My “Dear Abby” account received the following question the other day:
“Do you have a method for deciding who to go out with, when you’ve received 3 suggestions at the same time, each of which is roughly in your ballpark but nothing that makes you jump in excitement…all in equal balance so as to cancel out any clear advantage one has over another?”
Excellent question! Yes, I do. Or maybe I don’t, but the decision is usually made for me. The algorithm goes like this:
Were any of them suggested by an aunt? He could be a one-legged leper with a closet full of dead wives, but if an aunt suggested him, we’re going out. Because my shoulder socket can only take so much torque.
(To be fair, no aunt has ever suggested a one-legged leper.)
Does one of them have a more aggressive shadchan? In the past, I have said “Yes” to one guy, and then gone out with two more before him because their shadchanim were so pushy. It was easier to go out with them than deal with the twice-a-week phone calls and emails.
“So this other boy, are you still going out with him?”
“Um, well, we actually haven’t set up a date yet.”
“Well let me know when you’re done with him.”
“That’s what you said two days ago.”
“And you never got back to me!”
Luckily, they were both 1nDs, so there was no overlap.
If neither of these decision-makers take the difficult task off my hands, it will depend on whether I actually want to date. Like, in general.
If I’m just coming off a dating streak, I probably don’t. I want a break to spend my Sundays doing things I want to spend my Sundays doing. It’s depressing to realize that it’s been a month since you’ve been out on your bike, and you have nothing to show for it except four more guys you won’t be seeing again.
If it’s been a while, I probably do. At this point I may be doing Tai Chi in the park Sunday morning, and instead of being Zen I’m wondering why my well of men has dried up. Is this it? Have I dated them all?
With that in mind, I consider the following:
Is one of them only temporarily available? Sometimes, you’ve okay’d someone ages ago, but he’s always busy when you’re free, and you’re busy when he’s free. If a guy has limited availability and I want to date, then I will give him precedence. If not, then not.
Is one of them local? If a guy is far away, I know he’s going to arrive for our first date searching for a reason to break up. If I don’t want to date, I will pick him first. Otherwise, I’ll go with someone closer.
If no decision has been made at this point, then who cares? Hang both profiles on the wall and throw darts. If your aim is anything like mine, you’ll wind up hitting the Chofetz Chaim portrait. And you can’t turn down a date with the Butcher of Radin, can you?
If a guy is far away, I know he’s going to arrive for our first date searching for a reason to break up.
In all endeavors, including dating, it’s important to keep goals and perspective in mind, and that starts with the language used to describe the experiences during the endeavor.
So, when there is no second date after a first date, it isn’t called “breaking up”, it’s called “not wanting a second date.” When there is no 10’th date after a 9’th date, that may be called “breaking up.”
And when a long-distance date declines a second date, it is almost always a cost-benefit analysis that was done, either consciously or subconsciously. Basically, they are thinking “what are the odds this is going to work out, and how much time/money/effort will I have to expend to figure that out?” This is why long-distance dates end after the first date more often than local dates, because the cost/time/effort is much lower locally, low enough that it makes a “second chance” almost always worthwhile (assuming there were no deal-breakers on the first date).
Double date, or rather, have phone dates to help with eliminating. Just don’t tell them, because that’s TMI. In my experience, they’ll all be eliminated quickly.
“Buthcer of Radin” sounds irreverent in not insulting. Was the Chofetz Chaim, in fact, a butcher?
Pinny, no, that picture just is supposedly not actually of the chofetz chaim but rather of the butcher in radin
Mark – I don’t think the language we use is the best to describe the dating we do. Like for example. what do you call the “the person you’ve been dating for a while”? They’re not your boy/girlfriend, and yet they’re more than your “date.” One friend refers to such folk as “her man,” but that doesn’t really say it right either, does it? The language is simply insufficient.
With that intro: it uses fewer words to type “break up” versus “not want to go out again” and fits into the sentence better. I appreciate your objection, and it certainly has foundation, but I’m going to stick with my poor but better sounding term.
Maybe after dating for a while – “potential chosson”.
After engagement – “chosson”
After marriage – “husband”
I understand the desire to use fewer words, but “break up” really implies that an action was taken by one or both parties to inform the other that the relationship is over. Just not calling for a second date, or letting the shadchan know that it didn’t work out and it’s time for the next victim is quite different.
I call it “reject”.
How is it that you have “choices”?? It sounds like you’re rate of dating is approximately 10 guys a year or so. How do you manage to get so many dates?
Totally not, mir119. I date about 4-6 a year. They just all come at once. It’s the Finals Effect.
Ah. See when my Finals Effect happens, I tell them I’m in finals and under no circumstances will I date. They’re pretty good about waiting. But even so, they don’t come in multiples. It’s like 2 a year 😦
I did that too when I actually had finals. It would work until my mother would glare at me. And at the time I only had 2 at a time too. Something about being older has opened my prospects. Or maybe something else.