After four first dates in four days, I’ve survived Round One of my online dating marathon. I am, as a result, completely knackered. It’s hard work dating four different men, especially dating four different men in less than a week. There are the accessories to coordinate, the dresses to borrow and the logistics to sort out, not to mention the dossiers to memorize (as gleaned from each man’s profile on match.com). I’ve learned these men’s alma maters, their musical tastes, their favorite books and enough about their chosen professions to attempt fairly intelligent conversation.
I want to do nothing more than curl up on the couch and watch Jeopardy (especially because I think Teen Jeopardy is finally over. I hate Teen Jeopardy. There’s just no joy in it. If you guess incorrectly, you can’t help but feel stupid; the fourteen year old on the screen knew the answer, for crying out loud! And if you do guess correctly you can’t even gloat because the fourteen year old who’s just buzzed in knew that one too).
But I digress.
I shall begin, as any good ethnographer must begin, with a few observations:
1) Salsa and chopsticks do not mix. And no, I’m not talking about eating salsa with chopsticks; I’m talking about dancing salsa while wearing chopsticks. If you want to take your partner’s eye out, then by all means: twist your hair into a knot, pull out your trusty Asian cutlery and work your magic. If, however, your intention is not to take your partner’s eye out, then you should avoid all attempts at cross-cultural fusion.
2) Pizza, if eaten with a knife and a fork, constitutes an acceptable first date food. Also, it gives you the opportunity to check whether or not your date is “mirroring” your actions (ie. if you go in which a knife and fork and he follows suit, then he’s definitely been reading up on his first date body language communication skills).
3) Some people prefer peppers to broccoli but you shouldn’t hold this against them. They just don’t know any better. But people can change. Heck, you yourself might even come to like peppers (although I have my doubts).
4) Three glasses of Chardonnay, even with dinner, are entirely too much. And while we’re on the subject, three glasses of Chardonnay plus a glass of port are also entirely too much. Wines of different colors do not cancel each other out.
5) Victorian parlor music is awful. No wonder our nineteenth-century forefathers had to go colonizing the rest of the world. They were bored out of their minds.
I could go on but I have a feeling I should just get to the point: which of my first dates has earned himself a second?
There’s Date #1, the non axe-murderer salsa dancer, followed by Date #2, the Tall, Dark and Handsome bloke who actually walked me home. Date #3 put in a strong showing at the art museum but perhaps it will come down to Date #4, the enigmatic but entirely impressive wearer-of-cufflinks.
But before I can give you an answer, I arrive at my first major dilemma. My life is starting to read like a reality TV show, and if it were only my life (or love life, rather) at stake, I wouldn’t care, but it’s not. Dates 1 through 4 are also involved in this little “experiment” of mine and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having a bit of an ethics crisis.
Unfortunately the American Anthropological Association Code of Ethics doesn’t say anything on the subject of online dating (I guess the “real” anthropologists out there are too busy dealing with the documentation and analysis of intangible cultural heritage to give much consideration to the perils of match.com). And neither does the AAA’s British counterpart, the Royal Anthropological Institute (and no I’m not making this up; we studied the documents of both organizations in grad school).
As such, I’m on my own. And so, without further ado (aside from a little drum roll, please), I am pleased to announce that THREE of my FOUR FIRST DATES have decided to subject themselves to a SECOND DATE with YOURS TRULY. And a few new ones (get ready for Dates #5, #6, #7 and #8!) may be joining their ranks.