Ah, next to politics, dating is a dangerously delicious game, a genuine test of guts, brawn and cunning – a true power game that puts everyone’s mettle to a test.
Electoral promises are like romantic promises – made to be broken. Still, what person in his right mind could resist the temptation to potentially meet Mr. Right or Ms. Perfect? Dating is exhilarating – it can even compare to Darwin’s process of natural selection. Or was it Plato’s? And no one will deny that dating is the precursor of beautiful relationships. As long as we keep a good head over our shoulders, we should be able to enjoy the benefits of this dynamic process.
People like to dabble in the dating game – and it’s not solely for romantic goals. Many are in it just for companionship and friendship. Intellectual beings like to spar and trade knowledge, sports-minded enthusiasts like to find someone they can cycle with or play the love-30 match in a tennis game.
The art of seduction has never been this tantalizing and accessible. We’re spinning with much more verve than what previous generations could muster. Can’t find a date? No problem. Step into a restaurant where a speed dating session is on. The internet is a big help too. For a modest subscription fee, you gain access to an inventory of “goods”. With so many types of bread on the shelf, you’re liable to pick one you like. It’s a respectable meat market – of sorts…
Knowing how many millions of lonely people are out there, anyone with enough entrepreneurial flair can build a dating web site and watch his conversion sales leap. For those who are serious about finding a significant other and who have oodles of cash to spare, they go to boutiques that specialize in this service. Their well-heeled customer base is impressive and they have richly decorated offices (are those curtain rods real gold?).
We forget the name but there’s this very expensive, downright exclusive, and utterly elitist matching service in California that will match say, an Italian wine producer with an American socialite if requested. Declarations like, “I don’t care if it costs thousands of dollars, just find me that person” are customary and you won’t see order-takers bat an eyelash.
Dating: Dressing in Your Sunday Best
It’s also called putting your best foot forward. In the initial stages, dating is like a subtly competitive game with no time-out for error. First impressions matter – truth is they weigh a ton. So the first encounter better be an attention-grabber, because if it isn’t, there won’t be a second time.
Man: I’m an investment banker, but not your ordinary investment banker. My company is only interested in people with a billion dollar portfolio. We don’t service your typical CEO anymore – they’re a dime a dozen. We refer them elsewhere. What about you?
Woman: I’m a brain surgeon. But I don’t do the entire brain which is kind of boring when you’ve been doing it for years. I tend to take only surgical cases that focus on the hippocampus. Maybe once in awhile I’ll take parietal lobes – but they’re not as challenging as the hippocampus.
Hmmm…dating has become what Maureen Dowd (Pulitzer Prize New York Times columnist) calls “experiments in identity.” The world has a Dorian Gray, a Great Gatsby and a Tom Ripley. Ripley’s philosophy was “better a fake somebody than a real nobody.”
Dating is playing hide-and-seek. The first three to five dates are an exploratory tour. Then you learn to peel off the layers. The dye fades, so does the bragging. And if you’re smart, and want a sixth, seventh and many more encounters, you’ll come clean. “Did I say I was an investment banker? I must have been high. No, I meant, I WANT to be an investment banker. I’m a teller working my way up, of course.” And if you’ve fallen for this future investment banker because he’s a real gentleman with private school manners that compensate for his bugs bunny teeth, you’ll condone his little white lie and say, well, the point is banker or teller, he’s still counting other people’s money.
Pray tell, how can we succeed in the dating game? Since we thrive on relationships and want our lives to work the way fate designed it, knowing the ropes can’t hurt. What do the experts recommend?
- I, me and myself: a big no-no. Unless you won the Nobel Prize for Peace or are a gold medal champion in the Olympics, avoid talking about yourself. Show interest in your date. “What book are you reading these days” may seem like an over-used and corny question, but you steer the attention away from yourself.
- Don’t put too much emphasis on tradition. Yes, men normally pick up the tab but if you’re a contemporary, liberal-minded woman, you’ll offer to split the bill. Your date will appreciate the gesture and may refuse, but he’ll remember that. After all, he too has school loans and car insurance to pay.
- Talk intelligently. Be aware of world and local events and why there’s global warming. If you keep talking about the rivalry of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, you really run the risk of becoming a bore. Remember, talk ideas, not people.
- Don’t take advantage of your date, even if he tells you he’s the son of a textile scion. The Ritz Carlton is a glitzy setting but don’t demand that you be taken there.
- There are certain things better left unsaid. If you have a dysfunctional family, don’t volunteer the information – not on the first and second dates anyway.
- Even if you haven’t had sex in three years, don’t jump in the hay on your first date. Keep this advice topmost in your mind.
- Practice safe sex.
- The first few dates should be at a neutral place – a public place. Not your place or his. Be safe or be sorry.
- If you’re the man, call your date the next day and tell her how much fun you had. If you’re the woman, don’t call. Don’t ask us why. It’s just our gut instinct. We’ll repeat: resist the urge to call him, even if you know deep in your heart that he’s Mr. Right.