Re-introduction to Dating
Once upon a time, there were neighborhoods where people actually knew their neighbors. People would meet each other at fairs, block parties, school events, and other omnipresent social situations. There was a sense of security when meeting new people because you usually had someone in common whom you both knew and hopefully trusted.
Well, all that has all gone to hell. People are staying in and toying with their computers or simultaneously watching hundreds of channels of useless cable television. Today, more than ever, in order to continue procreating the human race, you’ve got to work much harder to compete with all the neat new stuff being produced by this digital age.
Not that you don’t already know what dating is, but I thought it would be best to redefine dating in today’s world. Things have changed a lot since our parents dated. Since they’re often the source of our dating advice, you may need some clarification in relevance. Realistically, today’s dating could be defined as follows:
- The act of putting your best face forward; representing 50% or less of your real self.
- Often acting like someone you’re not but you’d like to be.
- Doing things you probably wouldn’t do in a real relationship.
Basically, dating is nothing more than telling tales and playing games while you’re trying to look like someone you’re not. You’re on your best behavior on your first and second dates because you know your prospect is formulating an opinion of you.
A man’s instinct makes him chase booty with every red blood cell in his body. He’s likely to hold the door open, avoid passing gas, and other considerations that he’ll immediately drop upon getting the coveted booty.
And women are even worse; this is the only time she won’t give you grief for leaving the toilet seat up or not doing the dishes because she’s afraid you’ll think she’s a bitch and you won’t call her again. They play on our instinctive needs. And when it comes to courting and relationships, all that equality nonsense goes out the window and all the old-fashioned traditional rituals mysteriously resurface. It must be nice to be able to have your cake and eat it too.
Here are a few basic misconceptions about the dating process that may help you achieve dating success.
Dating misconception #1
It doesn’t matter if you’re plain looking, gorgeous, chubby, fuzzy or strange looking. Someone else in this world will either find you physically attractive, or will see beyond your physical attributes and love you like you never thought you could be loved. Chemistry is a very real and powerful tool in relationships. This is a result of our instincts – your subconscious will often tell you that something’s right or wrong.
For example, if your prospect smells, that’s nature’s way of telling you to back off. Someone else may find his or her scent very attractive. It could be a smell, a look, something said or even the sound of a voice that snags or repels one of you. Nature has a way of letting us know that something’s right or very wrong.
Fortunately for men, women can often overlook superficial things like weight problems or baldness. Women value different things than men; such as stability, tenderness, paternal instincts, and other things that most men consider trivial or take for granted. Men focus more on physical attributes while most women concentrate on things that really matter. Of course, there are the few silly women who are looking for someone who resembles Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt. Little do they know that they’re sealing their own personal misery by wasting the best years of their life holding out for something they have little or no chance of getting. They date men for sheer amusement. It’s these types that really piss me off.
Dating misconception #2
If you’re a man and you think you’re smart, multiply what you think your intelligence is by 10; and that’s the power a woman will have over your heart. It’s a cold hard fact of life – women are much smarter when it comes to “P.Q.,” or personality quotient. When a woman matures and opens her eyes, she can read most men like a book. They’re much more in touch with all of their senses, especially senses that we’re not even sure we have.
For a man to find true happiness, you’re going to have to be one step ahead of a woman. You’ve got to see what they see and think what they’re thinking. You’ll have to handle problems before they become an issue. You must learn how to make the most of every opportunity before it disappears forever. And most great opportunities won’t hang around long enough for you to fumble your way through figuring out that it was a great opportunity.
Dating misconception #3
Women no longer dig the traditional caveman style of being loud and acting like an ass while showing off trying to impress them. This finally went away in the ‘80s thanks to all those sappy dancing movies that virtually every woman in the universe over the age of 18 has seen about a dozen or more times. Today’s average woman wants a sensitive man; someone they can talk to, someone who can really listen. Simply be calm and look cool – chances are she has already sized you up the moment you walked into the room. Smile at her but don’t destroy her dream by acting like a freakin’ gorilla.
Dating misconception #4
One of the most ironic things I have noticed is that the better you treat women, the more they tend to run away from you. Face it; if you get something too easily, it’s not worth as much as something you had to work for. Even though you’re excited about your new relationship and you may want to do all kinds of nice things, resist for a while. Let the relationship stabilize; get to know what makes her tick. If everything’s cool later on, then you can let loose and spoil the hell out of her. Some women expect to be spoiled all the time, which often indicates trouble to come.
New dating rules
Things have changed since your parents dated. Chances are their well-meant advice has been at least part of the reason for the misery of many. Forget whatever they told you. There are a whole new set of rules that can help guide you through today’s dating quandary.
1. Date initiation.
Men have traditionally been responsible for asking a woman for a date. Today, it finally has become acceptable for a woman to ask a guy to go out. Most old-fashioned girls will still wait for you to make the move. Just because it’s acceptable for women to make the move, don’t you dare wait for her to do it, or you may wait forever.
