|Do you know how to date? Iím not talking about calling up someone and asking them out. Iím talking about really dating. Romancing the other person. Whoever took it out needs to put it back in! We need it. |
Dating Ö we set a date for a doctorís appointment, a tennis game, a court hearing, a wedding. Ah hah! It implies intention; that something important enough is going to happen that youíve put in on your calendar, and not just penciled in.
Dating rituals seem to be falling by the wayside, and Iím not sure itís for the best. The purpose of dating hasnít changed, has it? To meet someone of the other sex? Well thatís what we say, but weíre hoping it will work out, meaning weíll get along, hit it off, become a couple, enjoy time and kisses together, eventually marrying.
Itís all about possibility. Itís all about mystery. Expectations, met or dashed. Dreams coming true. Love. Romance.
So what are the elements needing to be present?
The first is the time-thing. After all itís datING, meaning itís going to go on for a while. Iím reminded of a conversation I heard between a friend of mine, Carrie, and her younger sister. We were listening to some song on the radio about anticipation Ö getting faint at the thought of making love with someone, dying of longing, that sort of thing.
ďHow come that never happened to me?Ē said Carrie.
ďItís because you always jumped right into bed with them,Ē said her older sister.
Thereís something to be said for letting the tension mount, about letting the other person fantasize for a while.
Meanwhile, build a little illusion. Back in my college days, we actually had co-ed dorms. The guys never saw us with our hair in rollers or without our makeup. They never saw our messy rooms. No, it wasnít realistic, but thatís sort of what itís all about Ö something nearly perfect, something staged, something special.
After all, thereís a time to experience your knight in shining armor unshaven, with bad breath, farting under the sheets, but it can wait. You have to fall in love with him before you can tolerate these things!
There's no need to worry about realism showing up. There will always be plenty of floors to mop, dirty diapers to change, and spreadsheets to type. It's the fantasy-moments that are in short supply.
A little illusion is part of it. I donít mean lying about your alcoholism or marital status. I mean making it a little bigger than life. Once youíve chosen a good candidate, take the time and effort to make something out of it; this mirrors the energy youíd be willing to put into a commitment, a marriage. Dress up, put on the cologne or after-shave, buy a new pair of shoes. Be on time. It shows you think itís important.
Use your emotional intelligence. Let the anxiety and excitement be a part of it. Donít jump the gun. We want what we canít have. We appreciate what we have to work for. We devalue something that comes easy. We ignore whatís plentiful.
Be willing to endure Ė in fact learn to enjoy Ė the uneasy feelings. Will he like me as much as I like him? What will she be like in bed? He hasnít called in 2 days, 3 hours, 4 minutes; is it over? Will she go away with me for a weekend if I ask?
Rushing into bed, demanding early commitments, whining for reassurance, and revealing the blemishes before the blushes is wishing it all away. Thatís why people have affairs after all Ė for the newness, the intrigue, the mystery, the suspense and the wooing. Buckingham and Clifton call WOOing, Winning Others Over. We act like we donít like it, but thereís no greater thrill than working to win someone else over and having a little trouble with it. After all, think about an arranged marriage: ďHere, Matthew. Here is your bride.Ē You miss the hunt, but with the hunt comes the uncertainty.
Men need to go through the drill. They need to pursue and be thwarted and then to win. And we women? We need to be courted. Why? Because weíre that way.
I was listening to two other dating friends the other day. One of them was in high angst! ďHe hasnít called this week,Ē Anne was saying. ďIím afraid heís gone back to his ex-wife. I adored him. We had a great time. I hate this. I HATE IT!Ē
ďEnjoy it,Ē said Melanie, whoís been married a year now. ďItís the good part.Ē
Hundreds of books have been written about dating, and thousands of songs have been written about falling in love. Itís a delicious craziness, if done right. We meet, the chemistry good and the magic starts. We put on the rose-colored glasses. Our bodies are pumped full of dopamine, or whatever it is, and we grin, look starry-eyes, love everyone and love life, love ourselves, love Ö love Ö love.
Donít get so focused on the goal, you forget to enjoy the process. Yes you will eventually get her to bed. Yes he will eventually marry you. In the meantime, remember some of the fundamentals, and have a good time!
1.Flowers, candy, candles, sunsets Ė add all the beautiful touches
2.Talk romantic. Read some poetry for some ideas. No woman will complain if you tell her sheís always on your mind and in your heart.
3.If youíre serious, make it a date, pick her up, be on time, and you pay. If youíre not serious, donít call me! Meeting her at the theater, or planning to run into her at the club are NOT the same thing. Going dutch treat signals either friendship, or confusion, which is worse.
4.Give each other small, meaningful gifts. Booking a restaurant just for the two of you and filling the room with fresh roses is for movies. Fortunately most of us canít afford it, because itís ďprotesting too much.Ē It smacks of low self-esteem. A single red rose, given with confidence and a deep look into her eyes goes a lot further.
5.Be you, but be the best you. Clean up your car, your stinky socks, your language and your behavior. You know what I mean! If not, read Emily Post or get some coaching.
6.Give your date your full attention. There is nothing we crave more. Iíve asked to be taken home when the guy answered his cell phone at dinner. Iím sure Iím not the only one who has.
7.Use manners. If youíre the guy, open the door for her, pull out her chair at the restaurant, hold out your arm and usher her into a room. If youíre the woman, let him do this and then show your appreciation.
8.Donít be easy. Donít be easy falling into bed, of course, but also donít be easy about revealing everything about yourself. Allow some mystery and some waiting. It will mean more in the end. We value what is scarce, what is hard to get.
9.If youíre a woman, put him through his traces. If you donít expect anything special from him, you wonít get it when dating, and it will be worse once youíre married. Make it clear nothing about you is to be taken for granted.
10.What shouldnít be taken for granted? Not who you are, thatís a constant, but I mean the special things you do to honor someone else. That you open the door for her should never be taken for granted. That you cook a delicious meal at your home and set a romantic table for him is not your ďrole,Ē itís you being good to him, and should be appreciated.
In sum, itís about time, and art. Take your time, and also take THE time. Time is our scarcest commodity and how you parcel it out shows what you value. Give your time and full attention to all the elements of dating and to the person.
Itís an art. Set the stage. You now how when a jeweler wants to sell you a diamond, he carefully takes out a small square of black velvet with a flourish, then places it under beautiful lighting, and gently lays the ring on it? Every gesture, and every part of the presentation is about this is a very valuable thing I am going to show you. I value it and Iím showing you this by how I treat it. Watch me. So donít leave out the flourishes, the special touches, the single rose, the coy peck on the cheek with a promise of more and better to come. Whatever your ultimate goal in dating, make the process long and memorable.
And P.S. Keep it up after your married.
About the Author
©Susan Dunn, MA, Life & EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . Ms Dunn is a recognized expert in emotional intelligence and offers individual and executive coaching, Internet courses and ebooks for your personal and professional development. She trains and certifies EQ Coaches. Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for info on this No residency requirement. Email for FREE ezine.
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