Maybe a bit too glum and dry, but a not-too-recent date brought up this musing.
This blog is about dating. However, it’s not about falling in love, having sex or finding a life partner (or debatably all the interesting aspects of dating). Instead, most of my posts centre on the formalities and mere technicalities of dating. Maybe this is due to my personal predisposition to feel more at ease once I have established a routine, and identified all the rules. In the end, this routine provides the necessary framework for the exciting rest, right?
With this premise, I happily blog about what goes wrong, what feels right, about patterns that I observe and about the little anecdotes my life provides me with that support this presumption.
But once in a while, a date comes along that challenges my framework. Much like any scientist, this leaves me astonished and a bit disgruntled. Acknowledging that my model can’t account for my data, I either ignore the new data point as an outlier (the easy way out) or I need to change my model.
Some time ago I had a date that reminded me of an important flaw of my model, in that the date itself wasn’t flawed at all – it was simply perfect.
The pre-date communication went well, with several short messages that made me laugh and curious about N. and when we did meet, he proposed a good outing. We had time to talk, we shared sushi and hot chocolate, we walked around a bit, we laughed. As his emails had suggested, N. was attentive, spontaneous and great fun to talk to. He wasn’t rude to anyone. He wasn’t creepy and overly personal. He wasn’t boring or taken either. And you know what? He didn’t mention how drunk he was at university even once!
Instead we spent a few delightful hours doing some of my favourite things, eating my favourite foods, and generally agreeing a lot.
It’s probably worth mentioning that he’s not bad-looking either.
However (you knew there was a catch, right?), we didn’t go out again. Yes, I realised that I’d absolutely love to spend more time with him. He’s clever, kind and we have similar interests. I was almost sure that we’d make great friends. There, I said it. Friends.
I just didn’t feel attracted to him.
I always knew that attraction isn’t easily summarised or defined, but somehow I presumed that missing attraction was usually based on something tangible being wrong with a date – like the dealbreakers I previously described on this blog. To a certain degree, I thought that if someone came along that “ticked all the boxes”, I’d also be attracted to him.
Yet here came N., handsome and entertaining, with no discernible faults on a picture-perfect first date. And my visceral response was completely absent.
I therefore think my model needs revision. The above mentioned factors, collectively named “dating skills”, while necessary, are obviously not sufficient. Something else is missing here.
It could be called attraction, chemistry or spark, but for my model, I’m naming it sine qua non, or “the one without which nothing else will be possible”.
Now I’m not sure whether the consequence of this discovery should be to only date people who I initially feel this sine qua non with, or whether I can only discover this magical spark once I’m on an otherwise mediocre date that is lit up by it.