A long time ago Jezebel Moe sullied her nice white laptop with in the company of a boyfriend. We'll call him "Ladybird" because when he wasn't satisfying her or thinking great thoughts he used that pseudonym to win himself the distinction of first-ever executed commenter on a certain blog. Today's 'Work & Family' column in the Wall Street Journal addresses one of their favorite old pastimes, the "work date," which is to say, the date that is not a date at all but in fact the simple act of role-playing cubicle mate for hours at a time with someone you may be fucking but are probably too overworked to really care about. None of the couples in the story seem to work out; neither, it will totally shock you to know, did Ladybird and Moe! After the jump, a very brief IM about live and dating and Zelda and Scott why he dumped me, subheaded for your convenience because, well, maybe I just THOUGHT it was brief..

moeissingle: So, LADYBIRD, there's a story in the Journal today about couples who "work date", which is to say, go on double dates with their laptops and ADD medications. Since such "dates" were sort of a MAINSTAY, to use a fave term of Paris Hilton, of our relationship, which ahem ENDED, would you care to join me in a self-referential IM about it?
Ladybird: okay so i have only looked at the article for six seconds
Ladybird: but i already know the biggest problem with it
Ladybird: having a laptop open does not mean you are "working"
moeissingle: Yes it means you are existing.
moeissingle: ummm.. unrelated note "Ladies Who Launch" might be the most annoying book title ever.
Ladybird: Remember when Laris and kendra wanted to double work date with us??
moeissingle: Oh right! they are the happy sellout version of us. Maybe "money" made their work dates more fulfilling!
9:35 AM
moeissingle: Does anyone in this story go on work double dates?
Ladybird: she kind of misses the point of the working date
Ladybird: which is that the other person will do some of your work for you
moeissingle: i mean, sometimes I think workaholics are too self-absorbed for relationships.
Ladybird: lots of workaholics don't get very much done
Ladybird: they just stress a lot
moeissingle: Right because they don't have ampheatimines.
Ladybird: anyways, the real story here is this:
Ladybird: LAPTOPS ARE THE NEW TVs
Ladybird: they are the glowing thing that you look at after dinner
Ladybird: my favorite line ... She says she is so busy running a Web site, launching a second one and working part-time in public relations,
Ladybird: soooo busy!!!!
Ladybird: oh me oh my!
moeissingle: dude her website is called StyleDiary and she doesn't even own the URL Stylediary
Ladybird: people are insecure that somewhere out there is another couple
Ladybird: who are getting ahead in the big Race for Prizes
Ladybird: they need to do enough work to temporarily abate this insecurity
Ladybird: so they can have a few "romantic" hours
Ladybird: anyways, we need to chat about US or this will not be a good post
Ladybird: for example, the mind-shattering loudness with which your fingers hit the keys
moeissingle: Okay!

"the cross-guilting was very productive"
moeissingle: So, work dates. Healthy? Unhealthy? Were we more productive together? Or separately?
Ladybird: we were probably more productive together
Ladybird: the cross-guilting was very productive
Ladybird: maybe you are more productive and i am less productive
moeissingle: Well, I wasn't on drugs then.
Ladybird: i'm reading "fooled by randomness" by nassim taleb
Ladybird: dude says he spends 95 percent of his time hanging out and doing nothing
Ladybird: and that's why he's able to get so many brilliant ideas as a trader
Ladybird: he's got that buckminster fuller mentality
THINK they understand but really don't.
Ladybird: that the "work ethic" causes people to focus, for long stretches, on unimportant things that do not actually benefit society
moeissingle: Right, but I think I realized early on that I am not a brilliant mind
moeissingle: and doing nothing, for me, quickly dissolves into the pathetic crying of the unmedicated slacker who reminds herself of that over and over and over again.
Ladybird: well writing always involves a certain amount of "freaking out"
Ladybird: bringing anxiety to a productive boil
Ladybird: and it is hard to do that in front of another person
Ladybird: the partner is the surrogate "boss"
Ladybird: for whom the work is performed
moeissingle: Right, and the enabler.
:50 AM

