Dating should be fun, right?
Stop the music--cue the record needle scrape!
Sure, maybe back in the day... pick her up at eight, drive down to the diner for some milk shakes--strawberry and vanilla--and head on down to the drive-in movie theater to watch a re-release of Gone With the Wind. Maybe you'll get to first base when Clark Gable kisses Vivien Leigh.
But in today's strange world of first dates with people you've met online, the guiding principle seems to be that timeless line Gable utters the film: "Frankly, my Dear, I don't give a damn."
Because online daters have no solid previous connection to each other (least of all, in most cases, a personal introduction by a mutual friend--although some apps allow you to find or see people with whom you share friends on Facebook), there is little at stake in the first meeting or online interaction. It is thus easy to cut bait at any time, a choice many people may make at any stage in the process. In my experience, very many people are willing to go out for coffee or drinks and see how things go on a first date. After all, they are online for a reason. Yet making it past the first date to the second might be almost as difficult as passage from East to West Berlin during the height of the Cold War. The barrier to getting from A to B can be as impenetrable as the Berlin Wall.
Why is this? Given zero previous social ties and lacking any standing relationship with the other person, it is super easy to write them off! I found this out the hard way in the hard-knock dating scene of New York City, where it felt like if you hadn't yet made a killing by selling an ingenious app to Google, gone to a top Med or Law school, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro by age twelve, or cured a vicious disease with a miracle vaccine, you were likely just an average guy (read waste of space) who didn't deserve the time of day. During these difficult times, I seemed to get enough first dates, but was quickly and thoroughly dismissed as an obviously unfit mate.
I seriously considered rewriting my OkCupid profile like this to see what kind of new replies I would get... How would you respond to me with this self-description, ladies???