Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Applying the Brakes

Remember when you were a kid, and your parents were driving the whole family to Disneyland or Magic Mountain or Lion Country Safari? As soon as you saw the signs on the highway telling you there were only a few miles left to go, you hopped up and down on your seat and squealed, “Faster! Faster!” You couldn’t wait to get there. Remember what your parents said in response? “Calm down. It’ll still be there when we get there.” The same holds true for this thing you’re on the verge of experiencing. Calm down. It’ll still be there when you get there. You’re still in the ignition stage. As you read through this chapter, I want you to envision a flashing yellow light. Proceed cautiously. Don’t come to a complete stop, but slow down and look both ways. Enjoy the scenery. I know it’s hard chilling out when you can’t wait to arrive. (I have a daughter. We’ve been to Disney World.) But there are lots of really good reasons why it’s a good idea to take a deep breath and gently apply the brakes, or at least be a little less lead-footed with the gas.
In previous chapters, I talk about the chemistry of love. What you’re dealing with in this early stage of dating is the chemistry of lust, which can be much more compelling and much more confusing. When your dates go well, your brain becomes flooded with natural amphetamines, or uppers, that make you feel — literally — high on life. You’re full of happiness, energy, optimism. If you were on an old Mary Tyler Moore Show episode, you’d toss your hat up in the air. It feels like this excitement will last forever, which is lust’s practical joke on us all. It doesn’t last. Eventually, the chemicals fade, and if deeper feelings haven’t developed, your fledgling “relationship” fades as well. When you race into a relationship instead of meandering along the scenic route, not only do you miss out on all the good stuff you’d never see otherwise, but you also set yourself up to drive straight off a cliff if things don’t work out. It’s hard to see all those Dead End or Detour or Slippery When Wet signs when you’re speeding, so the ultimate crash and burn takes you completely by surprise.
  • Focus: Why do I really want this person in my life? Is it about liking him or her or how good it feels to have this person like me?
  • Motive: Is this a romance or a rescue mission? Do I need or want this person?
  • Rationale: Do I think I’ll lose him or her if I don’t give all I’ve got right away?
  • Function: Is this more about getting into bed rather than getting to know someone?
Be honest. It’s important to know what’s truly lurking in your head and your heart. Misleading a date is uncool. Misleading yourself is unwise.

Four Stages of Attachment

Although each dating situation is unique, each progresses in a fairly predictable way. This progression from first date to budding relationship is what I call the four stages of attachment:
  • Stage One: Ignition (from first date to first month): Your interest is just starting up. Hopefully, there’s enough fuel on both sides to ignite a spark. You’re on your best behavior, wear your best clothes, shine your shoes, wear clean socks, pluck your eyebrows, thin your sideburns, and stash breath mints in your pocket.
  • Stage Two: First Gear (from 1 month to 3 months): If all’s well, you didn’t pop the clutch and kill the engine or flood the carburetor. You’re getting to know each other and checking the rearview mirror a bit, but mostly you’re keeping your eyes on the road ahead, trying really hard to mesh those gears without going too fast. You’re relaxed enough to be real, to fumble with the check, to wear a shirt straight from the dryer without ironing it, perhaps even to wear something comfy rather than spiffy. You offer your date a breath mint, too, instead of just sneaking one for yourself.
  • Stage Three: Acceleration (from 3 months to 6 months): Foot on the gas pedal, you’re raring to go. Physical and emotional attraction are steaming up the windshield. You like each other a lot. You feel so comfy you invite your date over to your place even when you haven’t picked the newspaper off the floor. You order extra garlic on the pizza. You feel a sense of give and take. Some of the nervousness about whether you’re on the same page, map, or galaxy or in the same car has lessened a bit — okay, mostly a lot.
  • Stage Four: Cruise Control (from 6 months to 9 months): Sit back, relax; you’re on the freeway. It’s a bona fide relationship-to-be. You love each other, though you may not have said it yet. You’ve seen each other’s flaws and find them adorable. You ate cold garlic pizza for breakfast, and your mate asked you to, please, brush your teeth. Happily, you complied. Not only are you in the car together, you can take turns driving (right . . . ), choose destinations together, and really enjoy the trip.

