I am not better looking than average. I am not more confident than average. I am not more adept at relationships than average.
Yet I am never single for more than a month at a time. This is because the one thing I am actually pretty good at is dating.
Dating is one of the most meaningful things that you get to do in your adult life. Our culture rejected the tradition of arranged marriage and dating is the exhilarating method that we use to impress our future spouse.
If you stink at dating, you could have the woman of your dreams right in front of you and push her away forever.
“Marty” is a substantive drama about two days in the life of a man who may or may not ever find a wife. And his shocking incompetence at dating is a major part of the problem.
Ernest Borgnine earned a Best Actor Oscar playing Marty Piletti. His performance is uniquely great for a romantic comedy. He is a good man with a good heart. But he is damaged, sad, and self-destructive.
“Marty” is still the only film to win the Oscar for Best Picture and the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Ernest Borgnine is the reason.
Marty is a homely, overweight Bronx butcher who lives with his mother at age 34. He has almost given up on love due to decades of failure and rejection. He only goes out dancing in Manhattan because his mom and jerk best friend pressure him to.
He meets a similarly lonely schoolteacher named Clara at the dance hall. She is immediately smitten with him. Will Marty blow it with her? He certainly tries.
“Marty” is a cringy tutorial on everything you shouldn’t do on a first date.
1. Marty talks nonstop, mostly about his career
Uncomfortable silences aren’t ideal, but they are much better than making your date wish that you’d shut up and let her talk. And your career is an unwise topic. Job stories are boring to everyone who does not, in fact, work in your office.
2. Marty admits how lonely and unhappy he is
Do not admit that you are lonely and unhappy. Focus on everything positive and joyful in your life that you can think of without actually lying.
Above all, do not talk about your previous relationships that went wrong.
3. Marty comments on Clara’s looks early and often
A woman doesn’t want you to tell her that she is beautiful on the first few dates. She wants you to demonstrate that you think she is beautiful when the time is right.
4. Marty does not wait until the time is right and tries to force an awkward kiss
If he were paying attention to Clara instead of yapping, Marty would have known that he was going in for a kiss at the wrong moment. If you can’t read the situation, you can always be a gentleman and ask for a kiss. If your date is into you, she’ll say yes.
5. Marty is already talking about the second date during the first date
Enjoy the moment. Make the first date magical. Don’t think about tomorrow. Also, planning the second date makes you look desperate.
“Marty” is a first-rate human drama, filled with honesty and insight. It also gives the best dating tutorial I have ever seen on film: Just watch everything Marty Piletti does and make sure to do the opposite.