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Thursday, December 5, 2013

SLLLOTD: Tenure Track

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 10:29 AM

I recently reactivated my OK Cupid profile after a hiatus from the site while I was in a relationship. The good news is that since going back my profile had been getting lots of attention and I've been able to make a few dates. The problem is that I setup dates with two different women and only after making the plans did I discover that they both teach in the same small department at the same small university here in town. The dates are on different days, but the same weekend.

What's the etiquette here? Since they're first dates and the assumption with internet dating is that you're probably seeing other people until you have a conversation about doing otherwise, my inclination would normally be to not say anything. My hesitancy is that I stand out like a sore thumb in the community where we all live and I feel like it would be pretty obvious that they were talking about the same person if they turn out to be friends and have a simple conversation about the dates they went on this weekend.

Should I cancel one of the dates or at least postpone it further out? Is it appropriate to disclose or should I just see how it plays out?

OK Confused

My response after the jump…

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Isn't the answer obvious? Ask both women to meet you at the same time and propose forming a polyamorous triad—just kidding! Here's my actual advice for you, OKC...

These two women could be bitter rivals competing for the same tenure-track position at the small university where they both teach. If that's the case, OKC, it's unlikely that they sit around when office hours are slow swapping detailed descriptions of the dudes they've met on OK Cupid. (But if they're adjunct professors with no hope of tenure—or even a living wage—here's hoping that they're doing a little freelance labor organizing when office hours are slow.)

But even if they are friends and/or friendly—much likelier, I'm told, if both already have tenure—the chances that they sit around on Monday morning comparing notes about the dates they went on over the weekend are still pretty slim. If for no other reason, OKC, than those first dates are unlikely to lead to second dates.

And that's not because you're undateable or doing something wrong. It's just that sites like OK Cupid generate a lot more first dates than they do second ones. Since it's impossible to know if you really click with someone—or if the pictures they've sent you are recent and/or accurate—until you're actually in the same room/restaurant/bar/club/dungeon/whatever with them, OKC, online dating creates a lot of churn, date-wise. You exchange a few emails with someone, you make a date to meet, and only then do you discover whether this stranger is as charming in person as they are over email, if he/she/SOPATGS is cute as his/her/SOPATGS pics, and if there's any real chemistry between you. People who meet the old fashioned way—at their workplaces, during classes, in bars and clubs—are able to ascertain all of that with a single glance or a brief interaction. Online daters actually have to make a date. Lots of dates.

Since it's probable that both of these dates will be duds—which, again, is not your fault, OKC, it's just the churn of online dating—you shouldn't spend too much time worrying about a highly unlikely outcome, i.e. that you click with both women, wind up dating both, and then have to disclose to them that they've entered into a polyamorous triad without their knowledge or consent.

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