Sunday, April 26, 2009

Surviving dating’s most embarrassing moments

One of my best friends remembers her first big high school dance as bittersweet. It was a formal affair (as they were in those days), the guy she’d had a crush on all year had asked her to go, and her dress was to-die-for. That’s the sweet part. Her bitter pill was waking up the morning of the dance to find a giant pimple perched on the tip of her nose like Mount St. Helens. The more she fussed with it all day, the worse it got. That evening, as the doorbell rang, my friend was squirreled away in the bathroom frantically powdering the tip of her nose — which by now rivaled Bozo the Clown’s. A bona fide disaster. She left for the dance with one white-gloved hand hovering over the front of her face. Perhaps, she consoled herself, her date wouldn’t notice. He did. After all, her uncomfortable behavior was as plain as the nose on her face.
“So you’ve got a pimple on the end of your nose!” her date finally exclaimed. Apparently, he was tired of gazing into a glove. “Is it the end of the world?” Of course, the answer was “no” (it only felt like it), and the lesson was learned. From that moment on, she heaved a huge sigh of relief, held her date’s hand, and had a great time. Which is what you can do, too, as soon as you master the perfect remedy for the following dating disasters. The first rule: No matter what the problem, ’fess up immediately. Your date will sense something is wrong and think the problem’s her or him. And remember, no matter how bad it gets, really, is it the end of the world? If you’re old enough to date, you’re old enough to understand menstrual cycles and periods and accidents. Should your date experience such an unfortunate mishap, it’s up to you to help diffuse her mortification. Don’t make light of it (believe me — she won’t think it’s funny), but don’t use this opportunity to “bond” with her by confessing your horror, either. Try what’s been known to work well before — tell her you’re sorry it happened, then lovingly add, “Hey, it’s not the end of the world.”

Big date do’s and don’ts

It’s prom night, your sister’s wedding, your 30th birthday, New Year’s Eve, a retirement party at the firm . . . whatever. When it comes to a BIG date, as in not-just-any-old-Saturday-night date, these guidelines help you have a great time:
  • DO plan ahead. Big dates are almost always dates you know are coming weeks in advance. Arrange your date as soon as possible so he or she can mark a calendar, rent a tux, buy a great present, etc.
  • DON’T make a first date a big date. It’s too risky and too loaded.
  • DO ask someone with whom you’re really comfortable. Big dates tend to be longer than your average date and often include family members. The last thing you want is a high-maintenance date.
  • DON’T make your big date such a big deal that your companion feels like it’s a pre-marital date, too. It’s okay to go out on a big date with Mr. or Ms. Kinda Right or Right Now.
  • DO substitute a platonic date when a great date isn’t in the cards. It’s better to have a fun time with a friend (or alone!) than have a miserable time with a date who doesn’t work out

Possible Dating Spots

A concert lets you relate to each other while the music plays, or in the midst of a break. So relate already: Bob back and forth together with the beat, scream in each other’s ears to be heard over the noise, and, when your ears are ringing afterward and you can’t hear anything anyway, just smile dopily at one another. Besides, if you aren’t having a good time, you can leave a concert mid-stream without wondering all night if you missed the really good part. Simply buy the CD.

Sporting events
It’s often much more fun attending a live sporting event than watching it on TV. Even if you’re not into football, you can get into nachos and peanuts. It’s outdoors (usually) and in daylight, and you can even paint your face the color of your favorite team.

Special events
If you have two tickets to a Beatles reunion tour, you’ve got a great first date on your hands. Once-in-a-lifetime events are your basic date shoe-in. If Paul and Ringo do decide to go on tour, I’m available. (I once turned down a cruise for two on the QE2 because I had Rolling Stones tickets.)