Dating Advice

The Mandate: Beating Bias

25 Comments 22 December 2008


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Alaina over at MsSingleMama recently allowed me to guest post my thoughts on dating single moms As I contemplated the various biases that can come into play when one mentions dating a single parent, I was reminded of a recent date:

My friend Shayla made me a bet that she could find somebody I’d refuse to date on sight. I took the bet. 

My date had been informed of which car I’d be driving but when I pulled up at the given address, a man in his early 30’s walked over and tried to open the passenger door. The door was locked and he stepped back in surprise. “Eh, is there a problem? Shayla said my date was going to be driving this exact car.” He said, raising his voice.

I’d been set up. But the man standing outside my car seemed to know nothing about Shayla’s joke. I opened the door and explained the situation. At first, Jason wasn’t pleased with the idea of spending two hours on a “date” with a straight guy. “If I were actually attracted to guys but weighed 450lbs and smelled bad, you wouldn’t date me, right?” I asked. He agreed. “So if it’s not just about me being straight, why not give this all a try and see if your instincts served you well in the end?” I pressed.  

Jason agreed to have dinner with me. Much of our conversation over dinner focused on this question: How much do we let our “internal guidelines” choose who we spend time with?

In the US and many other countries, we are protected in the workplace from discrimination because of race, sex, color, national origin, and religion. The world of dating is entirely different.

There is no law to keep you from being rude to the skinny vegan who says hello. You won’t go to jail for only talking to the Russian girls at my party. The problems arise when your guidelines restrict your perception so much that you begin to view other people as being worth less because they don’t meet your preferences. 
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I challenge you to look at your biases, seek to understand them, and get rid of as many as you can. You’ll find that the people who add the most value to your life are often the ones who don’t match your preferences!

Jason went home with the bartender’s number. I went home with a lot to think about and the satisfaction of having walked in a slightly different style of shoes for a few hours.

Have you ever been on a date that really made you think about how you relate to people in general?

Seth

Really, check out MsSingleMama. Don’t blame me though if she has you scouring your social network for single moms to ask out. She’s tricky like that. 

Photo credit: pasotraspaso


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- who has written 34 posts on The Dating Papers.

S drinks a lot of tea and enjoys late-night walks on the beach. He lives with his beta, Balthasar.

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