[Editor’s Note: This post is presented in support of Hulu’s original comedy series“Casual.” Watch new episodes on Wednesdays, streaming only on Hulu.]
In the last decade or so, online dating has gone from being something slightly shady to a vibrant and socially acceptable way of finding love. But for the family at the center of Hulu’s “Casual,” it’s not an easy fix for their romantic problems because nothing really comes easy on the path to true love (if such a thing even exists).
What can we learn from the dating adventures of Valerie (Michala Watkins), Alex (Tommy Dewey) and Laura (Tara Lynne Barr), based on the episodes of “Casual” we’ve seen so far? The below is just the beginning.
1) Have the courage to show up solo for your date
Carpooling might be good for the environment. It might also free you up to get loose with booze before a nerve-wracking first date. Plus, the emotional support of a friend or loved one might come in handy. But surreptitiously sneaking in a companion for a double date where half the people involved don’t know it’s a double date is a coward’s move, and, when you get caught, it’s probably not going to end well.
2) Weird diets don’t make for great first date conversation
Sure, it’s good to be honest about any particular dietary restrictions you might suffer from when you first meet someone. It’s all part of the process of getting to know someone. But the early days of dating are also a good time to keep things loose and flexible, which means maybe, just maybe, not making a big deal about the fact that you refuse to eat anything that wasn’t available during the days of the caveman. (It’s called the paleo diet, and it’s a real thing.) Maybe bring it up if the person offers to cook you dinner, before they start boiling the pasta.
3) Puppies are not dating tools
It’s hard to know how to start a conversation with a potential love interest, as a great ice-breaker is key. So yeah, on a short-term basis an animal companion like an adorable puppy might be that great ice-breaker — everyone loves puppies, after all. But unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a puppy rental service (we think?). Puppies are a long-term commitment, beyond even marriage, because you’re taking full responsibility for caring for a living creature. And if you do happen to make a connection with someone after your adorable golden retriever mix leaps into their lap, the way you treat that puppy going forward will also be tied to your new relationship. Short version: Get a puppy because you want a puppy, not because you want to sleep with a hot girl who likes puppies. Because hot girls who like puppies will not take puppy abuse kindly.
4) One person’s one-night stand is another person’s best friend
Look, sometimes you might meet someone — online, at a bar, wherever — and while they might, on the surface, seem like the perfect Mr. Right (or Mr. Right Now), the reality is that they’re not the one for you in the long term. However, that doesn’t mean you should delete their number or refuse any future contact. Friendship can be found in the most unexpected places, after all, and honestly a friend’s ex-hookup isn’t the weirdest way you might discover a new buddy.
5) Don’t trust your online dating service
Everybody lies in relationships. Hopefully, they’re just little white lies, meant to preserve the feelings of your partner. But some relationships start with lies right from the beginning; specifically, lies told on an online dating profile. So whenever you’re looking at a potential new partner, use caution and skepticism. “The Godfather” might be a truly great movie, but is it really this person’s favorite?
In the long run, the only universal thing to know about dating is that it’s about making a connection with someone — whether or not you’re keeping it casual.
New episodes of “Casual” premiere Wednesdays on Hulu.