Avoiding Pitfalls

“Tell me a little about yourself” can always be countered by “What would you like to know?” which can be sidestepped by “Whatever you’d like to tell me.” Don’t be tempted to lie, even for effect. If you don’t plan to see this person again, stay on neutral subjects, talk about the weather, or — okay, okay — go to the movie where, at least, you won’t have to talk. Another pitfall to avoid is the tendency, when you hear a problem, to move in to fix it, becoming parent, therapist, or confessor. It’s awfully early to become a fixer.
If you do plan to see each other again, don’t worry that everything has to be said now or forever hold your peace. You have time, so relax and be as much yourself as you can. Pretend that you’re talking to a friend who doesn’t know you very well but likes you and isn’t going anyplace.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Spanish Inquisition phenomenon

The Spanish Inquisition was established by the Catholic Church to root out heretics in 1480. The inquisitors’ methods were brutal, employing, among other horrible torture devices, the rack, thumb screws, and boiling oil. You do not want your date to be reminded of this historical era as you tastefully peel away the protective layers and find out who this person is. Any question can feel like an intrusion, so make yourself and your date comfortable:
  • Share some things about yourself without dominating the conversation or showing off. The best way to elicit information is to offer some. I’ll show you me if you’ll show me you.
  • Ask thoughtful, nonaggressive questions. Doing so shows that you are genuinely interested and paying attention.
  • Avoid the enough-about-me-what-do-you-think-about-me? approach. Remember, the trick is seeming interested enough to ask gentle questions that show interest rather than reportorial zeal.

Good questions to ask

It’s important not only to be interested but to seem interested in your date by asking cool questions like the following:

_ What do you do?
_ What sports do you like?
_ What’s your favorite free-time activity?
_ What movies have you seen?
_ What restaurants do you like?
_ Do you think the president’s doing a good job?

Avoid questions like the following:
  • Do you come here often? Trite, silly, and demeaning leading nowhere.
  • How’s your food? The most common response is “Fine.” Complaining is tacky, and what are you going to do about it? If you want to focus on the food (I wouldn’t suggest it), you can offer to share. You can find out gobs about your date very quickly by his or her willingness — or unwillingness — to share.
  • Can you believe the weather? Pleeeze try harder than this. It’s a deadend question that runs the risk of making you sound desperate. Good questions are those that draw your date out without putting him or her on the spot. The goal here is to learn about one another, not scare the daylights out of your date with your investigative prowess. You’re trying to show interest, not terrorize. Talk, explain, find out what makes your date tick a bit. It’s fun, so lighten up and follow these easy guidelines:
  • Be prepared to talk about a lot of things. You can see why keeping up with current events, the latest movie, a local political scandal, or (in a pinch) your horoscope is a cool idea. If all you can talk about is work or your exes, it’s going to be hard to begin building those conversational bridges that give you the feeling that you’re getting to know someone and letting him or her get to know you.
  • Don’t worry about your next question. Listen to your date’s response. It’s even okay to be quiet for a minute or two.
  • Don’t fall into the Spanish Inquisition phenomenon.

Past sexual experiences

When in doubt, keep your mouth shut. If there was ever an area about which to draw a blank, it has to do with past sexual experiences. Over, done with, irrelevant. Don’t ask; don’t tell, even if tempted. You’ll both regret any departure from this policy.
All of us want to be loved not in spite of our warts but because of them. You want to feel that someone knows and loves the real you, but confessing sexual issues feels good for you for the moment but bad for the person who has to listen, and it will come back and haunt you both. See any pattern in the following list? You should. All these topics relate to past sexual experiences to keep a lid on:

_ Previous love affairs
_ Previous one-night stands
_ Previous indiscretions
_ Flings with the boss
_ Flings with your best friend’s significant other
_ Sexual preferences
_ Ménage à trois or more

