The Curse of the Analytical Thinker

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,Single Life

The other day, I braved my bathing suit fears and went to the pool at my new apartment complex. I was looking around. Some guys were handsome, some were clearly married or age inappropriate, and some were too obnoxious to warrant a second glance. Back in Arkansas, almost every guy at my complex fell into the third category, so I was relieved for some eye candy rather than eye rolling.

While lying outside, enjoying the warmth of early summer sunshine, I had an epiphany: almost none of the two dozen first dates I’ve been on in the last few years have resulted in a second date.

I made a list, of course, of my dating history. This doesn’t count men who failed pre-screening. There are over 24 guys on the list… some of them I couldn’t even remember names. I struggled for 10 minutes to come up with names, only to realize I didn’t know them, so I gave them descriptors. They went something like this:

  • Effeminate guy at Mexican restaurant
  • Law school mama’s boy
  • Hipster grad student
  • Boring guy with great hair

Then my head was flooded with questions.

Am I not being picky enough in pre-screening dates? Am I being too picky on the actual date? I tried to focus on the guys who were interested in seeing me again… Sometimes it’s just highly evident and mutual that we’re not a match. But that hasn’t been the case many of the times.

The other day, I read an article claiming that most of the time, dates 1-3 aren’t indicative of your relationship because:

  1. You’re on your best behavior
  2. You’re so concerned about presenting yourself that you forget to analyze the traits and behaviors of your date
  3. You want the other person to like you and forget you have to like them too

I tend to be somewhat the opposite. The engineer in me gets highly analytical, and while I take the time to engage in conversation and enjoy the food or activity of the date, my mind is constantly taking data measurements. No wonder I rarely feel sparks! There’s zero romance in a date when all you’re doing is checking boxes in your head. My new goal is to try to just enjoy the guy’s company. I’m not going to ignore red flags, but I also know that by date 3, if a guy makes it that far, I have enough of a sense of their character to decide to proceed with caution or cut them loose.


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