There have been many good ones, some bad, and few ugly (fortunately), so it goes without saying that with every date you go on, you learn the kind of qualities that you want in a person. You learn a little bit more about who you want to spend the remainder of your life with...
Practice makes perfect after all, right?
Well, this morning I'm going to share with you some of my invaluable knowledge on the subject of dating...
For starters, the venue you select is a great indication of how your potential relationship will play out. Coffee date??? Please! Pardon me as I go drown myself in a sea of pure cliche'!
You have coffee dates with your friends. You go to a place like Starbucks to catch up on life, maybe bitch about the world's many problems, not to fan the flames of a romantic relationship. Makes me want to yak. I mean, I go to Starbucks with my freakin' sisters, and you wanna go there for a date? Lame.
Not all coffee houses are bad. Some local ones actually offer live music on certain days during the week. As you wait for your soy latte, which is being made by the guy sporting a bandanna and a Greenpeace shirt, you can enjoy the sounds of local artists, bleating, and straining out the choruses of songs that other, actually talented, people have already made famous...
But for me, the coffee house venue isn't the way to go, not for a first date at any rate.
Have an adventure!
I mean, if you start a relationship lame, it's probably going to be a lame relationship.
That's why I'd recommend things like, inventing a new sport, starting a flash mob at your local Catholic church, or feeding wild animals near someone's campsite. Light fireworks in your hand and see who chickens out and drops one first.
Up the danger quotient, and live a little! The bond you form from these kinds of activities won't only be exciting, but will heighten the anticipation for the next date.
Then there's conversation.
The key to a great date, in my opinion, is great conversation.
Now, I'm fairly decent at asking questions, and I don't mind passing the proverbial ball into my date's proverbial court, and letting them chat a bit.
My problem is, when my date takes that ball, and hogs it all damn night. Perhaps you know the feeling?
You drop her off at the end of the night feeling like your ears have just run a marathon, and you're 99% sure that she knows absolutely nothing about you.
Yes, I want to get to know you, but not all about your family tree, and your great, great, great, grandfather Sven the viking king! As cool as that is, until we've been dating for over half a year, I really don't care that much, just sayin'.
Find someone who can give, and take. Conversations are a two way street, friends. If you find someone who acts contrary to that simple model, you'd be foolish to pursue it further. Why? We'll, quite honestly, if they're a self-absorbed, super annoying person now....odds are they won't change till the day they die.
I'll be honest, there are a lot of beautiful women out there who have a personality as deep as the kiddie pool mom and dad used to have out back during the summer. Weather and celebrity gossip may be tolerable at first, but in the long run it'll become monotonous.
Find a woman who can intelligently discuss literature, art, the Iowa Caucases, religion, or Marvel Comics, and you've found endless hours of deep, intellectual stimulation. Great for rainy days.
Attraction is a very important aspect of a romantic relationship as well. I mean, honestly, are you really going to pledge the rest of your life to someone you aren't attracted to? I'm not.
What many fail to realize, however, is that whilst on a date, individuals often have their "best foot forward." This includes appearance. I've learned that people have just as much potential to be ugly, as they do to be attractive.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or so the saying goes.
Attraction, to you, may be a combination of any number of things. Personality, physical appearance....Well I guess, it's actually a combination of two things, really.
Make sure to know yourself well enough, coming into the date, that you can identify how much you value each of these things. If you're a shallow, I mean, physically geared person (and by that I mean that the personality doesn't matter as much as the looks), there are plenty of ways to test out your date to see if they can make the cut.
Take them to a restaurant that specializes in messy, or finger foods, and see how they eat.
Even better, stall dinner long enough that you're famished by the time you arrive. That way you can see how/if she porks down the food.
Prepare some killer jokes in advance. A great joke will cause laughter thereby, undoubtedly, baiting the datee into laughter. You can gauge how annoying the laugh is, if there are any side products such as snorts, grunts, etc. You can also measure how the face contorts and changes during laughter.
Some people look positively hideous when they laugh. You don't want to take the chance of having a lifelong commitment.
Now, if you rank personality as higher in your priority list, it's a little trickier to identify a great match. Obviously conversation and spontaneity when selecting the first date are good things...but, people can be fun yet still be lacking in character.
Offer to pay for her dinner, and see if she graciously accepts. If she jumps on it too soon and orders half the menu, then you know she's just in it for the free meal, but if she has a near breakdown with the fact that you want to pay for her McDonald's happy meal, that isn't good either.
Find a person who doesn't mind to be spoiled or pampered once in awhile, but still knows how to be a team player. Relationships are for team players. While each will bring their own unique talents to the relationship, you're both working toward a common goal. A great relationship.
I always check to see how they respond when I make an attempt to open doors for them, or if they say "thank you" at the end of the night. As a guy, I want to know that my efforts to be a gentleman are respected, or at least appreciated.
One other thing, make sure they respect the time you've set aside for them. Time is the most precious gift we can give someone, and if someone doesn't respect that, cut the mooring lines, and allow them to float away.
This one's a biggie. See, as was noted before, people don't change a whole lot throughout their life, it's just too convienient to stay the same. If you, and your time, aren't respected now in their eyes, then you won't be later...
The biggest thing is this...have fun.
The second that dating becomes a chore is the moment that you've lost something key in your relationship. Yes, relationships are work, and they aren't all love and puppies all the time. But, they also shouldn't be an absolute drag.
Your search for a better half should make your life just that, better.