So here's the first part of my theoretical approach to dating: There will be second chances.
Let me explain.
See, I figure a first date is like a really tense and slightly uncomfortable job interview. Both parties are on their best behavior (ideally) and giving you the condensed version of who and what they are. In other words, you can't really say you've got the whole picture after just one date.
Unless, of course, this person exhibits an obvious deal-breaker. We all have them, and what may be a deal breaker for you is a minor annoyance or even a total non-event for me. But I do have deal breakers, and these are a few:
Zealots. Any kind. I appreciate someone being passionate about something, but if your religion/political persuasion/sports team/workout schedule/Lego collection is all you talk about and all you do with your free time, I'm not your girl.
Guys who cheated on their previous wife. Sorry. I know it's not fair to paint you with a tainted brush and yes, people do make mistakes and learn from them. But this is a hot-button issue for me and I know myself well enough to say I won't let myself take a chance on you, no matter how well we hit it off. I hope you understand.
Smokers. You're not bad people. I have wonderful friends and terrific family members who are smokers. But if you're dating me, I would assume that eventually, you'd like to kiss me, and there just isn't enough Binaca and Febreze in the world to kill that taste and smell for me. It's nauseating. You might as well not bathe, while you're at it.
Bigots. Don't think I need to explain that one.
Creeps. Including, but not limited to: guys who want to discuss sex and sexual acts on our first date, guys who aren't as single as they originally claimed to be, guys who ask to see pictures of my teenage daughter, guys who send me pictures of their genitalia, and guys who call every ex-wife or ex-girlfriend "crazy."
Those are the major deal-breakers, but I'm sure I'll think of others. So let's pretend this theoretical date guy hasn't displayed any obvious deal-breakers and we muddle through our date, and the evening is winding down.
And I'm just not feeling it. I mean, he's nice....but. I should like him.....but. He's probably a good guy.....but.
My natural inclination is to tell him politely, but nicely that while I had a lovely time tonight and he's a great guy, he's just not my guy. (Actually, my natural inclination would be to smile and nod and email him later to tell him all that, but I'm determined to be a grown up and just say it to his face instead of jerking him around).
But here's the thing: what if I'm wrong? Honestly, after one date, do I really know him? More importantly, one first date, where we're both a little on edge? Not likely. So I've decided that I'm going to break the guys down into categories. Theoretically.
- No f**king way!
- Not feeling it, but no obvious deal-breakers.
- Hell, yes. Wish I'd shaved my legs now.
So if the guy falls into category two or above, he gets another date. Who knows? Maybe on date two, we both loosen up a little and it goes better. Maybe he confesses to me that he likes to fall asleep to The Lord of the Rings movies (there's a lot of murmuring in those movies...very conducive to sleep) or that he makes up backstories in his head for people he passes on the street, and zing! Spark will ignite, turning into flame.
Or maybe, I'll be thinking to myself that he seems nice but he's really, really quiet and maybe it's better if we don't go on to date three, and then he'll say goodnight and pull me in his arms and kiss me so well and so thoroughly my eyeshadow melts off my face (I'm going to write that into a book, I swear).
Above all, I'll try to remind myself of one strange fact that for some reason, is entirely true: every single guy I've ever truly been in love with - I'm talking the great loves of my life (and there aren't a ton of them, so I can say I truly am selective) - every single one of them was someone who didn't make a great first impression. Every one of them was someone I had mentally written off, then changed my mind about. Every one.
Then again, none of them lasted, so maybe I'm not the best judge of character, here. And there I go, second guessing myself again. I am a hot mess.
This is about the time I decide that I am nowhere near ready to actually do this. I guess I'll stick with the theoretical approach, at least for now.