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Rules for Quantum Speed Dating

Austin DeMarco lives in the metropolitan area of Washington, DC, and on most days can be found in Maryland or Virginia or both. This is his second appearance in Daily Science Fiction.

Here at Qupid Enterprises, we want all of our clients to get the most out of their Quantum Speed Dating experience. Below are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started.
1. Superposition is your best friend. This is speed dating, after all. How else are you supposed to decide which of the billions of potential matches is "the one" unless you meet them all? In the old days, people would spend years with one person before realizing that the two of them weren't compatible at all. Who has time for that? On the Quantum Speed Dating circuit, you can assess dozens of potential mates at the same time, making the overall process of "dating" far more efficient.
If you're new to quantum speed dating, we recommend only splitting yourself over two or three quantum states to start. Experiencing several lives simultaneously can be disorienting for first-timers. Some users who split themselves too far never manage to resolve their quantum selves into a single state again. There is nothing more embarrassing than to meet your quantum twin(s) and find out that they're more successful than you.
2. Expect paradoxes. An important part of existing simultaneously in multiple places and times (and yes, even universes) is expecting the unexpected. While on the circuit, your multiple selves will be able to do things that might have seemed impossible to your previously limited single-state consciousness. Do not worry if one of your quantum selves accidentally "kills" your grandfather in a lovers' quarrel over your grandmother's affections. Remember, when the wave function collapses, only one of your selves will be "real." Simply reset your parricidal self and move on.
3. Be wary of entangled states. As many lovers have discovered throughout human history, compatibility is a fickle beast. You might think you meet the right girl, might think that you're madly in love and that the two of you are "soul mates." She might tell you the same. Even so, don't get too close. Once you entangle yourself with another person, it is nearly impossible to unentangle yourselves again. Later, long after you've gone your separate ways, if she finds her real "true love" and her wave function collapses, that entanglement could cause one of your states to collapse, pulling another you away from the quantum embrace of a different woman, one who could easily have been your "one" if you hadn't been separated so tragically.
4. Your spin vector need not match your partner's. There is a reason they say opposites attract, and it has nothing to do with quantum mechanics. You'll probably find it easiest at first to connect with people who have a similar spin vector to yours. This is because quantum spin carries its own magnetic moment, which can repel or attract depending on... but that's a lot of math that you're not interested in.
The bottom line is that you can meet someone with a + spin to your -, but it will be damn hard. And good luck finding her again if you ever get lost.
5. Don't collapse the wave function until you're absolutely ready. Even if you're certain that you've lost the woman of your dreams, even if you're sure that you'll never find your "soul mate" and that this woman you've been quantum dating for the past forty-five femtoseconds is "good enough," don't give up. The last thing you want is to collapse your wave function into a single state and then one day just happen to find that woman walking down the same street as you, hanging on someone else's arm.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, July 4th, 2016

Author Comments

For me, list stories can either be hit or miss. A good list story should be about more than the list; it should subtly convey conflict and plot along with the undertones of a traditional narrative arc. That's what I set out to do with this story, playing with the weirdness of quantum mechanics to make it happen.

- Austin DeMarco
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