A friend recently called me and asked me the dreaded question, how to wade back into the dating waters. He had been married for about 7 years, maybe more, maybe less, I don’t keep track of things like that.
I told him I would get back to him, because I am often torn between being completely honest and trying to be nice. See, he is a swell guy, a good person, who has a good job, a decent house and seems like his addictions are almost all legal substances, coffee, wine with a meal and the occasional beer.
In my mind, I could answer his question by just saying, you know, get out there, do the dance, the basics that we all have been doing since caveman days. Go to bars, go to clubs, go to baseball games, libraries, take a class. Meet someone in the natural food section of his local supermarket. Simple really, but then if that was the case, he would probably not be asking me for advice.
So I called him back, and said the following, “loose 25 pounds and stop complaining.”
I think he hung up, but later, in an email he claimed it was a dropped call.
People respond differently when I throw a round of honesty at them. My take on his dilemma and many others is this, dating is a competitive process and if you want to meet someone great, you have to shine your greatness up before taking it out for a spin.
See, my friend really is a nice guy, a great catch. But over the course of his long term relationship, he spent more time having swell dinners and a lot less time working out, riding a bike, walking around the park and generally wondering if his weight gain could be hazardous to his health.
I know, I know, it’s so shallow the judge a book by its cover. Then again, I am often in airports and looking for something to read, I almost always judge the books by their covers. The same is true in the dating world. If you really want to attract a beautiful bird, you might want to make sure you have the elements that attract a birds attention. It is so hard to amplify your personality, show off your amazing intellect or somehow show people that you are great in bed, all the while walking down the street, grabbing a beer at a bar, I could go on.
When I was able to reconnect with my friend with DCS – drop call syndrome, I told him what I am telling you. It is a fun filled world out there, but so many of us, and yes, I do include my shallow self in this assessment, rely on physical attraction long before we wonder about things like “I wonder if this person speaks my language” or “does this person have a job?”
I explained that while I believed he was a good friend and that I thought anyone who dated him would certainly agree, getting someone to date him would take work.
I know it is shallow, but on many levels, we end up marketing ourselves in the dating world much like companies market new products. It is not enough to just build a better mousetrap, companies have to find creative ways to explain why you need a better mousetrap. In dating land we dress better, clean our homes, shower and clean up. My advice to my friend was, think of dating as you would any sort of first time meeting, say, a job interview. You have one time to set the table, to impress and also show that beneath the clothes and hair and clean shaved skin, there is a real person who experiences joy and heartbreak, who loves and feels emotions, who can converse on a wide range of subjects with intelligence and humor, but before you can get to your depth, you have to get past the shallow part, the animalistic attraction.