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To Pre-Date, or Not to Pre-Date

Screen shot 2013-06-26 at 11.26.29 AMDuring my convalescence*, I read a lot of trashy magazines. This might come as a shock to those who know me (it certainly made my brother do a double take) but I love me some good, old fashioned beauty quizzes, celeb gossip, and dating tips. Sure, the likes of Glamour**, Cosmo and Women’s Health aren’t really my go-to du jour for advice in the datingsphere (truth be told they tend to leave me worried about how younger women perceive courtship) but sometimes I am indeed blown away about the insightfulness of their articles, especially when it hits close to the 50/50 home.

One such blow away came from an article called Stop Googling Your Dates! Yeah yeah, the title invokes a bossy tone I normally only let pass in advice given from my mom, but the article speaks to a quandary many an online dater (myself included) finds themselves in: to pre-date, or not to pre-date? Pre-dating is the act of digging around the internet for information about your date before you go out – in other words, typing their name into Google and seeing what sorts of odds and ends show up.

Spoiler alert: it’s massively recommended you don’t pre-date. Why? Too much information…

a)…ruins the surprise of finding something unique out about your date and leading to genuine conversation.

b) …creates a false sense of “knowing” someone before you’ve even met*** leading to moving faster on the physical intimacy and feelings train.

c) …leads you quickly down the path of judging a book by its cover and even more quickly down the path of not getting to actually know someone (aka, date cancellation).

Based on my experience dating around the country, I strongly agree with Glamour on this one. Before 50/50 and the road trip, I used to try and memorize a guy’s profile before we met (and if I had his last name, sure, I’d search for his Facebook page). I did this under the guise of “wanting to have conversation topics” but let’s face it – I was also doing it to try and get to know my dates. On the road, with zero time for research, I started going into dates blind quite willingly after my really successful actual blind date in Montana. And you know what? All of my best dates were dates I knew almost zip about, and whose profiles I did not revisit after initially like them and thinking “this cat sounds cool.”

I can’t help but relate all this pre-dating brew-ha-ha to Megan’s point about Portland: “Beginnings are hardest when there is no history…[guys] were trying to fast track history, mainly, your history together. But I think that backfires, and we get hung up on rigmarole trying to impress each other and not enjoying the ride.”  In other words, pre-dating is really just an attempt to give you a history with someone else, instead of developing one on your own. Which is unfortunate as building that history seems to be a skeleton key to a great first date (and even a relationship). 

I’m trying to think of famous love stories that began “We knew everything about each other before we met, and then we lived happily ever after,” and I’m coming up short. Whether you’re meeting dates online, in line at Disneyland, at a club on Bourbon Street or at the local library, I’m standing with Glamour on this one: skip the pre-dating.

*Hey! It’s me, Alicia! Not quite of sound body and mind, but kinda close…

**Maybe it’s the pain meds, but I have to say I found there to be interestingly useful information in Glamour. Not to sound like a nut, but check out their report on what women in different professions are earning and how to ask for a raise in their April 2013 issue.

***Man, did someone say “What happened with Adam” on this one? Funny enough, Megs told me over and over not to hope too much (and his best friend told him the same thing) but neither of us listened and…

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