The Dating Game

Dating is an interesting game.  I say interesting not because it’s fascinating to study or even fun to look at, no I say interesting because there really is no other word for it.  I’d say debauchery, but I think that only applies to people who are obsessed not so much with the process but rather by the result.  I don’t really understand now nor have I ever really understood mans’ obsession with sex.  I understand the pleasure principle, that it’s good to blow off a little steam now and again, but to the degree that some people will go to engage in certain activities is absolutely astonishing to me.

Dating is a process and like any process you’ve got to play it out on a schedule.  The problem with this is that communication operates on it’s own schedule.  Should I call her should she call me?  I have no Earthly idea, but if one side doesn’t communicate to the other their feelings about what just occurred then nothing will come of the whole ordeal.  There is nothing worse in life than a wasted opportunity.  You don’t ever want to spend any significant portion of your life wondering what could have been.  If you become John Cusack in High Fidelity it is likely because you never called that girl back and dammit, she was expecting your call!

There is quite a bit of effort that goes into the dating process though and I can understand the point of view of those who don’t want to take time out of their busy lives to find that significant other, but don’t you wonder, at some point, what if?  What if she’s standing next to me in the elevator and I notice, but I don’t say anything?  What about that waitress at the coffee shop I always go to?  You’ve got to at least wonder about these things, right?  The idea that one could go through life without wondering about the road not traveled is a bit of a fantasy.  But, I do understand why people play this down.  I wouldn’t want to think too much about things I have little control over because it would remind me what little control I actually have over my life.

The whole idea of dating is a giant game of chance.  The so-called “experts” will tell you that it’s all about reading people or about understanding the conditions or the environment you’re in or the people that surround you, but really it all boils down to pure chance.  That’s why they make so many movies with implausible love stories.  They don’t make movies that are so unbelievably untrue that no person in their right mind would see them (okay they do make movies like that and sometimes they do quite well, but you’re missing the point.)  The point is that much as we may educate ourselves, as much people watching as we may do and as many self-help books as we may read aren’t going to prepare you for a straight game of chance.  In the dating world, it’s you and the dice you can roll them or you can walk away.

When I approach a potential date I always go on the offensive.  I want to learn as much about her as humanly possible.  If there is a question that I can ask I’m going to ask it because I don’t want there to be any surprises along the way.  Some say it comes across as condescending or holier than thou at times, but you’ve got to be able to do a little give and take in a relationship and if you can’t handle a little back and forth with regards to simple questions how are you going to do in an actual fight?  Seriously, you’ve got to be able to know when to stand up for yourself and when to stand up to your partner and if you can’t stand up to that person in the beginning how on Earth are you going to be able to do it later?  Perhaps you’re just a little shy or you don’t like overly inquisitorial questions.  Maybe you feel that some topics are off limits and some topics are indeed off limits in the early stages, but there are subtle ways that you can pick away at the corners and get to the idea beneath the thought on the matter.  You’ve got to be willing to try to understand the other person before something difficult comes along otherwise when you face that difficulty you’ll have no idea how to handle it because you won’t understand your significant other as well as you should.

Where I always go wrong is with the second step.  I’m very good at getting to know people, heck I may even be good at getting people to trust me, who knows?  But what I do know is that I absolutely fail at the next step.  For whatever reason, whether it’s a pure time constraint or just my absolute fear of being in crowds I just don’t want to go on an actual date.  If there is a way to tippie-toe around this effectively I have yet to hear it.  For whatever reason, I just cannot move from stage one to stage two and I don’t even come close.  It’s almost like I run out of material.  It’s like I run out of questions and there’s no use in any further conversation, but I always feel like there’s something more there and that if I knew how to exploit it I could get there, but for whatever reason I just can’t.  I just don’t know what to do when women stop communicating as effectively as they did before and I really don’t know what to do when they don’t return the communication.  Did they all of a sudden lose interest?  Doubtful.  What in the heck is going on?  I feel like this is where that stupid communication rule comes into play yet again and there is perhaps nothing more annoying in the world of dating than that stupid rule that people make up as to whether or not to contact someone after a given amount of time.  If you like the other person call them!

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