What defines dating?
March 15, 2006 8:50 AM   Subscribe

What are the components of dating? I have tried to thinkl of all the stuff that are included when two people actually 'date'. In a nutshell, to me it is is as easy as 'two people (any combo) in a committed friendship with physical/sexual aspect included. Basically, friends with benefits in a commited relationship...(more)

Can it be described as easy as that? Goes for married people as well.

I have had a string of bad lukc withthe ladies lately. Have been on a a couple of dates, that went really well. great conversation, laughter, flirting, and definite interest in seeingeachother more....only to hear the 'I really like you, and would love to be friends, and spend time with you, but I dont feel we have a chemistry'....

So, these girls like me, wanna continue to hang out with me, and be all pal-ish, but basically, dont want to ever see me naked....So they throw the word 'chemistry' out there. Is it safe to assumme, that 'chemistry' is the polite way of saying, 'I'm not attracted to you physically'.

Over my life, I have had this happen many times. Ive had a few g/f's as well, yet, this seems to be more of a pattern lately.
posted by TwilightKid to Society & Culture (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is it safe to assumme, that 'chemistry' is the polite way of saying, 'I'm not attracted to you physically'.

That is a safe assumption.

To me, "dating" is an activity, not a relationship state. It is a way for two people who are not already close friends or co-workers to spend time together. I think that it implies a physical attraction and it's kind of misleading for a girl to "date" you without feeling "chemistry." Why else would you do it?
posted by Laugh_track at 9:05 AM on March 15, 2006

"Chemistry" means "I don't want to touch your pee pee".

My definition of dating is "two people that go out and do stuff with romantic intentions, or the understanding that it will lead to romantic situations if things work out". Dating doesn't = commitment (unless it is specifically stated, generally, or you have been seeing each other for a large amount of time), nor does dating necessarily = physical/sexual aspects. Dating starts off as simple as going to the movies or dinner together, really.
posted by antifuse at 9:07 AM on March 15, 2006

For me, dating is what comes before the commitment. Hanging out a lot together, dinners and movies and talks but with some flirting and cute romantic gestures, eventually leading to getting it on.
"No chemistry" while dating means I don't want to get it on because I'm not attracted to you. "No chemistry" while committed means there's no spark anymore and I can't fathom spending my life with you.
posted by meerkatty at 9:14 AM on March 15, 2006

From experience, it is not always intuitive what causes women to be sexually attracted to someone. Ask one sometime, the answers they give are always pretty bizzare, from a male standpoint.

The best ace up your sleeve in this regard will be to *not be concerned about it.* Go out, have fun with girls, engage them in conversation, flirt, be confident in everything you do (but never pushy.) Sit back and let them come to you, because you'll never be able to *make* them.

Moreover, you've probably just run into bad luck. Lots of women go out on "dates" in between "relationships". You should be prepared that the former may never lead to the latter, by design. Nevertheless, it's your firmly established gender role to play the part of the suitor and see where it goes.

And, unless you sincerely want to, never offer to "just be friends". In dating, there always should be an understanding that you are courting, not hanging out. Girls, generally speaking, are impressed and motivated by this.

Girls are funny like that, and guys have it pretty rough, in my opinion.

p.s. Note that generalizations, with the possible exception of this one, are false.
posted by milinar at 9:18 AM on March 15, 2006

For me, dating is also a way of finding out if there is an emotional connection between two people that goes beyond friendship. Chemistry != purely sexual attraction.

IANACasaNova and all that.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:20 AM on March 15, 2006

There are all sorts of people who I'm attracted to but I don't have any chemistry with. It's not the same.
posted by grouse at 9:26 AM on March 15, 2006

You might want to check out this thread.

My summary? Ask a dozen people, you will get at least 13 different answers.

As for what I think is the other important question: s it safe to assumme, that 'chemistry' is the polite way of saying, 'I'm not attracted to you physically'?

I don't know if it's necessarily physical. Perhaps it's behavioral. Perhaps they don't like the way you laugh or make eye contact. Believe it or not, it's quite possible to think a person has a drop-dead sexy body, only to find the attraction completely killed by some quirk that is profoundly irritating. Of course what comes off as annoying to one person may be charming to another person. However, I do think you can assume that "no chemistry" means "I'm not interested in hot naked rumpus pumpus with you."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:27 AM on March 15, 2006

Here's a conundrum,
recently I have been hanging out (and smooching) a friend of mine. I'm very attracted to her, and love spending time with her. She's smart, sweet and nice. But for some reason, I just dont want to be in a relationship with her (but I do want to be in a relationship with a couple of other girls I've met lately). So perhaps theres more to it than just chemistry.
posted by ZackTM at 9:27 AM on March 15, 2006

milinar, I think that everything you said applies to men as well as to women...just to call you out on your generalization.

