{ An Interview with Dave Matthews, Who Looks for Dates the Way Others Get Rid of Cars and Cats }
Cara Gillotti

handwriting sampleQ: I think we have to give it some time to, you know, start recording. All right. Let's assume it's started recording now.
A: [face inches from the tape recorder, to the tape recorder] Hello.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about what you've been doing, this non-traditional way you've been trying to meet women, since '95, I think?
A: Yes. Why am I doing it?

Q: [makes scrabbling motions with her hands across her face]
A: Or how would I....

Q: You know what. If you don't mind: [mouths silently] Take your fingers away from your mouth.
A: Okay. Why am I doing this? I started doing it in January '95 because my usual ways of finding dates had not worked for several months. My personal ads had not received any responses in months, and...I didn't know what else to do. I couldn't find any women where I lived, so I decided to adopt a [addresses tape recorder] cheap and unique way to meet women. And fliers came to mind. Actually, I had gotten so desperate to meet women I appeared on a public access dating show, and I showed several of my zines such as "Tastes Like Teen Sputum", and "Subliminal Virginity" and so on. I received no response. Actually, I don't think the hostess liked my work. She found it too tasteless.

Q: When was this?
A: This was in '94. Before starting my ads.

Q: Did you audition to, I don't know how these work. Did you audition to do it?
A: I'd seen the application in a coffeehouse, so I filled out the application, sent it in, and I was chosen to appear on the slow. I don't know if the show was even aired. I doubt that it was.

Q: So when you're on the show, do you just sort of stand up and talk a little bit about yourself?
A: The hostess interviewed me. I sat in the chair and she and I talked about my zines. Zines of cartoons and comic strips that I and several other people had drawn. And as I said, no results.

Q: Was the idea that they would publish your contact information and women watching the show could call you or write to you, or in care of the show?
A: That was the idea, was that women would write to me in care of the show.

Q: Okay.
A: I don't know...I don't know why she didn't like my, ah, zines. They were not that tasteless.

Q: What made you think she didn't like them?
A: I heard a rumor that she found them too tasteless for words.

Q: Was that the quote?
A: No, that was my interpretation. I don't know what the exact quote was.

Q: Huh.
A: Comic strips about religion, sex, politics, more sex, et cetera. Of course, if you have a zine titled "Tastes Like Teen Sputum", you shouldn't expect Garfield-style humor.

Q: That's...that's right. Okay. Okay. How many dates have your fliering and the activities associated with that fliering, I know you wrote for the City Paper about your experiences, how many dates has that resulted in?
A: Exactly one with my first respondent, named Tess. She and I dated a few times, and that was about it. We still know each other, though. I received a lot of responses, though, I wrote to several of the respondees, the responders, respondents. Almost always receiving no response.

Q: So they would respond to your fliers, you would respond to their response, and they wouldn't respond to your response to their response?
A: Correct. I assume that most of my respondents responded on a whim as a joke, out of boredom, having no intention to create a permanent, long-lasting, deep, meaningful relationship. However you want to term it. Of course who could blame them, I mean the way I presented my fliers was, I don't know, I would say stranger than the usual methods. I mean not very many men would place their faces on a flier and post those fliers in coffeehouses and comic book shops and bulletin boards.

Q: What areas of the city do you target?
A: Mostly Oakland and the South Side. My last few fliers have benefited from that new-fangled computer technology. As you can see....

Q: I like the hand-written ones; actually, I think you have a very urgent script.
A: I appreciate that comment, I've always put much effort into printing well. Most people print substandardly, if you want to know the truth.

Q: You mean not neatly?
A: Not neatly, no style, sloppily. I don't mean to brag, though. I mean.

Q: How old were you when you developed your current style of printing?
A: I started in elementary school. Over the years, I kept printing—

Q: [whispering] Take your hand....
A: —and [unintelligible]

Q: Take your hand away from your mouth; it'll make it clearer, if you can.
A: Okay, let's start again. [to tape recorder] I started my current style of printing in elementary school but I have improved the style over the past several years, making the letters more stylish and more adult-looking. Even through college my printing style still looked a bit juvenile. You have to grow up sometime, and the best way to do that is to improve your printing.

Q: Have you ever been denied permission to hang a flier?
A: Yes, at a certain underground music store in downtown Pittsburgh whose name shall remain...nameless? You can edit that. Although the name starts with E and has five letters in it.

Q: And what reason did they give you?
A: The store didn't want to be my pimp.

Q: That's what they said?
A: Yes.

Q: You live in Aliquippa?
A: Alas, yes.

Q: Do you hang fliers in Aliquippa?
A: No because where I live in the suburbs has very few flierable establishments. Also, I don't particularly like the women where I live, nothing against them, of course. The women there and I share very few common interests.

Q: Since you've started fliering, have you gotten more or less specific in terms of the characteristics of the women whom you're interested in meeting?
A: Depends, sometimes the fliers are extremely specific, other times they're very vague, as in "a pulse and a brain." Some of the fliers contain height requirements, over five-four. That is a bit too specific. Future ones will not be that specific so I can get more responses. Although I don't know if I am going to flier for too much longer. The project has turned into a performance art project. A satirical look at the romantic personae men and women adopt. It's an ongoing piece, I'm thinking of posting all the fliers online. When artists don't know what to do, they post online.

Q: You know how to increase tips in a tip jar they say you should put a couple dollars in the jar? Have you ever hung a flier and ripped off a couple of the slips at the bottom with your contact information on the bottom to sort of create an appearance of great demand?
A: No, but that's a good idea. I should have thought of that years ago. I'm intelligent about certain things, but about other things I have the IQ of Spam.

Q: Your fliers indicate that you're looking for an intelligent, creative, daring, friendly, humorous, articulate, nonsmoking single female. How does the average Dave Matthews fliers respondent measure up to that?
A: Actually fairly well. Most of the women who respond are artists or are interested in art and are reasonably intelligent. And I've received some pretty interesting letters. I have received one letter from the African nation of Burkina Faso from a social worker in her early twenties from Pittsburgh. And she and I wrote for a while and I quit writing because I thought I couldn't equal her in her altruism. I'm just a typical ugly American who likes pop-culture. I've never done anything as admirable as help the less fortunate in a destitute country. I believe...if Burkina Faso isn't that destitute, I apologize. To all Burkina Fasians.

Q: Who are reading this in The New Yinzer.
A: I mean, there are computers in that country. There are computers everywhere. Any other questions?

Q: Yeah, you said you'd been considering stopping fliering soon, why?
A: I had been considering it. I hadn't received the responses I should be receiving. Also when as you grow older you reconsider whatever we are currently doing. I'm just considering stopping, I don't know if I'll stop any time soon. I mean, you want to improve your life as you grow older, you don't want to continue toiling away doing the same pointless things that are not profiting you, not improving you. Yourself, I mean. Not profiting yourself, not improving yourself. You'll have to change that.

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