Dating Game ...
Yeah, I don't like frogs.
I'm not about taking the easy way out when it comes to most things. I know that the key to losing weight isn't sitting in an overpriced bottle of pills at Walgreens. I know that I have to eat right and exercise. Effort. It's such a vulgar word. I know that it will take time for me to learn how to play the guitar or knit or understand all the settings on a camera.
But can't there be a shortcut to finding Mr. Right? Are arranged marriages really such a bad idea? Well, yeah, OK, they are. But dating.
Do you know why dating is such an "ugh"? From this woman's perspective, it's because men aren't women.
Oh, if only I were a lesbian. I think it would be so much easier to find a mate if I were looking for a woman. Sure, we'd still have our differences, but the intellectual wiring would be essentially the same.
But no. I love my girlfriends but I don't want to love my girlfriends.
So this is a story about a boy. But it applies to all boys. So any boy readers may do with this information what they please. (Though I recommend making a mental note for future reference.) (Oh, and I don't mean anything derogatory by the use of the word "boy." I just like the word "boy" when referring to the males of the species. But I can use "men," too.)
First off, let me say that I understand that men carry the burden of getting the dating ball rolling. Men are expected to make the first move. Men have to bear the initial risk of rejection, it's true. But later, men get a pretty sweet deal in return. How many men in relationships out there can remember the last time they bought towels? Washed towels? Bought the soap with which to wash the towels? Paid the water bill and electric bill to ensure that the washing machine would operate? Dried towels? Bought the dryer sheets to ensure static-free, fluffy, fresh-smelling towels? Folded towels? Put away towels? Hung towels in the bathroom? I thought so. And yet, every day when you step out of the shower, there's a towel waiting for you.
Now multiply that by every other thing you do every day.
So, yes, you have to ask women out on the one yard line, but then sometime before the fourth down, we pick up the ball and run the other 90 or so. (And yes, there are men who pitch in with life's daily duties, but the split is almost never anywhere close to equal if my research is correct, and by research I mean asking a few girlfriends who are in relationships if their men do much around the house.)
So, let's say a man is vaguely interested in a woman and he makes a vague suggestion to her that they should think about getting together sometime. It's a low-risk suggestion on the Rejection Scale, right? It's casual, what he's suggesting. Dating isn't even expressly implied. It's just meeting up for a drink or coffee or something. It is, in guy parlance, "hanging out."
So let's say the woman says sure, that'd be fine, and says they'll find a time.
Now, this could be viewed as a vague assent by the woman who might have no intention of ever then finding a time. But in this case, let's say the woman then follows up and suggests not only a date and a general time but also allows that she's going to be in the man's neighborhood which used to be the woman's neighborhood but is the woman's neighborhood no longer, so the woman suggests that the man think about a place where they could meet up.
In the woman's mind, this is cool of her. She's suggesting a date and time so as to avoid the perpetual "When's good for you? Well, when's good for you? Well, when's good for you?" She's not expecting him to pick her up, because this isn't necessarily a date since it was suggested to her so casually. She's going to be in his neck of the woods, so he doesn't even have to travel far to see her. (Note: The woman recognizes that she might have made things too easy for the man, as men like to feel all in charge of things 'n' shit, but she also knows that men, in many instances, are kinda lazy, too.)
So let's recap: All the man has to do is think of a place in his own neighborhood. That's his only task in this entire scenario. That and showing up.
At this point, let's take a little quiz.
Does the man:
a) Respond with a suggestion of a kitschy coffeehouse
b) Respond with a suggestion of a cool bar with a good selection of scotch
c) Respond that he has no idea where they should meet
I probably don't have to tell you that the answer here is c).
Here, the woman thinks, "OK, this guy isn't really interested in getting together. Or he's not the sharpest crayon in the dating box. Either way, this doesn't bode well."
The woman goes on to think, "Seriously? All you had to do was suggest a place. Any place, really, so long as it wasn't a strip club or an overly rowdy sports bar."
This man will use the excuse that he's new to the area, to which the woman will think, "Didn't he move there sometime last summer? Wasn't the summer about six months ago?"
Because the woman is continuing to think, "OK, you could a) ask your roommate for a suggestion, b) surf over to metromix.com and plug in your Zip code, see what the site spits out, and pick one of those places, or c) look around you the next time you're in your neighborhood, which should be just about every day."
Now, the man may jump to his own defense and pull out this old standby: "Well, I just wanted to do whatever you wanted to do."
Which is sweet, in theory. Except that women know that most men don't really want to do whatever the woman wants to do unless the woman says she wants to drink beer, watch sports, and play video games.
Which brings us to this KEY PIECE OF DATING ADVICE: Men, you can make the "Well, I just want to do whatever you want to do" gesture worthy by amending it with a few simple words up front, e.g., "I was thinking we could do X, but I'm cool with whatever you want to do, too."
That's it. Just a few extra words. Now, the X should, ideally, demonstrate at least a vague understanding of the woman in question. If a man is asking out a dyed-in-the-wool city girl, suggesting sport fishing for marlins would not demonstrate a vague understanding. But so long as one idea is offered, the guy is in the clear. Because here's another key: there's a good chance the two of you won't end up there anyway, yet you earn points just for suggesting it. Because a suggestion implies what? That's right: effort. Minimal effort, but effort.
And that's all women are looking for at that stage of the game. Because Greg Behrendt has made a mint by making we women realize that if a guy isn't trying, he's just not that into you.