Monday, September 8, 2008

Enjoyment and Anticipation of a First Date

Think of the astronauts suiting up for launch, your first day of school, the moment just before the curtain rises — we’re talking the thrill of possibility, and with it, adrenaline, anticipation, action. Even though your palms get sweaty and your tummy may hurt a bit, you feel alive and ready, especially if you’ve practiced your landing sequence, packed your lunch, and learned your lines. If so, anticipation is a wonderful thing. It’s the perfect imaginary meal you can almost taste when your growling tummy notices it’s been a while since you last ate. It’s the white sands of Tahiti that inspire you to see your boss about that raise, the bacon you can see sizzling when that first whiff wakes you up in the morning.
If you handle it right, anticipation is not only a motivating factor (“I think I’ll call a friend for lunch, write a memo to my boss, haul myself out of bed”) but also a way to enjoy an experience twice: You can enjoy it in your imagination, and you enjoy it again when it’s real. That’s really good news. An emotional twofer. Two for the price of one. The not-so-good news is that anticipation can backfire if you’re careless with the way you handle it. It’s up to you: You can poison a neutral or even positive situation by being negative, by building up the dreaded worst-case scenario. Or you can choose to be delighted about your upcoming date and focus on doing what you can to make things click. You can choose to label your nerves “excitement” and look forward to having a great time.
Once you’ve decided to enjoy the tingle rather than let your nerves become hives, the adrenaline-jazzed anticipatory period before your first date is the perfect time to get yourself, your mind, your body, and your soul into the “date state.”
In this chapter, referring to “date state” focuses not on cosmetic surgery before a first date (can you say overkill) or why your wardrobe doesn’t need an immediate major overhaul but why your teeth, hair, and pits need to be squeaky clean. It also includes advice on what and what not to wear. Time, transportation, money, and directions require the same attention before you head out. Finally, tada, a handy checklist of smart things to do during those final ten minutes before your date arrives.

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