Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dating After 40: A Handbook for Men

You know I love the field. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I don't, but he usually never fails to make me think. On Valentine's Day, he posted Mrs. field's 10 rules of dating. In keeping with my experience of the field, some hit home, some missed the mark, and several just made me chuckle. So in Daktari's world of post-40 dating, I'd like to give the guys some advice. Oh, and this might come in handy for your fellows under 40, too.

Let's just say that I agree with Ms. field on two of her rules and will simply repeat them here verbatim.
1. Do not expect your date to pay a dime on your first five dates. After five, the conventional wisdom is that you will know each other well enough for her to offer to pick up a tip, pay the cab fare, or the cost of two movie tickets. And make sure you know what type of food she likes before you make those reservations. Might not be cool to take her to a sea food restaurant if she is allergic to sea food.

11. On your first date, remember, only a hug goodnight. No more. Brothers, I know it can be hard sometimes, but believe me, if your date went well, there will be lots more to come later. A sister knows the moment she lays eyes on you if she is going to give you some. It might take awhile, or not so long, but if she is going to give you some only you can ruin it for yourself.
On #1. I went on a date last Saturday. He picked me up and informed me he was hungry, why didn't we get a bite. He had no idea what he wanted to eat (strike 1), but he had a taste for pizza. Ok, I'm lactose intolerant and the last thing I want is to be unable to avoid cheese on a date. Can you say "bathroom disaster"? I was in an unfamiliar town and didn't know what they had in the way of restaurants so was unable to offer any meaningful suggestions. I suggested a fish restaurant only to learn that he doesn't eat fish. Not now. Not ever. He's never tried more than 3 kinds of fish in his life but all fish tastes "fishy". Well, d'uh. So we passed a Culver's (which is sort of upscale fast food) and I suggested we go in. And really, despite Ms. field saying no fast food on dates, I was okay with it. So in we go. As a courtesy, I offered to buy lunch. He accepted. In fact, he said, "I guess I can be submissive and let you buy me lunch." Ugh.

Ummmm. Helloooooooooooooo. Who asked who out here? So yeah, I'm sitting through the entire lunch thinking this guy is 1) a cheapskate mo fo, 2) a bucked tooth yokel, and 3) a submissive user. He's sitting through the entire lunch telling me how I spoil him. Trust me, baby. I know how to spoil a man, and lunch at Culver's ain't it. Let's just suffice it to say that Mr. Saturday Night is unlikely to earn that spoiling given his ineptitude at dating.

Ok, I can hear you now. "D. Seriously. If you didn't want to pay for lunch, why did you offer?" Don't look at me that way. You KNOW you have offered to do things that you never expected someone to actually take you up on. But I will give you two good reasons for why I did.

First, when it comes to moving a relationship from that "I have to watch my every move so as not to screw this thing up" phase (or as I like to call it the "I really want to impress this woman so she will lower her standards enough to sleep with me" phase), to the "I can relax and be myself around her" phase (alternatively, the "I can burp, fart, and scratch in front of this chick! How great is that? phase), men are notorious for preternaturally pushing the relationship into the second and seeking to shorten the first. You can't blame a woman for wanting to prolong Phase One before settling into Phase Two for the long-haul. When a woman offers to do something clearly in Phase Two during a time when she should expect to be in Phase One, it's a test fellas. It is the quickest way to get a feel for a man's plan for the future with you. Accept too early and it is clear he doesn't expect to have to spoil you for long. In fact, he's done already. What sort of impression do you think that Mr. Saturday Night made in accepting my offer?

Two. Any man who is willing to let a woman buy the meal before he has sealed the deal is also likely to come to expect things that should only be seen as extreme and generous gifts. I married a man who refused to keep a steady job and expected me to work, support his way of life, and not mention how tired I was of his lazy, ignorant ass. Trust me. I ain't going there again. I'm no man's sugar mama.

Oh, and then there's Three. You asked me on a date, you pay for the date. All of it. In it's entirety. End of discussion. And speaking of preternaturally jumping into Phase Two, Mr. Saturday Night actually talked with pride of his farts.

D-rule #3. Do not speak of your farts. Not in the beginning of the relationship. Not in the middle of the relationship. Not in the end of the relationship. Your farts are your business and the only thing you need to know about farts and your girlfriend/spouse is that if humanly possible, never the two should meet. Oh, a girl can handle the occassion slip up, but if you think that farting and holding her head under the covers is big fun, you should be dropped off on a deserted island and left there. If you think it is simply hilarious to let go of a SBD in the car in the winter and say nothing until the smell has permeated everyone's clothing, at the very least, should earn you a breakup/divorce. And ladies? Given a sympathetic jury pool, this behavior might even get you off for homicide. You know. If you have a working knowledge of the scoring of "fart contests", stop dating now. Don't even consider passing your genes on to another generation. You are an evolutionary dead end.

