About the Experiment

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Date #5: Smoothies, Unicorns, and Compatibility

I won't lie, after the previous date (Date #4: General Rules for a (Bad) First Date) I was a bit nervous to go on another date.  But I was definitely curious about meeting Bachelor #8 because he's the first Bachelor that a Matchmaker knew through real-life connections (turns out he's my cousin's friend's brother's best friend's brother, not just my cousin's friend's best friend's brother as I had previously thought).  The fact that it was through five degrees of separation (more than double my Bacon Number) made it even better.

The really good news was that Bachelor #8 and I got along well.  We talked on the phone a few times to schedule the date (he lives in San Diego, but was visiting family in LA), and texted in the interim.  After my frustration at the lack of communication from Bachelor #6 planning Date #4, I was impressed that Bachelor #8 found a happy medium of being in touch but not all up in my business.

A happy medium of communication was important this particular week because work took over my life.  I freelance in film & TV: this year I've worked on short films, commercials, PSAs, a TV pilot, a dance instructional video for kids, and you never know what the freelance life is going to throw at you.  But one thing is always the same: really long hours.  You're on set for at least 12 hours per day and most shoots take longer than scheduled, so I usually figure shoots will be 13-15 hours (not including travel time).  Last weekend I was working, so Saturday morning I was up at 4:30am for a 6:45am call time, and was headed home at 10:45pm that night (16 hour day, with a 45 min commute each way).  Sunday was similar hours (14 hour day with 45 min commute each way), and Monday we had a night shoot so I started work at 4:30pm and finished at 7am the next morning (16.5 hour day with 30-45 min commute each way).

I'm not complaining, I know I'm lucky to work in this industry, but people outside of the film industry often don't know how intense the work schedule can be.  Luckily my friends and family are very understanding about my erratic schedule, they know that I'll largely be out of communication when I'm working but I'll get in touch when I can.  Most of my friends work in film, and a friend even calls people who don't work in film "Unicorns" because they're so rare.

This week I've been wondering, could I date a Unicorn?
(Like this guy?)

B#8 is in fact a Unicorn: he works an office job with a regular Monday through Friday schedule.  He does cool, interesting work, but definitely very different from what I do.

This date made me think about different levels of compatibility, specifically for a first date vs. an actual relationship.

Compatibility Needed for a Good First Date:
1. A location you can meet at
2. An hour or two that works for both people's schedule
3. Some common interests and compatible senses of humor help

B#8 and I had decided to meet at a smoothie place (which turned out to be a good plan as it was 100 degrees outside), and we'd set a time (on a day I wasn't working and he was visiting his family in LA).  As we started chatting in person it was clear we had some common interests, we'd seen a bunch of the same TV shows and movies, and like some of the same music.  I think we have similar senses of humor, we at least weren't offending each other (unlike Date #4).  I enjoyed hanging out with B#8, and enjoyed the smoothie (he had kindly bought my smoothie for me, a chivalrous move).  We chatted for about two hours before either of us realized what time it was, and that we should go our separate ways.

As I was driving home I felt a bit down.  Why would I feel down when I just had a date that I enjoyed?  I realized I was having the same OkCupid experience I usually had before the experiment: meeting nice guys that I have some things in common with, but not enough compatibility to actually date.

So I started thinking about all the factors that need to line up for two people to really be relationship compatible.

Compatibility Needed for a Relationship: 
1. Mutual attraction
2. Geographic proximity
3. Compatible schedules
4. Compatible senses of humor
5. Compatible communication styles
6. Compatible moral codes
7. Compatible goals
8. At least some overlap in movies/TV preferences
9. Enough common taste in music for a road trip now and then

How about religion?  Politics?  Whether you want to have kids or not?  Dogs vs. Cats?  The list could go on forever.  It seems so daunting to me at times.  What's really essential for a relationship or what can you compromise on?

Honestly, if it weren't for the experiment this is probably the point where I would deactivate my OkCupid account and "focus on work" and "my relationship with myself" etc.  I think it's good that the experiment forces me to hang in there (although I am not slacking on work or "my relationship with myself").  I can stop the experiment whenever I want, of course, but there's already another Matchmaker week going (my brother Greg's week) and other Matchmakers lined up.  And I know the experiment is helping me learn and grow, so let's see where this adventure leads!

The experiment is teaching me to be more resilient: instead of giving up after a bad date or even after a good date that won't lead to a relationship, I assess, evaluate, and then keep going.  And I hope that reading this can help encourage you too.  Dating can be tough, relationships are tough, being single can be tough.  Some cliche about the journey, not the destination, right?

So chin up, and keep going!

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