Ten Point Must (Date 31 of 35)

12 Oct

“Rita, there is no need to rush.  Slow and steady with your movements.”  I focused on my instructor, Ken.  I centered my energy, took a deep breath and extended my gloved hand, making solid, hard, contact with the mitt.   I felt the power radiate through my body!  “There you go!  The key is to just take your time.  If you do that, you’ll make the contact you are looking for,” Ken said.  I was at a boxing class at Results Gym (Farragut North location) with date 31, Rich.  That name may be familiar, because date 31 was also date 21.


Boxing at Results Gym


I sense the raised eyebrows and slight confusion happening on the other side of the monitor, so let me depart from my regularly scheduled blog post format to give you the information I assume you are craving.  Rich’s invitation for a 2nd date happened to fall before the end of the 35/35 Project.  It was going to be an “off the record” second date.  But my regularly scheduled date cancelled.  (I checked my own rules and they say 35 dates in a row…not 35 first dates.)  And I feel that what happened on date #31 is of enough interest, and use, for you, my readers.  So that is how I ended up on a second date with Rich, as date 31.


Remember Rich?


After our class, we cleaned ourselves up and headed out to brunch.  The weather was extremely beautiful so we took our time walking through Dupont in search of the perfect brunch spot and decided on Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe.  As we waited for a table, we browsed the books and talked about…everything.  The conversation didn’t miss a beat throughout brunch.  The timing was perfect.  We got each other’s jokes.  After brunch we walked through Dupont Circle and sat together on a bench where the conversation continued.


Great brunch


The conversation became deeper, focused on our goals and aspirations.  Our families.  Our childhoods.  Our pasts.  The timing was still amazing.  The words flowing between us with ease.  The body language was right.  But, as great as things seemed, I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t repeating mistakes from my past.  So I focused the conversation on the “right questions.”  I internally analyzed the answers.  I searched for the “authentic Rich.”  At all times, purposefully holding back.  Not wanting to rush anything.  I looked at my watch and realized that 6 hours had passed since the time we met for the boxing class!  The day had flown by!

Rich walked me to my car.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something in our goodbye was different from on our first date.  On my way home, I started replaying in my mind the questions I had asked Rich and his answers.   Although our conversation had flowed, I had a few concerns.  By the time I pulled into my parking space at home,  I had decided that it would be best to not pursue things with Rich further.


Ten Point Must


It’s like the “Ten Point Must,” the method of scoring in boxing.  The winning score for each round is 10.  The winner must have 10 points to win the round.  Anything less is losing.  Many of us use a similar “scoring” system in dating.  Even if we don’t mean to.  Each time we meet a “contender” we start to compare them, trait by trait, to our “list.”  Our list of qualifications.  I don’t mean superficial qualifications (although some do use those).  I mean those qualifications usually derived from our past experiences and past relationships.  If someone doesn’t meet a trait on that list, we eliminate them.  In her book, “You Lost Him at Hello,” Jess McCann says “In this [dating] game, it takes just one strike and you’re out.”  She goes on to say, “I’m sure you can think of tons of examples where [someone] did or said something that completely turned you off.  It only took one thing, one word, one look, and you were done.”

I sat there, thinking.  “What are you doing, Rita?!”  On a Ten Point Must system, Rich had scored at least a 7, probably an 8.  But not a perfect 10.  And I was about to eliminate him.  I was about to eliminate him even though we had two dates, that were highly enjoyed.  Where the conversation flowed.  Where the interaction had a genuine give and take.  Where we were able to pass hours without noticing the time.  Eliminate him over things that were really assumptions I was making about him based on certain answers he gave.  Assuming that there was a pattern he had when, after only 2 dates, I had no way of knowing if that was true.  I was making assumptions based on past experiences with others.  Not with him.

Later, Rich called.  He is very open and wanted to discuss his take on our date.  It turns out, on the Ten Point Must system, I had scored about the same.  And he was almost ready to eliminate me too.  I laughed and told him that I had a similar thought.  As we talked, we both came to the same conclusion.  In the world of “dating,” everyone is careful to not rush into anything – and they should be.  Yet, no one seems equally concerned with slowing down the process of elimination.  We’ll analyze, interpret and rule people out for all kinds of reasons, almost immediately.  Without even knowing that person.  Without knowing if the reason for elimination is “real.”  The reason usually based on assumptions.  “Taking it slow” should truly work in both directions.  You shouldn’t rush  into a relationship nor should you be so quick to dismiss someone.

