Dear Karalee,

I was happy to receive a call-back from the speed-dater I met the other night. She remembered our conversation word-for-word. That was impressive. She had some very nice things to say about me. But, boy did I misinterpret her “gut feeling” comment. I thought she meant she was not going to rely on the usual facts of age, kids, and divorce. She thought I would make a good companion for going out to events, however, strictly as a friend. No romantic interest there at all. I can respect that and appreciated her telling me up front. I, on the other hand, am not attending dating mixers for yet another female friendship. There has to be a chance of developing into something more.

Call me old fashioned, but I thought going out on dates help determine compatibility. A three minute session should only catch a spark of interest, not predetermine one’s destiny. Going out under an atmosphere of fun helps let the guard down long enough to gain a fair assessment. A couple does not always require common interest, they can complement instead. I happen to be interested in almost everything. I actually look forward to someone showing me new things. How do I find someone around my age that is not so set in her ways that it is all about her interests, or nothing?

I had a similar incident with someone at a dance. We hit it off really well. She wanted fun, and we had a great time. We exchanged E-mail every day and set up a date for the following Friday. At a nice restaurant, she grilled me for a solid three and a half hours with every question imaginable. She was a completely different person. She was not at all relaxed. It was like I was at a job interview and she was weighing all the pros and cons from a collection of facts and figures. None of that helps determine if I am a good person or am willing to please. It doesn’t show how I treat my friends or strangers. It won’t gain insight into how kind I am or how big my heart is. That can only come from spending time together in real dating situations. Or, do those values not matter anymore? Why shouldn’t this process be enjoyable? What is the rush? It must certainly lead to missed opportunities and incorrect perceptions.

She made a half-hearted comment on how we should get together in my area next time. She was very guarded and never gave me her last name, address, or even her phone number. She did not return either of my two follow-up E-mails, so I had no idea what scared her off. (She later said she went back to her X.)

I can’t help but be attracted to intelligence. Unfortunately, that is the type that tries to quantify romantic potential. For the same reason I avoid the Internets pigeon-holing effect, I see no reason for snap judgments. And, one learns things along the way, such as the true meaning of equality. Independence is great, and it is easier to stay in a rut of familiarity, but there is a higher existence that only comes from sharing.

There were two other types of women at your speed dating. For some, it was about finding handsome or rich. For others, it was about fulfilling selfish needs. I am looking forward to making someone happy, but not at the expense of my own existence. We all have our filters, but must one’s pet truly come before one’s human companion?

I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. Thank you for letting me spout off.

– Name withheld by request