I've been "rejected" by men for the same reasons as the poster stated, and I've learned not to take it personally. After all, don't we all have people in our lives who we like to hang out with but don't want to get it on with? It's just a matter of finding someone who you have that spark with, who also has that spark with you. I make it sound so easy, don't I?
posted by elquien at 9:27 AM on March 15, 2006

It's not always attraction: "chemistry" is also code for "you're too serious for me". This could extend to something in your habits or statements, but may well be a sign that they've recently broken up, or only seek someone who'll woo them more extensively. Either way, don't let the experience crush you.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:29 AM on March 15, 2006

"Not having chemistry" can also be a short-cut to say you're not interested in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, if there are other more complicated reasons (incompatiability of lifestyle prefs, etc). Also, personally, I know as I have gotten older, I'm gotten more likely to go on dates, but less likely to make the jump to being a couple.
Extending an offer of keeping in touch can be a compliment (on the rare instances it's genuine), and can be a good way to meet other people and get invited to parties (as long as she's not simply collecting contacts).

What kind of advice are you looking for more specifically?
How to make it more clear early on that you're interested in a physical/romantic relationship when you're dating someone? How to tell if someone might have chemistry with you?
posted by ejaned8 at 9:31 AM on March 15, 2006

Basically, I was just curious to what everyone though were the ingredients to it all.

When i said, dating, I could have easily replaced it with committed bf/gf thing, or even marriage.

How do you break it down? Obviously there is the emotional and spiritual aspect, that any two human beings can share... two best friends (guy/guy, girl/girl, or even mixed)...... But when you add, the physical/romantic/sexual aspect into the equation, then your on that next level. right?

is there anything else?

The latest scenario: I met a girl via eharmony. We shared 4 or 5 long detailed emails. We then went onto 3-4 phone calls that went over 2 hours each time. We exchanged pictures. There were no surprises when we met.

We had dinner and drinks over 5 hours. Wonderful non stop conversation and laughing. She played with her hair. Touched my leg when she spoke closely to me if it was too loud.

I am very self critical in regards to how I am on a date. If i felt i did something foolish or something to turn her off, I'd know it before she did. She laughed at all my jokes, and we talked about so many different things we would do in the future. Ballgames, seeing a play. She gave absolutely no indication of anything but having an amazing time and connection with me.

I walked her to her car, and asked her when i could see her again. She told me to call her at the end of the weekend and it would definitely be early the next week. I called that Sunday. Got voicemail....Next day I got the email saying that she had a wonderful time but didnt feel there was any chemistry there. However, she still wanted to be friends.

A variatioon of the above has happened a few times. So going back to my original thought... If 'dating' only consists of the spiritual/emotional friendship tie that two people share, plus the romantic/physical attraction, then it was obvious that no matter how well it went, if she wasnt physically attracted to me, then it doesnt matter.

I still get suckered in when people say that they look for someone who makes em laugh, listens, is a good conversationalist, etc....Obviously it's all bullshit.....Withouth the physical attraction, youre more then likely only gonna make a new friend.

and yes, I know I am bitter and probably sour grapes...

I have another date this weekend though....I'll follow up! LOL
posted by TwilightKid at 9:54 AM on March 15, 2006

I still get suckered in when people say that they look for someone who makes em laugh, listens, is a good conversationalist, etc....Obviously it's all bullshit.....

No, it's not. Attraction is really a given in what most people want in a relationship, just like someone breathing. This other stuff is on top of that.
posted by grouse at 10:16 AM on March 15, 2006

Sounds like you are on the right track but she just wasn't the right person. When it's right, you'll know it on the first date.

Also: if you met her through a dating service, it might be that she was looking for a different type of guy. Not just physically, but maybe in terms of life-situation-- somebody stable, with the right kind of job etc (not to say you aren't stable or anything like that, just other factors that could have entered into not wanting to 'date' you.)
posted by empath at 10:19 AM on March 15, 2006

We all have issues, but i think they were well hidden, and cerrtainly nothing enough to scare her off in any way... and I also make 'bank'. lol....

oh well....its pretty much bitterness.

ill keep pluggin away.. (no pun intended)
posted by TwilightKid at 10:26 AM on March 15, 2006

Is it safe to assumme, that 'chemistry' is the polite way of saying, 'I'm not attracted to you physically'.

Everyone is saying yes, but chemistry is more than just attraction. I think I'm not alone in saying that I have friends whom I love spending time with, many of whom are quite attractive, but as great as they are as friends, they may have personalities, interests, politics, emotional issues, etc. that would make them terrible romantic partners.
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:28 AM on March 15, 2006

I think maybe what you're missing is the *choice* of being together. To me, truthfully, it sounds like she may have met someone else she hit it off with better in the meantime -- presumably, partners in a real relationship need to keep making that choice to stay together.
posted by occhiblu at 10:28 AM on March 15, 2006

...make them terrible romantic partners.

Ha... Let me rephrase! Terrible romantic partners with me.
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:29 AM on March 15, 2006

We need to put together a relationship FAQ because most of these posts seem to seek repeats of the same answer.

