Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dating Schmating

You know what I love? The online dating and relationship advice that you can find out there (particularly on MSN). It's quite entertaining. Of course, it's usually a steaming pile of horsepucky, but has comedic value nonetheless. The latest article was an MSN link to something on Oprah.com...some matchmaking "expert" who has a reality show on A&E. Guess what people? There is no such thing as a matchmaking or dating expert. Typically, if you are an expert in something, it means that you have a ton of experience in that area. Well, if you have a lot of experience dating a wide variety of people, I really don't want to follow your advice, because I'm looking to just date ONE person. If you're lucky and you met your soulmate, then that's great, but you're exactly that...LUCKY. There are 7 billion people in the world - 3 hundred million here in the U.S. - you think that you know something the rest of us don't just because you met somebody special? It's like all the financial "experts" you see on cable news shows. Did any of them tell us about the giant shitcloud that was gonna burst all over our economy? No. Have many of them made successful stock picks throughout their careers? Sure. In dating, as with finance, people will dispense advice. And often, it may even be good advice. So I'm not saying to dismiss what people say, but you should take it with a grain of salt.

Dating misconception #1: You need to be confident when you go on a first date. Sorry folks, but this is a load of hippo dung. Do you know ANYBODY who is confident on a first date? Anyone who tells you that they are is lying. Confidence, like trust, is something that has to build over time. If you have a perpetual confidence problem, then that could be an issue. But if I hear the phrase, "Women love a guy who's confident" one more time, I'm seriously going to jump off a cliff. Confidence is a function of the other person's actions. If a woman agrees to a 2nd date with me, then guess what, my confidence level goes up. If she stops taking my calls or replying to emails, then I am not going to be confident. That's human nature folks.

Dating misconception #2: Men are more obsessed with looks and superficial things than women. Most people will likely disagree with me on this one, but I am speaking based on my personal observations as a guy who a) Does not look like a movie star, b) Can't fix stuff, c) Doesn't know crap about cars, and d) Is not rich. The first misleading thing here is mistaking obsession with SEX for obsession with other superficial things. Yes, I believe that men are more obsessed with sex and the quest for getting laid. There are likely a lot more males who are playing the field solely for that purpose. However, if you took only the cross-section of people who are specifically looking for a serious relationship, I believe you would find that more women are looking for a guy who is "hot" or possesses other superficial traits than vice versa. The second misleading thing here is that women will not answer a poll question saying that they are looking for a guy who is hot. No, they say they're looking for a guy with a great sense of humor, one who is close to his family, one who is smart...blah blah blah. If one more woman lists "sense of humor" as the #1 thing they're looking for in a guy, I am going to lock myself in a rubber room and put John Denver's Greatest Hits on infinite repeat. Who do we think got more attention from women in their lifetime, Buddy Hackett or Justin Timberlake? The key is not in what women SAY they're looking for, it's what they actually DO when pursuing men. They go after they guys they think are hot. Sorry, but this is the way it is. I can't speak for all men of course, but I know that I try to give a girl a chance even if I am not immediately attracted to her. Of course, physical chemistry is important. We all know that. But sometimes it's borderline. And in those cases, I think you should give the other person at least a 2nd date.

Dating misconception #3: Women can tell within 5 minutes whether they like a guy. Again, a big load. Look, we all mess up on dates. Sometimes we're nervous. Maybe we're having a bad day or are distracted for some reason. The same way that you might watch one episode of a TV show and think it sucks. Well maybe you just caught the wrong one. If you watch next week, you might be pleasantly surprised! If either the man or the woman wants to find a special person, I highly suggest that they not write the other off after one encounter...unless something truly alarming occurs. If someone is outright rude, if someone talks only about themselves and shows no interest in you, if someone seems like a total idiot...these are some acceptable reasons for not calling the person back after the 1st date. Things like "he didn't make eye contact" or "he was late" or "the chemistry just wasn't there" are not good gauges on a first date. Those things might be different next time.

Dating misconception #4: This one bears repeating...that there is such a thing as a dating/relationship expert. The dating experience is vastly different for each person It's a giant crapshoot out there. Sure there are things we can all do to improve ourselves, but for the most part, it's simply incredibly difficult for two completely compatible people to cross paths. Remember - 7 billion people in the world - which leads to the final dating misconception...

Dating misconception #5: It will happen when you least expect it. Remember what I said before about John Denver? Add Yoko Ono to the mix if I hear this one again. Simply put...NO! It will NOT happen when you least expect it. As I tell people, I've BEEN least expecting it for the past 17 years. So what? The truth is, finding your one soulmate out of the 7 billion-person haystack of life is really hard! It has absolutely nothing to do with your expectations or your confidence. It has a lot to do with circumstance, luck, and the willingness of other people to give you a chance. This, in no way, absolves you of the responsibility for not being a total dillhole. But it does mean that a lot of it is out of the control of you and all your experts.