"Mark" was the first name I typed out, followed by 17 more (that I could remember).I placed their ages next to their names, along with their occupations, where I'd met them, and how many dates it had lasted.
I confess, this analytical-minded guy and I share a love of meticulous note-taking. My fellow Smitten writer Ariane once told y'all about a girl who kept her own Excel spreadsheet to help her fill out her online dating profile, and then, of course, there's my personal favorite: a funny, promiscuous Duke co-ed's comprehensive Power Point faux-thesis-style "f*ck list" that includes entries (including penis size) on most of the lacrosse team.Everyone does this mental analysis: observe a quality, decide how much it matters, put it into context.Some might value physical attraction more, others personality. Finding a long-term partner who’s right for you is all about taking observational data and mutually making sense of it to a positive end.The top three—Mark, the law student, the IM physician—seemed to match what my gut already knew in the process of dating, some cross of security and excitement that would translate to the best matches for me personally.Dating today is laborious, complex, and full of evaluating "options." You create meaning through personal interpretation, a series of minor trade-offs, where you weigh qualities based on how much you value them, no human being will ever be everything you want.