‘Dating’ In D.C. — For The Band Stronger Sex, It Makes For A Good Song, At Least

By MacKenzie Reagan

Stronger Sex is Johnny Fantastic, left, and Leah Gage.
Stronger Sex is Johnny Fantastic, left, and Leah Gage. John Whitefoot

Johnny Fantastic is bored with dating.

“Dating/In this city of ours/Oh what a waste of time/Oh it’s the blind leading the blind,” the D.C.-based performer sings in a near-deadpan over frenetic electro-pop rhythms in “Dating,” the new single by the band Stronger Sex.

“I’d rather read a book,” Fantastic says over the phone while dog-walking on a sunny November afternoon.

It’s not that Fantastic has had any spectacularly bad dates. The lyricist, singer and synth-player can only recall the comedian who called them “old” — they’re 32 — and the person who ghosted them. (Fantastic prefers third-person-plural pronouns over “him” or “her.”)

If there’s any angst, it’s towards the concept of dating itself — what the song calls “… the easy chance/To score on some bats–t romance.”

Fantastic hasn’t succumbed to dating apps, although friends’ hits and misses with the technology have been noted. Other forms of finding or keeping “the one” — from meet-cutes to marriage — aren’t appealing, either. Fantastic prefers to get to know someone who who “swims in the same current.” (Strictly music-wise, the current includes Stronger Sex bandmate Leah Gage.)

“Marriage is college and dating is prep school, y’know what I mean … and I’m not trying to go to college right now,” the artist says. “[I’m] not really looking to start a mutually beneficial financial partnership with another young adult.”

This isn’t to say Fantastic is unhappy — the phone conversation is downright jovial. Performing with Stronger Sex, the singer is animated and upbeat, dancing to the band’s haunting blend of slithering rhythms, electro sounds and noise-pop touches. Fantastic dresses to the nines, often wearing dresses or skirts.

“I guess if I were a pessimist, I wouldn’t bother writing a song at all in the first place. I would just sit at home and feel sorry for myself,” Fantastic says.

Stronger Sex is working on a followup to 2015’s eponymous debut. The new record is due next year.

For now, Fantastic prefers to spend time on things like hanging out with friends and going on trips.

“[When you’re not in a relationship],” the performer says, “you have to learn how to be confident in who you are.”