And this answer (#17 on the list) - if I interpret his "non-question question" correctly - is: Pull back - this is a misalignment of expectations thing.

It's likely you may coming off desperate or coming on too strong. Not in the "being a jerk" way, but in the "nice guy really wanting to be in to you" way. Chicks can smell this like bad after shave.

Just go out and have fun and stop putting pressure on these girls by expecting anything. It may not seem to you that your expecting anything, but clearly you are. So go have fun and forget about getting a girl friend.

Finally, (Answer #19) learn to thrive on rejection. Eventually you'll get what you want if you don't give up.

As an aside. Are you punching your weight? By that I mean: are you shooting for girls that are, how to say this delicately, popular hottie types and out of your league? Not saying you have to settle - but let's be realistic. Maybe you need to train up to that. Get your confidence up. Work the lighter weight classes for a while.
posted by tkchrist at 10:31 AM on March 15, 2006

I know this doesn't really answer your question about what dating is, but this article is relevant because I've had The Taquito Moment, as described.

I was dating this guy who was great on paper--we had lots of interests in common, we got along great, he was cute, etc...but one night over dinner, for whatever reason, we got onto the topic of politics and he went on about how he thought George Dubya was right in going to Iraq, etc.

I wouldn't say that I'm particularly political, but that conversation seemed to crystallize in my mind that despite all that we had in common I just wasn't that interested in him. Sometimes it's all the little things that we can't put a finger on that ultimately culminate into something seemingly irrational--like disagreeing over politics or a liking for mayonnaise.

So don't give up. Have fun and stop stressing about it.
posted by phoenixc at 10:37 AM on March 15, 2006

it doesn't have to be attraction when we're talking about chemistry. i've dated a *stunning* woman, who, just didn't click at all with me whatsoever. she has it all in terms of how she looks, but conversation was a real effort. so, the chemistry wasn't there - we're now friends in an awkward way, which won't last because it takes so much effort.

so, i guess my advice would be to not over analyse it. it could be your looks, it could be the lack of spark. it could be the time of day or problems your date is having at work.

chill out. enjoy their company, play the field. and good luck :)
posted by triv at 11:51 AM on March 15, 2006

oh yeah, what tkchrist said - awesome advice!
posted by triv at 11:53 AM on March 15, 2006

oh yeah, what tkchrist said - awesome advice!

Thank you. The ONLY subject I of which I am an authority (as you can see by my incoherent posts in the Blue) and capable of giving any meaningful input.

Other guys were doing sports, studying, or playing D&D. I was out getting laid and making freinds wit da womens.
posted by tkchrist at 12:39 PM on March 15, 2006

I think the #1 piece of advice for pretty much every "why can't I get a date?" on the green is:

"Relax, be patient, be yourself and you'll eventually find somebody for you, I swear."
posted by empath at 3:14 PM on March 15, 2006

"Chemistry" is a buzz. The feeling that you must spend all your time together, the need to keep talking into the wee hours of the moring, and feel electricity going up to your brain with the first kiss.

When my current bf (two years now) kissed me on the cheek on our second date, I was in the clouds for the next...I dunno 30 minutes. THAT'S chemistry. *sigh* And you can't just create the stuff. You just have to keep dating and find the right guy. I can't say I haven't gone on strings of bad dates. :/

I've gone out with guys who I get along with perfectly as well, to say no to a third date because there wasn't a spark. One of them was a calendar model...so I really don't think the physical bit counts as much as you might think. The word here, I think...is Charm.
posted by Sallysings at 3:37 PM on March 15, 2006

I think Sallysings has got it more....no chemistry can definitely be code for "not attracted to", but it's also more than that. I know I've dated cute guys who were easy to talk to, had similar enough interests, yadda yadda, but there was always something missing. That spark, and so forth. I've also had chemistry with people I don't really want to be in a relationship with, they're just really cute. It's tricky.
posted by jetskiaccidents at 4:07 PM on March 15, 2006

Personally, I think "chemistry" is a codeword. At least that's the way I've used it. It's a polite way to kill off the relationship without analyzing too much what went wrong and what doesn't fit.

From your post I'd say you need to be more aggressive. First, I wouldn't take lack of chemistry as a final answer. If I really liked the person then heck, chemistry, like everything else, can either be purchased or practiced. You might consider pushing even after this initial rejection. Also, are you letting her make the decision about the next date? Many people are indecisive and don't know what they want and are quite open to simply being told what they want. Don't ask her if you can see her again, ask her when, and have a time in mind. A little persistence never killed anybody except the Germans. Make sure your flirting isn't the college-student-MTV-inspired flirting so many people employ these days. Real flirting involves physical context, looking into her eyes, direct, unambigous compliments (kill the irony), and a little bit of shameless sucking up. Lastly, if somebody tells you there's no chemistry, why not just ask them exactly what they mean by that. She may just have the wrong impression about you. Good old fashioned honest communication can clear these up.

As for dating, like N said, check out the dictionary.
posted by nixerman at 5:07 PM on March 15, 2006

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