First Dates Are The Worst Dates
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First Dates Are The Worst Dates

Except when they're actually pretty great.

First Dates Are The Worst Dates

Almost every twenty-something knows the scene: You stand, a little excited and a little wary, in a pile of rejected outfits, holding your phone. And on the screen is a text—a confirmation text. You are going on a date.

It’s dreadful, really, dating is. That awkward stage before you’re in a relationship that determines whether or not you’ll bother pursuing one at all. Outings that teach you something about someone you don’t really know that well, giving you an opportunity to glean information that you may or may not find useful in the future. And going out with that person on even one date means that you’ve committed to collecting facts about them, to trying for them a little bit.

Your life on Date One is the romantic version of Ground Zero: a level place upon which something genuine might have once stood that was destroyed and now it’s sad to look at but you really want something beautiful there. You volley inquiry after inquiry that people who are in relationships have already defeated. Lucky them. You throw out the same questions over and over because you forget what you’ve already asked and are getting overwhelmed with new material: “Where do you work? Do you have any siblings? Did you like where you went to college?”

They answer, and then you take a turn sharing your life story, just as you did on the last first date, and the one before that. You get bored and remember why you hate this part so much: Dating is a commitment. And committing to another person is also, obviously, a commitment, but if you’re just learning about them, it’s a lot harder to give your all because you don’t quite have a handle on who they are yet. So it’s different. Dating someone isn’t the same thing as being in a relationship with someone.

You keep talking, just to give it a go, though. And sooner or later, one of you is likely to accidentally (or intentionally, who am I to judge?) mention a past relationship and then you must indulge your curiosities and detail how each of you has failed at dating in some way before. Things get rougher from there, at least for a little bit. Most of the time that’s where you’ll part ways, bellies full from a meal that was only alright since you couldn’t truly enjoy your food with a stranger sitting across from you watching you eat.

You’ll probably part ways in a few hours. In fact, you expect it. If there’s no chemistry, there’s no chemistry. And such is the case more than it isn’t, because you can’t have it with everyone with whom you try going out.

But just when you least expect it, there’s a good first date. The sort that gives you faith in the world, that restores any sort of optimism you have that people are, indeed, good. And it doesn’t even matter if you want or are ready to keep seeing this person, but at least you tried going out and had a good time. Because at the end of the day, you got some company out of it, maybe a meal or an afternoon adventure. It either confirms something about you or negates a thought you might have had, but either way, that great first date changes something.

First dates are like tests to which no one ever really figures out the right answers. They’re all open ended and everyone has a different version. So when you find one you can pass, it’s really significant. It’s reassuring knowing that you’ve come across as appealing enough to be wanted as company for at least a night. You feel validated, having gone on an excursion with another (hopefully) single human being that you feel is worth your time and effort.

A single good first doesn’t mean that dating will get easier forever, no. But it shows potential in a dark, dark world.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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