The Two-Week Relationship … Clean It Up, Dan Fouts

The Two-Week Relationship

Are you lonely, busy 20-something, looking for intimacy and a few laughs without the hassle of an unwieldy relationship?

Sure, you’ve considered the traditional options. One-night stands? Gross. Marriage? Please.

Nothing works quite like an honest-to-God, bona fide, two-week relationship. The TWR is the PowerBar of dating, and folks, anyone can take a bite.

Just take the best stuff from a real relationship-eating out at restaurants and sex-and take away the bad stuff-awkward dinners with parents, borrowing of toothbrushes, telling someone your traumatic childhood experiences for the 100th time-and you’ve got it.

The best part? Cleanup is a snap. When this relationship’s over, it’s over. No messy break-ups here. Nobody gets hurt (not badly, anyway) and after two weeks you’re ready to start all over again, good as new.

Consider the case of Matt, a 26-year-old financial adviser for an investment banking firm. He said he caught the TWR bug after college. Before then he led a relatively normal dating life. He actually had a few “long-term” girlfriends during college and high school. Then he got a job as a ski instructor in Telluride, Colo. The dates he scored with the vacationing gals skiing in and out of his life on a constant two-week rotation, tapped something deep, deep within him.

When Matt moved to New York, he just couldn’t stop.

“It’s not like something I planned,” he said. Matt sees his TWR girl a few times during the week, and at least once on weekends. When it’s time to break it off, Matt’s a real gentleman.

“I’m always honest and nice about it. I play it cool,” he said. “It’s not about burning bridges.”

He likes to keep a routine schedule. “The best is when it’s two weeks on, two months off, two weeks on,” he said.

“Brett,” a 28-year-old entertainment industry executive who refused to give even his first name because he’s known as such an infamous TWR’er, has had nearly 50 TWR’s since he moved to New York eight years ago. “I’m easily bored,” he said. “It’s very difficult to find females who can keep up with my pace. The grass is always greener, no matter how smart, fun, good-looking she is, you tend to find someone better in New York.”

Typically Brett follows up on a date with a telephone call.

“It’s fun for a while. It’s fun to meet new people and interesting girls, but inside you’re looking for the ideal girl,” he said straying perilously far from proper TWR thinking.

“Molly,” a 22-year-old Sony Records employee, says she’s “commitment-phobic.” Molly usually gives a potential TWR’er her home phone number after the first date and he’ll usually call on a Monday, make plans for the weekend, and then call on Wednesday to confirm. After two weeks of that, it’s over . If he keeps on pestering her she stops returning his phone calls.

“I don’t feel like I owe them anything,” she said.

Sarah, a 23-year-old book publicist who moved to New York from the South after college said that her TWR’s usually end because one person is more enthusiastic about the relationship than the other. Sarah was going out with one guy whom she found attractive and interesting. But then he broke one of the most sacred principles of the TWR.

“One day we were casually dating and the next day he was my automatic boyfriend, checking my neck for hickeys,” Sarah said.

Still, despite the dangers, there are benefits.

“It’s the best way to get to know things about the city,” she said.

“Every guy I’ve dated took me to some new interesting place I’d never think to go myself and I’ve brought friends to the places since.”

For Daniel, a 23-year-old dot-com executive, the TWR is more a concession to his busy work schedule. He’s simply too wrapped up in launching his Internet company to carve out more than two weeks for a relationship.

“You’re so personally unbalanced now because of work and New York and you don’t want to unleash that big mess of ambivalence onto an unsuspecting girl that you like,” he said, sounding rather panicky. “I’m assuming I’m not alone in this.”

In the past year, Daniel has had five TWR’s. Once he was busted by a waitress at Match in Soho who had seen him there before with another woman. “She had a big tattoo or something,” he said. “I remarked on it twice and she said, ‘Yeah, that’s the same thing you said last week.'”

About 70 percent of Daniel’s two-week relationships involve sex, he said. He also said that he pays for dinner because “chivalry is in.”

Movies, Daniel warned, are not an appropriate TWR activity.

“Quality time in silence has no point,” he said. “You’re really not giving them the true deep you, because time together seems finite.”

And then there’s David, the 26-year-old son of a preppie clothing designer.

“David calls every day like he’s your boyfriend for two weeks,” said one of his ex-TWR girlfriends.

Their TWR ended abruptly, when he asked her to go on a walking tour of Harlem.

“I sooo wasn’t down,” said the ex, who favors high heels. “I made up some lie why I wouldn’t go. It was sooo not me.”

Welter, a 24-year-old with a master’s degree in political science from Oxford, compared the TWR to a job fair or rushing a fraternity.

He began breaking the TWR down into base elements. “Two-week relationships almost always start sexually,” he said. “The more you learn about each other, the more you learn that you’re utterly incompatible. It’s sexually-charged tension, followed up by another date, a sexual release or catharsis or something. The first date, you’re not really listening to each other, just sitting across from each other, picturing the other person naked.”

-Deborah Schoeneman

Clean It Up, Dan Fouts

He’s only been on the job a few weeks, but already it appears that Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts is single-handedly attempting to transform Monday Night Football into an exercise in obvious pandering and lurid innuendo.

But then again, the hiring of Mr. Fouts, who once called one of his San Diego Chargers teammates a “bonehead,” to sit along side Al Michaels and Dennis Miller should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with ABC’s history.

And while it’s still to early too dismiss Mr. Fouts completely, his record during the first three games of the season has been anything but stellar.

Consider his performance during the recent Washington Redskins-Dallas Cowboys contest. Early in the second quarter Mr. Fouts smirked, “Third and 10 for the Cowboys on the Washington 45,” with the kind of knowing bravado that would make Craig Kilborn proud.

He wasn’t finished there. In the third quarter, with Dallas up 17-14, Mr. Fouts offered the following comment, “There’s Smith with a four-yard gain.”

Not a bad line. Pretty good, even. Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith indeed did gain approximately four yards on the play (actually it was three and a half, but who’s counting). But that just wasn’t enough for Mr. Fouts. As is his wont, he had to take it one step further. So, to what was an adequate, if somewhat over-rehearsed line, Mr. Fouts added, “Pretty good way to start the second half.”

Gee, thanks, Wonderful World of Disney. I didn’t realize you needed parental permission to watch Monday Night Football . But, oh, wait, this is the same network that brought us Dharma & Greg , so perhaps it’s not such a surprise.

Then again, Mr. Fouts’ “second half” jibe was tame compared to the X-rated effrontery he perpetrated early in the fourth quarter.

After a seven-yard run by Mr. Smith, Mr. Fouts said, “They’re out-quicking the defensive line right now.”

“Out-quicking”? “Defensive line”? “Right now”? Those cracks would have made Vince McMahon proud. But that’s the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from Mr. Fouts, who always goes for the cheap laugh over the accurate (and “uncool”) insight.

Don’t worry, though, Fouts fans, with Don (“I’ll Do Anything to Appease my sacred 18-25 Male Demographic”) Ohlmeyer at the helm, there’s little hope of seeing a change anytime soon.

The real tragedy in all this is that Mr. Fouts potty-mouthed showmanship is obscuring the analysis being turned in by this year’s other newcomer, the quick-witted social satirist, Dennis Miller. As long as Mr. Fouts is on the air, ABC will never know what a treasure it’s got.

-William Berlind

The Two-Week Relationship … Clean It Up, Dan Fouts