the rules of three: assessment

The Don’t-Shit-Yourself Method of Assessment:  Collection, Selection, and Subscription

In the introduction to the “Grown-Up Stuff” section of DwaM, I made mention of the process of assessing one prospect’s value and comparing it to another’s.

Mind you, this portion of my general strategy doesn’t sit with me 100%, as from a moral standpoint, I believe that a person simply cannot be compared to another person.  By nature, all of us can only be evaluated based on parameters unique to us.  At least, when it comes to the question of a person’s calibre.

In dating though, there are simply too many reasons to break people down into superficial, binary or scalar attributes.  Everyone’s reasons are different, but I think we can all agree that it’s harder to be disappointed when you are honest with yourself as to what you can realistically expect. And let’s face it; people who score low on a particular attribute may be prone to creating certain atmospheres that you find unpleasant or – in the worst cases – dangerous.  Besides that, there’s also the very real possibility that you know what you want, and it won’t hurt to really see if your prospect has it.

We must remember that the point of running the singles circuit is to enjoy yourself.  Enjoyment is much harder to come by when you’re with someone whose attributes or expectations simply don’t play well with yours.  For this reason, a clean-cut method must be applied.  And for the reason of thematic consistency, that method must be comprised of three steps.

Step 1:  Collection

Depending on your “gravitational pull,” this step may actually be done with little to no effort on your part.  Heck, you could be doing it right now and not know it.  You could be sitting at your desk with a blandly good-for-you ham and tomato wrap that you picked up from the meeting-leftovers-tray in the lunchroom, impulsively clicking through Cracked articles and regretting your choice of V8 as your lunchtime beverage… and immersed in the tedium of office life, not even know that somewhere in some other place – perhaps under a scaffolding in the rain, or maybe in the studio of a renowned architectural firm, perhaps in a classroom at a prestigious university, or simply lying in bed, swimming in snotrags and a Nyquil-induced haze – someone is thinking of you.

Your disdain for the smoke and mirrors of euphemism and politesse, combined with your lack of inhibition in terms of your idiosyncrasies may actually have culminated in a social microclimate. A magical condition where you just get to sit there like some kind of carnivorous plant, sunning yourself or typing up all sorts of nonsense on WordPress, the very epitome of innocence… while someone you had an animated conversation with last week is thinking of you as opposed to focusing on his lecture.  Perhaps he’s sifting through your posts, trying to educate himself on who you are so he can determine how best to approach you – to cut past all the armour of noncommittal coffee dates and self-preservational self-commentary to your soft underbelly and creamy, sentimental centre.

Conversely, you might be an acquired taste. Perhaps you meet people, and with the cunning but unconscious use of good manners, philosophical conversation and enigmatic aloofness, spark a lukewarm interest, and then slowly build on that through carefully timed exposure, intermittent contact, and the slow peeling-back of several layers of shyness and feigned disinterest.

However you do it is up to you – whether you like it or not.  You won’t find anything on DwaM that reads “How to Make Friends and Give Out Your Number”.  What you will find here will be more like “How to Sort Friends and Classify Prospects”.

A big part of how attractive you are depends on how badly you want to be attractive.  So quit worrying.  Just be content that you’re you, and that for someone out there, that’s indisputably good enough.  And remember – there’s always room for change, so long as you want it for yourself.


Step 2:  Selection

Once you have more than one option, your (hopefully present) sense of respect and courtesy should be urging you to trim the excess and decide which prospect to focus your efforts on.  This isn’t to say that exclusivity is imperative; that’s up to you.  Myself, I prefer to keep only one running at a time.  It’s emotionally, hygienically, and ethically the safer way to go.  No mixing up people’s names, no mixing yourself a cocktail of STIs, and no mixing up whatever lies you had to cook to keep people from starting unnecessary and highly unenjoyable drama.

Again, the point of all this is to enjoy yourself, enrich your life, and come out of it in one piece.  As a wise Klingon once said, “Don’t start none, won’t be none.”

So – how do we choose between Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur?  There are three things we’ll need to measure.

No, pervert. Not those three things. These three things:

  • Bang – What can this person offer you? How attractive are they really? If they were a trophy, would they look good on your wall? If they were a story, would your audience be entertained, or would they be dry-heaving? Do they seem like they’d be interesting in bed? Is there any potential beyond bed?
  • Buck – What would it take to acquire and/or maintain this person’s presence in your environment? Is it worth the Bang to pay the Buck?
  • Boom – What kind of fallout should you expect in the best case scenario? in the worst case scenario? Would elevating this individual to Max-Three be tantamount to (for lack of a franker term) shitting where you eat?


