"The problem here is a totalitarian uniformity, a cult-like mentality such that even allies are enemies if they fail to follow the Exact Party Line. " - Phyllis Chesler

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Dating Haze

Well this blog has turned into quite the confessional of mine...the online expose of the inner workings of the sometimes scatterbrained, oblivious, and completely naive dating life of mine!

While I have my very strong points, dating and understanding this dating concept is just not one of them. And I know this is something that is not only hard to understand from the other person's perspective but also to believe that I should be so daft (Synonyms:
absurd, asinine, baked, bedlamite, bonkers, cracked*, crackers*, crazy, daffy*, demented, dopey*, flaky*, foolish, fried*, idiotic, inane, nuts, nutty*, ridiculous, screwy*, silly, totally baked, unbalanced, unhinged*, unsound, wacky, whacko*, witless)in this arena at all.

Alas, it is true though. I have never been a dater. And quite frankly since I began "dating" at the age of 16 the rules have changed dramatically. The concept of what dating is, I should clairfy, has changed in such a dramatic way over the last 5 or so years. I think shows like Sex in the City and other similar ones have contributed to this social change.

Good, bad or ugly, lucky or not so luckily, I have always either been in a relationship or in nothing. So I have never learned the rules, what is expected, normal and acceptable or not in this dating world. I plead ignorance!

Many of you who come and read and comment seem to agree with me about what I expect from men when I date them. However, there is obviously a very different POV out there that I have to figure out.

I spoke in depth with a client of mine, last night, who is still in her 20's but has always dated under these newer rules that I did not start out dating under. What did she think about the issue of being walked to the door or suggesting that we go back to my neighborhood to continue the date? Her views were very interesting and thoughtful and I really appreciated what she had to say and offer me and the time she took to speak with me about this.

Here's what I learned: right or wrong most men are going to think that if you invite them back to the area you live that you are suggesting sex or sexual outcomes. However, she was in total agreement that even if that was the thought, and even if that was what I was implying, that men -- mature minded men, also should know that up to the last minute the offer can be rescinded and that they cannot get all bent out of shape if that happens or hold it against you.

She went on to tell me that the bringing you home to your door thing is a bit tricky because most people just expect that you will get home on your own and that as long as a guy either walks you to the train or sees you into a cab that is ok and acceptable. She did however, acknowledge that if both parties are dating each other with the intention of meeting a lifelong mate (not a guarentee that you two will be), then it could be understandable that the guy is expected to see you to your door, because at that point in your lives you both need to show that you will extend yourself to the other to make their life more pleasurable and easier, and that it isn't about knowing you can get home fine on your own.

She continued to tell me that before she goes out on a date with a guy, she picks a time in her head that she will be comfortable leaving and getting home on her own and when that time comes she explains that she needs to go home and that is that. This way, she doesn't have to feel uncomfortable with that person when or if it gets too late at night and not particularly safe to walk the streets from the train, home or be in an awkward position of feeling that person should offer to take her home.

So I guess I have some adjusting to do whether I agree or not with the rightness of the situation.

I have decided that upon meeting the next man who wants to go out on a date with me, that the date should be during the day, since we will meet somewhere and I cannot expect to be picked up or dropped off in any manner, although they might offer, and I have been offered, and that a first date should be simple and last about an hour.

Why an hour only on a first date? Well, in talking with this young woman and also reading up and watching some experts on television talk about all this, I realized that a man is going to ask you out again on a second date purely based on what you look like physically. Are you physically attractive to him? I have been asked out on many second dates. I don't need to waste more than one hour with a guy to get to a second date with him. Most likely it will happen. If he asks me for more time after that hour, then it is a good way for me to know he is interested and he can get that extra time on that second date.

Second date comes, and the questions, albeit done in a slick sneaky manner usually start to fly at me to see if I think the same ways they do about whatever seems to be important to them. Being the mostly open-minded person that I am, I just answered thinking nothing of it. I personally do not expect nor require that the person sitting across from me completely share my views, only that he be tolerant and hopefully open to what I am sharing. I have often found myself giving good thought to what someone else had to say that I had never thought about considering previously, and sometimes I have even, dare I say it, changed my mind. However, I have learned the hard way, that most men do not share this ability with me.

So, next time I am on a second date and I believe the firing squad has started, my answer will be that I will answer anything that they are willing to answer first. Then I can see where their ideas and thoughts are and either shut my mouth or agree with them, but give them nothing to eliminate me with. (Well at least I hope I can pull that off.)


Anonymous said...

If the man doen't have the maturity and common sense to know that the woman has the right to withdraw any sexual contact isn't what I call a keeper..that should go without saying..if both parties aren't in tune with it..then it's not the experience it should be..

good idea on the daylight thing..The light of day leaves open the chance to evaluate for both people..

good luck

Perplexio said...

Like you I'm a serial relationship person... Since I started dating (as a late bloomer) at age 19, I've gone from relationship to relationship to... eventually... marriage.

The daylight thing makes a lot of sense. Keeping it light on the first date will help the real personalities (yours and his) come out. If there's not the pressure of sex or no sex and all the signals (intentional and unintentional) that go with that... it makes the whole situation much more comfortable.