2. Date planning.
I’ve always thought that since women are much more organized in this type of thing, they should plan the agenda. But in the real world, we’ve got to suck it up and figure out the date plan, and then be told how it could have been better afterwards. At least you can control the date for the best possible results.
3. Dressing the part.
Dress codes have virtually disappeared in today’s society, but check with your destination first if you’re not sure. I’d even recommend erring on the side of being too casual rather than overdressed. Depending on the situation, for men, a sport coat, and casual shoes will usually fit the bill. You can always lose the sport coat if it’s too much. Plus, you can score extra points if she gets cold and you slickly cover her with your coat. Chivalry still rocks.
4. Who “foots the bill.”
Unfortunately, here’s one thing that will probably never change – men will probably have to pay for dates for all eternity. There are a number of arguments that actually do support this, such as higher male wages, years of tradition, and our easily bruised male pride. There are cases where some women will make a big stink and insist on paying their own way on the first date. If this happens, she’s either feeling sorry for you, or she’s a real bitch and doesn’t want to owe you anything. The latter is a big clue into a potentially nasty personality, so beware! By the second or third date, a really cool woman will at least have offered to pick up the check. It’s cool to let her pick it up. See what feels right.
5. Minding your manners.
Should you hold the door for your date? Should you try not to fart on your date? Should you use strangely unfamiliar phrases like “excuse me” and “thank you” on your first dates? The answer is an unconditional YES. Unless you two have had an existing relationship as coworkers or friends, always at least start off on the right foot. You can make adjustments later as you get to know each other. If she asks you not to open the door for her, then just don’t do it. If she farts and smiles, you’re home free.
6. Knowing the signs, and when to bail.
As you go through the discovery process with different prospects, you’ll inevitably find some traits that one of you will find unacceptable. Instead of wasting your time in a potentially long and unpleasant situation, you’ll know when you should end the date and cut your losses. One or both of you will seem distant. Be honest and tell her your prospect that you don’t think this is working out. He or she will either agree or try to correct the misconception. Simply shake hands, politely thank each other for their time, and promptly call it a day.
7. Holding hands.
Holding hands on the first few dates is very rare. Things have got to go perfectly and the chemistry will have to be bubbling over in order for this romantic ritual to occur. You can get away with a brief hand-holding episode if you’re sneaky that’ll make you look cute – grab her hand as you’re crossing a busy street, then let it go after you’ve safely reached the sidewalk. If she still wants to hold hands, she’ll grab it back then. Otherwise, wait a few dates and then make your slick little move.
8. The first kiss.
This can be the hairiest, most stressful part of your entire date! Should you make the move? Should you wait for her to make the move? Should you avoid it altogether? Unfortunately, there are no common rules. You’ll probably know what to do from the signs she’s given you throughout your date if you’ve paid attention. If you’ve been holding hands and gazing deep into each other’s eyes, chances are you’re in for a full bore extended liplock. If you’ve had a strange, distant experience with a shy and reserved woman, you may have to settle for a high-five. I’ve always scored well by simply kissing women on the cheek when I dropped them off. If they wanted more, they usually grabbed me and took more. I recommend leaving the whole first kiss thing up to the woman. You’ll probably score many points for doing this and making her feel comfortable since she gets to control the situation. She’ll usually let you know when she’s ready. If not, ask her!
9. Stalking vs. Playing it cool.
The absolute worst thing you can do is being obsessively compulsive about seeing a woman all the time; followed by playing it too cool and avoiding her when you really want to see her. You’ve got to find the middle ground somehow. It should be a balance between the two of you calling each other and setting up dates. It’s kind of tough to judge with some women. If you’re not sure, just ask her if she thinks you’re bugging her. If she says “yes”, back off. Don’t be too clingy unless she asks for it.
Great places for dates
Your first dates should be some place where you can have a quiet, non-threatening conversation. Somewhere where there are few competitive distractions. A place where you’re comfortable enough to ask all the questions you’ll need to ask to avoid wasting time. Somewhere that has no advantage for you or for her. The last thing you’ll want is buffoon friends making all kinds of noises or distractions that take his or her attention away from you.
1. The Zoo
The Zoo is usually a safe, inexpensive, public place where there’s plenty of relevant and fun stuff to talk about at a nice leisurely pace. Bonus for guys: there may be animals mating, which may help to get her thinking…
2. Coffee Shop
These places were made for chatting at length while sipping overpriced lattes. Pull up a couch and begin your evaluation. This is a quiet and safe place to talk. And it’s really easy to get up and run if you find out he or she’s a psychotic wench.
3. Any Waterfront
Quiet, peaceful, very romantic under stars. Waterfront restaurant dinners followed by a walk along the waterfront is almost always an aphrodisiac for women. Use caution in big cities though; make sure there are plenty of people around. Criminals know this is an opportunistic spot since they know you’ll have your guard down because you’re trying to score booty.