Step 3: Subscription

Your time is a precious thing. When deciding how much of it any aspirant or prospect should be allotted, bear in mind the three different types of “subscriptions” for which one can qualify:

  • No-Three
  • Max-Three
  • Post-Three

No-Three will in all likelihood have the longest list of subscribers.  These will either be aspirants who have no chance, or prospects who have already had their chance, and are therefore off-limits.  Except, unlike other things that are off-limits, you no longer have the curiosity to draw you to break the rules; you’ve been there, done that, and are set to de-fog the rest of the map. And remember – you can always change your mind and demote an aspirant to the rank of “No-Three”.

Max Three – for those of you who are pursuing the be-all and end-all – essentially boils down to our standard Three-Night Trial. That doesn’t mean you need to use all three nights. In some cases, it’s barely even worth the First or Second.

For those of you who are not pursuing the be-all and end-all, Max Three is simply the expiry date on a staple item in your fridge before it gets stale or rotten. Which reminds me, I need to buy some milk after work today. There are only two things that follow Max-Three: No-Three, and the much less common Post-Three.

In order to be worth revisiting beyond the Three Nights, someone must demonstrate at least two of the following:

  • sustainability without drama
  • exceptional rapport (in bed and/or out)
  • potential to advance to Proper Partner status.

Post-Three can evolve into any number of things, each with its own nuances and likely case-by-case rules. This phase can actually be fairly tricky, and I will elaborate in more detail when I explain the Piecemeal Method in my next post.  For now, I will summarize some of the more common options:

  • Neutral Alliance
    In some cases, the two of you get along great and maybe even have a lot in common, but you feel no meaningful attachment or emotional connection. You understand and respect each other, speak the same language, appreciate the same distance, and most who see the two of you together may not see anything linking the two of you together. Heck, they wouldn’t know to look. Some may think you’re just professional acquaintances, or former classmates reconnecting. However, to a better trained eye, there might be a spidersilk thread of incredible sex that sways in smug secret between your bemusedly clothed forms during daylight hours. The temperature between you two is cool, lukewarm at best, when out in public. But shut the door and suddenly you’re Mr & Mrs Smith. Any unagreed-upon infidelity that occurs in this arrangement is unlikely to do much damage, as no feelings were involved that could be hurt. Just make sure you’re both healthy where it counts.
  • Friends with Benefits
    You might find that you actually do share a decent (but not relationshippy) connection, with some potential to grow deeper as a friendship. You’re vaguely aware of each other’s lives, but you don’t get too involved, and there really isn’t any obligation to commit to anything whatsoever. To avoid drama, however, do be mindful that the degree of exclusivity must be determined before this goes for very long. And for gods’ sakes, do try to be honest about how open either of you are about the possibility of this elevating further (usually not very probable at all).
  • Wingman
    Friends with Benefits, but with the added bonus of helping each other find prospective partners and hookups. Sometimes this may evolve while you are still sexually involved with each other. Sometimes you may even decide to take on that prospect as a Third to share between you. Most of the time it only blossoms out of a FwB arrangement that’s grown bored of its B, but is disinclined to give up the F.
  • Smitten Kittens
    The two of you – despite all logic and efforts to the contrary – have found yourselves inexplicably attached or hoping for a real connection with each other.  The sex has been good, and what you do know of each other has been intriguing or at least pleasant, and you’re not quite ready to let this go yet. In fact, you just want to ride this out and see where it will take you – just in case it evolves into something meaningful, and because you each think the other is pretty darn swell. Maybe you make a good team. Maybe you just make a cute couple. Maybe you realized there’s a lot more to each other than meets the eye, and you’re curious to see the rest. Either way, you occasionally grin like idiots when your guard is down, and you might as well just admit it already. Get to know each other more, and see where things go. You know what? Let’s relax some of the restrictions on NOcabulary while we’re at it. Go to dinner. Maybe brunch. Sleep over. Just don’t start talking about babies or moving in together or anything crazy, okay?
  • Relationship
    Self explanatory. You guys are great – or maybe just great at deluding yourselves.
  • Relationshipwreck
    I guess it was the latter.
  • Relationshitfaced
    You really only keep it up because you’re drunk.

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