Sunlit Water

January 27, 2007

Euclid-Style

Filed under: Dating — by teofilo @ 1:19 am

Parallel dating is a concept with which I was totally unfamiliar until relatively recently, but it seems there are social circles in which casually dating multiple people at the same time is acceptable and, indeed, universal.  (It is, of course, not so in all circles.)  Now, assuming traditional gender roles at least in the early stages of dating, this seems a lot more intuitive for women than for men: if you are generally in the position of being asked, declining just because you’ve been asked by someone else seems unnecessarily restrictive and, indeed, a practice that denies you of agency even more than the traditional gender roles do already.  If you are generally in the position of asking, however, the situation seems significantly more complicated.  If a man has gone on a couple dates with a woman but they haven’t yet figured out if they want to become more serious, and then he meets another woman, is it acceptable for him to ask the second woman out?  In circles that frown on parallel dating the answer would presumably be “no” until he knows what he’s doing with the first woman, but how does this work if parallel dating is the norm?

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21 Comments »

  1. This post is purely theoretical, I assume.

    Comment by ben wolfson — January 27, 2007 @ 2:42 am |Reply

  2. I would counsel caution. Parallel dating seems to work best either where there is the presumption that nobody will be having sex (Mormon communities) or where there is the presumption that everybody will be having sex and that sex is separable from emotional committment.

    Comment by Jackmormon — January 27, 2007 @ 9:48 am |Reply

  3. Yeah. I was the prude in the last thread, and what I’d tend to think is that you should make assumptions explicit by casually mentioning the potential second date to the first date when you see her. If that sounds cripplingly embarrassing to you, I would take that as evidence that either you’re uncomfortable with parallel dating, or you expect her to be, and that maybe you should wrap up Thing One before moving on to Thing Two.

    Comment by LizardBreath — January 27, 2007 @ 9:54 am |Reply

  4. One date determines a point. Two determine a line and it’s possible for lines to be non-parallel and non-intersecting; some think this is a skewed way of dating. Three dates, however, determine a plane and planes must be kept strictly parallel should you wish to prevent them from intersecting; given the difficulty of doing so, it’s probably best to bring up the subject on your own before the planes run into each other. Four dates determine a space: once you’ve shared a space, you’re on to something more serious.

    Faced with the three body problem, you probably should leave Euclid behind and move on to Poincare, who, being French, was preoccupied with such matters. Results may be chaotic.

    Comment by eb — January 27, 2007 @ 10:30 am |Reply

  5. It’s probably something that happens more at a certain periods, when you want more control. If you just came out of a long relationship, or just got hurt, something like that. At least, that seems to be my observation of people doing that. Otherwise it’s a pretty short-term overlap, or an expression of dissatisfaction with the (New York) dating scene.

    Comment by ac — January 27, 2007 @ 10:46 am |Reply

  6. Or what eb said.

    Comment by ac — January 27, 2007 @ 10:51 am |Reply

  7. eb, that was brilliant.

    Comment by Megan — January 27, 2007 @ 11:56 am |Reply

  8. Ben’s assumption is warranted, folks.

    Comment by teofilo — January 27, 2007 @ 3:03 pm |Reply

  9. My “you” was a general one.

    Comment by ac — January 27, 2007 @ 3:25 pm |Reply

  10. That comment was addressed not so much to you as to certain other commenters.

    Comment by teofilo — January 27, 2007 @ 3:35 pm |Reply

  11. Sorry, didn’t mean to imply that I thought you were two-timing anyone. The theoretical nature of your post is understood.

    Comment by LizardBreath — January 27, 2007 @ 4:49 pm |Reply

  12. It’s eb who expressed accusations of two-timing. Secretly.

    Comment by ac — January 27, 2007 @ 5:01 pm |Reply

  13. Hmm, that makes a certain amount of sense in theory, but in practice…

    Comment by Scott Lemieux — January 27, 2007 @ 8:27 pm |Reply

  14. eb wins.

    téo, no idea how it works if parallel dating is the norm, though I suspect it’s like Jackmormon’s 2). and 3) is right. So basically, I have nothing to say but ‘i concur.’

    Insert a clever joke about serial and parallel circuits and not getting your wires crossed when you begin a relationship.

    Comment by Cala — January 27, 2007 @ 8:28 pm |Reply

  15. Three points don’t determine a plane if they’re colinear, nor do four points determine a space if they’re coplanar.

    Comment by ben wolfson — January 28, 2007 @ 2:16 pm |Reply

  16. Insert a clever joke about serial and parallel circuits and not getting your wires crossed when you begin a relationship.

    Resistance is lower when you do it in parallel.

    Comment by ben wolfson — January 28, 2007 @ 4:49 pm |Reply

  17. She said “clever,” Wolfson.

    Comment by Jackmormon — January 28, 2007 @ 5:40 pm |Reply

  18. That hurt, Jack.

    Comment by ben wolfson — January 28, 2007 @ 8:08 pm |Reply

  19. I’m sorry.

    Comment by Jackmormon — January 28, 2007 @ 9:18 pm |Reply

  20. Ben’s assumption is warranted

    Yeah, but is it true?

    Comment by Matt W — February 2, 2007 @ 10:22 pm |Reply

  21. It is now.

    Comment by teofilo — February 2, 2007 @ 10:26 pm |Reply


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