Stop Making "Sense Of" It All

The vast majority of us have witnessed or participated in matchmaking dialogue. Typically the person attempting the setup espouses the attributes of the secondary party to the first. Certainly, physical traits will be high on the list, likewise age, career choices and education level. Expect, too, that any information regarding past romantic relationships, including possible marriages and/or children from these earlier associations would also be brought up as they are an essential aid for the first party in determining whether this date should even take place.

Indeed, other variables may be worthy of mention. Like, say if this possible future date's ex has been stalking him for the past six months and a restraining order's in place. Not bringing that up would seem like a classic error of omission, right? Similarly, if the intended setup has spent some time in the slammer you've gotta think a heads-up is in order. So, all in all, that's kinda the format: give 'em the basics and, if there are extenuating circumstances, be sure to disclose them so this person can make a reasonable determination as to whether or not they want to play the dating game.

Okay, that said, some matchmaking dialogue is open to interpretation. For instance, if someone says, "She has a great sense of taste" one may assume that the woman in question has a certain elegance or style, a sophistication when it comes to their choices in life. But what if it really was literal, that she knows her foods, can tell what's in something with just one bite and she's a whiz at pairing different combinations of foods together, turning people onto outrageously tasty noshes that they'd never, in a million years, think of on their own? If the potential date didn't realize this it could change things drastically, especially if the necessity for a sense of taste, in traditional parlance, came up later on and he discovers this woman doesn't have a clue (see next paragraph).

Another offering you may hear: "This guy has a real sense of adventure!" A typical expectation might be that he's up for an exciting time, maybe zip-lining, skydiving or possibly an African safari. To discover that evading the cops in a high-speed car chase, never slowing for a second--even after the spike strip has him riding on all four rims--is what he's into, might be a tad more than the date, now sitting shotgun and being dubbed "the accomplice" by authorities, had in mind. Surely, the first scenario sounds less daunting, unless, because "sense of taste" was mentioned initially, a fashion show was picked as their first date and the food pairing whiz arrives wearing an outfit featured as #3 in the "45 Walmart Shoppers Who Failed at Fashion" list (yeah, it's real; check it out).

Alright, I get it; those two examples were... a lot. But notice the phrase they have in common: "sense of". We hear it typically coupled with our five senses: taste, smell, seeing, hearing and touch which speaks to the ability of our nerves and brain to receive and react to stimuli. But those two words are also often attached to a variety of different nouns, as in a "sense of" urgency, purpose, obligation, achievement, community, well-being or superiority, to name a few. Usually, people associate the definition as "an understanding or awareness of something" but here's the rub: it can just as easily mean "a more or less vague perception or impression of something" as when a person has a "sense of security" which we all know often turns out to have been a "false sense of security". The fact that these two definitions are at odds with each other poses a problem.

Ergo, this "sense of" fiasco has to stop as it's definitely too ambiguous to rely on. Likewise, the "attempted matchmaking at a party" scenario as it's obviously cruel and unusual punishment. Killing both birds with one stone means one thing: confronting the perpetrators. So, the next time you attend a soiree and overhear, "You'll love him; he has a great sense of humor", feel free to get right up in the matchmaker's grill with, "You mean, he has a feeling it exists but can't really put his finger on it or he understands it deeply, like the whole gamut, from pratfalls to satire? Are we talkin' an actual stand-up comic here or someone privy to the occasional knock-knock joke? What's his take on observational humor; is he a fan or does he think it's been overused?" And don't stop there with the in-your-face inquiry. Keep up with the assault until you're sure this person is experiencing a complete and utter "sense of" dread.