dating/love/lack thereof

The Other 3 Date Rule

This year, almost every date I’ve gone on has been “fine.” Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not like there was anything definitively wrong with the guys. Sure, some of them were definitely shorter than they said they were on Hinge, but they were nice. Side note, if the most you can say about someone is that they were “nice,” or “nice” is the first thing that comes to mind when you’re trying to describe someone, they probably aren’t meant to play a major role in your life — and that goes for both platonic and romantic relationships. It’s usually code for completely boring with no outstanding positive qualities. But I digress.


We made conversation. We joked, we drank, we laughed. But there’s an undeniable difference in how you feel after a “fine” date and a good date. And I don’t want to be with someone that I think of as “fine” or “nice,” knowing in the back of my mind that there’s someone out there that I’d think of as “extraordinary” or “a literal god.” It has nothing to do with anything you can put on paper. It’s about “spark.” And I’ve hated using that term since watching He’s Just Not That Into You, but there’s no other way I can think of to describe it. You don’t want to date anyone that you feel like you’re dating to pass the time. You don’t want to date anyone that you don’t think is damn near perfect — no matter how delusional your friends think you are. That’s impossible unless there’s spark. And the only objectively good date that I’ve been on in the last year was over Christmas break when I was at home in Boston, and when it started we didn’t even know we were on one. So when I went on an actual good date for the first time in months with a guy who’s name I couldn’t say without giggling, I got excited. But it didn’t end up going anywhere. 


And then I realized that it was time to institute a 3 date rule — but not the kind you’re thinking of. I’m not telling any of my friends or acquaintances about a new guy until we’ve been on 3 or more dates. To some guys, I’m sure that sounds completely reasonable and to some girls, I’m sure that sounds insane. But hear me out.


I was confused after the good date went nowhere because from my perspective I hadn’t done anything wrong. Maybe I had talked about Disney too much, but overall, I’d thought the date went really well. Against my instincts, I wore an outfit that didn’t draw any attention whatsoever to my immaculate rack. After the bar, we walked around a little and then he dropped me off at my place. He didn’t try to kiss me before I got out of the car, and that made me nervous, but he texted me right after the date and then initiated the conversation the next day and the day after that, and then pretty much fell off the face of the earth. It was bizarre, and I’m not going to lie or pretend I’m above it — I was pretty bummed out about it.


But I’ve realized that dating — especially in DC — isn’t a meritocracy, it’s a lottery. Finding a person you really, really like that really, really likes you is literally a game of chance. There’s no way around it. And 2 people can have 2 completely different experiences at the same date. And there’s really nothing you can do about it. But what you can do is minimize let downs by delaying talking about anyone new until you’ve seen some consistency, and I think 3 dates is a good place to start.


Girls love talking about dates. We love telling our friends about ours, and we love asking our friends about theirs — especially if they’re good. A good date can take you from sane, rational 25 year old to giddy school girl mentally scribbling a boy’s name all over a notebook like a switch was flipped. And that’s fine, it’s great, it’s dandy — but the more we talk about something good, the more excited we get about them. The same goes for almost any positive life event.


That’s why I would hate when people would ask me how an interview went when I was on the job search. I didn’t want to talk about it, because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. 


So, from this point forward, none of my friends, coworkers or acquaintances will hear anything about anyone I go on a good date with until we’ve been on at least 3. If the date is “fine” or terrible I’m more than happy to talk about my war stories like I’ve been through the dating equivalent of the Vietnam War. But life’s too short to get in your feelings about someone that hasn’t spent $200 or more on you. KIDDING! One of the best dates I’ve been on I actually went half on. But you get the point.




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