Dates are weird. You find a face you'd like to make out with on the internet (or bar, if you're brave like that) and then you meet up with that face IRL. You sit across from each other, interview each other, and finally have that weird "are we going to kiss or did I just lick your cheek by accident?" moment. Whether you just went out with your literal prince charming or a person you'd never date, it's always weird.
After the date ends, it gets even weirder. You arrive home, and as you debrief to yourself, you might think, "I wish I had just stayed in and watched Big Mouth on Netflix" On the other hand, you might think, "I had so much fun I would like to kiss that person's big mouth again sometime."
Here's the thing: if you even had a slightly nice time on the first date, you should definitely go on a second date. People have off nights, you can't expect super chemistry on date one, and you might have a great time. My therapist taught me this a long time ago, and it's excellent advice.
OK, so if it's true that you should give decent first dates a second shot, let's go back a step. I think you should go out of your way to go on a date with a person you never thought you'd date. Whether it has to do with their height, the fact that you were best friends in high school, or simply that their internet face did not make you scream, "I WANNA MAKE OUT WITH THAT," you should still do it. Why? Let me tell you.
Whoever You Think You Should Date Hasn't Been Working Out For You
I'm not trying to be a d*ck, I'm trying to use logic to your advantage. If you are single and on the apps, I'm assuming you're looking for something in particular. Whether that's a serious relationship, a sex-only situation, or something in between, you probably have the desire for some form of companionship if you're willing to spend time swiping through strangers' faces.
OK, so, if you continue swiping with the same criteria in mind that you had when you found your last boyfriend/girlfriend/sex person, logic would follow that you're going to end up in the same exact position. Whether your weak spot is a f*ckboy or someone who is too needy and forgets to put you first, whatever habitual "type" you have dealt with in the past should be the last thing you are look for in the present. Feel me? With me? Great.
The easiest way to avoid bad habits? Try something new. Think of it like a diet: Let's say I have been eating too much cheese (I have). In order to slow my roll when it comes to cheddar blocks, I might go vegan for a minute to see how I feel. Trying something different is a power move.
Trying New Things Is Fun
Again, I will raise your doubt a food metaphor: When I first heard the words "sous vide" a few Thanksgivings ago from my cousin, who was going to cook a Spatchcocked turkey in it, I thought to myself: "Why would I want to eat meat that's been sitting in an aquarium?" Then, I tried it and felt both satisfied and excited that I had learned a new fancy food term. Bam.
So, if you tend to date men who have at least one sailboat picture on their dating profile, maybe try the bearded, lumberjack-adjacent musician instead. You could have a great date, and maybe even learn about a cool new band. Or see a great concert. And you'll never have to get seasick again.
Insta-Chemistry Is A Myth
I'm currently part of a podcast and dating experiment in which my friend is helping me expand my horizons by having me go on 51 first dates. (I've dabbled with too many sailboat-types). As part of the podcast, my friend had me to go on a date with a friend from college. This friend and I had always been platonic, no hookups, nada. We went bowling, and it was one of my best dates so far. See!?
Of course, you need to feel some baby attraction to the person on a date with, but it doesn't need to be insta-fire. Usually those massive sparks lead me down the sexy hookup path, which, even if awesome, is not what I'm always looking for. Some relationships are a slow burn, and some hookups are an acquired taste. In following with my food metaphor trend, I will say that sometimes chemistry is more like cauliflower: it may not have been exactly what you were craving, but roasted right, it can be really f*cking good.
I'll leave you with this: If you don't go on dates with the people you don't think you'd ever really date, you'll never truly know if you might be into them or not. In going on so many dates this year, I've learned that the worst thing that can happen on a date with someone you don't end up liking is that you have a great story. Going on dates with people you're not sure about will only bring you confidence and remind you that a date is just a weird interview, and the more you do of them, the better you'll feel. Go on a date this week!
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