If you have fantasies of being with someone else, remember that you’re not the only person who has occasionally thought about an old love or a movie star when you’re with your current date. The question is not “Is it okay?” but “How often does it occur, and how necessary does it feel?” If this type of fantasy happens most of the time, you’re not ready to be with this person. If it happens only occasionally and, in general, you’re pleased with your date, keep your mouth shut and enjoy the once-in-a-while forbidden pleasure of letting your mind wander.
You’re an adult, and human beings aren’t perfect. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Like everybody else, you’re a compendium of everything that’s come before: the people you’ve known (teachers, parents, sibs, the kindergarten bully, Sunday school teachers), the things you’ve done (your first kiss, dance lessons, strike-outs), and the things you’ve experienced (getting bad haircuts, developing crushes, receiving a favorite Valentine, getting a bloody nose, adoring favorite rock stars, losing report cards), and so on. Your sexual history is part of you, but the more you talk about it, the larger it’s likely to loom. And a looming sexual history does nothing but taint your current dating situation. If you need to confess about past sexual experiences, find a priest or a therapist, but with everyone else, adopt the Clinton plan: Don’t ask, don’t tell. You’ll both be happier and wiser.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

When to say “I love you” (and when to keep quiet)

Few things are more memorable than the magical, angst-ridden, fingers-crossed, breath-held, passion-filled moment when either you or your date says, “I love you.” The phrase is much more than three little words. It’s also a silent question. As in, “Do you love me, too?” Properly managing this moment can spell the difference between euphoria and humiliation. Tips:
  • Wait at least several months, a minimum of three but preferably longer, before confessing your true love — even if you feel it on the first night. It takes a while to gain and build trust. Zooming ahead too fast can easily backfire, and it’s really embarrassing to find out you changed your mind and you don’t really love ’em.
  • If your date says, “I love you” and you don’t love your date back, don’t say “Love you, too” just to be nice. You’ll open a can of worms that’ll only make a gigantic mess.
  • If you’ve been together a while and you’re just waiting for your date to spill the beans first, take a chance and tell him or her how you feel. Your date may be waiting for you to take the plunge.
  • Realize that “love” doesn’t always mean the same thing to everyone. For some, the word “love” is followed by the word “marriage.” For others, “love” is always followed by “ya.” Make sure you’re clear on how you feel before putting your feelings into words, and give a thought to the way your date might receive what you’re about to say.
  • Understand that true love implies commitment. If you’re not ready to be monogamous, connected, open, and loving, don’t say “I love you” just yet.
  • If the only time you’re tempted to confess love is during sex or when you’re apart, close your mouth, open your eyes, and see what’s really going on.

How to Sharing Feelings

Setting guidelines on when to share feelings is a bit trickier. Admittedly, the coin of the realm for dating is feelings and intimacy, but in the early stages of dating, everything is a bit fragile. What you’re trying to do at this point is to set a firm foundation for everything to follow — but what this everything entails is almost impossible to predict.
A new dating situation is an investment between the two of you. You need to establish the ground rules together and get a feel for who both of you are and what you want all the while watching the interest mount, getting a return on your investment, and trusting the stability and reliability of the institution (that is, the idea that neither of you is going to rip the other off). Building this kind of trust takes a bit of time. Just as if you were to borrow money from a bank and be late on your first payment, the bank very well may see you as a bad credit risk and recall the loan. But if you’ve had the loan for years and have never been late or missed a payment, being late or missing a payment in year three will feel very different to both you and the bank.
When you share feelings, follow these basic rules:
  • Be a tad cautious. Over exuberance (for example, taking a pledge of undying love) can feel pretty scary if it’s in the first 15 minutes of a date. No, you don’t have to be Gary Cooper, strong and silent, or Mata Hari, the keeper of mysterious secrets, but blurting out unformed and unexamined feelings à la Pee-wee Herman can scare the daylights out of both of you.
  • Live with a feeling a bit before you express it. Make sure that what you’re saying is true for more than the moment. If you’ve just tripped over your date’s tennis shoe and you’re feeling angry, saying “I hate you, you slob” probably reflects emotions stronger than you’ll be feeling in ten minutes. If the sentiment isn’t going to be true for more than ten minutes, stifle it.
  • Get some perspective on your own emotions and some control over your mouth before you speak. Otherwise, you can mislead yourself and your date. Saying “I love you” when you mean “Thank you” or “I’d like to have sex,” for example, isn’t fair or kosher, and it misleads both of you. As the two of you get to know each other better and feel safer and more comfortable with one another and develop some history, your words will have a context and can be evaluated that way. You’ll have a track record together and will have enough experience to know what is characteristic and what isn’t.
  • In deciding what feelings to share and when, think about what would be reasonable to expect at any given time. A promise of undying love and devotion on the first date might feel kinda cool until you think it through. All of us long to be loved and appreciated, but on the first date? Nice — sorta — but completely unbelievable except in movies or romance novels or from folks who are a bit unbalanced, really needy, or really manipulative. So although “I really had a great time with you and I’d like to do it again. How about you?” isn’t quite as flamboyant as “Will you marry me? I knew from the first moment (five minutes ago) that you were the one,” it is a lot more believable. If you want to tell your grandchildren “We knew from the very first moment” 50 years from now, okay, but when in doubt, go slowly.
Guys’ proposing marriage on the first date is sorta cute and makes a girl feel really special. It also offsets the notion that all men are commitmentphobes who love ’em and leave ’em. But it is pure fantasy at best and blatant manipulation at worst. Dating should be fun, not a mind game or delusion.
So do share your feelings, but beware of temper and elation. Make sure they’re feelings you’ve been feeling for more than one second and can live with in an hour or two or a day or two. If you really must say it, finesse a bit — for example, “I know it’s too soon to be feeling this, but it sure feels good to me right now” — and then laugh sweetly. Trust is a fragile thing. You need to trust not only each other, but yourself.

