My Ridiculous Dating System Totally Works!

Final yr, in the midst of the pandemic, I appeared as a visitor on a (now-defunct) relationship present. With cameras rolling, I sat on a teal sofa subsequent to the present’s host, who had prepped for an interview with a person who’s neurotic about relationship — a person who composes spreadsheets of relationship phases and lists of traits of potential dates.

That man is me. It’s who I’m and what I do. Within the host’s thoughts, my neurosis was dangerous. In mine, it was good. So good, in reality, that I just lately had met a man I preferred and will see a future with.

“So, Alex,” she stated. “How’s your love life?”

“I simply began relationship a boy,” I stated. “So, it’s nice.”

Her face soured and he or she touched her earpiece. Clearly my reply was not the one she was anticipating.

Out walked the producer carrying her “I’m vital” headset. She was the kind of one that clearly excelled at her job — a job that I used to be making troublesome.

She defined that my love life wasn’t presupposed to be good. The explanation they introduced me on the present is as a result of my requirements have been too excessive; I had loopy lists of relationship necessities that they assumed got here from my deep concern of dedication, as if I have been sabotaging myself with a system that might exclude almost everybody.

They assumed unsuitable.

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I’ve many fears: inadequacy, coming throughout as determined, operating into the man from the bus in fifth grade who advised me I had “girl hips.” However concern of dedication? No. Nonetheless, I wasn’t about to battle the producer and host whose present I needed to be on.

They have been proper about one factor, although. I’m certainly an unimaginable listing maker. I create relationship checklists and processes which are measured with instruments and knowledge. Little tidbits of data that encourage me to maintain paddling by means of a sea of potential boyfriends whereas stopping me from docking my ship on a mediocre “ok” relationship. A relationship just like that of so many {couples} I do know, full of silent meals, wandering eyes and forlorn regrets of what else every of them might have been.

I started my system seven years in the past on Trello, the undertaking administration software program I exploit at work. I merely had endured one too many dangerous first dates. The Hinge man who might have used his son’s photographs as his personal. The lawyer whose coming-out story was one way or the other much less attention-grabbing than his love of tailor-made fits. The finance bro who thought it was bizarre that I used to be Jewish whereas blonde.

I skilled repeated collisions of misaligned values and found character traits I needed to keep away from. Dates that triggered me to be variations of myself I didn’t like and price me time that I might have spent on my sofa: simply me, a Vicodin and a ebook about unhappiness.

To interrupt this cycle, I made a decision to trace all of it. Make sense of the patterns and alter them.

Cue the Trello board. As of right now, the board has six phases and eight traits. It’s just like the enterprise improvement technique of a salesman, with every stage representing a step towards a profitable deal and every trait representing a attribute that’s extra more likely to result in success.

The phases are: To Vet, Vetting, Vetted, Scheduling, Scheduled and Courting. Every individual is represented by a Trello card — a sort of digital sticky observe.

Earlier than I am going on a date with anybody, his card progresses from left to proper, passing by means of these phases till we’re relationship. If we by no means get that far, I archive his card, through which case an archived card is all he’ll ever be.

I consider my potential dates primarily based on eight traits. 5 of these traits I attempt to study earlier than the date. The remaining three I take into consideration after the date.

Earlier than the primary date, I attempt to decide the next: Does he make me chuckle by way of textual content? Does he reside in LA? Does he like his job? Is he right down to go backpacking? Will he get on the telephone?

After the primary date, I ask myself: Does he like himself? Is he curious? Is he type?

It’s just a little loopy, imperfect and, sure, judgmental. My systematic strategy might be removing somebody who might make me my happiest self. However the leaving-it-up-to-fate various of counting on chemistry, bodily attraction and serendipity haven’t led me to that individual both.

I would like to have one thing to work on. Duties to do and playing cards to type, versus ready round in Complete Meals for some dude and me to magically lock eyes as we attain for a similar carton of oat milk.

Up to now, my Trello system has labored, or no less than that’s what I inform myself. It has led me to greater than sufficient moments of mendacity fortunately subsequent to somebody and forgetting about my inbox, of somebody and realizing that I’m rising in ways in which matter to me, and believing, no matter his Trello card’s longevity, that mendacity there with him was an excellent use of my time.

That’s how I initially pitched myself to the present — as somebody who believed in my system. “The one purpose any of my boyfriends have been boyfriends in any respect is as a result of that they had no less than six out of eight traits,” I had stated on a Zoom name with the casting supervisor.

However that’s not what they needed me to speak about. They didn’t like my traits. For TV, traits must be horny: face, abs and girth. Traits that ultimately fade and go away you with a associate you hate and a model of your self you hate much more. Somebody you get offended at for the way he rolls up the toothpaste tube or doesn’t refill the Brita.

Again within the studio, it was time to reshoot the scene with me embracing my too-neurotic-to-ever-find-love persona, so viewers at dwelling might see me as a cautionary story, an exaggeration, maybe, of their very own neuroses.

On that teal sofa, with my fingers shaking, I stared on the relationship host as she hit me together with her questions.

“Alex, I feel the rationale you’re alone is as a result of you may have too many excessive requirements,” she stated. “What do you assume?”

“Wow,” I stated. “I by no means considered that.”

“You may’t anticipate somebody to test that many packing containers that rapidly,” she stated. “And should you’re so busy vetting, you’re most likely not checking their packing containers.”

“That is sensible,” I stated. “You’re most likely proper.”

She smiled. “Now go on the market and be extra open minded. Let individuals in. You’ve a lot to supply.” Then she turned to the digicam and stated, “You all have a lot to supply. Open your hearts and minds and be yourselves. And thanks for watching.”

She exhaled and turned to me. “Nice assembly you, Alex. And I’m so glad that your relationship life goes properly. Good luck with that man.” Her phrases appeared type and real. She winked as she walked out, having gotten from me what she was in search of, as if she had funneled me by means of her personal little Trello board.

As I sat there, consensually gaslit, I considered her made-for-TV recommendation. About how my system has created a technique filled with swift left-swipes — a system that, if continued, might lead me to a life alone as a single homosexual man, maybe discovering social validation as a second assistant coach on an intramural L.G.B.T.Q. kickball crew, somebody who refers to his canines as his children and who doesn’t imagine in settling down as a result of doing so would suggest that he believes in one thing at which he has utterly failed.

However I’m not there but. And as of right now, I hate kickball.

For now, I’ll have a look at my Trello board with names like “Mark Emojitexter” and “DavidWeirdCat” and settle for that I don’t know that my strategies work any greater than the fact present individuals knew how I, “AlexNeuroticDater,” would fare on an episode of their present.

I feel again to the man I used to be fortunately relationship then. The one I spoke about whereas sitting on that teal sofa. Together with his nice smile and excellent rating of eight out of eight traits. The man I’m not relationship.

Why didn’t it work out?

I feel it’s as a result of he didn’t like me again.

Nicely then. “Does he like me again?”

A ninth trait so as to add to the board.

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