I started going on dates again a couple of months ago. The first couple of dates were actually really lovely. The first was in a trendy bar, and the second was at a café. Bars, in my opinion, make better first dates than coffee does, but that’s for another post. Both were with smart, handsome young men grad students at the university that has adopted me while I write my dissertation from afar. Conversation was good, and they were both enthusiastic about me in a way that I found flattering. (Men can definitely be enthusiastic without being creepy, even when the recipient isn’t interested, but that’s also for another post.)
In any case, both wanted a second date, and though I felt positively towards both of them, I just couldn’t find enough excitement in myself to justify going out with either of them again. In both cases I replied to their request with something like ‘I had a good time, but unfortunately I don’t think this is going to a second date for me.’
I can’t remember where I got that wording, but I kind of love it because it lets me be honest and say ‘I’m not interested’ but without saying those words and without saying anything at all about the other person. Even ‘I’m not interested’ sounds kind of personal, because it implies the inevitable ‘IN YOU.’ Like, there’s just something about it that sounds cold to me, so I find those words difficult to say. There’s something about ‘this isn’t going to a second date for me’ that makes it more about the fact that we are not a match, that it’s about the situation, or something, that feels accurate and yet not unkind.
They both took it well, though the second guy wrote back ‘It looks like those messages you receive when you don’t get a job!’ I kind of bristled at that (even though he didn’t mean it unkindly) because I think it’s really hard to find language to reject people that everyone finds acceptable. Because it just sucks to be rejected. And later, when I recounted this to someone, my friend, laughing, suggested I create a form letter for rejection – exactly like the kind that you get when you apply for a job, except this is for dating.
So I did.
Bureaucratic Form Rejection Letter #1:
Dear (insert name):
Thank you for your application. We received a high number of competitive submissions for the position. Although the first date was enjoyable, limitations of space, time, energy and compatibility are a reality, and we regret to inform you that we will not be able to accept your request for a second date.
Do take care, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavours!