Saturday, December 6, 2014
I was a philosophy minor in college, with a history-political science double major. Then I went to law school. I did well. Why? I’m a theoretical kind of guy. So while I enjoy sharing my dating war stories, I will revert to my former self on occasion and poke fun at this thing we call dating.
Today I direct my attention at what I’ll call the One-and-Done Syndrome.
What is this malady, you ask?
Quite simply, it is an approach to dating that requires a first date rise to the level of your best first date ever. If it doesn’t? See ya. What do I mean? Let me explain.
First, please keep in mind that I’ve been told that I “look exactly like my online pictures,” and that despite some challenges that we all face with age, I’m OK on the eyes. Six feet tall, 160 pounds, most of it lean. I run and lift weights. The Jim Morrison days (something will discuss in a later post) are over, to be sure. But I do OK.
Second, despite coming off as somewhat feisty on this blog, you’ll have to trust me that in person I’m on the mellow side, especially on the first date. I like to listen to my date, get to know her, and ask questions so that, well, she can do more talking. I look at a first date as just that, a first date. A way to get to know something about someone. Unless my date has posted old pictures, put on hundreds of pounds, or otherwise misrepresented herself, there is no reason why a second date couldn’t follow, assuming, of course, she feels the same way.
I’ll call this the low-maintenance approach to dating, an approach many of us have adopted at one point in our lives. I’m not sure how many of us still think this way. In fact, this may now be the minority approach, a distinct and seemingly tiny minority.
I’ve now had at least three dates, perhaps more if I took time to think about it, that have ended in this fashion. The date went OK, no great shakes, but no reason not to see the person again, and plenty of reasons for us both to schedule a second meet-up. Yet all three said adios.
Here are the reasons:
Suzy I – "I just didn’t think we could ever reach the same heights in person as we did in messaging."
Suzy II – "I kept looking for chemistry and didn’t see any."
Jane – "I’m not sure why. I had fun. I just don’t think you’re my type."
I write enough about Suzy I, so I’m gonna give her a break in this post. But Suzy II (her name isn’t really Suzy, she just reminds me so much of Suzy I that I had to call her by the same name) is someone new. I haven’t talked about her yet. Suzy II is an executive. Cute, intelligent, athletic. We had three days’ worth of fun messaging before date 1. None of it reached the level of the messaging with Suzy I, but it was intense enough for Suzy II to exclaim “I’ve never met anyone like you!” So we meet, and the date was nice. Did we go out again? Nope. No good reason was offered except “no chemistry.”
Jane. Another new one. Long red hair, and a come hither way about her. At the end of the date I asked if we were going to say goodbye via handshake, hug, or kiss. Jane said, “well, if you come over a little closer to my car, I will show you.” And boy did she. Jane planted one of the most memorable kisses of my life. I don’t remember the last time I had one that good. Did we go out again? Nope. No good reason was offered except something about not being the right “type.”
So what the F is going on here? I don’t know for sure. But I have an idea. The chemistry these women are looking for is what I call the “crack hit.” It’s the chemistry my Ex and I shared for 2-3 years. Are crack hits desirable? Sure, I guess. They make you feel good, invincible even. Is it realistic to think at age fifty with all we’ve been through over the last 40 years that we’re gonna find a mate who gives us that crack hit on date #1?
If that’s what we’re looking for, good luck. It just ain’t gonna happen.
Let’s take a look at the odds.
Let’s call this preconditions to the crack-hit:
1) You must find someone who wants to meet you; 2) you must agree to meet; 3) you both must have had a good day or be able to “turn off” a bad day and put on a happy face; 4) you both must be willing to put yourselves “out there,” meaning you not only have to show up, you have to be willing to make sure the other person knows you are smitten; 5) neither of you can violate the other person’s unspoken rules about dating; 6) neither of you can remind the other in any way of another person with whom you’ve had a bad experience.
You get the idea.
This is really just a short list. The list could be much longer. No doubt you have your own list. The point here is that if anything goes wrong, the brain starts sending signals that don’t promote that crack-hit feeling. No crack hit? No second date. I think it’s really this simple in many cases.
You may detect an open wound in today’s post. And you would be right. My concern is this: both sexes will tell you how bad dating is in your 40s, 50s, and beyond. It’s brutal. With so many bad apples out there, why would you further narrow the field by excluding potential mates after a single date merely because that date didn’t meet lofty (unrealistic) expectations?
This is the reason why we see so many people on these sites who have never been married, married multiple times, or had a series of awful relationships. The brain is not engaged when making dating decisions. Or, if it is, the part that is engaged is the reward center that is expecting to feel an adrenaline rush before a second date is justified.
I’m going to say this the Big Reason that middle-age dating sucks.
I’m looking for someone to “hang” with, someone to spend time getting to know, someone eventually to travel with and become my partner. Everyone else? Seems like they are searching for Hollywood, and not just a Hollywood Ending. They want to start with the Happy Ending and work their way backwards.
And that’s just what the One-and-Done-Syndrome is.