Average Jane

The Theory of Relative Datability

I have recently come to a conclusion: When it comes to dating, I am better in theory than in practice. This conclusion comes after a number of failed attempts at dating, the bulk of which involved brief “real life” encounters, followed by prolonged e-communication, and then a second “real life” encounter. What follows, however, is this: *crickets*.

What does this tell me about myself that can be applied more widely (which is, of course, my goal with these relationshippy type blogs: to help my fellow singletons be less, um, bad at being single)? That online communication should be avoided at all cost until a real relationship has been established. Either that or I’m wholly unpleasant and no one wants to date me. But as I choose to live in a deluded world where everyone else is wrong and I’m right, we’ll assume it’s the prior.

There are tragic flaws with e-communication is it allows you to alter your natural personality by utilizing a number of techniques:

  1. Delayed communication – you have time to think about a response rather than just say what you’re thinking. And usually the thing you end up saying is way funnier, wittier, snarkier, etc. than your initial inclination.
  2. Self editing – you can type something, rethink it, and type it again. This eliminates the spontaneous ass-making that usually happens in conversation thus giving the impression that you’re, well, perfect.
  3. Excessive research- should your prospective partner say something that makes absolutely no sense to you, rather than deliver your natural blank stare, you can stealthily research the subject, and then respond with a witty retort that makes you seem worldly and diverse rather than, ya know, like yourself. Additionally, in a fight over, let’s say, current events or politics, you can always research the claims your sparring partner is making, and call them on their shit. (see #5)
  4. Facial expressionless conversation- See “blank stare” above. Really, the object of your affection may think that your “LOLs” and “hehehes” are genuine when really you’re “rolling your eyes” and “gagging violently”.
  5. False bravado – I can call you on your shit online, when I can hide behind *winks* and *giggles*. But when I actually have to call you on your shit, it’s just, um awkward. If only saying “giggles” would make it all better. Additionally, men seem to get balls online that they just don’t have otherwise, saying things they’d never say otherwise. I call it “cyber brave pants”.

All of these things are just plain hard to maintain in the real world. I don’t giggle nearly as much as I do online, nor am I as funny, I suppose. Not to mention that I can’t go back and erase the things that I really want to say and replace it with something that I should say. That’s a lot harder with the person sitting right across from you. In both cases, you can’t “take it back.” However, online you technically had the opportunity to take it back, so if you didn’t really mean to say it, you could have just, um, not said it. Unless you have diarrhea of the fingers where you type way faster than you can self edit. Tahts when yuo start to gte slopy wit teh typing. And start to apologize for stuff you weren’t really sorry for, and criticize people for stuff you really didn’t care about, and talk shit about people you really actually don’t hate all that much.

Additionally, might I say that there’s something to be said for missing someone… as in, “Wow, I haven’t talked to you in 12 hours! I missed you!” These days, we’re all online at work all day, accessible by e-mail, IM, etc. constantly. Not to mention that when you’re not in front of the computer, you can text each other ad nauseum, making your friends “ad nauseous” with all the “I wuv you” texts. When you IM all day and text all night, what’s left to talk about when you see each other face to face?

This is how far off course I’ve been thrown by cyberspace: Just yesterday I was asked out by a new prospect. He said, “How about I call you tomorrow to work out the details for Friday night” and I said “just go ahead and IM me”. He said, “but I don’t have your screen name” and I said, “oh, well just check facebook”. He said… “um, why don’t I just call you?” Right. Call. It was so novel that I guess I just got thrown off. [Note: He totally just IMed me. Gah.]

My goal with this new prospect is to talk to him as infrequently as possible. He’s only a “kind of” prospect, anyway. Long story. You’ll hear it eventually. Probably right around the time he realizes I’m not nearly as charming in person as I am online.

So, I guess the moral of the story is, I still can’t figure out why my prospects aren’t “sticking”, but in the spirit of scientific integrity, I am eliminating one variable at a time.


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  1. * pattonbt says:

    Interesting subject, one which I am grappling with right now. What is the proper etiquette at ‘dating initiation’ with using e-communication versus the old fashioned telephone call?

    Back in the day, oh so long ago, I dreaded the ‘call up a girl and ask her out’ phone call. Granted I was in my teens and dread was everywhere and the internet was still a gleam in Al Gore’s eye.

