Okay, as promised a couple weeks ago, here’s Cousin Nora’s attempt at some advice for eligible gents (and ladies) who are subjecting themselves to the joys and pitfalls of modern dating. Ugh. First, allow me to present my “credentials:” I’ve dated a lot. I was married once. I’ve had many GREAT relationships with fantastic men who just weren’t right for me. And I’ve gone on more dates than I care to remember. I’ve dated some daddy mac ladies men and can tell you what makes them so annoyingly endearing. I also have a brother who always gets the babes and another brother who never does and has given up trying. This is fortunate for the women of the world, since he’s the hairiest man alive. I also have four sisters by blood and many sisters by choice (hey, girls!) I have lots of guy friends as well. What do we talk about? Dating and relationships, of course. And here’s a place where I’m hoping to share some information, information derived from countless hours spent discussing men and women and every combination thereof.
I’d been thinking about writing a dating blog – and have even toyed with the idea of writing a book about my unique dating stories and relationship tales. I was further inspired to action when one of my closest friends and I inadvertently observed a date while she and I worked at a café in Silicon Valley (a mecca for the ladies since eligible nerds abound). Anyhow, Alexis and I were at this café and ended up sitting next to a man and woman who appeared to be in their mid-30’s. It was quickly clear to us that we had stumbled upon an internet date. Alexis and I have been on many of these dates (not with each other, tragically, as she and I share an addiction to men and their accouterment – more on why I’m bitter later lol). So allow me to present our daters: Dude: Attractive (but not hot), fit, white guy wearing jeans, good shirt, great boots (guys, don’t underestimate the importance of selecting the right shoes) (Chick Magnet image courtesy of the Funny T Shirt category). Chick: Attractive, fit, Asian (turned out to be Japanese) woman nicely dressed and coiffed. Let’s name the dude, hm, Brent and the chick Kathy.
It’s clear that Brent and Kathy have had at least some communication online because Kathy has brought a Tupperware container with stewed bananas in sauce and, at some point, the two share this dish. So they must’ve discussed it before they met, unless Kathy just travels with prepared snacks. When Alexis and I first sat down, Brent and Kathy’s conversation seemed to be going pretty well. We could hear Brent very clearly since a. The table was pretty close to ours and b. his voice was on the loud side. In fact, we couldn’t have ignored him if we’d tried. According to what we heard, Brent worked in technical sales and had a couple kids and an ex-wife who now lived in Japan. He liked to ride bicycles. In fact, he said that, at one point, he compulsively rode bicycles and had to discipline himself from overdoing it. Red flag number one: In talking about his exercise this way, Brent was bragging and pretending that he considered his compulsive exercise a flaw. It was like he just wanted to show Kathy how hardcore he was about cycling. At this point, Brent disappointed me and I thought he made himself sound like a total wanker. But Kathy seemed okay…her body language for at least the first 30 minutes of the date showed that she was into Brent and he had a chance at a second date.
But then Alexis and I noticed that he was talking about his ex an awful late. HUGE red flag! Not only did he talk about her too much, but when he talked about doing different activities, he referred to “we” instead of “I.” This was weird. Was he talking about him and his kids? Him and his ex and their kids? Was he thinking he was King Brent and utilizing the “royal we?” WTF, Brent?! He never clarified who “we” meant and, at this point, we noticed that Kathy seemed less enthusiastic. Why, you wonder? In addition to the “we” thing, at this point in the date, we know all this stuff about Brent, but nothing about Kathy because HE DOESN’T ASK OR SEEM TO CARE. We know Kathy’s from Japan. We know she cooks bananas in sauce (which looked pretty good), and we know she lives in or near Oakland because Brent thanked her for driving down to the peninsula and talked about Oakland restaurants near her.
Towards the end of the date, Brent kept bringing up different restaurants in Kathy’s area, clearly hinting that he wanted to have dinner with her. Kathy ignored these attempts at establishing date number two. Neither Alexis nor I heard Brent asking her for that second date, but what I did notice was that he asked her something, she responded, and then he said, “Well, nice meeting you,” turned quickly and walked out of the café as quickly as he could without breaking into a sprint. Crash and burn. Poor Brent. Alexis and I felt really bad for the guy because he seemed nice, interesting, and intelligent – and he was cute, as well. So what went wrong?
