Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Hug or a Handshake?

This is part of a conversation told to me.  It really happened, but I won't reveal any names.  The woman initiated this conversation by calling the guy.  These two met online and had barely been chatting by phone over the course of a week.  The main mode of "talking" was done through text messages.

"Why haven't you asked me out yet?"  - Woman
"Oh, are you going to take me out?" - Man
"No, I was calling to ask you to ask me out.  Are you going to be a gentleman and ask me out?" - Woman
"You didn't let me be a gentleman and ask you." - Man



The man in this story isn't a friend of mine, more of an acquaintance, but his story was interesting to me and has stuck with me for a few weeks.  I asked him if that is common when he first meets a woman he's interested in dating.  In his experiences he said it is more common than I realize.  He said there is an expectation of a free meal and if that part of the deal isn't granted, he might be labeled something very negative.  I then asked if he would consider paying to use other dating services, since they boast that they have more "quality members" and "guarantee results" - he said those are worse.  He felt you spend more money just for the same, "So, when are you feeding me?" line; a la back at square one (or meal one).  He went on to say how it would be nice if a woman offered to buy him dinner, or how he would be comfortable getting coffee,  something small and inexpensive.   His experience inspired me to ask a few guy friends who are single and dating, married, and divorced their opinions and experiences when it comes to this topic.  I couldn't simply assume anything from one person's bad experience - or could I?

After gathering my data,  it seems this expectation is the norm.  Some of the men said when they met a woman who was "better than the rest," they had no qualms springing for a night out.  That night out may have included dinner, movies, an activity, drinks, or sometimes dancing.  Of course, it ended up being expensive, and in this economy, you can't afford to have an expensive night out every weekend either.  Does this mean being a gentleman means having to get a part time job?  Does this mean that men put a value on a woman's head?  I don't think so.  I also don't think they are sexist either.  They were doing what they felt was needed to impress the woman they were interested in.  Doesn't everyone want to impress that attractive person you made eye contact with?  Especially if you two hit it off?  We all do in certain situations.  Does that mean we should always shell out the dough?  I don't think always, but if you feel the spirit move you, why not?  Quality is always more important, and making that connection really is priceless (even if it sounds corny).
 
So, even though this is the norm in their experiences, does this mean it's the norm across the board?  Of course not.  There will always be a small group who will try and ruin it for everyone but we should not make general assumptions.  This generation is far past the dinner and a movie date.  With texting, emoticons, emotionless face-time conversations, we are always looking to be sparked by a new face every few seconds.  A lot of the dating apps have turned the process similar to ordering at your favorite fast food joint.  I believe that the best first dates are ones where you actually engage in a conversation with the person.  It's important to express who you are, your likes, dislikes, goals, and dreams with the other person.  It's better you find out the truth on the first date versus a few years later.  What's even better is when you share who you are with the other person and you two hit it off.  That is a great feeling to find that connection then you decide to date or enter into a relationship.  It's what we are looking for, and shouldn't give up on finding.

Take your time in getting to know those you are interested in dating before proposing the, "So, would you like to go out sometime?"  Some of these people are better off being just friends, not lovers.  Those are painful lessons that I am sure many of us have learned over the years.  The right person who is a healthy mixture of friendship and lover will come.  We need to learn the patience to get to know ourselves, and what we want first.  Never give up, or rely on your past hangups.  It's easy to give up; in fact too easy.  Doesn't that show us it's not the right answer?

If you are looking for inexpensive dates, check out local community boards in your area.  You would be surprised at how many classes, and events are cheap, if not free.  Now that it's summer, a lot of local parks offer free summer concerts as well.  Do some research and get out there and make some memories!

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