By: Jessica Carson
“Are you ready?” he asked.
Never start a first date with these words.
He set a deck of cards on the table and proceeded to spend the dinner performing magic tricks. While impressed with his tricks, my friend was less impressed with the devolution of what she hoped would be a steamy date.
He also ordered a glass of milk. At a Mexican restaurant. While she had beer.
Bold move, sir. Bold move.
As my girlfriend lamented the sunk cost of the evening (“Who the hell drinks milk these days?“), I had to respect the audacity our fallen, Bumble-sourced comrade.
He truly led with his full weird.
Instead of finding the milk-drinking skeletons in his magic-filled closet after several dates, he literally laid his cards on the table and took #youdoyou to the next level.
He let it all hang out. And he respected her time in doing so.
I couldn’t help but wonder: Is unapologetic authenticity the ultimate dating hack?
Running through my own history, I realized my best relationships happen when I’m true to my cheeky, messy, inappropriately curious, impatient self from the start.
No crashing expectations or emotional hangovers. Just stable, authentic weirdness.
It also explains why so many great couples start as friends. Because who isn’t full weird with their friends?
And it turns out psychology endorses this approach.
Authenticity is Efficient
Imagine knowing all of someone’s oddities after the first date. Or even better, before the first. I mean, guys, you’d save so much money on cocktails.
That’s the premise of the new dating app, Settle for Love. Photos of skinny arms and bicep curls are replaced with bald spots and your “Dodge Stratus with duct tape on the bumper.”
That way there are no surprises when your date pulls up in clunker with a bag of Rogaine in the backseat.
And if you can’t get down with someone’s full weird, then keep swiping please.
Authenticity is Palpable
Ever wonder why an outwardly good date – with its clever conversation and white tablecloths – can leave you with a “bad vibe?”
Your date was probably being fake.
We perceive inauthenticity on an intuitive level. It can be hard to put your finger on – sometimes it’s just a feeling.
Researchers found that people who are inauthentic cause physical discomfort, including elevated blood pressure, in those around them. And when study participants unconsciously mimic a false smile, they don’t experience the same brain activity as an authentic one.
Basically, your brain smells bullshit better than you.
Authenticity is Attractive
We’re attracted to people who let their freak flags fly.
Think of Prince or Amy Schumer or that eccentric, not-your-type person you dated in college who was nonetheless magnetic. Even if they’re not conventionally attractive, we find ourselves inexplicably drawn to them.
Vulnerability researcher Brene Brown says we’re physically attracted to authentic people because they comfort us with their “real” approach and remind us it’s okay for life to be messy.
People who air their inner weird give us permission to be equally funky fresh.
So are milk and magic tricks a little aggressive for the first date?
Perhaps. But was it an efficient, honest, and endearingly quirky way to establish they weren’t destined for love?
So the next time you’re tempted to hide your oddities, like your hatred of cotton balls, lingering middle-school obsession with John Mayer, or freezer perpetually stocked with chocolate covered bananas (guys, this can’t just be me…), just remember:
When dating, it may pay to lead with your full weird.