Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Speed Rejection

There are 3 kinds of people that go speed dating.

1. People who aren't able to sustain a conversation longer than 3 minutes.
2. People who like the challenge of condensing an interesting conversation into 3 minutes.
3. People who are bored.

I was definitely in category 3, and mostly in category 2, so I decided to go. I've gone speed dating a couple times before, and found it to be entertaining, if not strictly productive. One time had been a speed dating church activity, which was both good and bad. Good in that I am primarily interested in dating Mormon girls, and bad in that I knew all the Mormon girls in attendance. So it wasn't so much about speed dating, but speed conversing with someone I saw every week already. The other time was speed dating with professional students. Here I didn't know anyone, but also wasn't terribly interested in dating them. But I did make a couple matches, went on a couple dates, and nothing became of it. Interestingly enough, I only ended up matching with other medical students. Sorry lawyers, pharmacists and dentists.

However, at this particular church-run speed dating experience, my success rate indicates I may have been in category 1. To clarify, I didn't do very well. But, that does depend on how you define doing well. I did have a good time, I just didn't get very many numbers. There are a number of potential reasons for this.

1. I'm me.
2. I have a beard.
3. Here is a sampling of the 3 minute conversations I had: thoughts and feelings about crustaceans, pottery experience, how to beat lie detectors, the evils of Disney, how to add talking animals to Phantom of the Opera etc. If you know me, these are the types of conversations I like to have, but if you don't know me, I might come across as a crazy person. I'm not sure mentioning the fact that I'm a psychiatrist reinforces that view or mitigates it.

So there are many reasons why I could be responsible for my speed dating failure. However, in this little experiment I have a control group. My roommate also attended, and is much nicer and more attractive than I. And, admittedly, he did much better than I did. However, lots of girls still didn't give him their number. Which leads us to an important 4th reason for my failure at speed dating.

4. Faulty female thinking. (insert your own joke about female thinking not existing, about any female thinking better than male etc etc)

I spoke with a number of girls after the event. Several expressed how disappointed they were with the prospects. Fair enough. For one, there were many more girls than guys, so odds were bad. For two, many of the guys were 21ish, and many of the girls were . . . not 21. These are fair criticisms and fair reasons for them not to give out their number (that was how a positive match was made, the girl would give the guy her number.) No faulty thinking there.

The problem comes from the girls who said they decided beforehand that they weren't giving out their number to anyone. This is faulty. Now, I don't believe them, so there may not be any faulty thinking. I think it's an ego defense mechanism to SAY that you're not going to give your number out, so when the opportunity comes you can rely back on your previous statement. I think if Brother Charming were there, and flirting up a storm with them, they'd forget this bloodoath from earlier in the day. But if it is true that they had made secret combinations not to give out their number, in any situation, then that's just a recipe for confusing men.

Do you go grocery shopping, if you've decided you're not going to buy anything? No. Admittedly, some people go clothes shopping, knowing they won't buy anything. But men don't. Showing up at speed dating with no possible way for your prospects to be successful borders on cruel. Now, you shouldn't expect a match made in heaven from speed dating. Far from it. You should expect very little, just go along for the ride, and maybe something good will turn up. But if there's NO chance, that's tantamount to lying. Don't be liar.

Another girl told me that she only gave out her number if the boy asked for it twice. So after she said no on the speed date, you had to ask her again, and then she would think about it. So the guy's choices are to be rejected, to look like a creeper by asking again, with only a slight hope of having this go well. She's thrown off the awkwardness exchange of speed dating.

Speed dating is awkward, but roughly equally awkward to real dating. In normal dating you have to ask a girl out, which can be awkward. And you have to evaluate the date afterwards to decide whether to ask her out again, which is awkward. In speed dating you get to skip these steps, and instead just have to deal with the contrived situation awkwardness, and public scrutiny awkwardness. It roughly balances out, provided you have the right expectations. When you have to decide whether to ask for her number AGAIN, it you have to deal with the contrived situation, the public scrutiny, AND no definitive answer at the end of the experience.

This girl was cute, and apart from this faulty thinking, fun and reasonable, so she did get some numbers. But I maintain that it's unfair to expect the men to know that No doesn't mean No, it means ask me again.

It could be an entire post on its own, but this is an issue with Mormon dating. The guys are messing with the formula by being lazy, it's true. But the girls are messing with it by erecting additional barriers to dating. What's worse, not trying hard enough, or trying to actually set up roadblocks? I guess it doesn't matter, but you can see the barriers in things as small as speed dating. What matters, is if you're going speed dating, be open to giving out your number, don't talk about crustaceans, and shave your beard. I don't have any advice for the men.

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