“There’s no such thing as the perfect soulmate. If you meet someone and you think they're perfect, you better run as fast as you can in the other direction. 'Cos your soulmate is the person that pushes all your buttons, pisses you off on a regular basis, and makes you face your shit.” – Madonna
When Austin Winsberg, Alan Zachary, and Michael Weiner initially sat together to breathe life into this 2013 musical, all they had to begin with were mutual experiences of first dates gone awry. When contemplating what can cause a relationship to fizzle out before it ignites, there are many differing circumstances to consider; One of which being the predetermined prospect of “the one.”
The possibility of meeting “the one” is a fabricated ideal that is heavily imposed upon individuals throughout various components of society such as religion, culture, literature, and virtually all forms of digital media. According to a 2011 poll, approximately 73% of Americans believe they each have a singular true soul mate out there in the world. Statistically, this belief is seen more commonly in men (74%) than in women (71%) and more frequently in people under the age of 45 (79%) than over 45 (69%). In a more recent 2018 survey, 60% of Americans reported that they believe it’s better to hold out for a soulmate than to “settle” for anything less.
While it should not be seen as impractical to aim for a healthy, successful relationship with a prospective partner, what is unattainable about “the one” is anticipating perfection. Humanity is an unapologetically imperfect species, which means not a singular heart on Earth is without fault. The way a person presents themselves at the start of a friendship or relationship is often contradictory to their true personality, as we feel the need to censor or hide parts of ourselves that may make us seem less desirable.
Each character in First Date is an immaculate example of how individuals are so much more than they appear to be – “first impressions” are not enough to determine whether someone belongs in your life. A study conducted using 2,000 Americans determined that 7 of every 10 Americans will form an opinion about someone before they even have a chance to speak – and the average person feels they can tell within fifteen minutes whether a potential partner is worth pursuing. Being so quick to judge can often cause singles to completely overlook possible connections – all because of the notion that they should wait for a supposed right person.
Here is what First Date teaches us – a truly meaningful relationship does not begin with finding the right person, because there will never be someone who checks every box. A strong relationship begins with the decision to try. Soulmates are not borne from infatuation, only from honesty and trust. Love is found after a person quietly admits to themselves – “I think this could work.” There is no statistics or research that can determine if someone is meant for you, as that is something everyone needs to experience for themselves. This production aims to authentically capture both the terrors of being truly vulnerable in the dating world and the rewards that come with deciding to pursue a relationship with someone entirely new. Not because they are perfect – but because you see them for who they are.