Fatal error: Brent talked waaaaay too much about himself. If we (ha) were to divide the time he spent talking and the time Kathy spent talking, I’d estimate the proportion to be 75% (Brent) vs. 25% (Kathy). That’s way too much talking time from Brent. And, not only was he talking too much, but he talked about himself the whole time. And about Japan and his fondness for all things Japanese. This creeped me out, since I was wondering if Brent had an Asian fetish and was just looking for Kathy to fulfill his Asian fantasy (or substitute for his Japanese ex). Anyhow, Kathy wasn’t as loud as Brent – maybe she didn’t want to share her business with that particular corner of the café or maybe she was shy or, by that point, wanted to end the date as quickly as possible – so Alexis and I couldn’t hear her as well. But it was obvious that he talked most of the time. By the second 30 minutes of the date, Kathy had shifted into leaning back against the chair with her arms crossed.
So here’s my advice:
This morning, I went for a walk with one of my closest and oldest (as in long-term, not seniorly) friends, Denise, and we discussed relationships. Since I am on a self-imposed “guyatus,” I’ve taken the last few months to reflect on dating, relationships, and my romantic life. As such, I’ve been talking with my closest friends about this, of course, and what I told Denise was that I’ve decided that I only want to date men who could be secret agents. How did I come to this decision? I was at dinner with my ICB (“Inner-Circle Bitches”), four women who seriously kick ass. As I looked around the table, I thought about how smart, funny, and pretty these women were…and how we all complement one another’s areas of expertise, skills, and talents. This train of thought evolved into a fantasy of us forming a secret agent den, combatting evil and saving the world. Then I thought about the men I admire, the ones who really get to me. Hm. They seemed like secret agents, too. The ones I wasn’t that into? Not secret agent material. James Bond knows how to date (duh). How does James Bond get so many chicks? Well, Denise and I think it’s because he knows how to engage in ACTIVE LISTENING with women. What’s that, you ask (because you ARE “listening.”) It’s when a guy (or chick) really engages and cares about what you’re saying – and AUTHENTICALLY questions and follows up on the information you’re giving them. Don’t just pretend to listen while you’re slyly gazing down her blouse (secret agents are VERY discreet about this, too, btw). Don’t give the standard answers or ask the standard questions. Really listen, like your future depends on it. Because it could. Listen, follow up, and remember what she said on that first date. And if she talks too much about herself, maybe she’s not the right one for you, no matter what she’s packing. And can nerds be secret agents? Hell yes! In fact, nerds are better choices for partners because they aren’t routinely shot at, they don’t have access to all sorts of hot women at work every day, and they come in very handy when it comes to stuff like integrating comments into your cousin’s blog (more on that in a second).
And those are my initial thoughts about dating and first dates…Cousin Dave (Head Nerd) is looking into making comments more visible, but, in the meantime, to comment on this (or any) blog, click on the blog title.
In the next post, I think I’ll revisit first dates and share some of the better ones I’ve enjoyed over the years…sigh…anyhow, I hope this helps in your search for THE ONE (ah, yes, Highlander…now HE would definitely NOT talk too much about himself on date one…or two… or three….J )
Cousin Nora over and out!
Yes, I’m back on the dating thing again. I think I have let it lie fallow long enough to let all the dating manure re-fertilize my dating advice farm. For now I am going to talk about the perfect date-movie night in.
Why is this the perfect date? Because in 90% of dating situations this usually means that the girl is finally comfortable enough to hang out with you in a place with a couch, a bed, and no witnesses (in the other 10% it is either her chance to really screw with your head or drug you and leave you in a bathtub full of ice with your kidneys missing). I won’t be so crude as to say this is guaranteed a night of sex, but I will say that as long as you don’t choke majorly your odds of making this happen have increased dramatically.
The operative phrase in that last paragraph is “as long as you don’t choke.” The chance of blowing it completely still really exists, and most of the onus is on you to make it happen (or at least not lose any major organs). It’s like playing pool and having the 8 ball lined up against the corner pocket. Easy win, but if you are off by even a little it could still bounce out.
So, how to we make the evening work perfectly? Like all my other advice, I am going to give you explicit, excruciating details on what to do and, more importantly, what not to do. But first, we need to interpret the exact circumstances of the date.
