If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, this 31-year-old single person has some changes to make to her dating routine, lest she be committed. I keep going on date after date (after date after date after date), and they're all first dates. The second date is the elusive chupacabra of my dating life.
And to be fair, I don't always want a second date, but when I do, there never seems to be one. So I've evaluated my dating practices and weighed them against advice I've received from friends, professionals, and Bravo TV. Here's what I shouldn't do anymore:
I hate when people buy me things. I hate money. I hate feeling like things are uneven, or that I owe someone something. I think its asinine to expect someone I've known for two hours to spend money on anything for me, even if its just two glasses of red wine.
Apparently I am wrong. Not only am I not supposed to offer to pay for anything on dates, but I should also leave my wallet at home so that I am not tempted to do so. It seems men like paying for things? Like it's their job or something? And I am causing traditional dating roles to crumble like the decaying walls of an ancient church by offering to pay for myself? I am sorry. Truly, I am. Buy me things.
2. Drinking more instead of leaving
If I'm on a date and it's not going well, meaning I am not attracted to him physically or intellectually, I should just leave. Wrap up my one drink and go home and do laundry or something responsible to make me feel like I've made use of my day. This is never what I do.
Instead, I order another drink, thinking maaaaybe things will improve with blood alcohol content. This is stupid. It is a waste of my time (and his), and is highly caloric. Why don't I leave? Why do I think I'm being rude or something by not giving the date the two drink minimum I assume it deserves? Is it because I'm worried I'm being too quick to judge? As if more booze will improve my judgment? Where is the line between "too picky" and being realistic with myself? I haven't found it yet but I'm pretty sure it's not hiding in the bottom of a wine glass.
3. Agreeing with his bullshit comments just to keep the peace
As I've mentioned, I am often referred to as a woman with a "strong personality," Apparently when I disagree with someone or try to make a point, I'm seen as angry, or bitchy, or dominating. Really I'm just doing what you're doing. I guess when guys argue its strong, and when girls do it is aggressive. Fair? No. True? Yes.
So, when I'm on a date and he makes a point that I disagree with, even if its trivial to me, I lie. I agree. I never disagree with a date so that I don't come across as angry or aggressive, something I am constantly terrified to project. I smile, head tilt, and throw in a lot of "yeah totally"s so that I don't scare the bejesus out him.
This mainly relates to things like sports and television. Of course if he says something that fundamentally bothers me, I speak up. If I find out someone is religious, or passionate about guns, or something else that's a personal red flag, I let him know. I try to do it softly. Wish me luck.
4. Not leaving any mystery
And this is a piece of advice my friend Monica just passed along that I think is pure genius and should be followed. It will certainly be followed by me from now on. First dates should be two hours long, no more. I should set an alarm on my phone and leave when it goes off. No exceptions.
Here's why I think Monica is right: the best date I've had all year lasted six hours. Drinks, a walk in the park, dinner, walk home. I had the best time I've had in so long I was absolutely floating on air. And then he never asked me out again. I must start leaving mystery. He should want more when I walk away. There should be more to find out next time.
It's just so unfair to me. I'm having a great time with a guy! I never have a great time with a guy! I want to enjoy this! Why the hell can't I just stay and enjoy this? Why does dating always have to be such a difficult grind full of rules and best practices that seemingly go against every single natural instinct I have? Seriously y'all when I get to stop this dating bullshit there will be a party until sunrise.
5. Follow up communication
I must learn to maintain radio silence until he asks me out again. And to be honest, in the last few months I have. I've noticed that it hasn't made too much of a difference. When I want to hear from the guy, I don't. And when I don't want to hear from him, there he is all unwanted in my inbox like Groupon.
I'm going to go along with this one, even though I haven't noticed much benefit, because it makes sense. It's the chase. Guys like to chase and girls like to be chased. Oh holler at me all you want, it's the damn truth. I can't do any of the chasing. I can't do anything that even smells of chasing. I must sit on my broken couch from Target and wait for them to get in touch with me.
And they will, right?