Life Advice



Extra cheese, please!

Erika Ettin, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

I’d like a large thin-crust pizza with extra cheese, red peppers, pepperoni and olives. But can you please make sure the cheese is covering the whole pizza because I don’t like baldness? And actually, why don’t you hold the pepperoni all together. I’d like someone who doesn’t eat processed red meat. And while you’re there, make sure those peppers are well-educated, maybe with a master’s or doctorate. And as for the olives, can you measure them because I want to make sure they’re only a certain height of olive? I only want them if they’re in the top 1% of olives, OK? Thanks, Uber Eats.

Someone once told me that online dating was like ordering a pizza. At first I laughed at that analogy, then I cringed, and then I realized that he was right. We are all looking for that on-paper perfect mate. And since online dating sites give so much choice in the matter (Seriously, you’re going to filter on astrology?), we think it’s our right to have everything under the sun that we could possibly be looking for. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with wanting certain criteria, but what if someone out there looks good but doesn’t necessarily fit all of those objective things that you *think* you want? I’d venture to say – try ‘em out anyway.

When we walk into a bar (or trivia night, or show… you get it) and see someone we like, that person doesn’t have a chart attached to their forehead full of credentials, stats, likes and dislikes. (That would be a pretty funny sight, though.) We trust our instincts; we go with chemistry and connection and conversation. But online, we have so much information that it’s almost too easy to discard someone simply because he is 5-foot-7 or she has a fondness for US Weekly rather than the latest issue of The Economist. (I’m not saying I know anyone like that, of course.) Later, those might actually be the most endearing things about a person, but we’ll never know if we rule them out so quickly.

I was chatting with someone recently who met her partner at a rock climbing gym. They had known each other for a while, and ironically enough, when they eventually started dating, he came up as one of her matches on Hinge that same week. She looked at his profile and said, “I would have never gone out with him after reading this.” I guess she thought she was in the mood for a Hawaiian pizza, but in reality, what she wanted was much simpler – plain cheese.


In fact, most of my clients who hire my company to help with the actual swiping and match selection say to me at some point that they are glad I sent them on a date where they may have bypassed someone for something superficial. In fact, after a date recently, a client wrote:

“I’ll admit, I would probably have swiped left purely because of height (toxic!!!) but I’m really happy I went. He has a very calming energy and we felt immediately comfortable. His dog is adorable and he seems to be at a very stable point his life, which is very attractive. We discussed the game Rummikub and he downloaded the app on his phone and invited me to play him virtually last night -- super cute. He’s very kind and secure, which is attractive.”

So, go ahead, order whatever you want for dinner tonight, but when it comes to dating, there’s no check-box order to place. Give people the benefit of the doubt because in the end after meeting in person, that connection may just give you the slice of your life.

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