I remember watching an early episode of Glee where Puck and Santana broke up because she didn’t want to be with a guy who had such a crappy credit score. Like most things on that show, it was played as a satire and for laughs. Or maybe it wasn’t: the New York Times reports that in these days of financial uncertainty people are asking potential boyfriends and girlfriends for their credit scores before deciding whether to go on a second date.
“Credit scores are like the dating equivalent of a sexually transmitted disease test,” said the founder of a financial firm quoted in the piece. “It’s a shorthand way to get a sense of someone’s financial past the same way an S.T.D. test gives some information about a person’s sexual past.” Here’s the problem, though: we don’t usually ask about STDs on a first date*, either.
As more couples wait longer to get married, it’s not unusual to want to make sure you and someone else are on the same page financially before you get serious. But that’s just it — before you get serious. A first date should feel like a first date, not like a job interview. If you would rather spend a first date talking about someone’s credit history than about their likes and dislikes or where they grew up, you are going to be pretty darn boring and will likely torpedo chances of a second date with anyone who isn’t a forensic accountant. (And hey, forensic accountants probably need a break from talking about work, okay?) What’s next? IQ tests? Asking what you got on the math part of your SATs? Putting in a request to see your college transcripts?
Treating the search for a partner like the search for a job is not a trend I can get behind. Plenty of advice books will tell you that it’s the way to go, but the difference between a company and a person means that you have to tailor your approach differently for each one. Human beings don’t respond to questions the same way a computer does, and you can’t treat every date like a potential employee. Sure, down the road, credit scores are important. But you know what else is important? Their smile. How they treat the server at dinner. What makes them laugh. Who in their life is important to them. Those are the kinds of things you should try to suss out on a first date. The rest can wait until the second. Or third. Or seventh.
*Obligatory editor’s note: Is it important to disclose your STD status before things progress to the bedroom? Yes, of course.