To most women, this doesn't say, "Wow, this is the kind of guy I want to let kiss frosting out of my bangs." This says other things. Like, "This guy probably has one of those bracelets that will alert his parole officer if he drinks," or, "I need to change my Google image results to look less like somebody who can be lured out of the house by pastry like some kind of Brothers Grimm orphan."
Or worse yet: "This is one of those whimsy guys."
Fellows, I beseech you: No more whimsy.
Before I go any further, let me say that sometimes whimsy is great. I like a taxidermied armadillo holding a beer can as much as the next girl, and I think that turning a bunch of old Airstreams into a pricy motel is an important step in taking some of the stigma out of trailer living. But I would like to suggest that we take a scented panda eraser to whimsy in the realm of adult, grown-up going out.
While we finally, thankfully are reaching a point where fewer men seem to be confusing having a personality with having a moustache, we're confronted with an even lamer sex scourge: Men who confuse dating with an opportunity to showcase a series of highly cultivated quirks.
Outings with a Whimsy Guy read like a kind of Mad Lib involving a series of increasingly diabetes-y nouns. Let's go to Coney Island to eat ginger cookie and Nutella ice cream sandwiches and make up back stories for every couple we see on the Ferris Wheel while the gelato drips onto our gingham sleeves.
This kind of goofiness makes me long for the predictability of chugging a bottle of wine across from someone you're terrified of while wishing you'd had the sense to see the movie first so you'd at least have some kind of Gyllenhaal-based talking point. Dating can be awkward and nervous and boring, but using whimsy to try to charm your date is the equivalent of adding a magical mentally disabled person to your movie to try to charm your audience. Did none of you see Radio? Don't be Radio!
In fact, you can probably blame movies for this kind of behavior. I'm reminded of the live-action drunk post-breakup email, 500 Days of Summer, which I totally saw on a plane and didn't rent and specially buy Bagel Bites to emotionally eat during. Zooey Deschanel dumps a guy after he drags her to a diner to have pancakes for dinner. Pancakes for dinner! You know you've crossed some kind of line when you've out-Zooey Deschanel-ed Zooey Deschanel.
You know how we all hate irony now? Whimsy is even worse because it pretends to be sincere. It is the opposite of sincere. People who are not secretly dying of terminal illness in a movie just look silly blowing bubbles on a date because they don't know what to do with their hands, or do everything like they're being secretly Instagrammed. A girl wants to get to know a guy, not be part of the Facebook status he's ginning up underneath his fanciful hat.
I'd like to suggest a litmus test for whether or not you are being whimsical. Would Danny Trejo shake his head at you? For example: Let's say you have named your bike Sharon. Is it a customized Super Glide? Invite your date to ride Sharon! Is it a turquoise beach cruiser? No va, hombre.
Admittedly, when it's not forced, whimsy can be OK. Even kind of nice. My grandmother loves to relate a story about a guy who tried to cancel a date with her when she was 19 because he had, literally, a dime to his name. "We can have fun on a nickel each," said my awesome grandma, and they did a bunch of free stuff like stealing a ride on a trolley car and sneaking penny hotdogs into a nickel movie. My grandma said she had a great time, and if that guy hadn't died on a submarine two weeks later, he might have been my grandfather.
Ignoring the logistical flaws in that supposition, the only reason I give old people in Ken Burns documentaries and those When Harry Met Sally interstitials carte blanche to be whimsical is because those people were constantly threatened with death by explosion. You guys want to wear lunatic cloches and scat in songs? Go for it! If you're not under threat by air raid or spending your days manufacturing artillery, you have no excuse to act that crazy.
It's possible that the Internet or cute movies have forced us to distill our personalities into quotes and adorable moments and dating-profile charisma. But it's important to remember that you are a person and not a mid-priced chain restaurant. Adorning yourself with tchotchkes doesn't make you charming. It makes you a very sad place to sit in a Buffalo mall.
Julieanne Smolinski AKA Boobs Radley is a writer who has been in a monogamous relationship with the Internet since 1993. She tweets here.