Sunday, May 30, 2010

Starting Over

The most important thing about a really bad date is making sure you don’t obsess to the extent that you vow, “Never again.” Becoming a hermit is not the antidote to a lousy date. Problem solving is. Figure out what you can do differently next time and get back in the race. Figure out what went awry and learn from the experience; you won’t have to join a religious order with a vow of silence, solitude, and celibacy.
Don’t rush into another date with just anybody, but do put this experience in perspective. Hey, it was one crummy date — no need to be bummed out about it endlessly. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get ready to date all over again. Be thankful you both agreed on at least one thing — it didn’t work. Beware of the Groucho Marx School of Life that says, “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member.” In the world of dating, this if-they’ll-have-me-I-don’t-want-them mentality translates into two unappealing possibilities: “If they hate me, they must be really cool and have figured out the real me” or — even worse — “Nobody rejects me first. I’ll charm them so they’ll like me, and then I’ll reject them.” Take my advice: If it’s lousy for both of you, let it go and be done with it. Amen.

Reviewing Expectations

One bad date doesn’t mean much; a string of bad dates may mean a lot. If you keep thinking this one is “the one” and are wrong again and again, it may be time to stop, look, and listen.
When you get home, evaluate your expectations and examine your dating patterns. Only then can you stop making the same mistakes over and over. Answer the following questions in your dating notebook so you have a basis on which to begin analysis, understanding, and change.
  • What qualities must your ideal date absolutely, positively have?
  • What must your ideal date not be?
  • Why was this date a disaster?
  • Think back to the last disaster date you had — what things went wrong then? (If this is your first bad date, skip this question.)
  • Looking back over your lists, are there any similarities between what you put on the “My date must not be” list and the (one or) two “disaster date” lists?
If so, nail those little suckers and write them down. Is there a pattern? Is there a pit into which you keep falling? If your ideal date must not be rude, obese, or boring, and your disaster dates were rude, thin, and boring, perhaps you didn’t look too far beyond the outer package when the date was first set up. Or if all your disaster dates turn out to be so self involved they may as well be out with themselves, perhaps you don’t know how to spot a narcissist early on.

Five signs you really do hate each other

  • A piece of cilantro is stuck to your date’s chin, and you don’t bother to mention it. Your date knows it’s there and doesn’t bother to remove it.
  • You both could describe every detail of the door but don’t know what color your date’s eyes are.
  • If it were videotaped, your conversation would make it on America’s Most Boring Videos.
  • You have to keep explaining punch lines.
  • Your mouths are killing both of you from all that fake smiling.