In the last week, I have been out on five dates. And, I have to say, I am exhausted. Unlike Kira, Queen of All the Internet Dating, who seems to thrive on a crazy dating schedule, I have had enough. I’ve had enough of the vacuous email, enough of the scheduling, enough of the awkward meetings. Which is why I am so excited about the innovative new online dating concept that Kira and I have dreamed up.
We’re pretty familiar with the dating sites out there, and frankly, we’re tired of them. So, rather than developing sexy new interfaces and ever more complicated algorithms for matching couples, we are heading into completely new territory. We’d like to thank our teenage sons for the idea.
Admittedly, teenage sons are something of a hindrance in one’s dating life. They are prickly and pimply and they stay up way too late gaming. But watching them playing World of Warcraft inspired our exciting new dating concept: World of Datecraft! Rather than visiting those static dating websites, and then having to go through the tedium of online flirting, then coffee, then dinner, and so on, why not do it all virtually? Here’s the plan:
World of Datecraft will be an online, multi-player game. The men who choose to play will have to successfully complete one complex, interactive challenge before “leveling up” (a term I learned from my fifteen year old son) and advancing to a new challenge. We date (in person) only those who successfully complete all levels.
Now I know what you might be thinking: “Are you women crazy? Do you know what kind of men in their 40’s and 50’s play online, multi-player games?”
Fear not. We’ve thought this through. Nobody is less interested than we are in attracting squinting, pathologically introverted man-boys who live in their mothers’ basements. So our game has no guns, no shooting, and definitely no dwarves or elves. Instead, our valiant dating-warriors will face simulations similar to those they face in the real (and terrifying) world of dating.
Level One: The Coffee Date
At Level One, our dating-warriors face a seemingly simple, but in fact exceedingly complex challenge: the coffee date. Simply undertaking such a challenge demonstrates that a man has a certain level of courage. In fact, we recognize that this challenge can be so intimidating, that some men will fail the first time. And so sometimes, we’ll give him a second chance to prove himself.
If he appears in a twenty year old turquoise acrylic sweater and hasn’t had a haircut in months, he probably won’t get a second chance. If he talks non-stop about himself and doesn’t ask us any questions, he’s unlikely to get the call back. If he parks his brand new Lincoln SUV directly outside the coffee shop and then tells us how much he paid for it, he’s done. If he splays his hands in a way that is weird and irritating, he may not get a second chance. Do you see what I mean about the complexities of this level? It’s quite possible that a different woman might be drawn irresistibly to turquoise acrylic sweaters, she might love the Lincoln, and she might find the hand splaying endearing.
There are so may potential traps at this level. Has our valiant dating-warrior told the truth about his age and his height? Has he taken care with his appearance? Can he communicate – under the pressures and time constraints of the coffee date – that he is intelligent, interesting, funny and articulate? Can he find some significant points of connection between us?
And even if he pulls off all of this, does he have that mysterious, ineffable quality that draws us to him? Is there chemistry?
The coffee date might sound easy, but very few make it past this first level.
Level Two: The Activity Date
This is an extremely tricky challenge. Does our valiant dating-warrior suggest an activity or does he wait for us to come up with something? If he has indeed been listening carefully, then he will have picked up on some of our interests. He will be unlikely to suggest the monster truck rally at Western Speedway or an 80 kilometer cycle involving steep hills. He will, instead, suggest a hike which won’t involve too much sweating, or a walk on the beach. He may win double bonus points for suggesting a “Flights and Bites” port tasting at a local hotel. (Of course if your thing is 80 km cycles, then that is exactly what he’ll suggest).
Level Three: The Dinner Date
We’re heading into treacherous territory at this level. The restaurant choice in itself is tricky. Obviously it can’t be Uncle Willy’s Budget Buffet, but it also can’t be the intimate and expensive French restaurant where there is every likelihood of a marriage proposal at the table next to you.
And then there are all those other challenges our dating-warrior faces: can he demonstrate a passing familiarity with table manners? Does he know anything about wine? How does he treat the server? Does he at least offer to pay? And is he a generous tipper?
Finally, there’s the question of the kiss. Things can have been going well up to this point, but if the kiss doesn’t work, then the man isn’t going to work either.
And so the men continue to drop away.
But every now and again, one of them successfully completes this challenge and levels up…
Level Four: Sex
I have to be honest. Kira and I have had a bit of a struggle with this level. Kira argues that since this is all virtual anyway, let’s just make Level One the sex date. Because, really, if the sex isn’t any good, then it’s not going any further.
Truthfully, I agree with her. I just didn’t want you to think that in real life we were slutty enough to have sex on the first date. We’re not. Really.
Anyway, at this level our dating-warrior will need to demonstrate skill, tenderness, endurance, and creativity. Is that too much to ask?
It would be possible to build in further levels (Meet My Friends! Meet My Mother!) But I think that those first four levels would weed out most of the less suitable dates, those dates that I’d otherwise have to spend hours on, emailing and meeting for coffee. Instead I can do all of that preliminary dating in my pajamas. I think women are gong to love this concept.
And for the valiant dating-warrior who successfully negotiates the four levels of World of Datecraft? He’s definitely worth meeting in person.