Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Out on a limb

I've been accused of being too analytical, but I think this is an unfair characterization. I think I'm just analytical enough. For example, since my nosy married friends frequently ask me, "Did you have a good date last night?" I needed to decide what constituted a good date versus a bad one. So I made a Good Date Identification algorithm.

Stop laughing at me, Internet.

Seriously, that's kind of rude.

Whatever. I'm going to keep going here.

There are five questions that I ask myself to determine if I'm on a good date.
1. Are you on a date?

You are laughing again, but I have been on more than one date where I wasn't on a date.

For example, this one time, I met a guy at a party and we really hit it off, so we made plans to have dinner. Unfortunately, I totally thought he was gay, and it turned out that he did not think he was gay, so although I was hanging out with a friend, he thought that we were on a date. AWKWARD.

Or, hypothetically, let's say you liked this guy, and you were pretty sure he wasn't interested in you, but you said "let's just hang out like friends", and he was all like "sure", but you were kind of pretending it was a date anyway and even shaved your legs just in case. In that situation, you might be psycho, but you for certain are not on a date.

If the answer to question one is no, stop here. You did not have a good date, because you weren't on one. If the answer is yes, continue.

2. Are your goals for this date compatible?

You have some reason why you wanted to go on this date. Your date has a reason too. If those reasons are incompatible, it does not bode well for you. For example, here are the three most common goals:

○ To enjoy your date's company and get to know them
○ To evaluate your date against your checklist for husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever
○ To get laid

These are all perfectly good goals. If you and your date have the same goal, then you are well on your way to having a lovely evening. Continue with the questions below.

Problems occur when you have different goals. For example, when I want to enjoy my date's company and he wants to evaluate me for immediate marriage and reproduction. Or if I want to find a husband, and my date wants to get laid.

3. Does your date meet the criteria for your goal?

If your only goal is to get laid, you can save yourself some time by asking straight out, "Do you want to sleep with me?" This is an extremely efficient algorithm.

If your goal is to identify your wife, you are going to have a lot of specific criteria. Follow Interrogation Guy's model and get through as many as possible before the salmon arrives.

Since my goal is almost always "enjoy my date's company and get to know them", I have a simpler set of criteria. My list is something like this:

○ Nice?
○ Smart?
○ Interesting to talk to?
○ Good manners?
○ Shared interests and values?
○ Someone I find attractive?

As soon as I answer no to one of the criteria, I'm done. You have your own list, whether you know it or not. If you make it all the way through your list without answering no, continue.

4. Do you want to see them again?

Could you talk to them for hours? Are you looking forward to seeing their face again? Are you actually having fun? Don't look at me: you'll have to decide for yourself. But here's a tip: if you aren't sure, then the answer is probably no.

5. Do they want to see you again?

Yeah, they get a vote too. While you were busy evaluating them, they were busy evaluating you. If you made it all the way to question five and answered yes? Send a text to your married friend to taunt her: you had a good date!

On the other hand, if you said no, I'm sorry. It totally sucks to eliminate someone on question five. But, hey, thems the breaks. You had a bad date.

Regardless, I'll give you this final tip. When you answer no to any of the five questions above, you are still sitting there in front of your date. At that point, consider doing one of these three things:

○ If your date is dangerous, mean, or just plain creepy, leave immediately.
○ If your date is someone that you really don't like, pick a new goal. For example, decide to ignore them and enjoy your meal. Or gather material for your blog.
○ If your date is a nice person and you just aren't interested, just be nice for a reasonable amount of time, then say thank you and leave. No need to be a jerk.

And, yes, Internet, I realize that you are thinking one of two things right now:

"Damn, this chick is brilliant!"


"I must add 'no analytical nutjobs' to my criteria."

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