In the interest of making FM’s Dismissed as authentic as possible, competitors were encouraged to be drunk, boastful and rude to each other. And we brought whipped cream.
BRENDAN: A non-drinker, Brendan was fighting a head cold but gamely showed up nonetheless. His Dimetapp-related drowsiness wore off as the night progressed.
NICK: After a flask’s worth of vodka shots, three mai tais and some aged scotch (classy!), Nick was more than ready to compete for a girl’s affections. Nick gleefully insulted Brendan throughout the evening.
ELANA: A California babe with an infectious laugh, beautiful smile and ear for keen conversation. Definitely a catch.
Elana seems composed and ready to spend a night with two complete strangers. She wears a flattering V-neck tank top, revealing just enough cleavage to keep one man interested. But tonight she has two of Harvard’s finest vying for all her attention. Before meeting the men who will either get the girl or get dismissed, Elana speculates about her own conduct. Not worried about the potential sketchiness of these suitors, she is more concerned with how inebriated she will be. “We just started into season for water polo, so my tolerance is way down,” she laughs as she takes her second shot of Absolut. Within 15 minutes she has toasted four shots with two guy friends and is ready to make the walk from Dunster House to Daedalus.
Upstairs at Daedalus Elana makes herself comfortable on one of the leather couches. She shakes hands with Brendan and then—after he returns from yet another bathroom trip—Nick. Although she is seated next to Brendan, Nick quickly grabs control of the conversation. He and Elana are both psychology concentrators and dabble in music. “I’m intrigued,” she says somewhat hesitantly in response to Nick’s description of his role as piano player in a campus hip-hop band and his year off spent playing in piano bars. This begins a pattern that continues throughout the trio’s time at Daedalus: Nick will say a lot of things and Elana won’t really believe any of them. Meanwhile, Brendan will sip his water.
Occasionally Brendan chimes in with a funny one-liner or a question for Elana. But he seems distant and confused, usually entering the conversation only to insult Nick. Brendan, understated in a gray long-sleeve oxford, points out Nick’s pink gingham shirt. “He’s a sketchy guy,” Brendan leans in to tell Elana, motioning towards Nick. Brendan then returns to sitting and listening to Nick talk. He later scores a point by talking about a roommate from Redwood City, Calif. “That’s literally, like, literally the town next to the town I’m in!” she squeals.
Brendan is not putting too much effort into engaging Elana. She is working both men well—or maybe it’s the guys who are working her. But Nick may be trying too hard. He disputes most things Brendan says and supplies his own version. Brendan, a little left out on the sidelines, is slowly improving his performance. Elana is laughing at Nick’s constant patter, but it’s possible that she’s laughing at Nick, not with him. Nick: “[Dr.] Dré is my god.”
Daedalus begins to gets crowded and so the date moves on to a quieter, more private setting. On the walk to part two of the night, Nick puts his arm around Elana and Brendan, unfazed, walks beside her. “This is the best night ever!” Elana says, cracking up. Once inside again, Nick heads to a room with a piano. He jumps on the keys and begins serenading Elana with the chords to different hip-hop songs. Brendan and Elana settle in on the couch and get a chance to talk more intimately. From a discussion of “The Simpsons,” Brendan smoothly segues into demeaning Nick. “Whatever you’re saying is not true!” Nick shouts over the chords of “Big Poppa.” Elana asks the guys about their weaknesses. ‘I have a lot of weaknesses,” Nick says. “You can say that again!” Brendan retorts. Nick then calls Brendan’s penis “pencil-sized.”
Nick makes his move, playing his time-out. Brendan leaves the room. “Finally, we’re alone with two other people,” says Nick suavely. “You don’t believe one word I’ve spoken all night,” he says, calling Elana out. “I don’t even believe you’re playing the piano!” she laughs. He has been over the top, but he realizes this. It somehow makes him cuter, that he has been trying so hard to prove himself to her. But in the end he uses his time-out to do little more than fix her a drink and bash Brendan again. “It’s sad he has that disease,” Nick says. “Did he get that from chronic masturbation?”
Waiting out the 10 minutes, Brendan assesses his chances: “He might be a bit ahead right now, but sooner or later, she’s going to see that he’s talking out of his ass and that he’s an ugly, ugly guy.” Then the boasting subsides. “I mean, she’s probably gonna dismiss me,” he admits.
Back with Elana, Brendan displays a new vigor, kind of. He takes his time-out, grudgingly. “Only because I’m required to, I’m going to take a time-out,” Brendan says. “You’re very trite,” Nick replies. Brendan suggests a change of venue and takes Elana to a more intimate setting. He makes all the right moves now, asking Elana about her interests and high school years. He’s funny and charming, self-deprecating and entertaining. With only a minute or two of privacy left, Brendan asks, “So are you big on kissing guys on the first date?”
Meanwhile, Nick—much like Brendan—takes a pessimistic view of his chances. “Brendan’s going to win, because I’ve been an asshole,” he says. “But let me just say that everything I’ve said—everything—has been true. And in any event, it’s me playing the piano.”
“I don’t really have rules,” Elana replies. Brendan leans in, but the moment is ruined when Nick reenters. “Did you brush your hair while you were out?” Brendan asks. “I just want to reemphasize that you have a small member,” Nick replies. And that’s when Elana breaks out the whipped cream. Nick and Brendan lick it off her finger, with Brendan going for the forehead lick as well.
Finally, the moment of dismissal is upon her. Elana reiterates how much she has enjoyed her dates. “This has been four hours of wonderfulness!” she gushes to both guys. But her mind is made up—Nick is dismissed amid a slew of apologies. Even if Brendan was the nominal winner, however, the real winners’ circle includes Elana and Nick—who got to drink on FM’s dime and had a good time—as well as voyueristic fans of contrived, antagonistic dating everywhere.