Things to tell if asked or pushed

The preceding sections outline the type of information you should share at some point in the relationship. But what about the information that you’re not obligated to share but have been asked for? You know the type of questions: the ones — like “How many relationships have you been in?” — that come out when you least expect it and leave you sputtering in your dessert. Do you avoid answering? Subtly change the subject? Look at your date like it’s none of his or her business (which it isn’t, really)? Or just ’fess up? Although historical accuracy isn’t required in answering a question like this — in other words, you can avoid giving too much detail (think of Andie MacDowell’s character in Four Weddings and a Funeral) — if you stonewall completely, you’re likely to make your date think you have something to hide. So the best answer is to give a brief history — more or less what you’d put on an entry in who’s who in American dating circles — and then move on without editorial comment that includes who, how long, how many, or preferred positions. Some questions are so hard to answer that you really should feel compelled to answer only if you’re pushed — that is, if your date won’t let the subject drop and not answering is likely to hurt the relationship more than a tactful but honest answer would. Some questions that fall into this category are
  • Why didn’t you have an orgasm?
  • What is wrong with me?
  • Why don’t you like my friend?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Things to tell eventually

Sooner or later, the I’ll-do-anything-you-like-to-do phase has to stop; not only is it boring, but it’s also not entirely honest. After all, you must have some likes and dislikes. They’re what make you the person you are, and jettisoning them all in the interest of harmony is a short-sighted perspective. At this point (I’m talking date three or four, max), you want to be honest about who you are and what you enjoy doing. This information is not first tier — it doesn’t need to be understood as the bedrock facts of the relationship on date one — but it is important enough to be risked even if the result is mild turbulence; otherwise, you run the risk of being trapped by your pretenses. If you can’t keep up the ruse forever (and you can’t), it’s best not to keep it up at all. But realistically, at the beginning of a dating experience, we all resonate a bit; we want to be liked and likable and agreeable, and so we soften our own preferences because we want the relationship to endure. But sooner or later, the real you has to come out, and the sooner the better. After all, you want as few unpleasant surprises as possible.
Almost everyone has strong feelings about something. See if I push any of your love or loathe buttons with the following:
  • Aerobics
  • Football
  • Ballet
  • Bullfighting
  • Boxing
  • Sky diving
  • Types of food (Chinese, Mexican, French, and so on)
  • White-water rafting
  • Your date’s
• Perfume or aftershave
• Temper
• Drinking
• Sense of humor
• Socks
Note: As you get seemingly closer to the loath side of the list, it becomes even more important to temper your firm opinions with gentleness.
As you share your likes and dislikes in the name of honesty, be gentle. Telling
someone you’re not crazy about football may be jarring to a die-hard fan, but
you need to be especially careful about mouthing off about your date’s

  • Best friend
  • Parents
  • Dog
  • Hair color
  • Haircut
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Religion

