The Doctor Will Date You Now

Why the emphasis on *Single* With Scalpel

Today, I realized I’m not a relationship optimist. My friends (and junior residents) could have told you that, but it really just dawned on me! I go into every first date mentally prepared for it “to come to nothing.” Probably not the best approach, since self-fulfilling prophecies tend to, well, fulfill!

I grew up in a small town, where most girls married their high school or college sweetheart. As a first year medical student, I started dating a friend who was one of the other last people standing. It was disastrous. I’ll spare you the gory details, but, by breaking up with him, I definitely dodged a bullet. Suffice it to say, I would never have been able to become a surgeon had I married him.

A bad relationship causes some people, especially analytical types like me, to closely scrutinize every subsequent relationship…and every date. Overthinking became my forte. I found it challenging to enjoy getting to know someone just for the sake of getting to know them, because I feared overlooking something crucial.  If you ever wondered why I tweet about dating, it’s because I’m actively trying to break my overanalysis habit by getting lots of varied dating experience.

Hence my current endeavor – getting to know lots of people by lots of means. I’ve tried (fun), EHarmony (not my favorite), and most recently, Bumble (results pending). I’ve gone on blind dates, double dates, and attended a surprise birthday party to meet the brother of the boyfriend of a friend. I’ve dated people from the hospital and people from online who turned out to work at my hospital.

Online dating messages are “beyond the scope of this talk” and should be a post in their own right. These may amuse or frighten or flatter or bore the recipient. Too bad the invitation to meet in Paris wasn’t meant seriously! I once received a message accusing me of being so distracting that “I’m going to lose my job because I can’t pay attention at work because of you.” Also, a word to the wise: never tell a girl she has “a distinctly sensual smile.” I found that a bit creepy.

I’ve gone on so many awkward first dates, including getting stuck in a museum for five hours because I didn’t drive myself (love museums, just didn’t hit it off, learned my lesson). One guy kissed me and then teased me for having onions on my hamburger (you know who you are and I hope you never embarrass a girl like that again!). More recently, a great guy took me on a lovely second date picnic at the water’s edge, complete with real wine glasses and napkins.

Here’s the thing: I may not innately have optimism about my dating life, but I’m finally enjoying getting to know other people just because people are interesting. Hopefully someday I’ll find someone I can’t live without. I’ll keep you posted!

Keep up the strong work,
Single With Scalpel



About the Author

Single With Scalpel is a Pediatric Otolaryngology fellow who tweets about life, humor, and medical education. She blogs here when 140 characters simply aren't enough.


  1. I love reading about dating mainly because I have never really had a real opportunity to date – I’ve always jumped into relationships. I feel like I can live the dating experience through others and I definitely love your journey! I also find it weird you like people because I always say I don’t LOL maybe this is because I haven’t dated enough and don’t have enough friends!

    Emmie xo
    Unsigned, Me Blog –

  2. Thank you for sharing your dating experience in medicine. Dating outside the medical community is difficult because we’re hard to date, since we don’t have much time to devote to relationships. My current struggle is that I’ve found someone great, but they’re unwilling to entertain the idea of moving for my 5 year residency. The necessity of changing cities in my future makes it extremely difficult to find a serious relationship that could last long-term, because they would have to be willing to move. It makes me sad that I may have to end my current relationship one day because of location. Long distance for 5 years in residency just doesn’t seem reasonable or fulfilling for either party involved. And I don’t see myself wanting to live and work in our current city (where I only came for med school) after residency either. Location may be the downfall of my finding a long-term relationship anytime soon. Do you have any insight as a female physician you could share?

Leave a Reply