So, in the last about year I’ve been on a lot of first dates. When I say a lot, I mean enough to make a squirl collecting nuts in October look good. It isn’t that I’m not trying to be picky or that I’m some kind of woman magnet (actually, it’s quite the opposite), but rather that seems to be the way it goes. A lot of first dates. Not as many second. Almost no third. Shaking my head in frustration beyond that.
The first date is the “hey, is there anything from our initial conversations?” It is that chance to see if, in person, whatever previous version of email, IM, phone, txt, etc. new school of conversation translates to that so quaint old school idea of in person interaction. There really is nothing that can replace spending quality time with someone in the flesh. The nuances of who they are stand out. How do they really speak? Where are their eyes, what is their body language, how fluid are their thoughts? How do they interact with the world around them when not hidden my tele/electro-communications? Is there something to them that makes their aura glow, their inflections, the way they carry themselves?
There’s also that nerviousness, the fear / anxiety, the whole ‘what next’ feeling that goes hand-in-and with the excitement, the anticipation and the adrenaline rush.
Really, it’s a way to feel one another out. A way to figure out if there is a basic level of compatibility that no amount of other interaction will replace even if you met before in passing, like in a bar or in the line at the grocery store. Until, it’s set aside, in such a manner, that vetting process between acquaintance and potential friend / lover / et al. it’s nothing more than just another person on your radar.
The typical first date is a little bit of a non-committal gathering. Something that allows for a longer time to get to know one another if it goes well but still be viable to bail out on if things go bad quickly. There’s usually a little bit of social interaction due to the public places chosen which gives a chance to size the person up overall.
I’ve found, it goes one of three ways.
Worst case scenario, it sucks. The person looks nothing like you remember them to / or their photo let on and you feel betrayed and appauled. The person acts nothing like what you anticipated from your conversations and you leave confused and maybe a little frightened… thankfully, I haven’t really had many of these. A few where both of us were equally unattractived to one another for no real definable reason.
You feel it instantaneously. Not bang, fireworks and lightening bolts style, though, indeed that could happen too. But, there’s enough of a whoah, this is too easy kind of akinship that begs desperately for a second date. For me, this happens, well, about never. I’d be more likely to hit the lottery than to have one of those moments. Perhaps, I am to critical and my standards are too high. Perhaps, I’ve been let down too much and my perception is too skewed. Perhaps, it’s not possible in modern day society? Who knows. What I do know is that even among my best-of-friends, I didn’t like the vast majority of them on first meeting (or first few, hush, don’t tell!!!)
The more realistic option is you decide there is enough potential there to warrant the second encounter. There are quirks, there are flaws, but there are also things you are fundamentally attracted to. Elements of yourself that the other person begins to bring out. Things about the encounter that make you feel unexpectedly at ease. Ideas you are casting about the other person you suppose might be worth reeling in. None, the less, it is the catalyst for an attempt at moving forward to a second date.
Should the experience lend itself to moving forward, it’s time for that coveted second date.
This is more to verify there is a physical attraction between the two of you and take the interaction to a higher level. It is much less nerve-racking now that the ice has been broken but not more easy to navigate in the sense that there’s still questions to be answered.
Are you really my type? Is this a real conversation and now just 20 questions? Could I see myself going home with you at some point?
The overwhelming answer seems to be, “well, you seemed nice enough…” But, that’s just me. If I had more second date success, I wouldn’t’ve needed so many first dates, right?
Second dates tend to take on a more intimate setting, still public but more low key affairs in an attempt to really get to know the person in person and not just feel them out post- conversations. The precept of the second date vetting process begins to take you and the other person out of the acquaintances to the next step.
They clean up whatever post-first date questions there were and set up the idea of “seeing someone.” If you can say after the second date, “hey this person’s not half bad” then things get more relaxed (or in theory should…) Now, for me, that is usually, well, “you’re a nice guy, but…” and there’s rarely that explanation as to the but, but then again, on this mindset I can fathom a number of concepts of which, perhaps none of them are too flattering, per se.
Hey, though, it’s not me… it’s them, right?
So, the third date. The coveted third date. You get here because of several reasons.
Perhaps it is because there is an attraction that is slowly becoming more undeniable. The first two attempts set a tone that then opens up opportunity to move further. There is an underlying friendship and some concept of attraction and there is a need to explore. It’s subtle and sincere and needs further investigation so you both decide to try it and see.
Perhaps, it is because there is an established version of both of the above and you are ready to press further along into the “seeing one another” concept and you both are ready to acclimate yourselves to this idea.
Or, perhaps, there are still more questions than answers and you need that last try to further develop the conception of the person and you want to verify, not necessarily the good aspects, but probably more understand the potential pitfalls.
Needless to say, if all goes well, the third date probably makes a forth, fifth and so on until the conceptualization of “seeing someone” begins to take shape. You swap your single status on social networking sites (and maybe too dating sites) to that and mentally flip to that socially exciting idea of “dating.” The subsequent result would be the traditional relationship beginning…
But there are plenty of other ways that the date could go that, at this point they make a new post just dating on my experiences beyond date 3. Those are worth posting notes on in-and-of themselves, mostly because if nothing else, it will make for some humorous notes on me and if you cannot laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at. But, I sincerely hope you get something out of the precepts posted above for the socio-comedic value from someone who isn’t naturally funny unless you like daggering sarcasm and bad puns (are there good puns?)