Things to tell immediately

If there’s something about you that you think can affect any long-term prospects and that more than two people know, you may as well ’fess up on the first few dates — especially if you feel that it may blow things. You can try to create an environment that makes sense, but keeping that big of a secret from the get-go adds pressure and nervousness at a pressurized time. If you’d tell a same-sex potential friend, tell your date. If your date is cool about it, you’re relaxed. If not, at least you haven’t invested much already. Information that more than two people have isn’t a secret. If your date is likely to find out sooner to later, you may as well tell sooner rather than jeopardize the relationship once it progresses and the additional factor of trust is introduced (as in, “If you’d lie about this, what else haven’t you told me?”). Any long-term relationship is based on trust. If you can’t trust someone, you can’t love that someone, so don’t start off hiding important facts. The list of things you definitely must share includes most of the biggies in life. You should share this information by the third or fourth date. Any earlier is unnecessarily brutal; after all, if you really don’t fancy one another, why parade the skeletons from your closet? Any later is viewed as a breach of trust (plus, not having shared can get you in more trouble than any upset that telling may now create).
  • Previous marriages: How many times you’ve been married, how long you were married, and how long you’ve been apart. But don’t go into too much detail. See the later section “Keeping Mum.” Notice that you should confess previous marriages, not whether you’re married or separated or in the process of divorce. The reason? If you are married or separated or in the process of a divorce, you have no business dating at all — not until one full year after the divorce is final. I’m not kidding here. If you fit into one of these three categories, you can hang out with friends, work out, paint your house, become a temporary workaholic, take courses, volunteer — but you can’t date.
  • Previous convictions and parole violations: What crime you were convicted of and how long you were in prison. (I’m sorta kidding here, but stuff happens.)
  • Previous bankruptcies: How long ago you filed for bankruptcy and why.
  • Previous kids: How many, how old, whether they live with you, and if they don’t, how often you see them.
  • Previous sex change operations: What can I say? When should you share this information? You don’t necessarily have to share it when you first lay eyes on one another, but before the end of the third date at latest. Confessions of any kind — even “I think you’re swell” — need to be seen and heard in context. The best rule for when to tell is when you’d want to know if you were the one about to hear what you have to say.

Volunteering Information

What information you share — and when — depends on who you are and your level of comfort with openness and who your date is. If your date is open and friendly and accepting, you most likely feel comfortable sharing more. If you’re dating someone reserved, you’re likely a bit less forthcoming. This is called mirroring and survival and common sense. Some people are quite comfortable sharing some parts of their lives and less comfortable sharing other parts. What you’re trying to accomplish early on is compatibility — a good fit. So volunteer what you’re comfortable having most people know about you. The rest you can slowly divulge as the relationship progresses; in other words, you don’t have to produce an autobiography, complete with a slew of your opinions — or your most awful secret or family scandal — all in the first couple of dates. Most people who date have a mini-scenario worked out in their heads of what they want someone to know about them. You, too, can create a mini-script —what you’d tell someone on a long airplane trip, for example, or someone at a party is a place to start:
  • Include a little bit about your factual life: You know — things likewhere you’re from, where you went to school, how many brothers and sisters you have, what hobbies you like, what kind of work you do, and how you spend your free time. In other words, this script can more or less include the stuff you’d put in a personal ad if you had unlimited space and money. (In a way, the early days of dating are a personal ad — you share who you are and what you want — with the advantage being that your date gets to respond immediately, without writing to a post office box.) Age and weight are optional.
  • Share feelings: Worries, music groups that you like, whether you’re a baseball, opera, or chocolate fan, and how the weather is affecting you.
  • Keep the script positive and realistic: Your comments shouldn’t be too negative or make you sound like the best thing since sliced bread. Selfeffacement works only for Woody Allen, and a braggart isn’t much fun to be around.
When you share information, keep the following in mind:
  • As the two of you get to know each other, remember that you really don’t know each other. If the date doesn’t turn out well, this person is going to have all the information you’re now blabbing.
  • Make sure that you’re not using information as a way to bind someone to you too soon and too tightly. This tactic usually doesn’t work anyway, and you’ll hate yourself in the morning for telling someone you don’t plan to see again that your family’s completely dysfunctional and you’ve been in therapy since third grade.
  • Exchanging information is like dancing — you have to move together, or it doesn’t work very well at all. Some people are comfortable volunteering
some things; others are comfortable volunteering other information. Just because you describe the house you grew up in doesn’t mean that your date has to blueprint his family homestead. The key is to make sure that you’re not doing all the talking or all the listening. Once the two of you really get to know each other and have moved from first date to first month to first year, the ratio of what you don’t talk about to what you do does — and should — shift dramatically. After all, you don’t want to not tell anything that, after being found out, will shake the pillars of your relationship. But too much too soon is without a context for understanding.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Last Fifteen Minutes of a Second Date

