Sunday, September 16, 2012

Some Table for Six Thoughts --- Day 253

Walk: Sunday chores around the house: flowers, deck, laundry, reading.  Nice.
Distance: Mental, Internal

Thinking a bit more about Table for 6 or maybe dating in general these days.  When I was young, the boy asked out the girl - pretty much period.  It was unfortunate if some cute guy you wanted to call didn't, but when some one did, I realize now it put me/girls in the driver seat.  He'd already indicated interest so the ball - to choose him or not - was in my young court.  This being in the thumbs up/thumbs down position was a state of mind that continued for quite a while - because, again, my generation for the most part continued the boy asks girl dynamic. 

In Table for Six, this old dynamic is absent.  We meet because we have each agreed to meet (and - supposedly* - paid for it).  There's no eye-batting or even any indication of what the person looks, acts, dresses like or their circumstances until you actually get together.  The service arranges the match, the time and the place - and you are given no contact information until the last moment.

So you meet as equals.  Each person can 'rule on' the other for whatever (undisclosed) reason(s).  This creates a weirdness that is hard to define.

First, the entire guy asks girl dynamic is gone.  It is so ingrained in me that it is hard to remember this is different, and it is hard to know how to interact.  If he asks you, you know you can be some sort of female.  But this dynamic, by necessity, is more like a business interview.  You're a woman, yup, and he's a guy, yup, and we're sitting in this arranged place for the purpose of seeing if we have any chemistry. That takes maybe a nanosecond.  Ideally, you'd just say, "Nope," and leave.  But, knowing you are sitting across from a non-candidate but also having good manners, maturity, etc., you soldier on until you've spent enough time not to insult or hurt the other person.  It feels (to me) like conversations you have with your assigned dinner partner at formal dinner parties.  A Lot of work - empty work because this is a person you will probably never see again.

In the old system, if I wasn't attracted to ----, the guy who had asked me on the date,  I remember coming home thinking, well, poor-----, he's so nice and he was really nice to me on the date, how should I handle this?  It might take a while to work things out with ----- so he wouldn't have hurt feelings. And we might talk about it several times. 

But with T46, you are instructed to report in with the T46 representative.  I forget this, and have actually tried to broach conversations about "so, what are you looking for?  what brings you to T46?, Etc" but the four men I've met will have none of this.  Something about only having to report to the representative works for them very well apparently.  That same something doesn't work for me as well.  We're on a date, So, let's talk about dating, things relating to that, our experiences in T46 or something. Being people on a date is the elephant in the living room.

Not one of these men has even asked me for my last name.  Even though we aren't going to see each other again, and know it, somehow this seems odd - and, as I say, empty.  I ask and I also usually tell the T46 representative I would be open to a friendly get together.  I do this knowing it won't happen (we don't even know each other's last names for openers!) but probably compulsively/habitually - in the old (and misguided) mindset of being nice to my date (which he isn't).  Also because over the years I've read that the 'smart' way of handling online dating is to get together more than once because, supposedly, you might feel differently as you get to know the person.

T46 I believe does weed out the liars, total creeps, etc. but it doesn't weed out the sexless, emptiness factor.  Recently a friend forwarded an article by some online dating expert who said something very sensible along the lines that when you have eggs, milk, butter and flour, you do not have a cake.  Same concept applies to matching people's characteristics, likes, dislikes and backgrounds.  Perfect matches of these variables are not the same as that elusive thing, chemistry.

This is not a pan of online dating - or even of T46.  There are positives (exposure, practice, information gathering, etc.), and many of today's marriages began online.  At this point my guess is that if you have the stamina, stomach and strength for it - and are OK with having your picture out there for anyone to see, Match.com is probably the best bet.  It has the most subscribers/biggest numbers, leaves the personality 'algorhythms' up to the individuals and starts with the best predictor of chemistry: physical attraction.  It also allows for phone calls and emails before you decide to meet - at which point you might actually know each other's last name!

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