Dear Luv Doc
I am relatively new to online dating—I have only been active a few months—but on the few dates I’ve had so far, I have been . . . underwhelmed. I have yet to have an actual conversation with any of the guys I’ve gone out with. Mainly I sit and listen to them ramble on about themselves. I am an MD who occasionally does ER work. I have plenty to talk about but can never seem to get a word in edgewise. How do I tell them they’re not that interesting?
—Real Doc

Before I get started, I should probably warn you I intend to ramble on for a few minutes at least, depending on your reading ability. My guess is that if you’re an MD working in the ER, your vision is completely shot. That might make reading the lengthy screed that is about to follow difficult, but as they say in the ER, “Close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades.” Actually, I’m not sure if they say that at all. I have only been a patient in an ER, never an employee. Hopefully, their motto is “Measure twice, cut once” or some other obscure yet benign passage from the Hippocratic Oath.

I am not much for cutting to the chase, but I will in this case, just for the fun of it: Consider yourself lucky. That’s right, lucky. For better or for worse, these fellows are opening up to you on the first couple of dates. That’s amazing. They might not be going into too much depth, but they’ve at least waded in enough to let you know you’re not interested. If you’re still feeling doubtful, let’s look at the other side of that coin: The Crying Game.

If your ostensibly opposite-gendered love interest is packing same-sex equipment, you probably want to get that information up front, ideally in the first few emails. Similarly, you’ll want to know about that ugly divorce, schizophrenic aunt, or secret third nipple. These are the kinds of things you don’t learn about someone else while yammering on about yourself.

A musician friend of mine once told me that playing music with someone new is always beneficial. Even if the new person you’re playing with is a horrible musician, you still have something to learn from them, and that something might just be that you never want to play music with them again. Similarly, there is something new to be learned from every single person you meet, but you can’t learn anything if you’re running your own mouth.

If nothing else, online dating should be an educational experience. Rather than being discouraged by your dates’ rambling soliloquies, you should instead be encouraged by the notion that you’re narrowing the search—not only by the simple mathematics of eliminating candidates, but also the larger equation of which variables you’re willing to tolerate in a potential partner. So, put on your listening cap and prepare to be educated.