audition as your future husband. It’s creepy and you just look like a psycho. If you’re going to date him, be prepared for lots of side-hugs and high-fives. Also, brush up on your scrapbooking and cooking skills. If you happen to sell anything like Tupperware, Jamberry, or Scentsy, all the better. Enjoy.

3. The Family Business

This guy never read Ephesians 5:31, Matthew 19:5, Genesis 2:24, or Genesis 2:18. Ever. He is incapable of leaving or cleaving and is completely entrenched with his own family. His main role-model is his mother, who, by the way, is the one you’re actually in a relationship with, NOT him. He will form his opinion of you almost solely upon her thoughts and directions. After all, his livelihood and identity relies fully upon his immediate nepotistic family unit. He will unapologetically choose “work”, which doesn’t mean his work ethic is unparalleled – it means his ability to be guilt-tripped is unparalleled.

If you’re going to date him, be prepared to assimilate totally, to become another extension of his family and his persona. Your own identity is second, if not completely eclipsed by that of “the family”. A benefit of this type of relationship is that he has had lots of practice in putting his own ego aside for the benefit of those around him. Enjoy.

4. The Finance Analyst

This guy is actively weighing his emotional investment in you versus what kind of return he can ultimately expect. He will be Mr. Charming until he decides that makes him too tired, attached, or until he forecasts a decline in his current dividends. Your infatuation is his stabilizing factor, your “assets” his short-term capital venture. Having appraised you from day 1, he continues to apply the 3 basic principles that UC Douchebag taught him regarding any investment:
– Cost
– Replacement Value
– Market Value

If you’re deemed “worthy”, he may initiate a building reserve, or funds set aside for your “upkeep”. This is because he’ll eventually expect you to have some work done in order to remain competitive. This also acts as a form of universal collateral because he literally owns a piece of you. Because let’s face it ... your compound annual growth rate just isn’t too promising without all these things. If you’re going to date him, be prepared to love wine. Lots. Learn to passive-aggressively question fidelity while trying to remain non-paranoid in all the time you’ll be at home by yourself. Also, start practicing facial expressions while you still can. Enjoy.

5. The App Developer

This guy has an unnatural preoccupation with all things social media. He dreams of moving to Mountain View or Cupertino, CA and gold-panning his way to the top of a small fledgling tech company. After all, this is the last real frontier, you know. Microsoft who? He will also never fit into the normal “9-5” box because set schedules really inhibit his creativity. He considers proper eye contact an unproductive use of time, given the fact this takes special focus away from his latest electronic device or next status update. Ps, he’s always right.

If you’re going to date him, start to love plaid, skinny jeans, beanies, and tortoise-shell glasses. Form the ability to discuss and/or bash Android-based products on a regular basis, and know how the different platforms function. Also, (and this is imperative), becoming a “street camping” pro is mandatory. This will be required of you predicating each new product release, regardless of how similar to the last it truly is. This is perfect because you’ve already memorized the aisles of REI like you would a grocery store. Enjoy.

6. The Architect

This guy wants to design your entire relationship from the ground-up because he knows best. If he isn't already in a firm, he’s doing everything in his power to be, including extensive networking events and mixers. You’ll be expected to attend these and have ready, supportive comments for each of his self- aggrandizing projects. It isn’t all basking in the splendor of this master creator you happen to be dating, you’ll also receive the chance to decorate a bitchin’ house if it ever comes to that. So ...

If you’re going to date him, brush up on your small talk and cocktail wardrobe. You’ll need them for all the socializing. Also, don’t forget to have a ready-enough yet generic answer to the inevitable question, “So what do you do?”. And above all, remember ... nevvvvverrrrr touch the model. That little tree took methodical hours to place in that exact spot. Walk away and enjoy.

7. The Intern

This guy is putting coins into a piggy-bank that he may never actually get to crack. He is timid yet eager, worthy yet compensatory, and above all; he is overly-committed to his potential job, not you. On one hand, it’s a plus that he’s willing to work so hard for something that may not pan out (like your relationship)... but if disappointment hits, it will usually set him into such an emotional spiral that you and three therapists couldn’t drag him out of right away. Major pay-off’s in life are not always commensurate to the amount of work you invest, yet still this fact is somehow not the typical reality of an intern. The win factor is the extent of this guy’s patience for something, yet ...

If you’re going to date him, be prepared for all the take-home projects he’ll be tasked with, in addendum to the take-out food, messy apartment, and piles of dry cleaning. Enjoy.

8. The Overnight Millionaire

This guy has unrealistic expectations of pretty much everything in life, including the amount of work it takes to actually have something. If money was thrown at him for something, why shouldn’t you be the same? The typical impulsivity with which he handles decisions, conflict, and finances will eventually lead you to the astute yet sad conclusion that he will never be able to love you as much as he loves himself. The object of his obsession is his reflection. Therefore ...

If you’re going to date him, be prepared for countless hours of reality TV shows about men of his similar economic caliber. Also, retain the ability to reinflate his self-image whenever necessary. This is one of your most important jobs. It is and will always be the (insert name here) show. Enjoy.

9. The Photographer

This guy will take 2-3 times as long to get anywhere because of all the impassable photo ops. He’ll also take 2-3 times as long to get ready because of his unnaturally good-looking hair. C’mon, it has to look effortless for all those impromptu selfies, right? You’ll become the subject for light tests and location work, as well as the occasional fill-in when models bail because they will. Self-inflicted poverty is a normality given the cost of equipment, lenses, shooting permits, travel, and TFP (trade-for-print) work.

If you’re going to date him, be prepared to spend weekends location-scouting and in coffee shops with him while he adds countless PS3 layers to his recent photos. Come to the relationship table having already picked a side and knowing why: Nikon or Canon. Enjoy the dynamic spontaneity of income while maintaining a certain standard of living that enables him to be most creative. Ps, ability to blog a plus. Enjoy.