If you're reading this as a fellow 20-something, I'm going to go ahead and assume you've had a conversation about dates or dating with your friends once or twice. And in the words of Justin Bieber, by “once or twice” I mean, “Maybe a couple of hundred times.”
But you know what? As often as we tend to discuss our love lives (or lack thereof), I feel like there's a topic belonging to said category that is often swept under the rug.
I'm talking about the “OK” date, the six out of 10. The “he was really nice, but he didn't make me laugh"; “she was cute and smart, but kind of annoying” and “he was amazing, but we split the bill” kind of date. OK, I'm kidding with that last example (sort of).
We go on these sorts of dates all the time, right? The number of average dates we collectively go on have reached a number that perhaps even surpasses our collective student loan debt (which is an impressive feat, if you think about it). Even so, I feel like our words and hand gestures, our drunk or sober ramblings and our enthusiastic or wallow-filled stories tend to be dedicated to one of two ends of the spectrum: great dates, or really sh*tty dates.
So, where does that leave the “OK” dates? They're like the middle child of the Millennial romance discussions.
If you're thinking I'm a big fan of “OK” dates by now, you're wrong. But, they're definitely a topic worth discussing more often. I would go so far as to argue they're actually worse than “bad” dates.
Here are three reasons why I feel that way:
1. There's more uncertainty involved.
"Bad” dates suck because, well, they're bad. However, there's a redeeming quality (of sorts) when it comes to bad dates: a degree of certainty as to what will happen next.
If you two could hardly stand to look at each other by the end of the night, it's safe to say you won't be expecting a text from him or her in the days to follow. You can go home and move on to the next episode of whatever show you're currently binging.
“OK” dates, on the other hand, leave things up in the air much more so than any bad date. It can be annoying mulling over how to navigate future interactions with the people.
Should you call them? Will they call you? Do you really care if you hear from them? Maybe you don't care. Wait, maybe you do. Sometimes it's easier and less stressful to just (try to) laugh about your “bad” date and get on with things.
2. It's harder to learn from them.
There's not much takeaway when it comes to “OK” dates. I don't really feel like I learn anything from them. Dating doesn't have to feel like an after school special or something that always teaches you something, but it's nice to feel like you're one step closer to learning (or confirming) what you're looking for when it comes to a significant other. I feel as though there's more room for confusion and mixed signals following “OK” dates than there is following “bad” dates.
When it comes to “bad” dates, you're usually left with pretty clearcut thoughts on what went wrong, and what was a turn off for you. When it comes to “OK” dates, however, some things went well, and some things went poorly. You're left feeling a little more torn about what may or may not be a deal-breaker for you, or what you're looking for. Feeling conflicted can make you question those things, and that can suck.
3. They make for lackluster experiences.
"OK" dates are pretty boring. It's tough to associate dates that were just “OK" with funny stories or humorous takeaways. This certainly isn't the case with “bad” dates. "Bad” dates often gift us with the best stories, especially if something went horribly wrong in an entertaining way. “OK” dates, on the other hand, usually make for lackluster experiences, and who really enjoys those?
“OK” dates are like coffee without cream or sugar. The base might be there, but it's missing something essential. (And for those of you who drink your coffee black, please ignore that metaphor and apply said concept to something else. I tried.)
So, there you have it. Here's hoping your fourth Tinder match of the day will result in something better than a “so-so” date. I'm rooting for us.