The First 6 Dates: Expectations Vs. Reality

by Kaitlyn Wylde

Despite the fact that I've probably been on close to 100 dates, I never cease to be surprised by how the dates turn out — it's always a revelation found at the confluence between expectation and reality. On each date, my expectations lose their cynical cloudiness and become blindly optimistic. I'm always 99 percent sure we're going to be soulmates, I'm already dabbling with a new Pinterest wedding board, and I've definitely tried out a few baby names with his last name.

I'll find some aspect of our introduction and put it through a fantastical serendipitous lens where I convince myself that our meeting was cosmic, and therefore meant to be. Oh my god, we were both at the same coffee shop and the same time, how insane is that? Oh my god, his desk is next to mine, it's too perfect. Oh my god, we both swiped right, the universe wants us to be together!

And somehow, when expectation can't keep up with reality, I'm surprised. I'm on the phone with a friend the next morning, waiting for her shock when I tell her he didn't propose on the second date, but it doesn't come. She's sitting there on the other end of the line wondering if I have whatever Drew Barrymore had in 50 First Dates. Alas, I don't have amnesia. I'm not delusional, rather, I'm hopeful — despite the fact that I'm now painfully aware of the fact that how you think your date is going to go is never in-line with how it actually goes. These are the differences between expectations and reality on your first six dates:

Date Number One

Expectation: They're going to see you in slow motion as you walk through the door, and their jaw will drop. You're going to have an instant connection; it's going to be love at first sight.

Reality: They're 20 minutes late because their train was delayed, so now they're frazzled. Your makeup isn't looking as fresh, and the conversation is awkward. They mention that they're going to see Phish three nights in a row, and you have to work really hard not to judge them for it. You both leave having no idea how the date went.

Date Number Two

Expectation: It's going to be less awkward. You're going to start opening up and have a meaningful conversation. They'll definitely kiss you at the end of the night.

Reality: They say something about wanting to move to Asia for a year, and you can't stop your mind from obsessing over it. Are you invited? Will they stay if things take off between the two of you? What's the point of this? They don't kiss you because your body language tells them you're not interested.

Date Number Three

Expectation: You'll hear from them the next day. They'll invite you out for dinner, not just drinks. You'll have much better conversation this time, and they'll tell you they don't want to go to Asia anymore.

Reality: You don't hear from them for almost a month. They don't invite you to dinner, but they do order some apps with the first round of drinks. They don't mention Asia, and you end up having a spirited conversation that gives you both hope. You go in for a hug while they go in for a kiss, and they end up pressing their lips into your ear.

Date Number Four

Expectation: Dinner for sure, probably a nightcap, maybe sex.

Reality: You're running late, and so dinner is pushed to drinks. You haven't eaten anything, so you get wasted. You go back to their place and have unintelligible sex, and at some point passive aggressively bring up Asia.

Date Number Five

Expectation: You'll both stay sober. You'll lucidly talk about your intentions with each other and have more thoughtful sex.

Reality: You get a little drunk and end up talking about your Tinder date nightmares. They bring up their ex, and while you're having half-drunk sex later, you can't help but wonder if they're over them.

Date Number Six

Expectation: You're going to delete your dating apps together. You're going to talk about your feelings and seal the deal.

Reality: They say they have a lot of fun with you. They get a Raya notification in the middle of dinner. You ask your group text what you should do and get eight different opinions. You end up dropping your expectations and commit to go with the flow. You end up having more fun than you anticipated.

When you eventually semi-ghost each other, you start the whole thing all over again — rinse, lather, repeat.

Images: Fox; Giphy