Melina's Intensive Dating Experiment of May 2006
I have been on dates with nine different men in the past three weeks. Four on Memorial Day Weekend alone.
And I'm ready to slow it down.
Overall, this has been an overwhelmingly positive experience, which can be summarized by the following fact: I sincerely liked eight out of nine of these men.
Out of my sample set,
I can give you a few more statistics.
Eight out of nine I met online (and no, the one dud wasn't the one I met in person).
Seven were in their 20s; two were in their 30s.
The younger ones were more serious; the older ones were funnier and more relaxed.
I would have gone on second dates with three out of nine of them, but they weren't interested.
Two out of nine of them would have gone on second dates with me, but I wasn't interested.
Two of them weren't interested enough to go on a second date with me AND I wasn't interested enough to go on a second date with them.
I did go on second dates with two out of nine of them.
But I learned more than statistics. One thing I learned (at first, I was sorry that I learned this, but now I don't mind): A lot of what you think is a rare and serendipitous connection with someone, is actually something you could have with a lot of people. For example, I had numerous "That' such a weird coincidence" conversations, some of which were even the same. For example, I would say I was from North Carolina, and my date would say (he was about to visit NOrth Carolina with his family, or his best friend was also from North Carolina). Or, I would say that my favorite subway line was the E, and my date would say that that was also his subway line. Or, I would talk about one of my favorite books, and my date would also have liked that book. Or, my date would talk about his anxiousness about e-dating, and I would admit that I too felt anxious about e-dating.
Lesson 1: People are not so different from each other. My gloomy date, El Enfermo, would see this as depressing, but in the end I think I find it heartening.
My ex used to live in my apartment, and my roommate just told me that my favorite takeout food from my favorite restaurant (out of the ten thousand in our neighborhood) was the exact same as my ex's favorite takeout order from that same restaurant. And I really don't mind!
Lesson 2: Nine first dates in three weeks is too many. An earnest young date would ask me to explain what I did for a living, and I'd feel a visceral stab of resentment that I had to talk about it again. My amusing anecdotes began to sound more and more rehearsed; I'd steer conversations down familiar paths just because it was the easier thing to do. Maybe my later dates didn't register this consciously, but I'm sure it wasn't the most charming demeanor I could have had.
Lesson 3: You really can't tell what it is, exactly, that someone wants, or why they do what they do. They call, they don't call. They click with you, then they go home and fall back in love with an ex, or have emergency surgery, or a work crisis, and then they think it's too late to call. You remind them too much of someone. They think you don't like them. There are a million reasons. Odds are, you're going to be okay.
Lesson 4: Serendipity may be a false construct, but it's important anyway. My first few e-dates were infused by my spirit of astonishment that Hey This Actually Worked. Once it becomes a lifestyle choice for the three weeks, the excitement drained out of the situation for me, and I'm sure that made me a lot less fun to be around. For some people, drinking makes everything seem more serendipitous, but that's only gonna put off your issues til the second or third date.
Lesson 5: You think it's okay to check your text messages during a date, dudes, if you do it real quick, but it's really not. Unless you're going to show me the message, wait until I go to the bathroom.
Lesson 6 (this one's from Ma): You can't really know someone until you've seen them in a variety of situations. Were you in a fancy restaurant the first date? Go to a scuzzy bar. Were you out at night? Meet him during the day. Are you delaying allowing him to meet your friends? Why is that? Make him meet your friends.
Lesson 7 (this one's also from Ma): No matter how charming somebody may seem to be, it takes time to figure out if he
likes you back
is a mentsh
is dependable in the clutch
Lesson 8: You're so lucky to be spending time with other humans. Praise the Creator, who created men, in their infinite variety!
Lesson 9: The story's not over. But it's going to take a while.