4. Dinner, then a walk
Relaxing, conversational, non-threatening. Don’t go to a restaurant where either of you feels uncomfortable. If you don’t usually go to really expensive places, don’t go there for your first date! The downside of a restaurant date is that you’ll usually have to survive through dinner even if things go bad. Even though you should leave, it’s awkward and embarrassing.
Similar to the zoo, this is a quiet, conversational, non-threatening public place to meet. It’s especially great if you both share a common interest. The Franklin Science Institute in Philadelphia was one of my favorite date spots – lots of fun at a leisurely pace. If you’re not really into the museum theme, don’t pretend you are a connoisseur, or you’ll get labeled as a phony.
Although there’s something fishy about these places, they are a safe, relaxing, fun place to hang out and chat. They’re often crowded, but the long lines will give you a chance to see how much patience he or she has, and vice-versa…
If the weather’s right, why not have a picnic at a public park? This can be pretty darn romantic. Choose somewhere that’s not too isolated so you both feel safe. Bonus: you may be able to determine his or her cooking skills (or lack thereof).
8. Take a class together!
In addition to actually learning something, this method gives you an immediate reference point so your floundering first conversations have somewhere to go. The only drawback is that some classes can last for weeks, which can suck if things go wrong. Find a short one-day class if possible.
9. Lounge type bars
Not as noisy and overbearing as their sister venue dance clubs, this is a good place to have a few glasses of wine so you can open up and ask your dude or chick all the questions on your evaluation form!
Bad places for dates
Bad dating spots are those that are full of distractions and virtually impossible for the all-important qualifying conversations. These are places you should definitely avoid, especially in the early stages of your relationship.
1. Dance clubs
Clubs are simply too loud to carry on any meaningful conversation. Additionally, there are way too many distractions, including competition from drunk Asses who may try to score with your potential mate the moment you leave to take a piss. Dance clubs are a good place to make first contact, but avoid them for subsequent dates.
2. The movies
You’ll have to be quiet for two hours, and that’s usually a bad idea for your first few dates. You need this time to chat with your newly found companion to determine whether or not you’ll date again. If you see a movie, you’ve effectively wasted a big portion of your date with no learning. Movies are a great date later in your relationship once you’ve solidified your status.
3. A friend’s place
This includes parties, weddings or any other one-sided affairs where either one of you would have an unfair advantage. Your first few dates need to be completely neutral in locale and surroundings, since you two will need to concentrate completely on each other. If you’ve got your goofy friends hanging all over your date, they’ll do nothing but distract both of you and take valuable evaluation time away from you. There’ll be plenty of time for friends later if and when you’ve determined your relationship is viable. Note: this applies even if your friends are also her friends.
4. Anywhere too far.
If things go south during your date, you could be in a very unpleasant situation on your long ride home. Make sure your first dates are somewhere reasonably close to home, just in case.
5. Any overnight situation.
An overnight stay is very presumptuous and uncomfortable for a woman. She will definitely think that you’re expecting booty right away, and this may sink you quickly if she’s not a nymphomaniac.
Remember that as you progress through the different stages of your relationship, places that are bad for early dates can become great places if and when you relationship is finally secure.
The evaluation hump
Fortunately for both men and women, dating is a temporary evaluation process. The both of you should be actively peering into each other’s worlds trying to figure out if there’s enough in common to pursue a relationship. The first two or three dates are what I call “the evaluation hump”. It’s a tedious, nerve-wracking uphill process that forms the all-important foundation of every relationship. I’ve always worked about 80 hours a week, so I’ve never had much time to putz around in dating situations that wouldn’t work. Normally, the traditional discovery process takes weeks if not months to figure out all of the important semantics. With my master plan in hand, I found I could usually get most of my important questions answered in two dates.
It’s important for the both of you to ask the right questions, and to answer as honestly as possible without giving away the store. You should always leave a little non-material mystery to be discovered later, which usually turns out to be a delightful and interesting surprise once you run out of things to talk about. Disclose material facts up front. If you have children, a habit, an estranged spouse or a disease, disclose these facts immediately, or you’re both wasting your time. Secrets always finds their way out.
As I was navigating through the dating world, I came up with a series of questions and issues that I thought should all be addressed by my second date. I wanted to get the entire scoop on the table as soon as possible. I actually created a list of issues that I could review and check off (not in front of her, of course) called my “Preliminary Evaluation Form.” I’ve included a sample form that you could modify and use for your preliminary evaluation. Within my list, I have a bunch of automatic disqualifiers – things I knew would make me miserable, or things I simply didn’t have the time to deal with. I won’t tell you what they are, simply because everyone is different, and my disqualifiers shouldn’t be yours too. I had a “three-strike” rule that often overrode my hopeful hormones and put me back in touch with reality.
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