While I think this should be sufficient knowledge to understand why I will not see Mr. Saturday Night again, let us continue.

D-rule #4. Have a plan. Dates are not times to start driving around and thinking about what you want to do. Mr. Saturday Night pulled up next to a movie marquee and asked if I was interested in any of the movies. I was interested in one, which he had already seen. He was interested in another, but informed me that it would be available for illegal download soon, so he didn't want to pay to see it. Cheapskate mo-fo bucked-tooth yokel. Dayum.

D-rule #5. Do not volunteer information or perform actions that makes you look closed-minded, ridiculously childlike, or unworldly. While pride of your region is one thing, "I'm proud to say, I have never been outside of Missouri" is quite another. Think before you say something like, "I don't eat fish. It tastes fishy." Don't stick out your tongue and make "blech" noises when someone says something you don't like. Don't roll your eyes.

D-rule #5. Manners and courtesy matter. Don't let your date, who just bought you lunch that she shouldn't have paid for get up and refill her soda glass and yours, you cheapskate mo-fo, bucked tooth yokel.

D-rule #6. When the time comes for a little loving, adhere to the Boy Scout mantra. Be prepared. You should a) have condoms, b) be experienced in their use and operation, c) offer to use them without making her ask. No matter how sexy you find it, you should always, always, always roll your own (or more appropriately, unroll your own) the first five or ten times. Nuff said?

D-rule #7. When it comes to sex, realize that the first time isn't going to be great. You are nervous. She is nervous. You just want to get some. She has a world of body-image baggage that she has to unload right in front of you. She is waaaaaaaaaaay too worried about how her ass looks from that angle to worry about what feels good. Listen to me very carefully now felllas. If you are faced with a naked woman for the first time--and you want there to be a second and third time--what you do at this point is critical for the future of the relationship. Tell her she's beautiful. I don't care how hot you are or how steamy it is between you, at that moment, you can earn a lifetime of brownie points just by saying something incredibly nice. Nice is a sincere comment that she can repeat to all her girlfriends on the phone tomorrow. You want to be this guy:

"We took off our clothes and he looked at me so lovingly, then hugged me so tight and said "You are absolutely stunning. I'm the luckiest man alive." Girl, I thought I'd die right there in his arms."

You don't want to be this guy:

"Girl, he slipped my shirt over my head and grabbed both the girls, made a loud honking noise, and said "I hit the jackpot!"

And finally, gentlemen, don't be mad if it doesn't happen for her. We girls are as tired of faking orgasms as you are of learning many months later that we did. Oh, she didn't fake it with YOU. Un huh. You just keep thinking that, cowboy. Sometimes it takes a while to learn a woman's body. If you are in the right zip code, we're likely to give you another chance at hitting the lottery. But the "I'm not going to stop until you are satisfied" may sound charming and courteous in your head, we hear "I'm too big of a man to deal with failure so I'm not going to stop until you either have an orgasm or the ego-stroking apperance of an orgasm." And gentlemen, I can assure you, you are going to get the latter before the former.

D-rule #7. How you end the date is probably the most important part of all. Walk her to the door. At the very least, don't drive off until she's inside. Or in my case, don't drop me off at my car and drive away before I'm inside. Bucked tooth yokel whose mama didn't teach him common decency. In fact, you should offer to start my car and warm it up for me while we chat inside your already warm car. It's 5 minutes and it's an investment that goes a long way.


And the final rule for the night.

D-rule #8. If something goes wrong on your date for your date, don't take two steps back and act like "This ain't my problem, you deal with it." Unless of course, you don't give a flying fig whether you ever speak to this woman again, let alone see her again with the intention of dating. True first date story. A friend of mine got food poisoning on her first date and as they walked home from the restaurant, she began to throw up. The guy held her hair while she vomited in the bushes. They are married now. Sometimes, the date goes horribly, horribly wrong for one or both of you. Credit card is rejected. (Good luck getting a second date with that one, fellas. Might I suggest you always carry cash?) Movie is sold out. (Don't cuss and act like a child who can't get his way when you can't see Batman and have to see Marley and Me.) Myriad things can and will go wrong. Just make sure you handle them well and with regard for your date.

So I gather you got that Mr. Saturday Night is not my dream date. I'm not sure I'm not sure I'm up for teaching a nearly 50-year old man common courtesy and manners. I thought these rules went without saying, but since I had to say them...apparently not.

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