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THE CHASE IS ON ‌ Who's on First?

Batta, batta, batta, schwing?

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Now that Spoleto is over and I have my free time back, my excuse for turning down dates no longer holds up. As you know, the irony of writing a dating column yet loathing the actual act of dating has not escaped me. And after my first column expressing my absolute horror with the practice, many people approached me with opposite feelings on the matter. "Dating is fun and crazy!" one reader

wrote. OK, I agree with the latter half of her statement, but "fun"? Sure, if you love awkward conversation, sweaty palms, and anxiety-fueled constipation, then dating is a fucking blast!

But for the rest of us realistic, calls-'em-as-they-sees-'em type of people, we'd rather go to the dentist, the gynecologist, and the DMV all in one day than endure the frustrations of courting.

Maybe I'm being too harsh, but when I was just a wee little she-devil, I could not wait until I was old enough to date. I figured it was going to be a breeze, completely hassle-free, romantic, and natural. Now that I'm old enough to date, all I want is to return to the world of cooties, Trapper Keepers, and Jem and the Holograms. Life just seemed so simple then, even though we acted like it was the biggest burden. But, alas, here we are with bank accounts and designer sneakers, stuck with responsibility and heightened awareness, just hoping we can reach out and touch someone without contracting herpes, or as I like to call it, "whore pox."

That all being said, I actually went on a successful first date last night. Well, at least I thought it was successful. Of course, the booze helps. First dates are always the best, but never the most reliable indicator. I look at them like they're a preview for a movie — you go out and have dinner with someone, and of course, they show you all the good parts of their personality like an upcoming film would air clips. You go home thinking, "Wow, that preview was great! I can't wait to see the movie!" Then you go on the next date and realize, "Shit, that's all he had! That preview just showed all the good parts from the flick! Dammit, why didn't anyone tell me that Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow sucked!"

I believe in "three strikes and you're out" dating. Three dates is ample time to decide whether enough interest exists between two people to keep something going. The stripped-down purpose of dating is to find "the one," or at least "the one closest to 'the one." If your feelings concerning your possible mate are on par with your feelings concerning, say, Tang and reruns of Home Improvement, why waste your time? I don't believe in love at first sight, but I don't believe that time will make the heart grow fonder either. There's a happy medium somewhere, which is difficult to pinpoint, but you'll know when it happens. At least that's what I'm hoping for.

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