The major question is if she is willing to go to your place, or have you over to hers. If she wants you go come over to her place that is both good and bad. Good in the sense that because she is in a place she feels comfortable she will be more relaxed and at ease. However, there have been many times I have been invited over to her place only to find her roommate hanging out on the couch joining us for whatever flick we are going to watch. This set of circumstances is usually set up ahead of time by the girl in order to have her roommate scope you out from head to toe, as well as provide a safety net in case she decides you aren’t the man she wants to hook up with. If you do well the roommate will receive whatever subtle signal was prearranged and slink back into her cave, leaving you alone with your date on the couch, or you and your date will retire to her boudoir to make out on her bed. If you don’t measure up expect the roommate to hang out all night or even be the one to say something like “You should probably get going now” while your date is in the restroom or looking really uncomfortably at the wall. In my experience, women roommates take on a weird family/control role that is usually lacking in male roommates, perhaps because men don’t really care enough to step in and do something.
Anyway, if she has you over to her place and her place is otherwise empty, than things look good. She is probably plagued by self doubt and self esteem issues, and wants to show you her perfect home, complete with doilies and a duvet. If she has real issues she will probably cook a meal for you. Compliment her apartment (“Nice place. Lots of…space.” Bruce Wayne and the Joker-Batman), compliment the food (“Brains? You shouldn’t have!” Zombie image courtesy of the Resident Evil t shirt category), and compliment her (“The candlelight really catches the gleam off your fangs.”). Eat every spec of food on your plate (or surreptitiously slip a few bites to the cat) and ask for seconds.
Honestly, that’s it. Dress nice, act nice, watch the movie, and make the move with third base as your minimum goal. At her place it is easy.
If, on the other hand, she wants to do this at your place, that is the dating equivalent of activating a malfunctioning warp drive and hoping you don’t get slammed into a black hole. I will discuss the implications and kind of prep work you need to do on this starting with tomorrows post. That’s it for today.
OK, I’ve reached the point in this series that it might have been easier to just list the ways you can spot non-crazy girls (I hesitate to use the word “sane” in this circumstances) but it seems you have a better chance of winning the lottery than finding that extremely rare creature. What this really is is how to spot girls crazy enough to severely complicate your life and/or cause you physical harm. The ones who will only cause you emotional pain I consider entirely datable. All things in life are relative. Here are a few more spotting tips.
16. Excessive tattoos and piercings. Personally I actually find it really these really attractive, but that is my own cross to bear. I also had a thing for my own piercings back in the day, but I think when I first started this whole dating advice blog I mentioned that I personally make a lousy boyfriend, so take that for what you will. Women (and men) who feel the need for multiple visible piercings and tattoos tend to have all kinds of “Pay attention to me” issues. I kind of see them as showing different symptoms of the same mental issues that strippers suffer from.
(Pinhead says “Pay attention to me as we tear your soul apart”. Image courtesy of the horror movie t shirt category)
17. Excessive cosmetic surgery, makeup, and elaborate hair styles. Another train wreck. Women who go for this sort of thing have massive self esteem issues. Again, you have to look for the excessive. A girl who has a mole removed or a bad scar worked on is not excessive. Nose, lips, and eyelids really is. A girl who gets a breast enhancement to make her body more proportional I don’t consider excessive. A girl who gets a breast enhancement so big that comparisons to sporting utensils bigger than a billiards ball become functional is excessive (think _____ball-sized). A perm is not excessive. A blowout that takes an hour or more every morning is. Also, watch out for women with excessively trimmed eyebrows. If it looks like her eyebrows were drawn on with a pencil stay away. This goes triple for girls who have their eyebrows plucked out and replaced by tattoos in their place.
18. Does she talk about her private grooming practices early on? Girls who feel the need to tell you exactly when and what kind of bikini wax she got are fishing around to see if they can get a reaction from you in order to better mess with your mind. There is also a very good chance she feels you aren’t paying enough attention to her, and there is an extremely good chance that you can never in your life pay enough attention to her.
I gotta run. Something just came up. More tomorrow.
Let’s talk about dining. Unfortunately there is no ecologically responsible reason to not eat, and if you push the issue too much you will end up eating wheat grass and fungus for the rest of your life. At some point you will actually have to eat a meal in a restaurant with your date. How, then, to do so without breaking your bank?
