Besides church, curriculum writing, book-shelving, and colluding with my soul-brother Eric to make trouble and shake things up, I attempt to participate in normal life activities from time to time. Including dating. Welcome to Hey Is For Horses. (Don’t worry, Mom, I won’t say anything I wouldn’t say at the dinner table.)
Hey Is For Horses is a simultaneous blogging journey with my friend Dianna. She’s awesome. Preorder her book on purity culture. This week she posted about the Worst Date Ever.
Today’s topic: now that you’ve mastered the art of the message, let’s move on to the magical unicorn of online dating — moving from online to real live in person contact.
We got this, team. I promise.
* Asking for a date. Sometimes you get lucky and the other person says “Hey, let’s get coffee/drinks sometime.” Rejoice and be glad! yours is the kingdom of the fortunate.
Other than that? Just be brave. Go for the ask. If they’re asking questions, responding to your messages, commenting on things you’ve said, then they’re giving some signs that they enjoy your company. Make a suggestion, make some plans, make it happen.
* Keep it simple. Drinks out somewhere is a really good start. If things go well, you can migrate to dinner or gelato or a leisurely stroll around the lake. If they don’t, you’ve invested maybe an hour, you both go your separate ways, and it’s all cool. I have had extensive first dates (notably a killer local concert; the date was 5 hours) go well, but it’s a risk — if you don’t hit it off in person, it’s easier to walk away from drinks.
The actual date…
* Dress nicely. I’m not saying wear a tie (although there are ladies all across the Kinsey spectrum who find that aesthetic appealing, so you can certainly consider it). Just put some consideration into what you wear. Show your date you appreciate them by putting on clean jeans and a nice shirt.
* Ask questions. Make conversation.
* Flirt (if you want to). If you like someone you’re on a date with… show it. Square your shoulders towards her. Smile. Laugh. If she says something clever, tell her she’s funny. If she scoots her chair closer to you, when she says something neat, touch her knee for half-a-second. Don’t be weird — if she’s scooting away, then don’t pursue! But if she’s giving you Signals That Say She’s Interested, then give some back.
Story: I went on a first date with a girl and had a couple pints at a local brewpub. We had decent rapport, okay conversation. But it was like talking to a friend. She didn’t make a lot of eye contact, or appear to want to touch my shoulder or arm or anything, or want to kiss me. We made plans to get together again. She texted the next day and said “I really wanted to kiss you last night,” which I found really confusing — she hadn’t given me any signals that she found me attractive. If you like someone, show them!
* Tell the truth. I have been on a lot of dates in the past year, and telling the truth at the end of them is the part I screw up a lot. How? Well…
– If I’m not really feeling it: I’m bad at communicating this, especially in person. I spend a lot of time in my ministry life listening to people talk, and I am good at asking questions and being interested on a “oooh, person with a life story” level. Unfortunately, this means I sometimes appear romantically interested in someone — and if she’s interested in a second date, I feel bad letting her down. It’s been a hard lesson to learn how to say “Thanks, but no thanks.” I have housemates who are experts in giving me the third degree about whatever girl I’m seeing, and demanding that I be honest about my feelings. Thank goodness.
– If you’d like to see her again: the sheer terror of this! But do it anyway. Reward / risk here, people. The brave AND polite thing is to say, at the end of the date: “I’ve had a really good time. I’d like to see you again, if you want.” You don’t have to make plans right then — just planning to make them is fine.
But then… what if she says no? Dianna and I will get into that next Monday. Stay tuned!