Friday, May 09, 2003

The "Date"

I got a text message from a friend last night, asking me if I was interested in having “a date with a fan of Zsazsa.”

The word “date.” In my self-contained Prude World, the word calls up unsavory images and unwanted feelings. I’ve always viewed dates as evaluation sessions, like job applications, where the only resumé you can wave is yourself, the way you talk, the way you dress, the way you think, the way you elucidate an issue. It’s where the only side you present – whether consciously or subconsciously – is what you believe to be your best side, which constitutes less than a measly 10% of everything you are.

If you fail, meaning that you’re not as interesting to your date as you’d like, what does that make of your supposedly “best” side? That it’s not good enough for some people? While we all agree that it’s to each his or her own taste -- your type may not be my type and all that – I’m not one to immediately risk my already diminutized self-esteem in a personality evaluation session.

This is one of my ‘major prude’ modes, so believe me when I say that my thoughts on the issue are not as acerbic as what I’ve written so far. The idea of having a date with someone I’ve hardly had any communication with is simply not enticing to me, because there’s more to me than what my facade may present.

On the other hand, the idea of a ‘friendly’ date is more appealing, and I’ve had quite a few of these in the past. It all starts with email, text messages, phone calls, or combinations of the above over the span of at least a month. With these modes, both parties get to know each other without the inconvenience of dolling up or spending for dinner. These exchanges allow each person to build a profile of the other, setting the stage for potentially engaging conversation when the actual date happens. Because a comfort level can be established early on, the encounter becomes more casual and less appraising.

So to all those friends who’ve been asking me about going out on a date with strangers, have them drop me an email, and we’ll see.

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