DIGITALLY ARRANGED DINNER DATING
by Larry Schwirian
Writers Guild Prompt: Dinner Date
I have never had occasion to go on a romantic dinner date with anyone other than my wife. She and I were classmates and friends for three years before we started dating, so we already knew each other pretty well. I never had to worry about what I could or couldn’t say with her because I already knew many of her likes and dislikes. Plus, while we were still in school, there wasn’t a lot of money for going out to dinner anyway. Going out for pizza, taking a trip to the art museum, or going to an occasional movie were more typical of our dates. As I had a full class load and drove a cab part time while in school, I didn’t have a lot of time for dating anyway.
I’ve never given a great deal of thought to what it must be like, as a full-fledged adult, to sit down for a nice dinner with an unfamiliar female companion just for the sake of getting to know one-another…it must really be awkward.
Imagining what it might be like for a young adult in today’s digital world, all kinds of questions come to mind…
Who wrote the algorithm that paired the two of us as compatible, and what were the primary traits or answers to questions that resulted in this pairing? Did she research me on the web and find out what a dweeb I really am…I hope she at least learned that I’m not a direct descendent of Jack the Ripper. I Googled her, but my search gave me dozens of women with the same name. Why did she pick me instead of dozens of others…or was it the algorithm? Should I be my normal, boring self, or should I pretend to be what I’d really like to be? Was the photo she sent really of her? Was it current, or was it ten years old? Should I let her start the conversation, or should I be bold and jump right in with both feet? Is she looking for a significant other, or is she just looking for a good time? And what am I looking for?
Maybe we should begin the conversation by agreeing on a “safe word” that will allow either of us to bail-out if questions become too personal.
Why am I doing this?
I don’t envy young people. Dating–along with everything else these days–has just become too complicated.
Architect Larry and his fellow architect wife Caroline live in an historic preservation home in Newton and have led BOLLI courses on architecture. Larry has been an active participant in and leader of the Writers Guild special interest group as well as serving on the BOLLI Journal staff.