    Then in my early twenties, tappering off into nothingness by 30, alcohol was the magic door opener and no communication was necessary as you’d always end up at the same places no matter how hard you tried. And then before you know it you wake up sober for a day in the middle of a three month relationship that how it started is still a bit hazy but it kind of beats being single.

    With the body eventually yelling at me to grow up and punishing me for only a drink or two (how unfair is that!), that door closed. But I had the ‘circle of friends’ to fall back on and I could work through them. Meet friends of friends here and there. Things went a bit more slowly, but it worked OK – until the marriage die off of single friends hit full swing.

    Which brings me to today, mid 30’s and in a new city, knowing absolutely no one. Ugh! And, its mainly suburbia semi-hell. So I find myself now doing more ‘traditional’ dating. At least the awkwardness of soliciting dates has abated somewhat since the teen days, but since I havent had to resort to traditional dating tools in forever, Im at a loss to know what the best way to communicate is in those first few dates?

    I hate the phone and talking on it. Once in a while I can do the marathon call with a friend, but generally I look at the phone like it was infested with the plague. So I initially like to correspond either through email or text. For all the reasons you list, its just so much easier electronically. Although if you are a sarcastic doofus like myself, you have to be careful, because writing sarcasm can be tricky and end things before they start.

    So what do women think if at first there is little real conversation (except in person) and all coordination to meet in person is via email or text, like ‘Hey, had a great time the other night and would love to do again. How does your Friday look’? Is using e-com seen as cowardly? Is it seen as off-putting? Should you switch to phone communication after date three? Or is it best to ‘man up’ and always use the phone?

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago
  2. * carrie m says:

    First of all, Average Jane. You need to get some sleep. How did you stay up until 1 something?!?! I passed out like 30 minutes after we left last night.

    I probably have a more long winded response, but I’m going to spare you all from it right now. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, but at the same time, I don’t think email communication is a cop out, so long as you don’t use it as the ONLY form of communication. I think it can take a little pressure off, b/c we frankly don’t need any more pressure when it comes to dating, and if you allow yourself to be honest with someone (I can hear you laughing) by saying, I totally had to google that or whatever, you might be pleasantly surprised. Or something.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago
  3. * Justin says:

    In writing this response, I’m likely proving you right.


    (I just deleted something.)

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago
  4. * DeepFriedBrain says:

    Communication is key. Period. Whether you smoke signal, sms, email, video mail, talk on the phone, talk on the internet, ichat, iphone, icam, ilose, uwin, whatever. Just communicate.

    And seeking to talk to someone as least as possible is far more bizarre than mostly communicating over a medium that offers a number of benefits, but comes with its own challenges.

    You know what I haven’t read?

    Know you are dealing with. Period.

    If the person likes to talk on the phone, you know what? Talk on the damn phone. If the person likes to talk online, talk online.

    Its fascinating to me that someone would a hold a door open for a complete stranger, something which we all are used to, couldn’t really care less about, and deal with constantly as we visit our various venues of commerce. Yet, that same person would approach someone of desire with tangible incredulity if they didn’t bend to their preference for communication.

    If they don’t like how you like to communicate, they are the wrong person. But, if you can get off your damn horse for a minute, and be a little flexible, they just might be the right person.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago
  5. * Sam says:

    I’m a much better writer than I am at speaking extemporaneously–generally speaking. I totally winged my thesis presentation because I walked into the room knowing that I already knew more about the topic at hand than 98% of the rest of the population, so instead I figured I’d just tell people what I researched and ask them what they were interested in. I even brought coffee and bagels so we could sit around discussing the topic (it involved bureaucratic structure in provincial governments of the Roman empire). I’m pretty sure the board was going to fail me except I demonstrated over the course of the discussion that I actually *did* know what I was talking about. Plus I brought garlic and chives schmear.

    But I write a lot for work, and as a result I spend a lot of time crafting each sentence I create. Sometimes this is a detriment. I wish to god you had spell check and could let me print a draft of this comment because at some point I editted a sentence twice but left behind an artifact from the original sentence construction. But generally I’m fairly readable. By contrast, I’m no where near as articulate in person when I don’t have time to go back over things.

    I try and get around this by going over talking points in the shower so I won’t seem completely helpless in daily social intercourse. And at this point I thank goodness that I didn’t use my real first name when I started replying to this blog because the fact that I use “talking points” in mundane social conversations is a little bit humiliating. The fact remains, however, that it has helped me avoid or defuse confrontations in the past, and it’s gotten me laid more than once….

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago

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