Over a Scrabble board, EJ and I learned a few things from one another. He discovered that playing the world’s most beloved word game on a first date does not lead to inevitable awkwardness, as it had in his past. In turn, he told me about his concept of the zero-th date.
Scratch what you think a first date is — two people getting together for the first time, exchanging pleasantries while simultaneously attempting to suss out if each other are worth time out of their busy days, if they might be capable of spending the night together and laughing at the foibles prone to happen under the covers, if they have enough common ground to understand one another while not being sociopaths, codependent, addicted to painkillers, felons, or harboring batty wives in their attics (though who could blame Mr. Rochester, really?). What if, instead, the first date came about when you already knew you liked this person enough to spend more than an hour or two with them?
Enter the zero-th date.
The zero-th date is two people taking a break from their usual trajectory to orbit around one another. There is an hour or two at most of anticipatory conversation to see if they pass by without a second glance, collide and conquer, or find a balance and wobble back and forth based on their gravitational pull. It’s a date without expectation — and date is a term I use loosely here. It’s a meeting. Almost an appointment.
In the modeling world, they would call this appointment a go-see. You go and see if this person you met online or in a bar actually interests you live and in person. And then you leave. If one of you calls the other (fine, or texts…but you really should call if you like the person) then on you go to a first date.
What I love about the zero-th date concept is it gives structure to expectations for all following encounters. Upon that initial meeting, you know you’re only going to see if you even get along with the person. Zero-th date, zero pressure. Then if a first date comes about, you know it’s supposed to be a romantic gesture.
Zero-th date folks. It’s gonna be huge.