So Are We, Like, On a Date?: A Scientific Study of the D Factor

I'm calling upon my friends everywhere to help me with this simple question. It's a short answer essay:

How do you define a date?

Some would say that the fact that I'm asking means I don't know/haven't been on one, whatever. Okay, stop stoning the single girl! I'm just WONDERING. It came up because another friend suggested that when I had hung out at the zoo last summer with a guy friend, that would be construed as a date. [I should add that this individual denied the aformentioned assertion upon further cross-examination this evening, claiming it was a joke.]

So how do you define a date? Like, what if one person thinks it's a date and the other person doesn't? I've definitely had this one. I've had to do the dive-roll out of the car for sure, to avoid any "unwanted tensions". Or, well, if there was going to be tension, you bet your sweet ass I wasn't going to stick around to enjoy it. When I've been interested in a guy and not felt that it was reciprocated (a certain field trip to watch a film for our French class comes to mind. O Unrequited Love. SIGH), I did NOT assert, verbally or mentally, to myself or publicly, that it had been a date. I feel like there's some mutuality involved.

So do you have to know at the time? Or can you look back and be like "Hmmmmm. I guess we WERE on a date!" On the flipside, can you go back after an okay date and be like "Nuh uh, I did NOT date him!" based on things besides the actual date interaction? [Case study: I had to backtrack after having a nice dinner with a guy a high school friend set me up with, who quickly revealed himself to be The Fastest Silent-But-Deadly Farter In the East. He trapped me in the Horror aisle at Blockbuster! Nice guy, decent conversation, good taste in music, detrimental genetics. I just could NOT say that I'd dated him, not even once. I Un-Dated him.]

Is there a time length? Is 45 minutes a date? If a group of 3 or more of your friends concur that it was a date but you don't, does that make it a date and just make you a super-denier? Is there a financial responsibility factor- like if someone invites and pays, have they taken you on a date? And then would your choices only be to have enjoyed the date or not so much, but either way it was a date? Because I can definitely be accused of exclaiming to a girlfriend that "Ohmygosh, dude, he PAID! That is SO a date!", which suggests that this may be subconsciously how I think. It also suggests that I'm not as eloquent as I'd like to be ;)

Do certain environments automatically mean that this event has become a date? Beaches, fancy restaurants? The Eiffel Tower? A blanket under the stars? Do other environments work against the date factor? Like if you guys go to, I dunno, CostCo or the old people's home together, would that then NOT be a date just by virtue of the lack of social precedents?

I'd like to take this moment offer an Amen to Jon's email today that "two single people hanging out does not constitute a date."

Then he posed a question back to me that I've been struggling with. His question was, Is prom really a date? Oh shit. He was basically saying it's an Auto-Date. Where DO auto-dates fit in? Is a blind date an auto date, and thus not REALLY a date, but more of a screening interview? If it's not a date... and if you strip me of my high school dances and my sorority events... the violent decrease in the number of 'dates' I've been on would be devastating if it weren't so damn funny.

So I'm putting it out there and I'd love to hear your thoughts, reflections, appropriately quoted song lyrics, etc. Formulas would be great (engineers, start your calculators).

If you're reading this and THINK we may have been on a date together, um, let me know ;)


neema said...

a date is a date when both parties involved consider the event to be a date.

definite signs that it's a date:

-lose track of how much time you've spent together
-look forward to hanging out with said person
-dress up/clean up beyond usual for said person
-look for reasons to talk to said person when not planning on hanging out
-"ooh, i should call him/her to tell them about this" occur with increasing regularity
-hanging out with decreasing regularity other people than said person
-mutual genital arousal

susie said...

i think some of the things neema pointed out are just ways you know you like somebody.
a date is definitely only a date when both parties involved consider the event to be a date.
it's the nineties, man, nobody dates anymore, we hang out and write emails and shit.
it's the NINETIES!!!!

neema said...

Susie, that's why my definition requires both parties to acknowledge that it's a date.

The remaining portions are how you decide for yourself that in "DateWorld," this episode might be considered a date... that's all.

neema said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
susie said...

yo neema, i agree with that portion!
but the definite signs it's a date: "dress up/clean up beyond usual for said person".. then that means i've been on like a billion dates with my parents and my landlords.

