How Spreadsheets Can Help Your Love Life

little black book

Love and logical organization are not incompatible.

When I was dating the man who would eventually become my husband—let's call him Dave, because that's his name—I was waffling between attending grad school and working for a few years to pay down some debt. I was torn. In the midst of my despair, Dave emailed me a spreadsheet. It was a carefully organized pro-and-con list for my job-vs.-grad school debacle. In the columns, he had filled out some of the pros and cons I had already explained to him. "To help you organize," he wrote.

The guesture, while it did involve a spreadsheet, was truly romantic. Here was my logical, pratical boyfriend helping me in the best way he knew how—with reason and Microsoft Excel. So much more functional than roses.

That was just the beginning of our spreadsheet-centered life. When I was floudering in the midst of wedding planning, he made me a spreadsheet. Buying a car? Spreadsheet. Having a kid? Five spreadsheets, including one for the feeding/sleep schedule. Budgeting? A spreadsheet so complicated I called it Frankensheet, and I swear it was capable of sentient life. Deciding how much to spend on Halloween candy? Track the number of trick-or-treaters, multiply that by two, use that as a baseline for how many pieces of candy to buy, and calculate everything in a spreadsheet.

It's enough to make a girl melt.

Jezebel posted an article about a man they deemed "creepy" for organizing his dates into a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is detailed, tracking dates, emails and first impressions. However, I don't think it's fair to call this extremely well-organized guy "creepy" or any of the other names that commenters have labeled him. (But in all fairness, no one really deserves the labels most Internet comments give them.) Because sometimes a dude just needs to organize.

Our resident dude Thomas Miller boils it down like this: "Men are data-focused, and dating doesn't really lend itself to it analysis. Putting everything together so that pros and cons could be assessed side-by-side is better than just letting your bros help you figure out who's most pork-able based on a single picture." Read more...

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Yes, it's hard to quantify love and connection into an equation, and no lady wants to think she's just another variable in how to solve for marriage and a baby carriage. But let's not fool ourselves: We all have our organizational systems, litmus tests and mental (if not actual) spreadsheets. Just like no lady would tell her man that he had her at "hello, I love cats too," the only mistake this man has made was sharing his spreadsheet.

Why villify a man for being data-centric? Logic and love don't have to be incompatible. So, Spreadsheet Dude, I hope you find your spreadsheet-lovin' lady soon and that you live happily ever after in nerdy, nerdy love, playing Settlers of Catan, watching "Firefly," and raising engineers and finanacial analysts. I, for one, have embraced the spreadsheets, which often help organize my cluttered mind and life. Because I know they're Dave's way of saying: "I love you. Here's some logic."

Have you ever used spreadsheets to organize your love life?