Getting a Second Date

Man, I wish I had breasts like those!

My husband is not in this picture.

Recent life circumstances led me to wonder what my husband would do if I were, let’s say,  no longer in the picture.  Glaring at Eyeing him one night across the dining room table as I angrily stirred the beef stroganoff I wasn’t going to eat around my plate, I thought, “He’d be married again, inside of six months, I’m sure of it.”

And then I got to thinking what I would do if he were, let’s say, no longer in the picture.

And then I remembered all my blog posts here on dating, and decided I would just throw myself on his funeral pyre, or join a nunnery or something rather than date again.

But then I saw the current issue of the Atlantic which features a long excerpt from Dan Slater’s forthcoming book, A Million First Dates: How On Line Dating is Threatening Monogamy and thought maybe my husband, in this not-so new age of internet dating (a college classmate of mine went out with some dude she met in an internet chat room way back in 1999, and eharmony.com has been around since the year 2000), won’t get married again at all.  Maybe he’ll just have an endless stream of first dates, never going beyond that initial meeting over a cup of coffee at a Starbucks, fruitlessly searching for someone as terrific as me.  At least, that’s what Slater suggests (and gives me some hope that my husband will remain alone and miserable sans moi):

But what if online dating makes it too easy to meet someone new? What if it raises the bar for a good relationship too high? What if the prospect of finding an ever-more-compatible mate with the click of a mouse means a future of relationship instability, in which we keep chasing the elusive rabbit around the dating track?

I’ll agree with Slater that on line dating probably makes it easier to date. Thinking back on the days before I wore a ring on my finger, I can’t help but imagine how much easier it would have been to just hang a sign around my neck that read, “I’m looking for a date!” (which is what posting on an internet dating site is, essentially) rather than patiently wait for some guy I was sure (absolutely sure!) was interested in me to ask me out.

Single Me: (pointing to the sign around my neck) Did you see my sign?

Cute Guy: Yeah, I saw it.  Good luck with that.

Single Me: Oh, so that time you laughed at that joke I made, and that day you told me my hair looked awesome, and “accidentally” bumping into me on the Quad, not once, but TWICE in one week meant nothing?

Cute Guy: Yo, I already have a girlfriend . . .

So I can understand how hanging a sign around my neck posting on an internet dating site takes a lot of

Not necessarily a successful one.

A dating sign.

the guess work out of dating, and in that way makes getting a first date easier, but the goal of dating isn’t getting a first date, is it?  It’s getting a second date.

I’m not sure the internet makes getting a second date any easier.  The mere fact that I know I can go on a first date every night of the week because of my JDate.com profile doesn’t make me more likely to throw that plate of beef stroganoff at my husband and tell him to go to hell.

With or without internet dating, there have always been people who want to be (or don’t want to be) in committed relationships.  There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests that divorce rates tend to follow economic trends (you can read about that here, if you like) and, according to the Center for Disease Control (yes, they track this stuff, too!) the divorce rate in the U.S. has actually been declining since the year 2000 (remember, that’s when eharmony.com launched) from 8.2% to 6.8%.

Here’s a terrific recipe for beef stroganoff.

Royalty free stock photos including the images in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.

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6 thoughts on “Getting a Second Date

  1. mikeballenger2011 says:

    I tend to be anti online dating for the most part. There is no subsitute for looking a woman in the eye and learning what she is about. I don’t want to read some BS profile with your Glamor Shot picture…call me old school. It works fro some and that is fine, more power to those folks. Nice Post and a solid topic that you could really dive into, lots of fun stuff here;)

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    • Karen says:

      Hey, Mike! Thanks for your thoughts.

      Here’s my opinion about internet dating, from a 30-ish married woman who never tried it, for what it’s worth: it’s something that folks come to after they’ve exhausted every other possibility. You don’t start out as a fresh faced sixteen year old (or whatever age you started dating) thinking, “I’m ready to date! Let’s create a match.com profile!” Rather, that’s where you end up after a divorce, or a long luckless streak of dating the traditional way. I don’t mean that as a slam to people who utilize the various dating sites, and, as I said in the post, I do see the real advantages of internet dating, compared to the way I spent my dating years: sitting around and pining after boys, a lot of lonely Saturday nights, and dating my share of jerks.

      Slater’s premise that internet dating means doom and gloom for monogamy is designed to be provocative and to sell books, but it’s contrary to fact (the CDC statistics) and logic: The folks that inhabit dating sites (for the most part, I know some married men troll there) are there because they want to be in a committed relationship with someone, not because they don’t want to be.

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  2. slepsnor says:

    My sister used a dating site to get boyfriends and it seems to have worked out for her. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t do well on those, so I’d have to go old-school. For me that’s be friendly and totally oblivious to any female attention. I couldn’t even get a clue if you bought me the board game, which was apparently an endearing quality for me wife.

    Seriously though, I’m guessing that on-line dating depends on a person’s personality and demeanor almost as much as regular dating. It’s not for everyone just like not everyone can go to a bar to pick up women/men.

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    • Karen says:

      I have a friend who met her husband on eharmony (those commercials are true!), so they definitely work, I just find Slater’s premise that online dating is the End of Western Civilization as We Know It (and the fact that a big publishing house paid him big money to write a book making that specious argument) enough to make my head explode.

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      • slepsnor says:

        I know somebody who says the same thing, but he also says it about texting, video games, facebook, and a couple other things. I keep waiting for him to start yelling at imaginary kids on his imaginary lawn. I think he’s given me the ability to reflexively tune out anyone that talks like that.

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