Saturday, December 27, 2014

Searching for Chemistry

All this talk about Suzy I has me worked up. It puts me in the mind of other relationships gone wrong after one date, the ol’ One-and-Done. My mind doesn’t wander too far in this regard before stumbling over my encounter with Suzy II. As you may recall, Suzy I and Suzy II are not related. Their real names aren’t even Suzy. But my experiences with them are reminiscent of each other, and they wear their hair in a similar fashion (short and parted on the side), and their smiles are identical (heads tilted, bright, cute smiles).

Hence, Suzy I and Suzy II.

The two Suzies and I had very similar beginnings and endings. Both beginnings were message driven, and filled with excitement. Suzy I thanked me for allowing her to communicate with her “truest words” and thanked me for being more interested in her published writings than “all of the other past men in her life combined.” Suzy II told me she’d never met anyone who was so smart and so fit.

And then everything went to hell for both Suzies. I’ve already chronicled the demise of Suzy I. Today I’d like to discuss the ending with Suzy II.

Like Suzy I, Suzy II was a bit older than me. Suzy I was an empty nester, Suzy II had no children. Suzy I had been married twice for longer periods, while Suzy II had only been married once for a few years. Suzy I owned her own gym, but wasn’t particularly athletic. Suzy I was a writer by trade. Suzy II was a tour de force athletically. She skied, snowshoed, ran, hiked, swam, and kayaked. Anything outdoors, she did it. So where Suzy I and I bonded on a spiritual and emotional level, Suzy II and I were excited about the potential for getting out and getting after it . . . together.

After a week of messaging, Suzy II and I decide to have breakfast together. The day after Thanksgiving. 8 a.m. I’m a morning person, and was wide awake. Suzy II disclosed that she was a little groggy due to a wine-champagne combo the previous evening. No worries. She still held her own. We talked for about two hours, and my take was we got along well enough, well enough, that is, for a second date. She either must have agreed or didn’t have the courage to say no, as we scheduled a second date the following week.

Then the crickets began to chirp.

One day went by and then another. No word.

No problem, I thought. I know how to handle this. I sent her an email saying my schedule was filling up for the week, and wanted to confirm that we were still on for our date. Suzy II finally responded, saying, no, she needed to cancel. Why? Well, it turns out, she had spent the full two hours of our breakfast date “searching for chemistry” between us, and didn’t find any.

Darn. What a shame.

Sorry. Seriously, though, she was “searching for chemistry” between us?

What does that even mean?
What are our expectations on a first date? We know plenty of people are searching for a crack hit. By crack hit, I don’t mean the drug derived from cocaine. I’m talking about the high that results and the unquenchable desire for more. This sort of thing happened a lot back in our teens and twenties. Was this love or lust? Does this short-lived feeling of exuberance provide a solid foundation for a long-lasting relationship, and, if not, what should we be looking for?

I had a date once with a relationship guru. After expressing her dismay that I was even dating within only a few months of being divorced, we had quite a memorable discussion. She explained that the crack-hit is an evolutionary thing, a feeling developed over time to ensure that the species mates and reproduces. The crack-hit, she explained, is a close cousin to sexual arousal. It might even be the same thing for some people.

For most of our species’ existence, she continued, humans died around the age of 40. Long-lasting relationships never entered the equation. It is only recently that people started living into their 50s and beyond.

Why is this relevant?

Because the goal shouldn’t be to let our hormones make our decisions about relationships for us, the Guru said. That job should be reserved for our brains. And there is no way of knowing whether you’ll have lasting chemistry with anyone on date #3 much less date #1. Chemistry is something that unfolds, sometimes slowly. So the idea that anyone would be “searching for chemistry” an hour after you meet is ludicrous. Even if all you are looking for is sexual chemistry, you won’t know if you have that until the two of you are alone on a couch in a private setting.


I just about wanted to propose on the spot.

This woman gets it!

Yet the dating world is filled with people searching for the crack-hit they felt twenty or thirty years ago. The crack hit is nice, don’t get me wrong. Before we get to the crack-hit, it might be nice to see if we can sit on a back porch together and share a beer and discuss life. Do that two or three times for a few hours each session, and then I’ll tell you whether there’s any chemistry.

If I want something more immediate, I can always go to Rick’s Cabaret.

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