There is really only one real answer: ethnic food. And by ethnic, I mean it needs to be as authentic as possible. The best places for ethnic food will make you feel like you just walked in off a street in Ho Chi Min city. Also, the fact is the more authentic the food, the less burden it will be on youe budget.
This is not a free pass, however. You still have to sell it to your date. Start off by telling her you know the most amazing Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai/Ethiopian/Mexican/random Third World restaurant that is totally authentic. Try to pick one that has ethnic decorations, a staff that speaks little to no English, and a $2.99 all you can eat buffet or something equivalent. Make sure you know something about the menu (a certain amount of research may be required) as you cannot expect any good advice from the wait staff (as a matter of fact, if they can give you good advice you are in the wrong place). These things will most definitely help to convince her that you are a world traveler, open to new experiences, and not trying to steer her towards a meal that runs $12 for the two of you.
Of course, after the fourth or fifth cheap ethnic meal she may well start to catch on, but the point is by that time you’ve had four or five meals with her and with any luck have made some progress towards actually forming a relationship (and honestly, if you haven’t made any progress by the fifth date it’s time to lose her number. Never forget that your time is valuable too).
Another thing to keep in mind when picking your restaurant of choice is dietary considerations your date might have. Chinese food has a ton of MSG, Vietnamese is relatively healthy but tends to have a lot of salt, etc. If your date is vegetarian or vegan than this whole plan could easily backfire, as a lot of ethnic places tend to not bother with that sort of thing, or do things like call vegetable soup vegetarian even though they cook it in the same chicken broth. In fact if your date is vegan really the only place to take her would be an Ethiopian place, as they generally have great vegetation dishes and know to keep the meat separate. Also, it is delicious and fun to eat (finger food at it’s sloppy best).
(Chinese kung fu shirt (I know. I just couldn’t think of anything else appropriate) courtesy of the movie t shirt category).
Anyway, while this may sound like you are trying to trick your date, remember what I said about women actually being pretty perceptive when it comes to stuff like this and just treat it like a delicious dinner for only a few bucks at a fun place to eat, which is what it is. I love all sorts of ethnic food and if you haven’t tried any you should make the effort.
I mentioned this before, but I think it warrants a little more in depth discussion. Something that can possibly come up on the first date is religion and politics. This is potentially a disaster. When I first mentioned it I said to avoid it unless you know your date agrees with you stay away, but upon reflection I have decided the best policy is to avoid it at all costs.
The thing is, most people are more or less afraid to discuss religion and politics (Ronald Reagan image courtesy of the political t shirt category) with relative strangers in fear if running into a fanatic for one side or the other. If you were to bring up the topic and declare your affiliation there is a very real chance she will agree with you in order to avoid a possible argument and/or scene, but inside she is cringing away and waiting for her escape call (more on the escape call later).
If, on the other hand, she brings either up there are a couple ways to deal with them. If, for example, she declares a religious belief that differs dramatically from your own (“Lately I’ve really been into Jashinism.”) the answer I usually come up with is something like “I’m more spiritual than anything else. I believe in a higher power but don’t ascribe to a specific religion.” This works brilliantly if she is herself not really committed to a specific church and considers herself spiritual, as like 90% of women seem to do (it also makes you seem deeper. Beats telling her your way of celebrating your spirituality is raiding ICC every Sunday). On the other hand, this will more or less bite you on the ass if she is a hard core fundamentalist, but really those girls are a massive pain to try to date (I think I will do a post later on about dating the god squad).
Politics is actually worse in it’s own way, since if you say you are are not committed to one side or the other you end up looking wishy washy. Really, your best bet is to hope that both you and she are typical of the area you met in and that you more or less agree. Honestly, wait until she brings it up. If she does odds are she is a crusader, which can work in your favor if you agree and hurt you if you don’t (or not. Women often find guys who disagree with them weirdly attractive. I don’t understand it myself, but have taken advantage of it). Again, however, avoid this topic until after you have seen her naked.
That’s it for now. Have a great day.
Another topic that will inevitably come up on the first date will be your family and the nature of your relationship with them (Family Guy shirt image courtesy of the cartoon t shirt category).