When someone hasn’t scored a “perfect 10” you should take a step back and really look.  Look to see what the person does have and build your friendship from there and see what results.  You should do this before ruling them out for something they don’t have.  As the boxing instructor, Ken, told me earlier that morning, “The key is to just take your time.  If you do that, you’ll make the contact you are looking for.”  And that’s what Rich and I are doing.  We aren’t rushing – in either direction.  There is no need.  Especially after only a second date.

“Sometimes, people can be too clever by half. When it comes to knowledge of understanding other people, everybody thinks they are an expert. They think they can understand the motivations of others based on one or two interactions when, in fact, they are drawing upon stereotypes and are making wrongful assumptions. People who are quick to form impressions of others set themselves up for failure, especially those who are disposed to mistrust of others.”

-Krishna Kumar


6 Responses to “Ten Point Must (Date 31 of 35)”

  1. Christina October 12, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    I love that you “consulted your own rules” and went on this date! Your post and this project in general has me wondering about something that I recently had a conversation about with a different friend. This other friend was giving me a hard time because she had “never had a friend who dated so many different people” before. It got me thinking…Do I date too much?? Her thinking was that you date ONLY one person until you decide to not pursue them any longer….then you wait, evaluate and then eventually date someone else. She said she and her other friends all do this.

    I was thinking this wasn’t exactly the right way to pursue things, but on the flip side, how do you “date” several people without it beinga bit misleading to others? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and your coach’s thoguhts on this debate.


    • Rita October 12, 2011 at 8:46 am #

      I’ll let the dating coaches answer too, but in her book, Jess McCann relates this issue to the sales technique of “filling your funnel.” Basically, keeping your options open at all times. She asks “Why would you wan to cut off other men when you aren’t even sure that this one is going to work out?” She further asks why it’s wrong to date multiple guys (unless, of course, the guy THINKS you are being exclusive. That’s different).

      Really, when you start dating someone – would you assume automatically that they’ve given up all other women to only focus on you? If you do, you should be careful. Chances are that’s all it is, an assumption. You should also be careful because, on those first few dates – you barely know each other. And yet, he’s willing to focus only on you, from the get go, and be exclusive? (Could be a red flag. May not, but it really could be.) You should err on the side of caution and assume he is dating other people until the guy has the “relationship talk” with you.

      I agree with Jess in that Filling the Funnel can keep you from becoming emotionally attached too soon. You also aren’t a complete disaster if things don’t work out. Plus, your odds are better.

      Personally, from doing the 35/35 project, and going out on 35 dates, I haven’t been able to become emotionally attached – at least to the level I was capable of becoming pre-35 project. I’ve also had ones that I wanted to spark, but didn’t…and I had no time to think about it, so I wasn’t upset about it. I’m hoping my odds are better. I can say that I’ve increased my network of people, which in turn will continue to increase my network which, I can only assume, will increase my odds.

      Are there a few guys from the 35/35 project that I’ll continue seeing when this is over. Yes. Will I rush into either direction with them. No. I’d rather wait and make sure the relationship is right then make it an “exculsive” relationship and knowing it’s right takes time. The worst thing for me about relationship hopping was that I would become exclusive after a few dates and then 6-8 months down the road notice something that was not just a concern, but a true deal breaker. Or, at least, should have been. But at that point, you’ve put in 8 months! And you probably genuinely like the person and like having them around. So you overlook the concern. You say “I’ll put more effort” into this. And suddenly, another 6 months has pased…so now a full year, and you are still in a relationship that isn’t right. The longer you stay the harder it is to walk away if it’s not right. But if during those 6-12 months, when you were working through all of this….you left your options open, you didn’t put all your eggs in one basket – it can help you with perspective, can help keep your emotions in check and help you walk away if you need to.

      Of course, that’s just my assessment based on how I dated before, how I’ve been dating during this project and how I believe now I should date going forward. I don’t know that this way is for everyone. And of course, there are always exceptions. But at the end of the day, really, you have to do what makes you feel happy. What is right for you. No one else’s opinion on that issue should matter.


      • Christina October 12, 2011 at 9:14 am #

        Thanks for the thoughts. I guess in the end it’s really my concern about what others believe about me because I choose to date the way you explained rather than the other way. I’ve heard all kinds of judgements about it and their assumptions about me as a woman because of it. The double standard is maddening at times, because I’m sure if I were a guy they’d not think another thought about it (doesn’t society expect men to “date before exclusiveness” but not women?). In the end though, you’re right…only my opinion of me (well, and God because He matters to me) that matters.

        Thanks again!


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