Some of you may remember that article that came out back in April of 2012 about a guy that used an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of his dates. To make a long story short, David would go on dates and then compile relevant information from said dates into a spreadsheet. David was blasted by a lot of people when this went viral and was deemed the “Creepy Finance Guy.” Honestly, I never thought of this to be creepy, in fact I thought it was genius. Why? Because I had used this technique from 2011 until I ended my online dating reign in February 2012.
Now I wasn’t stupid like David. I didn’t go around telling the people I was dating about this spreadsheet. I did, however, tell friends and even my husband (long, long after we were officially dating). You’re probably wondering why I am defending “the spreadsheet.” At the height of my online dating game, I was going on dates at least 3-5 dates per week. In addition to this, I worked as a busy legal assistant in a top tier firm where I was responsible for knowing the ins and out of the legal practices of three busy corporate lawyers. There was no way I could remember all their important information, deadlines and projects along with remembering, how many dates I gone on with Steve or if I had already asked Jason where he grew up.
On top of this, I went on so many first dates that it was important I weighed the pros and cons of each guy before deciding whether to move on to the second date or to just say good riddance and move on to the next (in the words of Jay-Z).
Enter the spreadsheet. It had the general columns: Name, age, job, height, what part of town they lived in, where they grew up, if they had siblings and what their parents did, how many dates we had gone on and if they had any bad habits. If we had talked about anything worth noting, I would add that in the “notes” section at the end of the columns. I would also rate them out of ten based on all of these factors and also make note of the “next steps,” like if we needed to plan another date or if we had one planned I would write a reminder to confirm with them a day or two before the date.
You may be thinking that this takes out all the spontaneity of dating and is insulting to the men on the list, but I beg to differ. Firstly, by writing down all the important information you learn about them on a first date you can review it before the second date. On the date, you can bring up some of things you learned about them on date one. This shows them you were listening and remember important things about them. Secondly, your brain is not bogged down with a million random facts about all the men you are currently seeing. You are free to enjoy the date and fully focus on that person.
I went on an abundance of first dates. Most of my online dates were first dates and never made it past that stage. So there’s a part of the spreadsheet that I’m not all that proud of. . . I had a section labelled, “Reserve Fund.”
The Reserve Fund went like this: I go out on a date with a guy, he’s alright, not terrible, not amazing. What do I do about him? Well, if I have a lot of dates lined up but don’t want to get rid of him right away I put him in the reserve fund. With guys in the reserve fund, I would email them or text them once a week to make sure they kept me fresh in their mind and then when I was running low on dates or when a date bailed at the last minute, I went to my reserve fund.
And if I haven’t shared enough of my deepest, darkest dating tactics, let’s take this one step further. Long before the sophistication of the spreadsheet, I dated my way through the alphabet. You’re probably wondering what this means. It sounds like an episode of Sesame Street, a sluttier way to learn the alphabet, perhaps. The truth of the matter is, I had just broken up with my ex-boyfriend who I dated for three years and I wanted to get back in the dating scene. My supportive and single roommate at the time suggested we make a dating game in the form of a little chart we would stick up on the fridge. She went to the dollar store and got some nice paper and stickers, wrote our names on the chart and put it on the fridge. Beside the chart she clipped up a set of alphabet stickers. The plan was simple: The first person to reach the end of the alphabet got a prize. I honestly don’t even remember what the prize was or who won, but we had rules for this little game. Each person would get one sticker for each date. If you went on more than one date with the same guy, you got bonus stickers. Bonus stickers were also given out at our discretion for things like: really, really bad dates, if you kissed the guy on the first date and if you spent the night. It was actually a lot of fun and was motivation to get back out there in the dating world. Having a friend do it with me made getting back into dating less daunting since we always swapped our dating stories when we came home.
Well, there you have it folks. Just call me the “Creepy Spreadsheet Girl” if you must. If it weren’t for those alphabet stickers or that spreadsheet, I would not have the abundance of first dates that I have under my belt, nor would I have the abundance of first date stories I get to share with you on my blog.
This post originally appeared on Tracey Zimmer’s blog, Just a Trace. Tracey Zimmer lives in Ottawa. She spends her weekly 9-5 working in a corporate law firm. It’s kind of like Suits, but not as cool. Tracey lives with her awesome husband, Mark and their miniature schnauzer Winston. They’re her two favourite boys. (<——– and she also uses a ‘u’ in favourite!! What’s not to love?? Oh, Canadians and their fancy ‘u’ make me smile.)