I have found there to be two main criteria that must be met before considering someone a dating prospect: the first is chemistry and the second is compatibility. Different people have different ideas about the concept of “chemistry.” Personally, I’m not sure that I know how to describe it, but I am positive that if it’s there, I know it. I must digress at this point to note that interestingly, my definition of chemistry is disturbingly similar to Justice Stewart’s definition of hard-core pornography: “… I know it when I see it.” I suppose some things are better left undefined, as forcing overly-clinical terminology onto such concepts often has the ability to destroy their salacious appeal (see: Clinton Impeachment Trial).

In any case, it seems that the concept of chemistry may have different implications for men as compared to women. As Bravo’s the Millionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stanger, so crassly puts it: for men, “if the penis gets off of the couch,” there is chemistry. Conversely, I have found that chemistry and physical attractiveness are not perfectly correlated; finding someone physically appealing is no guarantee that there will be a spark. Several of my readers have expressed such a phenomenon which they describe as the guy who is “perfect on paper,” but with whom they inexplicably lack chemistry. Although the causes of chemistry may be more ambiguous for females, the response is not delayed as a result. Studies have shown that it can be determined definitively within the first five minutes of meeting someone whether there is chemistry. It may be a sad reality, but I have found that if there is no chemistry within the first five minutes, that will not change after another one, two, or three dates: it’s either there or it’s not.

Evaluating compatibility on the other hand, is a much more time consuming process. Depending on the openness of the two individuals, it can take anywhere from days to weeks to determine whether you are minimally compatible with another person. And ironically it is only once you reach that level of comfort with one another that people are prone to unleashing their “secret selves.” “I’m so glad that I have finally found someone that I feel so comfortable around…I feel like I can be completely honest with you. In fact, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you all about my sex life…

Thus, in order to maximize efficiency and minimize crazy, chemistry should be the first criteria examined when considering a dating prospect. This is easily achieved in real-life situations since you would only approach someone with whom you felt there was strong potential for chemistry. Additionally, approaching them and chatting awkwardly in the produce section of the grocery store gives you the brief amount of time that you need to determine whether there is sufficient chemistry to warrant going on a date.

Meeting people the old-fashioned way provides you with a sort of “chemistry filter” that allows it to have an edge over the presumed efficiency of online dating. You see, given that chemistry is a requirement for a potential relationship, in order to maximize efficiency one would have to spend time pursuing only those matches with whom they have chemistry. However, online dating has no such filter as it is impossible to feel chemistry through a computer screen.  You can talk for days; having deep and meaningful conversation, you can even Skype; giggling when the screen freezes on a particularly unflattering facial expression. However, until you actually meet that person, it is impossible to know conclusively whether you will get those infamous butterflies. Unfortunately, this back-and-forth online messaging which can last anywhere from days to weeks, is largely unavoidable as it seems to have established itself as a required social convention prior to setting up a date. People feel like they have to “get to know you” before they meet you. Sadly though, “getting to know” someone that you may or may not have chemistry with is a grossly inefficient use of time. Days can be spent mindlessly chatting to a potential match about their family history, college major, career prospects, hobbies, and at his bequest, reviewing his 800+ pictures on Facebook; however it only takes a matter of minutes to determine whether there is chemistry (the first hurdle). It seems then that the only logical thing to do would be to first make the chemistry determination, prior to investing a gross amount of time getting to know this person. Thus, dating the old-fashioned way would seem to be the logical alternative.

Of course one could argue that while that may be true, statistically your odds are still better online since there is a much larger pool of available people. I generally find this argument to be without merit. It may be true that you are frequently bombarded by fifty or more messages to your online dating account, and you may not be approached by so many people in real life.

i once met Mr cupid, some months ago and we were virtual for over 6 months, we talked everyday and exchanged texts, it even felt like the old days of free night calls, we talked practically about everything and we shared views, i even met his family and it was time for him to come home, we planned to see and i was all giggling and excited, on seeing him i just wasn’t feeling a thing, i couldn’t even completely hug him, we sat up all night talking and in my mind, i prayed for morning. morning came and that was it, i didn’t even call or want to talk to him. the chemistry wasn’t just there and i pitied all the time wasted and how he must have felt, we tried two more dates and i just had to call it off. i still am attracted to him virtually but i don’t think i can be physically.

So I’m truly sorry OK Cupid…really, it’s not me, it’s you.

 

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