My best friend works in finance. We often talk about dating as a process of data collection. Each guy, each date, each piece of information is like a single data point—part of the bigger picture but with limited meaning on its own. The more data you collect, the more people you date, the clearer the picture of your wants and needs become.
But data without analysis is just a pile of numbers. Eventually, all the hustle and bustle and romantic energy had left me listless; my head was still spinning in that haze of clipped memories, laughter, drinks, banter, and emptiness. Lying on the couch one weekend afternoon, I popped open my laptop and an excel spreadsheet, starting from beginning to end. "Mark" was the first name I typed out, followed by 17 more (that I could remember). I placed their ages next to their names, along with their occupations, where I'd met them, and how many dates it had lasted.
Number of dates did not seem indicative of the level of raw connection I felt with each guy, so I suddenly wanted to analyze that, too. I placed a "yes" or "no" next to every name, indicating whether they were looking for commitment; I’ve noticed men always tell you if they’re "so busy" or "just coming off a breakup" rather than if they’re in the market for something a bit more serious or "unable to be interested in more than one person at a time." This divided the pool in half. Of the "no" camp, I placed a reason next for the no: "not that into me," "timing," "player," and "meh" were popular answers.
I realized that raw connection needed to be analyzed as well, so I started by giving each guy a score of 1 through 10, but that didn't seem to tell enough of a story. So I scrubbed the numbers and started over again, and each man got three scores: one each for "physical attraction," "personality," and "character" based on my early impressions, conversations, and observations.
At this point, I’d clued my best friend in to my spreadsheet and was detailing these lessons when she insisted we needed to do one more thing. "We need to calculate an overall score," she said, based on the three categories. "We’ll see if the final rankings tell you anything."