I’m no mathematician.
In my freshman year of college, I had to take remedial math. Remedial math. Like X + Y = Z kind of stuff. Or something like that. I don’t know – I wasn’t really paying attention. Much like in high school, which I’m guessing is why I had to re-take it in the first place.
But as an adult, I’ve found that even though theorems and calculus rules have gone in one ear and right out the other during the course of my education, there are plenty of practical mathematical applications in my every day life. Particularly when applied to dating. For example, if date ideas were a mathematical equation, “dinner plus movie” would equal “yawn” – “yawn” being the truth to a proven theory that factor “dinner”, when added to factor “movie” exponentially increases both parts of the equation to their highest intrinsic value and leads to answer “yawn”. (“Yawn” being the subject equivalent to a root canal.) See how easy that equation was? Yet, it seems to be rather difficult to understand when it comes to planning first dates.
Here’s the deal: It’s not like I expect The Bachelor-style creativity (read: reality TV-style fantasy) when it comes to first dates, but all I’m really looking for in a relationship is to connect with someone, and I’ve yet to find that connection over an awkward dinner and a mutually agreed-upon movie in which both parties are only semi-invested, as often neither person is willing to expose the true nature of their cinematic interests on a first date. No, I’ve found that the best first connections are those which are not “dates” at all. coffee and a stroll in the park (where the dog runs away); a lacrosse match followed by beers (where the guy’s teammates show up and make themselves at home between you); playing pool at the local sports bar (where a heated argument ensues over the actual artist singing the song on the jukebox), or a Big 12 college football game (where the guy’s team loses – terribly). These are scenarios that make no logical sense whatsoever: “attraction” plus “undesirable/embarrassing/frustrating situation” equals “inexplicable great first date”.
I’m a mathematical anomaly, because I’m a linear person, and like to go in a natural progression of order when it comes to my life – but there are some social cliches (such as dinner and a movie) that are so straight and narrow that I just can’t abide by them. Why must we “start” by “getting to know one another” in this way? It feels to me as though the tradition of the idea of getting to know one another often supersedes actually just doing it. There’s something about the randomness – or perhaps messiness – of a non-traditional date that’s so appealing to me. Even my worst relationships have started with a great story – and at the end of the day, that’s made the initial (sometimes unromantic) connection and (sometimes challenging) subsequent attempt at maintaining the relationship well worth it. I would trade traditional first dates for witty banter and simple, human connections any day – and I’m well aware that there’s nothing linear about that.
So no offense, but I’ll pass on dinner plus movie – it’s not that romantic, memorable moments and conversation can’t be had using that particular equation, or that outcome is the same for everyone. Perhaps it’s just that I’ve yet to meet the guy who can disprove the theory that “yawn” is the answer, but I’d rather play around with other factors and see if I can create my own mathematical truth in dating – even if it takes a number of failed attempts to get there.
But maybe I’ve got it all wrong, because I’m just not very good at math.