True or false: it’s hard to find someone to date. Apparently, the answer might be a lot more “false” than people would think.
Fairfield alumnus Evan Barden ’08 has started what he describes on his blog as a “social experiment and personal quest.” Over the course of one year, Barden will go on 100 dates with many women and even a couple of guys.
Yes, you read that right: one year, 100 dates, both women and men.
Barden’s project, aptly named One Hundred Dates (OHD), started on July 1, 2011. After spending years as a self-proclaimed “serial monogamist,” Barden decided to go on 100 dates with dozens of different people to learn more about himself and dating.
With the help of his friends, Barden compiled a list of 100 different types of date activities, ranging from the completely traditional to the outlandishly different. Classics such as the Movie Theater Date, the Bowling Date, the Cocktail Date and even the Blind Date are on the list.
Much more intriguing, though, are the unusual dates. Barden already went on the Silent Date, where neither he nor his date communicated verbally. Rather, they interacted through a series of prewritten signs, gestures and note passing. Another interesting date was the Secret Date, during which Barden took out a girl without her realizing that she was on a date.
Still to be completed are the Gay Date (Barden is still looking for a gay man “willing to go out with me, a straight man,” he said on his blog) and the Married Woman date (“in an open marriage/separated/whatever makes it ethical”), among many others.
After many of these dates, Barden posts on his blog about the events of the date and any new revelations or insights gained about himself, his date partners and dating in general.
With so many women and so many dates, Barden has to have a favorite, right?
Surprisingly, this isn’t completely true.
“I have had so many good dates and they’ve been special for their own reasons,” Barden said. “Sometimes the activity is awesome, sometimes the adventure of it is great, and other times its something simple but I’m crushing super hard.”
This can also be the downside to the project, though. “I’ve gone out with some incredible women,” Barden said. For this reason, there have been several dates where he thought that he would possibly pursue a relationship under different circumstances. On his blog, Barden mentions that he would consider quitting the project for one unnamed woman in particular, but for now, he will continue as planned.
There are some dates that stand out in Barden’s mind, however, coming from both the traditional and nontraditional ends of the dating spectrum. One such date was the Tattoo Date, during which he got “E.F.B.,” both his initials and his mother’s, tattooed on his arm.
Barden’s mother is truly the most important woman in his life, often coming up in conversation on his many dates. Barden tragically lost his mother in a car accident during his freshman year of college.
In one blog post, Barden reflected that this loss is probably the reason behind his tendency to rely on monogamous relationships. But he acknowledges that it’s “unrealistic and unfair” for any future leading lady in his life to have to try to fill that void, and so he started this project in part to break that cycle of reliance.
When asked what his mother would have thought about OHD, Barden said, “I think my mom would have initially disapproved, but once she understood what it meant to me and why I was doing it, she’d give me her full support…She was a really good mom—she’d be proud of me no matter what.”
Don’t confuse Barden with serial daters like the infamous Tucker Max, though. His goal is not to blog about his exploits simply to gain bragging rights. In fact, he frequently employs the fade-to-black technique when his dates take a turn for the physical.
“I just don’t think the internet needs another site about young people and sex,” Barden said of his restraint. “Dating is the unexplored topic. Dating is the lost art.”
Why has the art of dating been lost? Barden points to the hook-up culture. Barden believes that part of the reason why dating has taken the backseat is because people view the whole process as “formal and scary.”
“If people could just let go a bit more and relax when it comes to dating, I think many more dates would go well,” Barden said. “I’ve personally enjoyed dating a lot because I don’t put a ton of pressure on it. At the same time, I don’t avoid it.”
To those who complain that dating is dead, Barden has a simple message: “It still exists. You’re just doing it wrong.”
Barden encourages, “Ask someone out on a real date. I think that getting up the guts to be rejected is the hardest part of dating.”
He also advises people to always be themselves on dates. “At the very worst, they won’t like you for who you are, and you wouldn’t want to date that person anyway.”
To stay up to date on Barden’s project and love life, visit his website www.onehundreddates.com.
Additionally, if any Fairfield women or men are interested in going on a date with Barden, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Barden will also be on campus representing his company Eze Castle Software this Thursday, Feb. 9 at the career fair in the RecPlex.