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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Group houses are full of people who make great first impressions

Speaking of dating, my daughter Melina wrote last night:
I actually believe that your first 24-hour period of knowing someone can set the tone for the entire relationship - that in just a few formative hours you can set up power dynamics that last for years, and during those hours both of you decide exactly which of your personal psychological defects will be activated, enhanced or healed by the relationship.
Do you agree? It's true some people make you feel funny and smart and kind, right off the bat, while others make you (or me anyway) feel shrill and neurotic, and that's crucial information! But after brief ruminating, I have some initial objections to the 24-hour test period:
  • A first meeting can be haphazard (I met my first love, my own El Compositor, over the steam tables at breakfast in college) or - as with the internet sites - intentional. Preparation does not necessarily improve a first meeting, but it does alter it!

  • Some people show you their best at first meeting (wait in vain for more, this is all there is) and some unfold over time. Some seem, at first, to be sad-sacks or jerks, and yet turn out to be wonderful. Some seem wonderful at first and then turn out to be awful jerks. This is because

  • There are introverts and there are extroverts; there are clutch hitters and then there are choke artists. Which leads to Melina's father's excellent observation:

  • "Group houses [and, let me add, internet-spawned dating situations] are full of people who make great first impressions."
It's possible I'm more against decisions based on "first impressions" - or "first chemistry" - because the slings and arrows of my own life have beat me up so much I no longer trust in my intuition.

That said, some initial impressions will never be erased and should never be forgiven. If a guy insults you, even in jest, on the first date; if he leaves a chintzy tip for the waitress; if he brags about his SAT scores or his car; if he turns on the television; if he drinks 18 drinks; well, then, enough said...

So, what do YOU think? I'm really interested - since my own intuition is shot, I'd like to hear from yours...

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At 6:15 AM, Blogger Hannah said...

Hmm, that's a good point. You could definitely argue that "intuitive", in this context, is just a code word for "judgmental."

At 12:04 PM, Blogger miatagirl said...

I think your observations are dead-on correct. I rarely trust my first impressions of a person in any situation, dating or otherwise. It’s been my experience that even the most extroverted people “unfold” over time as you get to know them. And introverts, myself included, who prefer listening to talking, often seem unintelligent, uneducated, arrogant, or just plain boring when you first meet them.

As far as internet dating is concerned, I would highly recommend it. I met my domestic partner online, and we have been together for a year and a half now. Yes, people will spice up their profiles to get your attention, but if you open an email dialogue with them, you’ll get a better feel for who they truly are. Follow that with a few phone conversations, and you’ll know if this person is really worth your time or not. Sure, it might not be as exciting as haphazardly meeting someone at breakfast, or locking eyes with someone at a crowded party, or bumping into someone at the supermarket, but it can still be fun. Good luck with El Compositor.

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may be off topic -- I was going to ask if you'd had a chance to hear the Mazeltones while you were up in Seattle. But I googled and found out they disbanded about eight years ago.
Their lead violin won all the school journalism awards twenty-five years ago. Then one day she interviewed the King of Sweden and decided to start up a klezmer band. The rest is history.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger partygirljessica said...

Like miatagirl, I also met my partner through webdate_dot_com. I believe that what you write in your profile is essential: it will be the way you'll present yourself. You can be creative as hell to get attention and a lot of responses, but there has been cases that after an exchange of emails, your perception about the person will change (either good or bad).


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