Sunday night found me at Chianti Grill, awaiting the arrival of Aaron, a 34-year-old human of the male persuasion. He had totally stolen my move by deciding to arrive late so I was neurotically checking my phone and glancing (stealthily) sideways at every fellow who strolled into the restaurant.

Instead of meeting a psychologist who was a department head (as per my phone call with It’s Just Lunch earlier in the week), I met a psychologist who works for the Department of Corrections. You know, as in he spends his day at an honest-to-God, locked-down-with-handcuffs PRISON. Aaron was a nervous, portly, sweet man and the date was off to a rough start so naturally upon hearing about his occupation, I grasped onto this conversation topic as if for dear life. I prodded him with so many questions about the ol’ jailhouse that he was barely able to get in any questions about me, which of course was the point. As soon as he had lumbered into the bar, I instinctively knew the date wasn’t going anywhere and I was reticent to share any personal details with him. Don’t get me wrong — I was impeccably polite and patient, and my heart went out to him as he fiddled with his napkin, and broke a bit as he departed to go to the little boys’ room (his words).

Needless to say, I ordered a salad due to its quick prep time and as politely as possible wrapped up the date as quickly as possible. Although I was discouraged, it got me thinking… What really goes through our minds when we meet someone new? In the past month, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to meet a handful of new men and within the first five seconds, I’ve slotted them into their respective “it’s just not going to happen” and “okay, there’s potential” bins. Is there any sense to this or am I a hopelessly superficial person prone to judging people solely on their outward appearance?

Seriously concerned about my possible lack of character, I turned to my book collection for an answer. I snagged my copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” and began rereading a few sections.

Turns out, and I quote, “it is quite possible for people who have never before met us and who have spent only twenty minutes with us to come to a better understanding of who we are than people who have know us for years.”

I don’t think there is any substitute for a relationship carefully cultivated over the years with love and mutual respect, but there is something to the snap judgments we make when encountering someone new. First impressions are everything. (Or not… you really can argue both sides pretty effectively, but for now, I will take comfort in the fact that our intuitive awareness counts for something.)

I’m off to bed for some much-needed sleep to reclaim my trademark sarcasm for tomorrow’s date in Uptown. But first, a bit of dancing, some Pinot, a text to Brandon confirming our second date on Saturday (!!) and plenty of Lissie on the radio.

In the words of my dearest Cloud Cult, I love you all!