Love eludes a hapless serial dater desperate to replicate the sparks he experienced as a wide-eyed youngster.
Not many young men would pack up and head for a far-flung honeymoon retreat in the Pacific thinking it might be a good place to find single women. The author attempted it twice. The first time he tagged along with his parents; the second, with another guy in tow. Kotkin plays his stunning ineptitude for laughs, but the joke wears thin as it becomes painfully obvious that there will be no epiphanies in the offing. Instead, the author delivers a string of banal accounts involving mismatched women mostly met online. None of these encounters approaches anything that might be considered wacky or zany (as the title of the book suggests). Among them: dating a deaf woman and discovering that communication was difficult; finding the vapid girl dull; being scared by the angry girl; feeling smothered by the clingy girl. Still, Kotkin persisted with blind dates, speed dates and non-dates. “The one thing I discovered about doing nothing when it came to finding love was that in return nothing happened,” he writes. “Nothing begot nothing. It kind of sucked.” Throughout, the author offers little in the way of self-reflection; instead, he resolved after each fruitless date to take yet another crack at it. The problem is never within, always without—even after one unsatisfied date blasted the author and his "vanilla stories."
A languid love potion best taken in limited doses.