A visionary piece of poetry from one of America’s promising new names, “The Conversation,” as it is unofficially titled, speaks to the heart as much as it does to the ear, transitioning fluidly through three movements of unfettered masculinity that may change forever the way we look at online dating.
Micah’s “Conversation” is complex. Not unlike the hookups of 20-somethings which its encompassing medium, Tinder, is meant to facilitate, the piece starts on rocky footing. “But you mistake me for another thirsty guy just chasing,” he writes, using a controversial conjunction to kick off his mating call. What follows is a rhythmic, rollicking adventure from brazen vulnerability to self-aggrandizing humblebrags. Notable in the first part of the first message is Micah’s repeated used of a certain word. “No I don’t need to chase,” he writes. “Don’t need to chase pussy, I can get that whenever. Chase love? Yeah it’d be nice but you can’t chase it.”
Immediately we can see that Micah means to elevate the discourse beyond your typical hookup. He is, as he clearly stated, above sex – he can get pussy any time. He is also above chasing, of any kind, despite his admission that “it’d be nice” to chase love. Intriguing. If Micah is not chasing, then what is he doing? What purpose do his 300 carefully chosen words serve? But Micah is a master – he is careful not to reveal his intentions for writing until the very end. His recipient and we, his lucky readers, are in for the entire ride.
Having clearly stated his intentions (or rather, what his intentions are not), Micah moves on to a comprehensive verbal self-portrait. It is clear to this writer that Micah has previously worked in conflict resolution, as he makes liberal and frequent use of “I” statements. As in the first few sentences, Micah uses repetition throughout, favoring two-word echoes of previously expressed ideas.
“My issue is I’m picky. Very picky,” is the first refrain. Then, later, a more revelatory baring of his soul: “I’m smart funny charming sweet good in bed and I’m different. Very different.” I applaud not only his decision to highlight “different” as the most important descriptor in this list, but also his rather bold choice to omit commas. The lack of punctuation creates a titillating ambiguity, so that the recipient of his overture is not entirely sure whether he his funny, charming, sweet, and good in bed, or if he is rather all of these in bed. Deftly, Micah suggests an extremely favorable bedroom experience without actually promising anything.
In the third and final movement of “The Conversation,” Micah turns it over, diplomatically, to his addressee. “See a lot of girls are like you. They treat it like a bachelor. Like it’s everyone’s job to pass your level of interest which yeah is true.” Such intentionally obscure prose succeeds in putting the female reader in a state of insecurity and confusion. Who treats what like a bachelor? Is Micah suggesting that women on Tinder treat the app itself as though it is some sort of composite bachelor at their disposal? Or is he instead saying that women treat dating as though they themselves are bachelors? Such a convoluted and gender-ambiguous sentiment would plunge even the most self-sure young woman into psychological distress, making her the perfect target for Micah’s final attack, when he declares, “But if you wanna know why I’m interesting it’s because this isn’t (sic) one sided interview. You’re gonna have to catch my interest as well.”
It is in this way that “The Conversation” reaches its stunning, though perhaps not altogether surprising conclusion. Having lifted himself up through prose, and having carefully sabotaged his reader’s psychological health, he is primed and ready for a response. He need only sit back and wait for the replies to roll in. He has invested nearly 300 words and countless typos into this work of poetic majesty without doing any chasing, or expending any effort, whatsoever. Ball’s in your court, local match. It seems that the outcome of the exchange, “which so sad isn’t going horribly for you,” rests entirely in your smitten thumbs.