Last year, in the midst of the epidemic, I appeared as a guest on a (now-distracted) dating show. With the cameras rolling, I sat on a teat couch next to the host of the show, who had attended an interview with a man who is paranoid about dating – a man who spreadsheets about the phases of the relationship and Prepares a list of signs of possible dates.
That man is me This is who I am and what I do. In the host’s brain, my neurosis was impaired. In mine, it was good. So good, in fact, that I recently met a guy I loved and could see a future with him.
“So, Alex,” she said. “how’s your love life?”
“I just started to date a guy,” I said. “So, that’s great.”
His face turned sour and he touched his earring. Clearly my answer was not what she was expecting.
Outside producer went wearing her “I’m important” headset. He was the type of person who clearly excelled at his job – a job I was having a hard time with.
She explained that my love life should not have been good. The reason that brought me to the show is that my standards were very high; I had an insane list of dating requirements that they assumed came from a deep fear of commitment, as if I were sabotaging myself with a system that would outlast almost all of them.
They took it wrong.
I have many apprehensions: insufficiency, coming off as desperate, running from the bus in 5th grade to a guy who told me I had “female hips”. But afraid of commitment? No. Still, I was not about to fight the producer and host whose show I wanted.
They were right about one thing, though. I am truly an incredible list builder. I create dating checklists and procedures that are measured with tools and data. Little tidbits of information that encourage me to keep paddling through a sea of potential lovers while preventing me from docking my ship on a mediocre “good enough” relationship. A relationship similar to so many couples that I know is full of silent food, wandering eyes and remorse of what else could happen for each of them.
I started my system seven years ago on Trello, the project management software that I use at work. I just had bad dates a long time ago. Hinz boy who can use pictures of his son. The lawyer, whose coming-of-age story was somewhat less interesting than his love of tailored suits. Finance brothers who think it was strange that I was Jewish despite being white.
I experienced repeated conflicts of misguided values and discovered personality traits that I wanted to avoid. Dates that caused me to be the version of myself I did not like and may have cost me time spent on my couch: just me, a Vicodin, and a book about grief.
To break this cycle, I decided to track it all. Make sense of patterns and change them.
Cue the Trello board. To date, the board has six stages and eight traits. This is similar to the business development process of a vendor, with each step representing a step toward a successful deal and each attribute representing an attribute that is more likely to lead to success.
The stages are: weight, waiting, weighted, scheduling, scheduled and dating. Each person is represented by a Trello card – a type of digital sticky note.
Before I go on a date with someone, his card moves from left to right, going through these steps while we are dating. If we never get that, then I store his card, which in the case of a stored card he will ever have.
I evaluate my possible dates based on eight symptoms. Five of those symptoms I try to learn about before the date. The remaining three I think of after the date.
Before the first date, I try to determine the following: Does he make me laugh through the text? Does he live in LA? does he like his job? Is she down to go backpacking? Will he get on the phone?
After the first date, I ask myself: Does he like himself? Is she curious? Is she kind
This is a little crazy, incomplete and, yes, judgment. My systematic approach may well outperform anyone who can make me my happiest self. But this up-to-luck option of giving up on relying on chemistry, physical attractiveness and seriousness did not reach that person.
I would like to work Tasks to do and cards to sort out, as opposed to waiting for some dude and me to magically close the eyes, as we reach for the same cardboard of oat milk.
So far, my Trello system has worked, or at least I tell myself. It has led me more than enough moments to lie happily next to someone and forget about my inbox, and knowing that I am growing in ways that matter to me, and believe , Regardless of the longevity of his Trello card, being there with him was a good use of my time.
That way I basically mold myself into the show – like someone who believes in my system. On the zoom call with the casting manager, I said, “The only reason for any of my boyfriends was boyfriends, because he had at least six out of eight symptoms.”
But it is not that they wanted to talk to me. They did not like my symptoms. For TV, the symptoms need to be sexy: face, abs and waist. Symptoms that eventually fade and leave you with a partner you hate and a version of yourself that you hate even more. Someone gets mad at you for not rolling a toothpaste tube or refilling Breta.
Back in the studio, it was time for me to resume the scene embracing my much-deranged-to-find-love personality, so viewers at home might see me as a cautionary tale, an exaggeration, Probably, as their own neuroses. .
On that teal couch, shaking my hands, I looked at the dating host as he hit me with his questions.
“Alex, I think the reason you’re single is because you have very high standards,” she said. “What do you think?”
“Wow,” I said. “I never thought of that.”
“You can’t expect anyone to quickly check many boxes.” “And if you’re too busy, you’re probably not checking their boxes.”
“It makes sense,” I said. “Maybe you’re right.”
She laughed. “Now go out there and be more open minded. Let people in. You have a lot to offer. “He then turned to the camera and said,” You all have a lot to do. Open your hearts and minds and be yourself. Thank you for watching. “
She got up and turned towards me. “Nice to meet you, Alex. And I am very happy that your dating life is going well. Good luck with that guy. His words sounded kind and genuine. As she exited, she looked at me to see what she was looking at, as she fanned me through her small trello board.
As I sat there, deliberately gaslighted, I thought about the TV advice he had made. About how my system has created a way full of swift left-sweeps – a system that, if continued, could lead me to a lonely life as a single gay male, perhaps an intramural LGBTQ kick team But it is getting social recognition as the second assistant coach. , Someone who refers to his dogs as his children and who does not believe in settling down because doing so would mean that he believes in something he has completely failed at.
But I am not there right now. And to this day, I hate kickball.
For now, I’ll look at my Trello board with names like “Mark Emojitexter” and “DavidWeirdCat” and accept that I don’t know if my methods work any more than the people on the reality show I know That was how I would fare, “AlexNuturoticDater”, on an episode of their show.
I think I was back with the guy I was dating happily. I sat on the teal couch and talked. His brilliant smile and a perfect score of eight out of eight traits. The boy i’m not dating anymore
Why did it not work?
I think it’s because he didn’t like me back then.
OK then. “Does he like me back?”
A ninth attribute to add to the board.