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)


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.


Thursday Link: Bad Lists


Got this from an MF. It links to a blog containing the musings of, apparently, a fantastically in-love (and good-looking) couple on the subject of Cupid’s arrow, sheep-eyed bliss, Aphrodite’s elixir, or maybe something to do with St. Valentine. It’s a Blog About Love, in short.

In this post, the female half ruminates on the viral article by Lori Gottlieb, in which she urges women to settle for Mr. Good-Enough when they’re young, so they don’t wind up totally alone when they’re old.

We’ve covered that ground before.

The blogger says people may be more willing to settle if they realize why they have higher expectations. Do they have a list to fill the void created by an imbalance in their psyche?

Personally, I don’t think that’s my problem, but these things are always more apparent to third parties. I’m sure someone could tell me about my imbalances and how they’re skewing my expectations. Sadly, although many people have told me why other people won’t marry me, nobody has yet endeavored to tell me why I won’t marry other people. Odd that. I wonder why?

What Are We Talking About Again?

From: Bad4

To: ColdFeet

Subject: Rated to -40

Message: You should have bought these boots:


From: ColdFeet

To: Bad4

Subject: Re: Rated to -40

What I’m Looking for in Boots:
  1. Warm
  2. Supportive
  3. Cute enough to be seen somewhere besides the outback
  4. Not solid black/white
  5. Don’t require spending a lot of money
  6. Will get delivered in time to be useful
 These boots achieve only 4/6.
If you meet a guy who fits all 6 of those, marry him.

Shidduch Revenge

Maybe we’re equal, but we’re treated very differently. Have you noticed? I tried to compile a list of ways to game the system based on the different expectations for men and women, but it quickly degenerated into ways to keep a bad date interesting. Any ideas?

1. Ask for his suit size.

He asks for your dress size, why can’t you ask for his suit size? No reason you should be shocked to discover that your “just a drop plump” date is an earth-shaker, right? It should be a two-weigh street.

2. Take up smoking.

Orthodox Jewish girls don’t smoke. They just don’t. Nobody would even dream of asking if you do, so it’s one vice you can safely enjoy.

3. Add him to you list.

Whenever someone calls with a suggestion, make a big deal about how you’re quite occupied, but you’ll add him to your list. Then casually ask what sort of fellow is he? Naturally, they’ll laud the ‘best bochur’ to the skies, and you’ll promise to do your best to move him up your list and get back to them. (This will have the added effect of making you seem more desirable by lack of availability.)

4. Stack but don’t scrape.

The question goes: “Does she scrape and stack?” What if the answer was, “She takes the middle derech”?

5. Have bitachon.

Ever wonder if the “forever learner” you’re dating is sincere or just lazy? Remind him that he’s relying on the derech of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochei, which consists of learning and waiting for the manna to fall. Enthuse about how nice it will be to live close to Hashem, living on carobs and water and wearing sand, just like the tanah. Alternatively: tell him you play the lottery for hishtadlus.

If you don’t like him: tell him you’ve decided that since you’re taking on the curse of Adam in addition to that of Chava, you want to go lifnim miyshuras hadin and accept that of the snake as well. (The view ain’t great, but dinner has never been simpler.)

6. Ask the lemon-in-coke question.

If you order a diet coke that come with a lemon in it, ask the guy why you’re allowed to drink it, since the lemon was cut with a non-kosher knife. Chances are 10 to 1 he won’t know the answer. If he handles the embarrassment well, ask him out again. If he knows the answer, definitely ask him out again.

7. Use big words.

If he says epis or mamish once too often, start throwing in words like “sartorial” and “capricious.”