Cost Benefit Analysis

Yesterday, before a first date, I sat down and made a list of Good Things That Can Happen on a (First) Date.  I came up with:

– Interesting conversation

– Learn something new

– Gain new perspective

– Go somewhere interesting

– Do something fun [Editor’s note: Is this the same as the previous item?]

– Food!

– Finish at a good time [Editor’s note: I’m not positive I know what this means, but I think it means the date doesn’t drag or end too abruptly. It feels right.]

Then I compiled a list of Bad Things That Can Happen on a (First) Date:

– Differences of expectations (eg: it’s a 7pm date and he doesn’t go for food; I wear heels and we wind up at Coney Island.)

– Different wavelengths/poor communication

– Disdain [Editor’s note: Why are these all “d”s?]

– Doldrums (boredom)

– TOO LONG

I noted that the Bad Stuff list is physically shorter, but the items on the Good Stuff list could be brought about without actually going on a date.

The Good Stuff is good, but will lose some of its charm to the tarnish of pointlessness if there is no potential to the relationship.

So, if the relationship doesn’t blossom, there’s more potential for bad stuff than for good.

But then again: if you don’t go out again, the bad stuff is over — it’s very finite. Whereas if you do keep seeing each other, the good stuff can lead to better stuff.

So, given the long view, there’s more potential for good stuff than bad stuff.

Ergo, I concluded, jotting notes under my lists, if you think there is long-term potential, it makes sense to go out, but not if there isn’t.

I sat and contemplated this conclusion for a moment. It was clear to me that this was about as profound as the 2005 study showing that too many meetings make employees grumpy.

It wasn’t until I got home from the date that I found a piece of insight:

It doesn’t make sense to go out again.

Until now I’ve mostly operated on the “Everyone gets a second date” principle, wherein I am willing to spend more time with any gentleman who has not placed himself on the list of People I’d Rather Not Ever See Again.

But now I realized that this makes no sense. If I have reasonable expectation that the second date will be a fruitless effort in niceness, and this turns out to be true, both dates will fall into the short-term relationship More Bad Than Good bucket.  And really, how often has that not happened?

Therefore, I concluded, the Automatic Second Date rule needs reexamining.

So I decided not to see him again.

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