Between the ages of 27 and 30, I had but two missions: (1) Create awesome PowerPoints; and (2) Find a boyfriend.
I was young, single, and freshly employed to direct National Journal’s Presentation Center, a searchable library of white-label PowerPoint presentations on political and policy developments. By day, I led a team of fellows in creating data visualizations and infographics that explained what was happening — or, more often, why nothing was happening — on the Hill. By night, I met up with girlfriends for half-priced drinks and complained about what was happening — or, more often, why nothing was happening — in my dating life.
My friends found respite from my misery when I met “Jack,” a handsome, Southern physicist with a sardonic sense of humor and mother issues for days. I was smitten. Jack had a knack for whipping up fun, creative date ideas, and after so many times on the receiving end, I wanted to return the favor. So I decided to ask Jack out via PowerPoint.
This colliding of worlds felt right at the time. I knew how to use PowerPoint to facilitate the communication of complex ideas, so maybe I could use PowerPoint to facilitate the communication of really liking a guy, and all the complex vulnerabilities that flow therefrom. I opened my laptop, fired up PowerPoint, and began drafting slides.
To my surprise, applying PowerPoint best practices to my date proposal made me a better dater.
Here’s what I learned about asking someone out via PowerPoint, illustrated by the PowerPoint I used to ask someone out. With apologies for being noninclusive, I use gendered, heteronormative pronouns here. I think it’s important that women get inspired to ask out men, and straight women tend to have less practice in it.
Can someone dim the lights?