Obama cringes to recall his ‘wildly pretentious’ college years when he struggled to get a date

As new film ‘Barry’ examines Obama’s early life, the president looks back and explains that women found him ‘too intense’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 December, 2016, 9:50am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 December, 2016, 9:50am

He looks back at his college years and, at 55 years old, wonders who he was, and why he couldn’t seem to express himself adequately. Or go on more dates with girls.

“In retrospect,” said US President Barack Obama, speaking in an interview released Monday, he realises he was “wildly pretentious.”

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As he prepares to write a post-presidential book, Obama told old friend David Axelrod, he is reading his “old journals” and letters to girls he was “courting.” He is chagrined at what he wrote.

“They’re impenetrable,” Obama said in an interview for the The Axe Files podcast. “I mean, I don’t - I don’t understand what I’m saying . . . I’m like what - what are you talking about?”

I should’ve tried, like, you know, ‘Wanna go to a movie?’
Barack Obama on his college dating woes

Obama’s comments about his time in college and the years that followed, particularly when he was a junior and senior at Columbia University, from which he graduated in 1983, come in the wake of the release of the Netflix movie Barry. The movie focuses on his relationship with a white woman who is a composite character of those he dated at the time, as well as his developing views on race relations and his estranged father. The movie depicts him smoking, dancing, dating and partying.

Obama, while not referencing the movie in his interview with Axelrod, remembered himself as decidedly stodgy. He was, he said, a “monk” and “humourless,” begging off from parties because he had to read the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. The women on campus found him “too intense.”

Looking back, said the president of the United States, “I should’ve tried, like, you know, ‘Wanna go to a movie?’”