"i felt like the clacking keys made things into a race"
Ladybird: So, what annoyed you most about me?
moeissingle: That I annoyed you!
Ladybird: what was my equivalent of the clacking keys?
Ladybird: i felt like the clacking of the keys made things into a race
moeissingle: I wrote an essay once about your antipathy towards my keystrokes. Imagining how they made you hate me and hate yourself, because you were so irrationally irritated by them for so long and i was so oblivious to that for so long and isn't that just how all unhappy couples are actually exactly the same tolstoy?
Ladybird: i felt like i was living in the press room at a political convention
moeissingle: I was going to read it at a reading with Loren about "hate letters we didn't send but should have no actually it's good we didn't send them."
Ladybird: where all the wire reporter dudes are like rocking back and forth and moaning as their stuff comes out
moeissingle: When did you go to a political convention?
Ladybird: this was a long time ago in albany
Ladybird: there was this one old freak there
moeissingle: Oh wow, weird other life!
Ladybird: who acted like he was praying while typing
Ladybird: rocking back and forth and moaning
Ladybird: to get that andrew cuomo wire copy out
Ladybird: THE MUSE
Ladybird: she must be courted with SONG and RITUAL
moeissingle: That's hot.
moeissingle: Someone, somewhere, could get off listening to that. But I digress.
Ladybird: (is this going okay?)
Ladybird: it would be easier if we were in the same room, obv.
moeissingle: Haha clacking away!
Ladybird: okay, okay, the working date
moeissingle: So yesterday while we watched Paris Hilton, I must have been really loud.
Ladybird: no, you weren't too loud

"we didn't do working dates early in our relationship"
Ladybird: we didn't do working dates early in our relationship
moeissingle: yes we did! I did all my work at your office! And we didn't actually go on dates!
Ladybird: right, but those weren't working dates
Ladybird: that was like...
Ladybird: okay i am sleeping with this person who i am working with and we are both working in this office
Ladybird: and acting professional
moeissingle: oh right you like to be watched.
moeissingle: We were fully clothed.
moeissingle: There was no rice cooker.
moeissingle: No coffee grinds
9:55 AM
moeissingle: No scizophrenic cat
Ladybird: no typing on the bed
Ladybird: you are good at writing on the bed
Ladybird: i can't do it
Ladybird: i need the fake dignity of a table
Ladybird: or desk
moeissingle: Right, I think almost everything about our working dates WORKED except for the fact that I am perfectly comfortable working for long stretches marinating in my own grease in my own house on my bed and never leaving, and you are not.
Ladybird: and we did not have work dates
Ladybird: right, i go stir crazy
moeissingle: And you lived in the crackhouse!
moeissingle: So we usually worked at the office.
Ladybird: actually i have since devised some cures for the marination problem

"it's different when the free world depends on you going outside"
Ladybird: the big historical antecedent to all this is winston churchill
Ladybird: he slept like 15 feet away from his desk in this underground bunker for several months
Ladybird: the wall was covered with bulletin boards and a map of the world
Ladybird: he did lots of work in bed, smoked cigars, etc.
moeissingle: That sounds just like my life!
Ladybird: he totally marinated!
Ladybird: but it's different when the free world depends on you not going outsdie
Ladybird: (shit, this is sucking, isn't it?)
Ladybird: (we need to have a fake fight)
moeissingle: Yeah, it adds "urgency." Like Paris Hilton!
Ladybird: (or some juicy revelatory details)

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"OMG, remember how you had that note to yourself, "Write sequel to the Prince" and stuck it face down on your bulletin board?"
moeissingle: Personally, I liked the fact that we never had to actually DO anything together, that we could sit with our laptops side by side all day until I drank myself to sleep, but you seemed to like them less.
moeissingle: Right, we were really good for each other from a creative perspective
moeissingle: Because I have no problem letting thoughts dribble out onto a screen
Ladybird: i had mixed feelings about them
moeissingle: When I actually have "thoughts"
moeissingle: But I think very little and you think a lot.
moeissingle: I could be having a dumb thought, and be writing it down, and read it aloud to you, and then you'd say something like "Marx said.." or "N+1 said.." That got me so hot.
Ladybird: in the emporer's children novel, one of the protagonists is working on a book proposal and then she has this super machiavellian boyfriend who she eventually marries who puffs up her ego and feeds her a lot of bullshit theory..
moeissingle: OMG, remember how you had that note to yourself, "Write sequel to the Prince" and stuck it face down on your bulletin board so no one but you would know?
Ladybird: yeah well i make a lot of lists
Ladybird: that's really no weirder than "meditate each morning"
moeissingle: but you had a lot of funny work habits like that, writing notes to yourself and eating oil pills. wait, also, did I tell you how allison FOUND your old notes to yourself when she took your place in the crackhouse? And one of them was like "Fuck 10 girls, one who looks like this."
Ladybird: that is not true
moeissingle: ha!
Ladybird: you had some funny habits yourself
Ladybird: like not washing
Ladybird: eating too much
Ladybird: eating strange things
Ladybird: drinking too much
moeissingle: Um, eating too much? You're the one who kept having to buy skinny cow to replace the ice cream sandwiches you stole from Linda.
Ladybird: i bought that TWICE AT THE MOST!!!
moeissingle: but thanks for making me hate you.
moeissingle: you broke up with me because I was fat.
moeissingle: Awesome.
moeissingle: It had nothing to do with the work dates.
moeissingle: It's cause I was fat and you have an eating disorder.
moeissingle: I heard your new girlfriend is skinny. CONGRATS.

