From Frog to Prince? The Three-Date Rule

Three dates. It takes three dates to find out if there’s potential for something more. And that’s what we’re looking for, isn’t it? Most of us are not just looking to have meaningless one night stands, only to be forced to hail a cab in the early hours of the morning with our feet swollen into our six-inch heels from the night before.

In fact, we create lists, both mentally and with pen and paper, to outline the characteristics we’re looking for in a man, a soul mate, just in case we ever forget what they are. That’s right, we all do it. We place pressure on ourselves, keep our eyes on the prize, single-mindedly focusing on the future, and finding a mate before our biological clocks strike twelve. This pressure translates itself, in typical New York fashion, into a merry-go-round of non-stop, frenetic speed-dating. Our certainty that our soul mate is just around the corner has us in a constant hurry to look around a lot of corners.

But the “unfortunate” reality is that it takes time to peel back the layers and really get to know someone. It takes time to find true physical chemistry, that spark, the fireworks that you only see on the Fourth of July. That’s why we need the three-date rule.

Glass SlipperWhen it comes to dating, the only guarantee is that each date will be different. Will you know if you two have a future on the first date? The rare and elusive perfect first date, when everything seems to fall immediately into place and it seems that everyone is about to break out into a choreographed dance to a Miley Cyrus song, is just that. Rare and elusive. If you’ve experienced it, Mazel Tov. All hopeful singles long for it, but it rarely exists. This means patience is a necessary virtue.

Now there are limits—do not force or convince yourself that over time you might grow to find him attractive. If he’s a mutant with a third eye on his forehead and grotesque yellow teeth, you have my permission to move on. But even then, there’s always teeth whitening…

Girlfriends always say the same thing after a first date. “He’s nice, easy to talk to, but isn’t the one.” How do you know that after only one date? They quickly respond with what seems to be a pre-rehearsed monologue: “He’s not Jewish, he’s very catholic, he’s too old, he’s too young, he’s from the wrong island, he’s the size of an island” and the list goes on. Don’t be so quick to judge and focus on the negatives. It’s as if guys automatically enter our lives as bottom feeders and have to swim their way to the top.

Don’t decide if he’s “the one” after one date. Don’t decide if he’s not “the one” after one date, either. Give him a chance and don’t deny yourself potential joy and love just because you’re in a rush. Many women are so eager to get to the finish line and to find the one, they quickly move on if they don’t feel that immediate electrical charge. If you want that kind of spark, bring your iPod into the bathtub.

Stop long enough to give him a chance. Give him three dates. It’s an exact science, trust me, I did the mathematical algebraic equation on my napkin the other night at happy hour (if it is good enough for the Laffer curve, it’s good enough for this). Dating is not an Alanis Morissette song. Relationships take time to develop and love is usually not instantaneous.

After a date, review your list. If there are a lot of checks on the page, do yourself a favor. Give him another chance. Give him the time. And after three dates, what if your date doesn’t come close to meeting your criteria on that checklist? Uncross your arms, smile, and make him think you’re having the time of your life. He might not be prince charming, but he might know someone who is.

6 Comments on From Frog to Prince? The Three-Date Rule

  1. Fabulous article. Humor mixed with sensitivity and practical advice.

  2. wow! where was your column when i was single and living in ny? great piece….i enjoyed it as much as the last one.

  3. Very insightful, and true for any age. I wish I had had three dates with the man I married (and divorce) before I let myself be more committed than I should have–if you know what I mean!
    Now as a single, aging boomer I will follow your advice.

  4. I think it is a very good “strategy” but as you say it can take a lot more time to know about a person. Of course, in 3 dates one can eliminate a lot of men who are not worthwhile or compatible. I think a good approach might be to try to get to know the person more before having the three dates. Think of it as more of a friendship and first and only start “dating” if it seems like a good match.

  5. 1. Love your blog! Very well written. Nice Laffer Curve references. How much dating experience do you have? You must have had at least 20 bfs by now. Soooo jealous!!

    2. I totally agree with, “Don’t decide if he’s ‘the one’ after one date. But I have to disagree with, “Don’t decide if he’s not ‘the one’ after one date.” I think we should strike a balance between giving a guy a chance and trusting our instincts. One of the powers we possess (more than men, in general) is our gut reactions. We’re good at sensing if something is “off”, even if we don’t know why. Also, if you’re not instantly attracted to a guy, why go on the date in the first place? So he’s nice and speaks 3 languages… who cares?! There are thousands of guys out there just like him, many of whom you’ll actually find irresistible. If you’re able to resist, then maybe that’s a sign to save your time and end it after the first date. Not to mention, don’t tell a guy that you didn’t find him attractive at first, but found him attractive after you got to know him. Guys hate that. Trust me! They want to be lusted, just as much as we do.

  6. Thanks for your feedback! Have had a lot of dating experience, but mostly my friends are extremely generous and open to discussing their experiences with me!

    In regard to your comment about trusting your instincts… I couldn’t agree more. However, the reason I advise giving someone a chance (i.e. date 2 or 3) is really twofold. First, sometimes, we have “off” nights. I believe in giving someone a second chance before potentially letting a great opportunity pass you by. Second, chemmistry comes in many different forms. Sometimes you’re attracted to someone for their mind and sometimes for their body… and when we’re lucky… both! Although chemistry is usually either there or just isn’t, physical attraction CAN develop over time. Maybe he’s just not what you’re typically used to (smaller build? brown hair instead of brunette?) Now, I don’t suggest forcing it if it’s really not there, but perhaps over time it will grow stronger.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. dating to relating

Comments are closed.