Blind Dates and Asymmetric Information

A classic example of the pitfalls of asymmetric information–when one person knows more than another–is the blind date. You get set up by a friend with a perfect stranger, someone your friend swears is perfect for you, and when you finally meet for dinner at the hot new vegan spot in town (his choice), he asks you nothing about yourself and talks only about his newly-formed Lynard Skynard cover band.

Once in a blue moon, you get lucky. You start out as strangers but you quickly learn some things you like about each other, and you learn more on your next date, and on the one after that. Fast forward a couple of years and that blind date is now your spouse.

I was set up with my husband by a mutual friend who said Nivi was “cool,”  a “nice guy” and “a little shy.” Apparently, this friend sold me as a “girl who likes to party.”

The next blind date I went on was years later, with Jenny Anderson, who would become my co-author-slash-platonic wife on Spousonomics.  We were set up by Charles Duhigg. I still don’t know how Charlie described me to Jenny, just what he told me about her: “a badass Wall Street reporter who’s obsessed with her marriage.” Sounded like a girl I needed to meet.

Here’s the first email I got from Jenny. See if you can tell what information she was trying to convey:

From: Jenny Anderson
Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2008 2:40 PM
To: Szuchman, Paula
Subject: hey

Jenny here, great to (sort of) meet you. Any interest in getting a coffee/beer (or cranberry soda in my case) and meeting in person? We live in the West Village.
hope to talk soon,
Posted in commitment, dating

4 Responses to Blind Dates and Asymmetric Information

  1. Lenore says:

    What she* actually* conveyed: capitalizes West Village but not her name. Too tired to capitalize by the end of the message? Affectation? Likes coffee and beer (or thinks you do) but is avoiding teratogens. That info didn’t have to be relevant but she told you anyway. *Tried* to convey? I don’t know. Ask her.

  2. Jessie K says:

    Did someone have a UTI?

  3. jimmyc says:

    She was asking you where you lived, what your preferences were for a meet up spot, and if you were serious about meeting her. She also conveyed she was married (we), she was ready to share (cranberry soda), and she had an expectation of going somewhere more in line with her standard of living.

  4. I met my new husband through a “hook up” by a mutual friend of ours. Believe it or not, I was turned off when I first met him because he had too many questions to ask me. I was sort of hoping he’d spill the beans on his life story and it seemed as if he were giving me a pop quiz on mine. Thank God he was persistent, because meeting him that night was the best thing that ever happened to me. (Even though I’m still on the fence about whether or not I recommend Blind Dates.)

    The Wife
    Man Wife and Dog Blog

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