The Metaphysics of the Second Date: A Syllabus

The Metaphysics of the Second Date: A Syllabus
Professor: Lone Li, PhD

DESCRIPTION: This intensive seminar explores the basic tenets of one of the most agonizing, soul-crushing stages of the courtship process: the second date. In-class analyses will cover the myriad emotional pain-points of trying to get a stranger you’ve met only once to actually see you again. Coursework covers the hell of self-doubt immediately following the first date through the final exam that is date number two (93% of your grade). No laptops.

⦁ Human Decency 101
⦁ The Basics of Normal Conversation
⦁ Hygiene
Note: prerequisites can be waived for sufficiently sexy students

⦁ The Symposium (Aristophanes’ Speech) by Plato
⦁ Diary of a Seducer by Søren Kierkegaard
Crippling Anxiety


  1. Post-Date Overexcitement: So, you’ve had a first date. Great! Now, welcome to the chaotic, lawless wasteland that is the gap between dates one and two, our subject matter for the course. Did you come on too strong? Already having flashes of what a life together would be like? Is the modern dating process a Rube Goldberg-machine of prolonged emotional anguish? We’ll try to answer all this and more as we introduce ourselves to the course’s excruciating subject matter.

  2. The First Text: As Wittgenstein famously deduced, the other person will never text first. In this lecture, we’ll navigate the treacherous philosophical path of re-establishing contact without saying something awkward or terrible. Particular attention will be paid to emoji usage and proper placement of the vexatious “haha”. Those who opt for phone calls over texts are weird and will be expelled.

  3. Waiting For G̶o̶d̶o̶t̶ A Text Back: This interactive and highly variable lesson will require students to put on their best poker faces while anxiously awaiting their lover’s response. In-class activities include watching romcoms that no one will pay attention to because they’re constantly checking their phones and some motivational self-talk that will not resonate whatsoever.

  4. Regret And Self-Loathing (And You!): Students will analyze their previous relationships to determine exactly why they are fundamentally unlovable and have made a cosmic error in trying to establish a personal connection with another human being. Chunky Monkey pints provided.

  5. So You’ve Gotten A Text Back: Your lover has responded!* In this lesson, we will dissect their latest text like it’s Shakespeare. Grad students in Emojiology will guest to aid in students’ over analysis.
    *failure to receive a response will result in expulsion from the course (no refunds)

  • The Second Text: In the trickiest lecture yet, we’ll cover why whatever you want to say as a response is tacky, stupid, and makes all of your shortcomings clearly apparent.

  • Setting A Date: In our final lesson, laptops will be allowed as we search for a perfect location for date number two, one that isn’t too far from their place but also not crazy far from yours and is pretty hip but also hopefully cheap. We’ll end class with the crushing realization that you don’t really go anywhere ever and are not cool.

  • The Second Date (Final Exam): Small cheat sheets to be permitted in the form of frantic under-the-table texts to friends when your date steps away to the bathroom. Of course all class time has been about actually getting the date, so we’ve put no thought into what we’re actually supposed to do when we’re with the person. Good luck! Inability to secure a third date will result in failing the class and possibly lifelong celibacy.

Final Grades will be determined within one week of the exam. Students who fail to hear back in that period will receive a final mark of G.

For “ghosted.”


For students still somehow interested in department curricula:

  • The Kantian Aesthetics of Tinder
  • Utilitarian Check-Splitting
  • I Think, Therefore I’m Wrong: Argumentative Epistemology
  • Relationships and Logic: A Paradox? Yes.
  • The Philosophy of Eventual Divorce