“People on dates shouldn’t even be allowed out in public,” Jerry Seinfeld, ‘The Big Salad’ episode, season 6 of the iconic TV show Seinfeld.
Is Jerry right? Granted, he didn’t have a ton of successful relationships during the show’s nine-season run, but could he be on to something?
It’s definitely relatable, but why is it so funny? Because there’s just enough truth in the statement. We’ve all been there; every so often, you go on a date with a person you met on a dating app that feels exactly like an episode of Seinfeld: a date about absolutely nothing.
Not only is the conversation, um, odd, but there is nothing there chemistry-wise. And it’s not just on your end, either; your date is more preoccupied with talking about nothing than he is with you.
For privacy’s sake, I’m going to call my date Jerry (it goes with the theme of this story, so why not), but just know I would never, ever go out on a date with a man named Jerry.
Now that we’ve got that straight, Jerry had a “talent” for magnifying the mundane to a level I didn’t even know existed. For instance, he waxed poetic about the coffee shop’s vast array of teas. There were about 14 to choose from, and he went on and on about the choices why Ginseng was preferable to Oolong and the health benefits of Matcha. He talked about the tea selections with the seriousness akin to choosing a major in college. He didn’t even order tea. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We met at a cute corner cafe because where else would you go on a first meet-up with someone from a dating app? I expected a run-of-the-mill coffee order. Instead, Jerry launched into a soliloquy about the existential crisis of choosing between almond milk and oat milk. “It’s so hard to choose sometimes,” he said, solemnly stirring his flat white cappuccino.
Soup–It’s Not Just a Starter
I attempted to steer the conversation toward common date questions: work, hobbies, whether he believed in aliens, anything but what he was droning on about. But Jerry’s face lit up only when the server arrived and told us the soup of the day—Italian Wedding.
“Soup is amazing, isn’t it? It’s like a melting pot of culinary diplomacy. Each veggie gets to keep its identity while doing its part to add to a larger, flavorful narrative. And there are little meatballs!” At this point, all I was trying to add to the date was an escape plan. If you think it was lost on me that he was excited over soup, and there’s a Seinfeld episode literally called ‘The Soup Nazi,’ it was not. I was just too bored to chuckle about it, even internally.
The Cell Phone Saga
As his Italian Wedding soup was placed on the table and I pretended to pick at a salad, Jerry’s phone lit up. I prayed there was a potential emergency (nothing bad! I’m not a monster, but maybe his apartment was flooding). But no such luck; it was an iOS software update notification alerting him that it would begin in the middle of the night or whatever time they do that while you sleep.
“Do you update your phone when this happens or do you wait until the phone does it?” he asked.
“Uh, I guess it depends on the update?” I answered. Apparently, that was the wrong answer (but I don’t think there is a “right” answer with Jerry).
“What?? You HAVE to do it immediately!” he scolded. “Most of the time these updates are the result of a security breach or hack—it’s for your safety!” He continued on about this subject for another few minutes while I disassociated.
My salad was now soggy, and my interest level was at a new low.
The Napkin Narrative
As we were readying to depart the cafe, Jerry reached for a paper napkin and, in a manner resembling a reverent ritual, wiped his mouth. “Napkins,” he said, as if launching into the Gettysburg Address, “Are the pinch hitters of any meal.”
I couldn’t help but bark, “What??”
“Well, think about it. Napkins hold secrets. And they save you—a stained shirt could mean the difference between a second or third date. They just erase our eating mistakes.”
He gazed at the crumpled napkin and looked hesitant to put it on the table or throw it away—I honestly thought he was going to take it as a souvenir. All I could think was, “Buddy if you think just wiping your food off of your face is going to lead to a second date, at least with me, you are on another planet.
Jerry’s “nothingness” was nothing like the sitcom, which managed to make the mundane hilarious. I wasn’t mad about his conversation skills; his view of the world was strange but not aggressive—I just hoped the date would end, and I’d say a little prayer for his next date to go in his favor.
Either way, it was a date about absolutely nothing that gave me a story to write about here. We said our goodbyes, and I felt relief at the glorious silence.
The Check-In Text
Later that evening, my phone lit up, and I grabbed it, thinking it was my mom, but nope! It was Jerry sending a text: “Hope you got home safely.” Which was sweet, and I appreciated it.
But that sentiment didn’t last long as the three dots kept coming, and so did the texts about nothing. After an hour, I finally had to hit that “block sender” button.
Jerry was the human embodiment of a Seinfeld episode, just not as funny. He took the minutiae of life and blew it up into absurd significance. Would I see him again? Never, I’d already blocked his number. But I’d never look at a napkin the same way either—they hold meal “secrets.”
In a time where dating often feels like scrolling through endless profiles of people trying to present an overly-filtered version of themselves, Jerry was different, I’ll say that about him. He put on no airs, was completely himself, found wonder in the super ordinary, and had a knack for making anything a long discussion topic. Jerry did not give a sh*t, and I respect that.
So here’s to you, Jerry, the ultimate ‘nothing’ conversationalist. You may not have won my romantic interest, but you certainly made me think about the health benefits of Matcha tea.