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Defining Terms

October 1, 2009

Words, words, words.  So many of them, but whatever can they all mean?  Use easily turns to abuse if words are left scantily clad by their author.  Therefore, let me dress my terms in definitions that clarify, lest they be bandied about without sartorial care.


Let’s begin at the beginning.  50 Dates.   Why 50?  First, it’s a lovely number.  Round, even, plumpy.  It feels full and wise.  Gold rather than mere gilt.  Yet, when coupled with the word ‘dates’, it also strikes as absurd.   The absurdity is intentional.  I don’t know if I will make it to my 50th date, but asking for so many is like slapping my friends’ cheeks with a plumpy golden glove.  I challenge you to find 50 men for me!

What constitutes 50?  For my purposes, 50 refers to the number of different men I meet, not the number of dates I attend.  Indeed, it is likely that I will go on a century’s worth of dates by next year, but I will stop at my limit of 50 poor fools.


The adjective defined, we are left with the noun.  What is a date?   We will need to embrace the word at times in spirit, at others in letter.

The Letter – A date requires intention, shared activity and coupling.  Monsieur 1-50 must want to go on a date and know that the invitation could have amorous consequences.  I will know his intention not by deciphering a secret boy code of grunts and conditional phrases.  He will use some unadorned variation of the declarative sentence, “I am asking you out on a date.”  It’s not a date if he mutters something about hypothetically hanging out at some hour undefined by sun or moon.  Such non-dates usually involve video games and a bong, neither of which appeal to me.

The shared activity can be of his or our choosing, but must involve being seen in public together.  (If he has nothing to hide, this shouldn’t be an issue.)  Though imaginary points will be awarded for unusual or original activities – comedy clubs and motorcycle rides are fine ideas – dinner or drinks are a lovely place to start.

Dating is like a Noah’s Ark reunion – one male and one female of the species. We are a couple for the evening.  No need for extra friends, colleagues, cousins, or pets, even if they come in pairs.

In truth, I’m a novice at Noah’s Ark dating.  I loathe it.  Meeting a man under contrived circumstances and engaging in small talk of the most banal variety repeated 50 ways hardly excites.    I prefer cinematic encounters in faraway lands, filled with hours of luscious exchanges that lead to romantically charged transatlantic missives, paper or electronic.  I’ve had several such encounters, complete with tentative phone calls and plane rides to parts unknown.  Oh, the drama.  But note, dear reader, I remain single.  So it’s time to try the old-fashioned way.

The Spirit – Given my loathing, I allow the ‘spirit’ of dating into the 50 Dates definition.  The spirit takes many forms – A dinner party introduction without forewarning and placed side by side, a salsa dance, a piano lesson, a tennis match, a Spanish class.  In general, any introduction where one or both of us are not aware of romantic intent could count.  Clearly, this contradicts the letter of dating law.  In such cases, the initial meeting would not be considered a date (unless romance bloomed) but if it leads to dating, the man enters the Pack of 50.

What if I meet the guy?  Well, it’s a safe assumption that reality love will not follow.  It’s also outside the idea of six degrees to love, so my own catches will remain lone wolves, shunned from the Pack of 50.


Who qualifies as a date?   If the gentleman caller is straight and single he makes the cut.  That’s it.  Really?   Really.  Well, no, not really.  I have a zillion preferences, many of them superficial or downright fantastical.  I must continually upbraid myself, “Silly girl, Henry V, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightly, and C.K. Dexter Haven do not exist!  They are fictional characters, created by cruel artists intent to ruin your life.  Hamlet and Heathcliff would be murder-suicides waiting to happen, even if they did exist.  Snap out of it!”

I clearly cannot choose for myself so I am asking my friends to search the wide world for a suitable companion.  Nonetheless, I distilled the fiction into a few needs.

Excerpt from an email written to friends (You will find the complete text on the ‘How and Why’ page):

Though we needn’t match in expression (that might be explosive), I do need a man with a passion and sense of what he wants in his life.  Sharing passions is great – travel, literature, languages, architecture, cooking, dancing, music, tennis – but having one is key.  As for culture, I’m a mixed breed.  A desire to understand this is welcome.  Finally, at my core I believe that until you’re dead, things can change…  I enjoy a witty cynic, but nothing is more depressing (and ultimately inaccurate) than a person convinced that the status quo is all there will ever be.

Six Degrees to Love

‘Six Degrees to Love’ reads the tagline.  Six degrees refers to the concept of six degrees of separation – the idea that each person on the planet is connected to the other by no more than six other people.  Will plumbing six degrees of depth reveal my one true love?

Each person counts as one degree of separation.  For example, if my neighbor forwards my request to her cousin who then puts me in touch with her former roommate’s fabulous brother, my new date and I will be four degrees of separation apart.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 15, 2009 3:17 pm

    Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

    – Marc Shaw

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