A negative relationship with your family can really put the average girl off. Don’t fall into the trap of having her tell you how horrible her relationship is and then assume that means she will be cool with your bad relationship. Double standards exist everywhere. She will not want to hear about how bad your family life is no matter how bad hers is.
On the other hand, if you gush too much about your family, especially your mother, you will look like a mama’s boy. A girl in the process of evaluating your ability to be a partner does not want to have to compete with your mother. Basically you need to strike a balance between loving and messed up.
Each person’s life is different, and in this you should not be making stuff up as if you develop a relationship this will bite you on the ass. Instead, tell the truth but use an old sales technique I used to use when I would be selling products I wasn’t gung ho for I like to call “Finding the Positive.”
For example, it would be fair to say my relationship with my father was not Ward Clever and the Beav. However, when I talk about him I try to stay focused on the few fun things we did, and try to see some of the messed up stuff he did in a humorous light. In retrospect most of the things he did that bordered on abuse can be seen as just quirky and funny (by the way, in my free time I am writing stories about my childhood with him).
By the same token, I am very close to my mother. However, I don’t mention that I talk to her pretty much every other day. I talk about being close but I don’t harp on it.
As for your brothers and sisters, feel free to say anything you want, as a messed up relationship with a sibling is not an abnormal thing. Just make sure you end the story with something like “We used to fight all the time, and I don’t talk to him/her much anymore, but of course I still love him/her).
By the way, brothers, sisters, and cousins can be a great source of amusing anecdotes that don’t actually reveal a lot about you. I have yet to even tap that keg, but believe me there is no shortage of material.
Sorry again about not posting as frequently as I would like, but I have been super busy getting ready for the Quake City Rumble, the biggest Warhammer tournament I do every year. It was this last weekend and I am happy to report that I received the Best Army award and placed 5th out of over 100 competitors. Now I should have some more time to continue with this guide for all you single nerd guys out there.
Ok, you’ve started a conversation, you’ve managed to not offend or disgust her, and things seem to be moving nicely. What next?
The answer is simple. Get her number (or email address) and bug out. DO NOT spend all night talking to her. I’ve covered that before, but really, you should get her number within 10-15 minutes of starting a conversation. If you have a limited time (bus is arriving, etc) make it quicker, but by no means extend the conversation beyond about 15 minutes. Get it quick.
Any experienced sales professional (I worked in sales for years) will tell you that you will never get the deal until you ask for it, and the same holds true for women. YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR HER NUMBER. She will never volunteer to give you it. In fact, most women are so insecure that they will not even be sure that you like them until you ask. Asking her for her number will cement in her mind the idea that you like her and she will be able to tell you if she likes you or not (if she opts to not give you her number, the answer is she does not. Live with it). Also, if you don’t man up and ask odds are she will think you are some kind of wimp. Women like confidence.
I have always found that the best way to get a number or email address is, after a pleasant, engaging conversation (with her actively participating) is to say something like “Hey, we should hang out sometime.” Don’t be specific (unless she has expressed a massive interest in something. For example, if she has said she is a massive bull riding fan you could suggest going to a rodeo). She will know what you mean, and that will give you time to figure out what the hell you are going to do when you go out. If she thinks you are kind of cool, interesting, or sexy (remember all that grooming and dressing we did earlier?) she will probably say sure. You can also judge how much she likes you by the type of contact info she gives you. Here is a breakdown.
Cell phone number=Great!
Facebook page=Meh. (image courtesy of the horror movie t-shirts)
She takes your business card=Bleh.
She takes your number=Uh-oh.
By the way, even though giving her your card is second to the last worst result, it is always worth doing. Business cards cost about $.02 each and are well worth it for the “Hail Mary” when all else fails. I was out with a group once and gave a bunch of people my card and the one girl I liked ended up calling me. Don’t give up, but don’t really expect a call. By the way, always have business cards with you. You never know when something could drop in your life.
Put her number or email into your phone (hopefully iPhone).
Once you get her number or whatever, get out. There is a pattern to these things and once you get the number, in most people’s minds the conversation is done. Do not keep talking to here as it will only feel awkward and make you look really lame. Say something like “Thanks. I’ll talk to you soon” and move onto the next girl. Really. Don’t screw up all your work.
Next post, how to call and hopefully avoid this the let’s be friends speech.