I pride myself on being a comic who doesn’t constantly harp on differences between men and women, but any discussion of dating has to start with the premise that men and women begin to date for different reasons. A man asks a woman out with one underlying truth, and that is that he will have sex with her if she allows it. A woman accepts because she might allow it at some point, if the man doesn’t entirely blow it. Now, there are women so into a man, or so in need of attention that the dudes are almost guaranteed to get lucky. What guys need to know is that there is still time to ruin everything.
I love the cliché “you only get one chance to make a first impression,” because when it comes to relationships, it’s worthless. No matter how it began, if a woman agrees to a date, you’ve already made up for any false start penalties, and you’re at first and ten. So here’s a better aphorism: “you only get one chance to date someone for the first time.” Choose your turf carefully. I am a big believer in the power of brunch, because it has everything, and wraps it in bacon. Brunch is early enough for me to be cognizant but not so early I have to set an alarm. Brunch is brightly lit, and there will be no poor lighting regrets later. It puts my date at ease, because she can cut and run at her leisure (as can I) if things don’t work out, or the day can be extended if things go as planned. Most of all, we get to hear each other talk.
There are guys who will read this and never get to this sentence, thinking “geez, Reyes, who in the world wants to talk?” Hey, there’s nothing wrong with an entertainment date. Take her to see that hot new band, but first time out do you really want to have to protect her from the mosh pit, worry about guys hitting on her every time you get a beer, risk getting turned off if she drinks too much or turning her off as she watches you suck down one too many? What if she gets infatuated with one of the dudes in the band? Most of all, why would you want to cheat yourself out of the best possible sex?
The truth of the matter is that sex improves exponentially if you actually have a connection with your partner. If you’ve had more than a dozen experiences, you know the horror show of watching someone you thought was the hottest thing on two legs go complete Dorian Gray right before your eyes, just because you can’t stand to listen to the sound of their voice, much less try to make sense of their sentences. Are there exceptions? Sure. However, you are settling for steak, and on a limited basis, instead of steak which will eventually become wagyu, with béarnaise sauce and cheese grits, all you can eat, all the time.
You see, what makes the sex great is what makes the date great, and that is the uncertainty. You have to feel that at any time, you can have that magic carpet ride ripped out from under you. Working without a net is always more exciting. No risk, no reward, right? So when you date, you always want that challenge. You want to know your conversation will intrigue and invite reply, even when you reach that point where you are both entirely happy with silence. You want to know that you can still choose an activity which will make your date wonder “how did he ever come up with that,” even when your main activity is a Saturday afternoon movie. Go see a foreign film, or one aimed at a younger audience. Shake it up a little.
I suppose I’m a romantic, but I’m an artist first, and as such I like elevating a date into high art. Truthfully, how many great stories does anyone have about memorable dates? You’d think there’d be a lot more material for feature films. Instead, we have 50 First Dates, all of which apparently stunk like old fish, and you know what they say. Only ONE thing smells like old fish, and it’s old fish. So put some sushi in your future. Think outside the box, or maybe inside of one at an opera. Keep yourselves guessing, and guess what? You’re about to get lucky!
There’s no reason not to try something once.
It might be everything you ever wanted, or it may disappoint you and make you wish you had never thought to try it.
… but at least you’ll know.
– Rod Reyes
What makes dating fun is your attitude.
There are a lot of people browsing Tinder right now or reading a 5-paragraph melodrama on Match and thinking, “damn, this is hard work and all these profiles are starting to look the same.” That’s true. (See: Dating Profile Clichés) It is hard and everyone presents well on a website. It’s not easy to find a date and it’s not easy to find someone you’d want to go on a second date with.
The trick is to make it fun. Go someplace you’re excited to go and bring this person along for the ride. Take your date to a carnival or a state fair. It would be fun alone but now it’s even more fun because you have someone to share cotton candy with and talk to about how the basketball hoop is smaller than the ball. Make yourself look like an ass trying to win a stuffed animal. Find an old-fashioned drive-in. There are still some around. Your date will appreciate your taste in nostalgia and those are the perfect spots for a backseat make-out session.
A date can be coffee and conversation or a movie and popcorn. Either way it should be a way to get to know this person and share new experiences. Try to stay open-minded and listen to what this person is saying. Be yourself and don’t hold back. If they like you as you are without pretense there’s a better chance of a long-lasting relationship than if you’re fooling each other from day one.
I’m an old married guy and dates are still very important to me. My wife is a great figure skater so for her birthday I took her to an ice rink. We had a blast. Even though the “sky rink” at Chelsea Piers is ridiculously crowded we made the most of it. I asked her to show me some fancy moves and spins and then I tried the easy ones (which were still very hard)… but we did it. We had a blast and I laughed at kids falling down and we shared an experience together. What makes it fun is appreciating the time you get to spend with a person who you enjoy being with.
I know dating can be hard. It can be frustrating and irritating and expensive… but it can also be very rewarding and exiting and… fun. It’s important to remember that. It’s like a job interview. If you go to the interviewing thinking there’s no way you’re going to get it, the hiring manager will smell that and you won’t get it.
It’s all in your head. If you go out thinking that it’s just another crappy night with another strange person whom you have no chance of being with longer than this one crappy date… then you’re right. If you go out thinking this is going to be the time of your life and you’ll look back on this date in 25 years and laugh about how fun and exciting it was… then you’re right. You only get one shot at this crazy roller-coaster ride that is life. Keep you arms and legs inside the ride at all times and scream as loud as you can on every loop-d-loop.