“SS” forwarded us just about the craziest email we’ve ever seen. After going out with this guy once, SS received the email in question as they were corresponding to set up a second date and asking about each other’s typical day. We can’t post the actual message (for privacy reasons), but believe us when we say it’s nuttier than a squirrel’s breakfast, including references to bathing in monkey blood, daydreaming about being Minotaur, and commuting to work via jetpack.
She says “it appears that he wanted to be creative and funny — but this came off creepy after a first date. What was this guy thinking? If you like a girl and have already planned a second date with her, why would you send this email? Any insight into this male behavior is much appreciated.”
Getting to the last part of your question first: Has this happened to you more than once? If not, attribute it to this particular guy rather than as a general strategy that many guys use. I can’t think of any studies that would explain why this strategy (we’ll call it “shock and awe via bizarre randomness”) would be effective in attracting a mate (if anything, as you note, it shouldn’t work).
Onto the main point: You said that the message came across as “creepy.” Trust your instincts on this one. There’s a growing literature in what researchers call “thin slices” of behaviors in forming impressions.1 Very quickly, even just in a few seconds of interacting with someone, you can get a pretty accurate sense of who they are. Check out Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink2 for a really interesting read on this idea. You’ve got more than a thin slice of behavior here; it’s a full blown serving with a scoop of crazy on the side.
1Fowler, K. A., Lilienfeld, S. O., & Patrick, C. J. (2009). Detecting psychopathy from thin slices of behavior. Psychological Assessment, 21, 68-78.
2Gladwell, M. (2005). Blink: The power of thinking without thinking. New York: Little, Brown.
Dr. Benjamin Le – Science of Relationships articles | Website/CV
Dr. Le’s research focuses on commitment, including the factors associated with commitment and its role in promoting maintenance. He has published on the topics of breakup, geographic separation, infidelity, social networks, cognition, and need fulfillment and emotions in relationships.