By the time you’ve reached your 30s, you have likely been on dozens of first dates. Be they through a set up, a slurry meeting in a bar, a random encounter on the street or an online dating website, the first date almost always goes through the same motions: Non-alcoholic Beverage + Light Snack, Small Talk, Promotion to Cocktail/Dinner, Walk home/Light Petting/Awkward Kiss.
The entire time that question hangs expectantly in the air: How do you know? Not how do you know this is the man you want to marry and have babies with, but how do you know this is someone you want to have sex with for the next several months and see where things go?
For a long time I never knew after the first date. Despite copious amounts of small talk about families, dogs and which ’80s movie characters we’d want to be stranded with on a desert island, several beers or glasses of wine and shared minor intimacies about awkward summer camp latrine misfortunes, rarely have I ever known after date one.
For years I fantasized about some kind of assessment I could put men through — a hybrid of “American Gladiators” meets “Jeopardy” where I could extract from him the characteristics that would prove he was a keeper, at least for the short term. And I have recently found it, the key to using a first date to its full advantage, to weeding out the men who were simply not right for me and self-selecting the ones who had potential: I make him go to Quizzo.
For those of you unfamiliar, Quizzo is the colloquial name for bar trivia in certain regions of the country. I recently moved back to Philadelphia, where Quizzo and the consumption of saturated fats are the civic pastime. Some bar, somewhere in the city limits will be hosting a deadly serious Quizzo tournament on any given night of the week, Sundays included.
Since making this discovery I no longer first date anywhere else. I don’t have to. Quizzo tells me without fail each and every time if I am going to have sex with someone.
Quizzo allows for an evaluation of the whole man based on a list of five attributes I personally find chief in determining whether or not to take a relationship to the next level.
- Aesthetics: The great thing about meeting in a bar for trivia night is a simple determination of general attractiveness in casual garments. This also exhibits the male’s ability to don casual clothes for a first date because what douche bag wears a full suit and tie to a dive bar for trivia night? A douche bag who isn’t getting laid.
- Sense of Humor: The next grail challenge (my vagina being the grail in this metaphor) is the creation of a team name. Team names are paramount at trivia nights. In my book they should be funny as well as culturally relevant. I recently encountered two failures at the team name challenge: “Team America” was too bland and uninventive, showing a distinct lack of ingenuity. Team “Mr. Belvedere’s Dick” was creepy and smelled of confused sexuality. There was a big winner though with Ron Jeremy Lin during the Linsanity rage in February. It showed a sense of humor, an attentiveness to current events and an edge that had nothing to do with the butler’s penis.
- Intellect: I’m not going to date an idiot and years of dating Ivy League graduates has proven to me that intelligence cannot be measured by a man’s alma mater. I want the guy that I go out with to have a breadth of intellectual strengths. I want him to be able to answer the sports questions — mainly because I can’t and because on Sundays in the winter I want to leave him alone in the house so I can get pedicures and drink mimosas with my girlfriends. I want him to have a strength in at least one obscure field of knowledge, be it quantum physics or the Civil War. I am wary of the guy who can answer with certainty too many questions about “The Simpsons,” ”Family Guy” or ”Seinfeld.” I don’t know why, I just am. I gave serious props to the serious preppy who correctly identified photos of 12 hair metal drummers during the mystery round.
- Conflict Resolution: In Quizzo as in life, you cannot win them all. Sometimes he will get things wrong and sometimes I will get things wrong. Sometimes that team of nerds in the corner will get everything right and he may be convinced they’re using a blue tooth headset to connect to their nerd headquarters back at home in a vast conspiracy to win the grand prize of half off their bar tab and he will call them an unrepeatable racial epithet. This is where I can find out how well my date handles adversity. If he lets a score of 3threeout of 10 in round two just roll off his back because I couldn’t remember the name of Kim Kardashian’s first single (Jam, Turn it Up) and he couldn’t remember the longest highway in the world (TransCanada) we probably won’t have an explosive fight about who left the dishes in the sink.
- General Chemistry: The great thing about Quizzo isn’t just the question and answer portion. It’s the interstitial moments between rounds where you can actually chat and learn a bit about one another. If you’re psyched for the next round to actually end so you can have that brief but riveting conversation he’s a winner.
Maybe Quizzo, like all dating tips and tricks (not shaving my legs on the first date comes to mind), will eventually fail me. But for now it remains my labyrinth to my grail.