The Complete List of First Date Topics Med Students Should Avoid

As a med student, it can be difficult to fit dating into your busy schedule so you should take advantage of every opportunity. If you avoid these topics, there is less of a chance that you will completely screw it up…

• What our kids would look like, hypothetically, if we were to have kids, no pressure or anything haha, just making conversation over here, but seriously why bother with this whole charade if we have incompatible genes that are destined to created hideous children with weak chins and foreheads large enough to mount flat-screens on?.

Big foreheads can be useful.

Big foreheads can be useful.

• A brutally frank appraisal of what to expect from your naked body.

• Goiters, and how you have become obsessed with them/have a set of textbook goiter pictures in your room somewhere.

• How dating makes you hyper-aware of the way people instinctively inspect and evaluate each other based on their most superficial qualities, and how that makes you feel less like a person and more like a vestigial structure, and a rather problematic one at that, like maybe an appendix.

• Oxycodone, the merits of.

• How exciting it is that your date’s name is Gregor, because, for reasons you’d prefer not to get in to (and involve that time right after your genetics final, when you headed straight to the bar to drown your sorrows…), you already happen to have a heart tattooed on your bicep with the name Gregor emblazoned across it! Cool, huh?!?

• How your date bears an uncanny resemblance to your father, even if you happen to find said resemblance oddly compelling, and especially if the date in question is a woman.

• A comprehensive rundown of the sex acts you are both willing and unwilling to perform.

• “Could you pass the pepper, oh, and by the way, quickly sign this strictly precautionary pre-prenuptial agreement? Did I mention I will be a doctor someday?”

• Schizophrenia, the merits of.

• A medley of your worst first date stories, which you consider a fun way to break the ice, but which actually make you sound like some cursed and unfortunate soul destined to an eternity of unfathomably awful dates with other doomed, wretched troglodytes.

The Kentucky Meat shower.

An artistic (?) interpretation of the immortal 1876 event.

An artistic (?) interpretation of the immortal 1876 event.

• A highly detailed, slightly obsessive 45-minute diatribe about how you’re “so over your ex,” that actually serves to illustrate the exact opposite of the point you’re intending to convey.

• Anything prefaced with a comment like, “Let’s just get this out in the open right from the start…” or “Look, I should really warn you about…” or “Legally, I’m required to inform you that…”

From Justin to Kelly, the merits of.

• How a series of failed relationships has led you down a dark and frightening path culminating in this very date, a stark and unparalleled low-point that addicts usually refer to as “rock bottom.” Further, how your only options now are to either: A) perish in an avalanche of maudlin self-pity or B) rise from the ashes of this horrific evening like a fiery phoenix (but, in either case, “no go” on a second date).

• What you call the First Date Paradox, which could be described as follows:

Your most idiosyncratic qualities, the things that truly define you, (i.e. the various passions, opinions, and hang-ups that differentiate you from the congealed mass of humanity) are inherently and simultaneously A) The qualities most likely to repel other people and B) The only qualities unique enough that they could ever make someone truly fall in love with you. Consequently, they are both the things about yourself most worth revealing (partly because they’ll come out eventually and revealing them right from the start saves wasted time and energy) and the things about yourself which you are most frightened to reveal (because they have the power to drive others away, which seems to violate some silly instinctual desire to be loved, not just by some people, but by EVERYONE ALL THE TIME, and especially by this stranger you’re desperately searching for common ground with over watered-down cocktails and the appetizer sampler).  This struggle to display what makes you worth loving while at the same time carefully ensuring that you don’t display anything that could potentially render you unlovable makes first dates even more stressful and mentally paralyzing than they already would be.

• Oh yeah, try to also avoid: religion, partisan politics, partisan sports interests, current events, race, boring work stories (hint: they’re all boring), sex, past relationships, your life, your inevitable death, and, especially, your running thoughts on how the date’s gone so far. Don’t forget, just because you’re a med student, it doesn’t mean the normal rules don’t apply to you as well. Good luck out there!

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Ted Pillow

Ted Pillow is a regular contributor to Thought Catalog, and has written for The Awl, PopMatters, and Slacktory. His collected writing can be found at Fanny Pack Spectacular! He tweets @TedPillow.