Flatlined

Some people took issue with graph three in the Top Ten Tuesday. I would like to take the opportunity to explain my reasoning.

I suppose, if I were permitted to suggest complicated graphs (Blobby wasn’t a fan), I would put in a spike for the first and second date. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I was quite convinced that I might marry the first guy I went out with. The idea was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Until I met him. Then I was just disappointed. I went to sleep thinking that if this was the guy I was fated to spend the rest of my life with, then fate was cruel indeed. But I’d give him another chance because what did I know? He might grow on me…

Thankfully, it was not my first date’s first date, and he ended the torment.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t get excited about each date. Not at the same wedding-planning level, but close enough. Oh, I act unconcerned enough. I roll my eyes when I hear the “this fellow really sounds like a match” from the parents, and I listen listlessly to what his neighbors and aunts have to say, and then shrug and say “Yeah, I’ll go out with him. Why not.”

But then while I’m applying lipstick I’m thinking, “His uncle said he was nice. You want a nice boy. This really is promising.”

To which my Second Thought retorts that they’re all nice, you can’t find a guy who isn’t nice, except for the ones who aren’t, but you only notice that nobody called them nice until after the date during which he failed to be nice.  And half the time the reason they call them nice is because they’re boring.

“But he dogsleds as a hobby. How cool is that? (No pun intended.) He could be interesting and nice. And it sounds like he might have a similar approach to things. He really could be the one.”

Second Thought rushes to wipe the hopeful smile off my face. You know how many guys you’ve gone out with interesting hobbies and maybe similar hashkafos? And how many of them turned out to have serious personality flaws that precluded your ever being able to get on together? Don’t get ahead of yourself. First meet the guy and then see if you still think he could be the one.

“But he’s in his final year in medical school in Memphis! Just think: if we date for three months and get engaged for three we can be married right after graduation! It’s perfect! This could really work out!”

Yeah yeah – you’ve been out with those too. All these perfect possible arrangements – guys with local apartments, guys with local jobs, guys with local schools or yeshivos, guys with matching graduation dates, guys with no graduation dates… notice how you’re not married yet? Just cuz it looks like a perfect arrangement to you, doesn’t mean God’s going to arrange it. So go pick out a necklace and stop being so optimistic. You know you’re just going to be disappointed.

That’s the dialog in my head on date night, more or less. So, I maintain – at least in my case – the same hopefulness is there, it’s just methodically squashed by a hyper-rational defense mechanism. Hence my flat line. If nobody else on the planet goes through that kind of self-dialog then I apologize for the graph. And I kinda feel sorry for you – especially the people who wanted to replace it with an inverse relationship. You do realize that eventually inverses go negative, right? I think you really want logarithmic. Blobby refused to do an inverse exponential, but technically, it’s probably closer to your reality…

PS: For the commenter who said she wished she was in on the conversation: you probably imagine us giggling over the phone late at night or something fun like that. It was more like us snipping at each other via IM. You didn’t miss anything.

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27 thoughts on “Flatlined

  1. If it makes you feel any better, I go through the exact same dialogue in my head before every (at least first) date. I’m cool with the flat line graph.

  2. The graph seems pretty on target. Hence my reluctance to ever give a yes- what’s the point, odds are all we will do is waste each others time, have fun on one or two dates, and end up with “she’s nice enough, and if she’s dying to go out again then I would consider giving it one more shot, but I really don’t see it going anywhere so I hope she says no too”

  3. Yeah. Complain that I didn’t make complicated enough graphs when I was the one making all the graphs, and you were the one whining about how late it was. Hmph.

  4. “Nice” is always applied to the not-nice ones. The really nice ones usually have other adjectives describing them. “Menschlach,” for instance.

    My “He’s the one” graph would be more dependent on whether I was forced to go out with this guy or I am partaking of the date of my one free will.

  5. I apologize in advance if this comment is seen as overly critical, but in the spirit of technical accuracy I present my observations.

