My favourites are the police procedurals from the UK. Wire in the Blood, Inspector Morse, George Gently; The Bill was great even though it was more of a soap-opera than a cop show. I was a latecomer to the American side of things, but NYPD Blue was brilliant, Hill Street Blues, Law & Order of course – there’s a lot of dangerous binge-watching potential in that lot.
I make the case now for being a little more like Andy Sipowicz in our dating lives. If you remember (or are too young to have had the pleasure), Andy was the dyspeptic detective star of NYPD Blue. He was tubby, balding, sour and hated criminals. His view of ne’erdowells was absolute: they should all pay. Think of him as an Old Testament kind of cop, albeit with a big gooey center. C’mon, this is television, what would you expect?
On the mean streets of NYC, Andy defaulted to a “they’re guilty until proven innocent” attitude. He didn’t view everyone walking down the street like that, but if you were near a crime or simply smelled bad, he figured you were probably guilty…of something with which he could charge you, if not the case at hand.
At least early on, I think we should date like Sipowicz. Strangers from the internet or people we meet in bars are utter unknowns, with murky motives and intent. We’re animals capable of complex multi-layered masking, so caution is warranted. Sexual possibility can push us (and them) towards extreme behavior, which in turn can lead to extremely bad results.
In my opinion, any cause for doubt is cause for dismissal. Move on. Game’s over. Next! If something jars in the first few hours or dates, my thinking is that the benefit of any doubt should go to those for whom it is deserved; folks for whom we have no track record nor history do not receive our goodwill. Once we start to accommodate strangers of unknown provenance, our defences are breached.
Self-preservation on both a physical and intellectual level must be our first thought when dealing with these people. Never give a sucker an even break, which in our context means any demonstrated bum note means no more dates.