"i love that you don't remember the hurftul things i texted you"
Ladybird: the thing i will never forgive you for
Ladybird: is introducing me to gawker
Ladybird: i was once one of the lucky ones who could honestly claim to have never heard of it
Ladybird: you polluted my mind.
moeissingle: Yeah and you wouldn't have known about it if it wasn't for me.
moeissingle: You know what I love? How you actually went on real dates after we broke up.
moeissingle: Remember when I called you and you were like "I'm on a date."
moeissingle: And I wrote you that text message...
10:20 AM
moeissingle: You were supposed to ahem remember the text message.
Ladybird: Well when we met i was "plunging into all-consuming entrepreneurial ventures" in the words of ms. shellenbacher.
moeissingle: translation ahem BROKE
Ladybird: yes, you were my sugar daddy
Ladybird: what was the text message?
moeissingle: I hope she likes BAD SEX!!!!
moeissingle: i love that you don't remember the hurtful things i texted to you.
Ladybird: i don't remember anything.
moeissingle: right you blacked out your relationship with the fat girl.
Ladybird: you are not fat!!!


moeissingle: So yeah, do you do work dates now?Do you miss them?
Ladybird: yeah i miss being able to get your instant continuous feedback on stuff i'm working on
moeissingle: If I got your instant continuous feedback on everything I'm working on...
moeissingle: you'd be a commenter!
moeissingle: and I'd be suicidal.
Ladybird: i was a commenter!
moeissingle: I know! that's part of the "packaging".
Ladybird: what miss shellenbarger glosses over
moeissingle: The "packaging."
Ladybird: is that adults need to be able to work alone in a room by themselves for long periods
Ladybird: and then go home and not worry
Ladybird: and that fewer and fewer people are capable of doing this as work and work gets more abstract
Ladybird: and more like, you know, sitting around and IMing your friends.

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we were both 25ish trying to convince the other that we are hardworking and successful. meanwhile, i was a commenter.
Ladybird: i can't believe i was a commenter.
Ladybird: commenters are the lowest of the low.
moeissingle: Don't say that! You'll scare them away
moeissingle: Gawker Media loves commenters!
Ladybird: and commenters love attention, even negative attention!

"you really were unhappy!"
Ladybird: cohabitation in a basement doomed our workdates
moeissingle: and yes the basement was terrible.
moeissingle: And I went on birth control pills.
moeissingle: Ok, here's a thought: If we'd stayed together, would I have finished my book proposal?
moeissingle: Would you have written another big deal magazine story?
moeissingle: if you could go back and endure the relationship misery to get to that point WOULD IT HAVE BEEN WORTH IT...
moeissingle: that's on you since I was so manifestly blissful in the relationship as is.
Ladybird: probably, probably, and probably not
moeissingle: wow. you really were unhappy!
Ladybird: no, i just think staying in a relationship for career reasons is retarded
moeissingle: hahahahaha you just undermined every relationship in this city.

"it doesn't 'seamlessly transition into sex' as the WSJ would have you believe"
moeissingle: But yeah, did work ever get you "in the mood"?
Ladybird: no
Ladybird: the more you work, the more you think about work
Ladybird: then you work and work and work and you get real exhausted and you fall asleep. or in your case, drink.
Ladybird: it doesn't "seamlessly transition into sex" as the WSJ would have you believe
Ladybird: the whole "work and family" section is all about making people feel like working 80 hours a week their whole life is okay and normal
moeissingle: yeah it's totally the scam of the market economy. if buckminster fuller were writing this column he'd write about balancing work and masturbation and that would make a much better post

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moeissingle: anyway so yes, this is the part where you tell me why you broke up with me.
Ladybird: so you can publish it on a blog?
moeissingle: mmm-hmmmm!
Ladybird: hmmm
moeissingle: It's called TMI 2.0!
moeissingle: it's the rage of the blogosphere!
Ladybird: well, we'd been dating two years
Ladybird: and we weren't going to get married
Ladybird: how's that?
moeissingle: because you are jewish and i am fat?
Ladybird: no and no
moeissingle: Not an answer!!