Talking On a Date . . .

Get it? DATES!
Thanks to the power of social media and my recent KMUW pledge efforts, I went on a "date" a few weeks ago. I use quotes not to disrespect the woman I sat across the booth from but because I didn't arrive at said booth with any expectations that it was going to be a real "date" (with the quotes again . . . ). I didn't think she did either. I thought it would be more like friends-of-friends sitting down and chatting.

NOW - if you've never broken bread with me there are a few things you should know before you continue reading this post.

1) I have NO social filter. NONE. There is no topic taboo or verboten. There is no issue too sensitive to touch. There is no gap too wide to jump. No sea too deep to dive down through.
2) If we're having food you can NOT just reach on to my plate and take what you like. You can HAVE anything on my plate but you have to ask for it or at least extend some non-verbal cues that you'd like it so I can offer it to you.
3) I'm loud. I don't mean loud like "when he gets excited his voice will raise above the din of the rest of the establishment" I mean I'm loud as in my whisper is like your normal speaking voice and it only gets worse from there. I am not "proud" of this (that I can't be quiet is nothing I extend with braggadocio) but this is simple statement of fact.
4) I don't suffer politeness for the sake of politic. I don't WANT to fight with you. I don't WANT to disagree but I'm not a Kansan by birth so I don't have your "polite" gene that allows me to watch your body language tell me you are not telling the truth or that you are only giving part of the story and not press for the rest.
5) I mean you no harm. I mean that in the sense of the discussion we might have, the walk out to the parking lot, or the the way I'll later blog about our dinner for all the world (or the 100 or so people a day that stop by here) to read.

NOW. You're embarrassed FOR me. I get that.  So here's what I am willing to do . . . research. I've been on only a handful of proper "first dates" this CENTURY. All in the last 24 years of the previous century (76 baby, yo!) and you're only adding a handful MORE of those proper "first dates" to the pile and I know the rules of dating have changed so I wanted to be hip, cool, and with it (the kids DO say that stuff) when I arrived at that booth. So here are ten "rules" of dating that I found (across various sources - I chose my favorites and then reformatted them for voice consistency) online.

  1. Do try to be on time. If you are late, come up with a "good" reason for being late. 
  2. Do not offer to pay for the entire meal or presume the meal will be entirely paid for.
  3. Do not discuss past relationships or expectations for future relationships.
  4. Do not discuss money, politics, religion, love, or sex.
  5. Do stick to only things that are logically discussed - family, friends, career, activities and interests, etc.
  6. Do not use tools like social media to learn about the person before you meet. Let them present themselves on their own terms.
  7. Do offer to share food and beverage as a way of bonding with the person. It fosters trust.
  8. Do discuss mutual likes but then let the other person make the plans for the first date. It will help them be more comfortable.
  9. Do not tell stories that are any longer than a minute long. It will impede real discussion and exchange.
  10. Do not ask for a kiss at the end of the date. The rules for physical contact have changed. They will let you know if they are open to being kissed.
So there you have it . . . dating on the eve of 2014. Do those rules sound good to you? Great. We should never, ever-ever date (or get back together (Taylor Swift reference - HOLLLA and fist bump if you got it)).

So here, ladies and gentlemen (if there are any of you good souls left) are MY never-likely-to-be-implemented-by-the-masses rules for dating (or just sharing a meal) in 2014 (you still have a month or so to follow the above).
  1. If you're going to be/are late - own it. Be honest. You couldn't pick out the right sweater, your car died, your probation officer came by for a spot urine test, you got lost. Truth is all we have. Start sharing it good and early.
  2. General rule of thumb - if you ask a person on a date - you are going to pay. NOW the other person can offer to pay for part/all of it but the asker (regardless of gender) should pick up the check. Otherwise the expectation for sex seems bold. I kid, I kid, I kid. Sex is gross. Seriously, though. Once you are in a RELATIONSHIP the paying math becomes fuzzy. First date . . . bill goes to the initiator. 
  3. If you two are middle aged you have lots of previous relationships. There is GOLD in them-thar-hills. You want to wait for the second date? Cool. But if you bristle when asked how you and the ex-get along (that is NOT an invasive question) you are not an open person. It will get worse.
  4. Talking about money is gauche. Politics is who we are. If you believe in G-d (and which version) and how much push and pull you think he/she/it/they has/have is a core value set that should be known. Sex and love are toooooo much fun to not discuss. If you don't want the person across from you to know where you stand on the above issues until "later" - how do you think it will be more or less important "later"? And why? Truth is all we have. Start sharing it good and early. There are NO topics that should be off-limits going in to a date. 
  5. Do use things that are logically discussed - family, friends, career, activities and interests, etc. to bridge other conversations and manage the silence.
  6. If you don't use a quick Google and/or overlapping social media "friends" analysis of a person before you show up on that date, you're glib. I'm not saying you should destroy the mystery and/or say "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know" to everything they try to tell you but don't you at least want to know your parachute is packed and how/when to pull the string before you jump out of the plane?
  7. Do share food and drink when asked - it is good for showing you're not a selfish tool. Now forks and straw sharing is entirely subjective.
  8. If you want to have a date with a person talk with them to determine mutual likes and then make a recommendation for how to spend your time. If they don't sound excited, modify it with their input. You are asking them - give them a solid, full ask they can respond to.
  9. Tell stories in their entirety and ask your date to do the same. Really listen to them. Relish the details. There is NO relationship in this world that is truly 50/50. Someone has to be the talker, someone the listener. Ideally you'll get the ratio somewhere around 2:3 vs. 10:1 but that is life.
  10. You want a kiss? Ask for one. You don't want to give a kiss. Say no. Since when does the world belong to the timid (they will INHERIT the earth - but only what the bold don't leverage/consume/enjoy/exhaust first). 
There you go, kids. No go out there and enjoy each other. But be safe. And remember - sex is gross.