Two words: No sex.
Two more words: Too soon.
Even though you feel like you’ve known each other all your lives, it’s really only been two nights, or an afternoon and an evening, or ten minutes and lunch. You get the picture. You don’t know each other — don’t get to know each other under the sheets.
Physical intimacy blurs the emotional intimacy of a relationship. It’s hard to see things clearly when hormones are involved. A second date isn’t even a relationship yet, so sex confuses the whole deal. Making out is okay. Making out passionately is cool. Just don’t go any further than that until you know each other better. Ask yourself if you’d be embarrassed the next day if the previous night of lovemaking turned out to be a disaster. If the answer is “well, yeah,” then the answer to sex has to be “well, no.” Never have sex with anyone whose middle name you don’t know.

Trust or Consequences

Trusting someone instantaneously can be just as devastating as suspecting an ulterior motive behind everything he or she says. True trust takes time. No shortcuts allowed. Remember: Your date is just your date; he or she isn’t your friend. Even if you’ve been chatting for months online, trust still takes a lot of together time. If your date wants you to give more than you’re willing to give at this early stage, don’t be afraid to say so . . . and stick to your guns. If, on the other hand, you don’t want to “slip” and divulge any clues as to where you live or work, what you do for a living, or what color your hair really is, you may be a touch paranoid. Yeah, the world can be a dangerous place. But if you trust someone enough to agree to a second date, it’s only fair to let him or her get to know you. This isn’t a CIA investigation. It’s a date. Chill out. Particularly if you’re over 30, avoid what I call the Blitz School of Dating. That’s when you’ve been there, done that, and you don’t want to waste any time. You want to book a table in a quiet restaurant where the waiter won’t bother you for the two hours you take to chronologically pour out your life story, hear your date’s, and determine if this union has legs. While the Blitz approach has been known to work on occasion, I don’t recommend it. Part of the mystery and magic of getting to know someone is getting to know someone, not hearing how well they know themselves Finally, resist the temptation to ask yourself the $64,000 question: Is this the one? Is this second date with the person with whom you’ll spend the rest of your life? Have babies with? Rock on the porch with? Watch go gray? While the urge may be there to weigh every second date on the “forever scale,” don’t give in to it. Distract yourself. It’s too soon. A relationship hasn’t even taken flight yet.
If your worst enemy knew what you’re telling your second date, could he or she use it against you? If the answer is yes, keep it under wraps for now. If not, go for it.

Getting to Know You

The info-exchange process on a second date is fun and exciting and interesting and a bit tricky. Unlike a first date, which is pretty superficial, a second date delves a little deeper. You already know you like each other enough to find out more. How much more remains to be seen. For now, you want to be vulnerable enough to let your date see who you really are without showing all your warts at once. (A wart or two is okay.) You want your date to feel comfy enough to share a wart or two with you.
To get the good stuff, you’ve got to give it. Trust me — your date won’t open up if you just sit there with your arms crossed. Though a second date usually shifts the conversational focus away from you and onto your date, striking a balance between being a good listener and an interesting and sincere talker is crucial — and not always easy or comfortable right away. First, know your personality type before the second date even starts. Are you the strong, silent type? A Chatty Cathy? Knowing who you are can help you tone down your natural tendency to clam up or blab on and on.
Second, periodically gauge how things are going. Here are some basic rules:
  • If you feel you know everything about your date and your date knows nothing about you, it’s time to open up.
  • If your date has been nodding for the past hour, it’s time to hush up.
  • If your time together seems more like a stand-up routine than a conversation, take a deep breath and focus on getting more insight, less laughs.
  • If your date sounds more like a job interview than a chat, it’s time to get a bit more personal.
  • If your date blushes each time you ask him or her a question, it’s time to get less personal.
  • If the conversation on your second date keeps grinding to a screeching halt, ask yourself if it’s you or your date. One of you is uncomfortable. It’s okay to flat-out say, “We had such fun the last time we went out. Is something making you uncomfortable?” If the answer is no and the conversation still limps along, you may be looking at a second, and final, date.