Table the Table
It makes sense that going out to dinner is the activity of choice when you’re out there dating. This is especially true in a city like Chicago where eating out checks off the sport, exploration and culture boxes. And it’s not like we all have the funds of popular dating shows, where we can rent an entire concert hall or fly to a remote island for the first date.
Some people think of dating as a simple numbers game (go for volume and you’ll find quality.) But if you hang out with ten different people and all of those initial interactions take place over dinner, it’s easy to churn out the numbers and feel like you’re out there, but how good is the dinner table at feeding real conversation? We’d argue it’s more about environment than numbers.
People respond and connect to how someone behaves and reacts to life, not a list of specials. It’s even pretty cool to learn about the things that they’re not so great at – to hear about how they’ve struggled, changed and evolved. That’s why so many relationships originate at work, at school, or between friends. When we’re not on the prowl analyzing information to see if someone is ‘right,’ we are able to relax into ourselves and others. It’s no longer an interview or a search. It’s just you being yourself.
This natural need for context is what Me So Far is all about. We can’t shuttle you into a conference room to see someone shine during a stress-filled meeting or watch someone attend to their nephew or let you listen in on their internal dialogue while they shop. What we can do, however, is create a forum where people are encouraged to show the more nuanced and not-immediately-obvious elements of themselves. And once you see those interesting tidbits you can strike up a conversation that moves quickly beyond small talk. This added context can go a long way when you’re just trying to get to know someone and move past canned, polite conversation.
We’re not suggesting that meals are meaningless or not a good date idea. (We’ve been trying to get into Girl and the Goat for months!) It’s just that it’s become the default setting for what constitutes a good place for testing the waters with someone. In fact, you could find yourself at the dinner table with someone who is really great for you, but because the environment is pretty limited and not entirely flexible, it’s hard to evaluate a potential connection. This is why so many awful dating columns give advice on how to spot the signs of compatibility in what is the very limited range of interactions that occur over dinner dates (Did he make the reservation? Who paid? Was she rude to the waitstaff? Did he open the door?)
When you get a glimpse into who someone is in the context of life, rather than the confines of a restaurant, you’re more likely to keep ordering.