Anonymous said...

if the girls wearing her A underwear then thats a date. if its B or even C underwear...then you're jsuta friend. I think we've been on a date before, you told me you had on your A game. =) but we'll just leave the details somewhere else. would you like to do "lunch" again? =)

happydog said...

I dunno, my wife and I had this discussion. We're never sure if we dated, we just went places together and had a good time, until I said, "Hey, I fell in love with you," and she said, "Hey, me too, you should move in!" That took about three years, primarily cause I lived in another town at the time.

So, my criteria for a date is that you both agree to go somewhere and do something, and you both really liked the event & each other, and you do it again. And even if the event was suck, if you can both go home laughing with each other about how awful it was, that's probably a date as well.

Currently my dates come in little jars marked "DATES." They are chewy. I can identify these dates easily because they come from foreign countries and are fruit of some sort. I forget what kind.

neema said...

well, you can dress up for your parents but if you meet some of the other criteria (like ahem, arousal) ... well, maybe, just maybe you have other things to worry about other than it just being a "date"

peddy said...

The “Do’s” and “Do Not’s” of a “Date”

I don’t want to confuse the issue here but I’d like to share a story. I recently met a girl and we went out on a “do”. No, not a date, but a “do”. This girl and I had been emailing back and forth for a while and then calling back and forth for a bit and we finally decided it was time to take our 21st century e-relationship to the next level. We decided to meet in person.

While discussing our options she thought it was necessary to define the parameters of our meeting. She didn’t want to call it a “date”. I questioned why and she said that she liked me but she didn’t know if she “liked-me liked-me”. I asked her if we were in junior high school again because I was suddenly having flashbacks. She laughed and pressed on that a date carries with it certain expectations like a kiss at the end of the night and so on. I told her she could call it whatever she wants because for me it’s just about seeing if there is a good energy between us in person. She agreed and decided that we should just call it a “do”. Her reasoning was that we are basically going to “do” something together and that strips away any connotations. Why stop there I wondered, if it would make her feel better we could act like complete strangers who happened to arrive at the same restaurant at the same exact time and randomly decide to have dinner together. In general though, I found the straightforward honesty refreshing. It’s always good to know where you stand.

Well the day of our “do” finally came and we met at Chin Chins, sat down for dinner and proceeded to get to know each other. By the end of the night I realized that we had it all wrong, it wasn’t a “date” or a “do”. It was a “do not” as in, “I do not want to continue seeing you in any way that might lead to some sort of romantic involvement”.

So maybe you weren’t on a “date”, maybe you were on a “do” or just maybe you were on a “do not”. Is any of this helping?


susie said...

ew neema, you're gross

feeling entropy said...

a date is when the girl pays for food, alcohol, and then expects you to put out when she follows you to your door.

yea, and i'm still waiting to go on this so called 'date' i just formulated.

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NG said...

A DATE is single people hanging out in combination
with at least one (1) plus factor.

Plus factors include, but are not limited to: (a)
uncertainty; (b) strategy; and (c) self-involvement.

The most important plus factor, in my opinion, is
uncertainty. When people just hang out, you have a
general idea of what that evening, the following
month, the following year will look like. A Date
implies the opposite.

And this uncertainty, leads to strategy. "If he does
this, then I'll do this . . ." If you have
contingency plans, you're probably on a Date. (And if
you have a chart, it might be Love.)

Finally, on a Date you sometimes experience severe self-involvment -- you worry more about your
own actions (or your hair) than normal circumstances

Next week: The Stealth Date -- Have you been affected?

a friend of a friend. said...

i am late to this party.

but i just wanted to comment because, i too, went to the zoo once with a guy, which he later claimed was in fact a date. but, i didn't know this because he's actually just a friend of mine who got a crazy idea in his head that we should date.

i think you need to tell me we're going on a date otherwise i will just think we're hangin' out, and i will try to split the check with you, and i won't give you a kiss.

Bookgirl said...

How did I JUST get these brilliant comments? I need to revisit this issue (yes, this many years later, still wondering...)