    According to your theory, after adjusting for margin of error, seasonality, randomness, and a smoothing coefficient, shouldn’t that line be a smooth inverse exponential? Even if we were to accept the flat-line hypothesis, shouldn’t the flat line be lower on the graph to denote a constant low level of enthusiasm as opposed to its current placement as “high” on the graph which implies a high level of enthusiasm?

    IMHO, I think the equation should be a parabola, possibly in the form of x^2-4=0 whereas before a date one can have negative thoughts as to whether or not their date is truly the one, culminating at the point right before the person in question goes out; however, after two dates things start looking significantly more positive as time progresses.

  6. Sorry SiBaW,
    I couldn’t help it.

    The function would be: y=x^2-4

    Please moychel me.

    Also, Mazel Tov on your recent engagement.

  7. Hate to be a math geek here, but in your equation, X automatically equals 2, what you are looking for is an equation with 2 variables. I’m pretty sure something in the vicinity of -X^2-10X+5=Y would work, but not positive, I’m not quite bored enough to graph it out.

  8. Point taken. Your graph doesn’t work out though- is it just me, or would that just wind up being a straight line?

  9. The slope-intercept form of a line would be: y=mx+b (unless it was a vertical line) without any exponents

  10. Wow, as a classical musician you lost me when you started talking inverse exponentials and functions (high school was almost a decade ago).

    But Bad4, I go through the same exact dialog and super rational retorts every time too.

    And get super excited and look for all the perfect reasons why this girl has to be it, only to realize again and again…it’ll happen when it’s supposed to, not when I think it’s perfect.

  11. Anonymous, thanks, you are absolutely right; it should be “y” = not “0.”

    Thank You.

    MCP, what is the rational for your equation? And no, my equation? is parabolic as Anonymous pointed out, at least in its =Y form, but like I said earlier I could be wrong in my mathematical assessment…

  12. Forget the math. I’m still trying to figure out why the flatline isn’t good enough. Maybe the graph wasn’t specific enough, but we were talking about before you go out with him (or meet him or speak with him). Not over the course of dating a single guy.

  13. Sorry about that, we must have gone off on a tangent. 😛

    Okay, let us say it was literally a straight flat-line as BoSD had presented it in figure 3, to which I think it could be true depending on the individual; yet, shouldn’t the line be lower on excitement plane, as in not positioned near the top?

    Secondly, according to your modified version, whether you redraw the figure to connote one’s experience before a date or after a date, imho, I would think the excitement that this might be “the one” should peaks twice and troughs once, (or vice-versa depending on whose formula you use, or maybe whether one is a pessimist or an optimist… 😉 I dunno). Also, while your post implied before a date, the original chart was depicting: Excitement that this might be “the one” by “Number of boys/girls {has} been out with”?! I agree with The other Josh, you’d have to change that axis titled to coincide with this post. 😕

  14. Back on subject now,

    I agree with your horizontal line (including its altitude – at least in my case). I’m just wondering, for those that disagree, how steep should the negative slope be? Maybe it should be the graph of y=(1/x) with a domain of x>0.

  15. Firstly, I just have to comment on how hilarious I find all of this math talk.

    Also, I think that the graph should have started high, then had an immediate huge drop, but not to zero. I guess before the first ever date you practice writing your name as Mrs. whateverhisnameis, but a couple of guys in to the game you just have a fleeting moment of deep hope.

  16. The theory behind my graph was that my equation equals an upside down parabola (where shaped like an upside down U). If x>1, it comes out shaped like a U, when x<1, it comes out my way, hence the negative. The -10x+5 places the vortex at 5,10, which I figured was a good place to peak. (Sorry Bad4, back to straight lines)

  17. Bad4, this new graph is much better.

    For those who want to see logarithmic graph paper (eg those who never did a basic physics lab on half-life of radioactive elements), see here: http://quezi.com/5392. The point of it is to flatten an exponential curve, so it comes out as a straight line.
    Remember, Logarithm has to do with base 10, but Natural log has to do with base e.

  18. vertex, not vortex. but if the parabola were right-side-up, 3-D, full of water, and had a mixing paddle inside it, you’d create a vortex.

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