Friday, June 15, 2012

{on dating} men, be men

I've been thinking a lot about how I can use my writing for good in the world.  I like this whole blogging thing, but sometimes it feels really self-aggrandizing.  So I'm trying to find a way to make it work for me, where it's more than "Look at these cute things I like and want to buy!" etc. (although let's face it--aren't those all our favorite blogs anyways?  They're like double-fudge brownies--void of lasting nutrition, but loaded with instant pleasure.)  

So anyways, in this blogsoul-searching, I've landed on an important question: what do I know about?  Those are the best writers--when they know about something and they can talk about it.  They say to become a master at something you have to spend 10,000 hours at it.  Unfortunately there aren't a whole lot of things I'm master in.  Seriously--my list went like this: "Wellllll....I know how to breathe pretty well.  Unless I'm snorkeling--as soon as my face hits the water and I see how deep it is and all the fish, I stop breathing.  And unless I'm at the dentist, when I stop breathing and pass out and he has to put the oxygen mask on me.  Okay, not so good at breathing.  Welllll....I'm good at getting dressed.  I've probably spent 10,000 hours doing that in my life time."  But no one is going to benefit from anything I have to say about clothing yourself in the morning.  Soooooo........

Then I realized I've spent an a fair amount of time on dates.  Not 10,000 hours.  That would be crazy.  But in my 26 years I'd say I do have some dating experience.  This is not to say I have dating wisdom, or even knowledge.  Just experience.  

So I thought, "Well, why not.  Maybe every now and then I can say something I think about how dating works.  Or about how I wish it would work."  In other words, what I'm about to say is most likely utterly useless but if nothing else, it might at least be entertaining.

So tonight, something for the men to think about:

When you take a girl out, act like you know what's going on.  Have a few possible restaurants already picked out.  Know how to get places.  Find out what the girl's schedule is like (does she have to get up early the next morning?  does she have a huge paper due by midnight?  is she completely free all night and wants to spend that time with you?) and then have a time you plan to have her home by, respectful of that schedule (it's nice as the girl to not feel like you're just spending time together until the guy runs out of things to do).  In other words, don't be afraid of taking charge of the date.

Note: This is not to say that you should be left entirely in charge of the date.  I'd venture that girls like options.  I'll write more on this in a future post.  But what I'm trying to get at is this: If you've asked a girl out, I think the girl appreciates knowing that you've thought things through.  I always prefer when the guy has a good plan in place, which he then asks for my input with, and I can sit back and relax.  If you've asked the girl to spend a few hours with you, you should take the reins when it comes to planning a good time.

'Cause what it comes down to is this: taking a girl on a date is more than getting to know each other.  Yes, that is important.  But it's also an opportunity for you to say, "Look.  If you were mine, here's how I would treat you.  I'd be a man.  I'd take care of things.  I'd tell you not to worry--I'll go up to the counter to get the food when they call our order number.  I'd come up with funny things to say and conversation topics so the pressure of ensuring we have a good time doesn't rest solely on you.  I'd take care of you."  I'm not saying you should be in charge of the girl (heavens no--but equal partner relationships will have to wait for a future post), but I am saying you should know how to take charge.  The dates on which I enjoy myself the most are those where the guy knows how to take care of a lady, and he shows it.


  1. To me, this post seems to generalize about roles men and women should take, even though it purports not to. The best dates I've been on were not ones where the man was left entirely in charge. In fact, dates in which the man was entirely in charge left me doing activities I didn't want to do and eating places I didn't want to eat. I like having input. I like planning dates with another person, rather than being subject to someone else's tastes and whims. I like being asked where I like to eat and what I like to do. I like being the one in charge of when I get home. I like being treated like a partner, not a person who is acted upon. In fact, in the instance of every boyfriend I've ever had, I was the one who asked them out first (including my fiance).

    1. Ashley, great comment. I actually completely agree with what you're saying. I guess what I intended here was that it's nice when there is some plan to begin with, that the guy has clearly thought through some options, and then you can both contribute to making the date great together. What I really don't like is when the guy picks you up and says, "Sooo...what do you want to do tonight?" or "If you want, we can get dinner--I don't have any ideas, so you think of a place..." etc. It's nice to know that they've already thought through things (if they were the one who did the asking for the date) and that then they bring it to the table for you both to contribute to. Anyways, I really like what you said, and I will edit my comments to account for them! Thanks!

  2. Is it just me, or is the main photo for your blog at the Lingfield train station?

    1. Wow, great eye. Yes it is. You've been?

    2. Yeah, I’ve been there a time or two. It’s a short walk away from one of my favorite (I mean, favourite) places in the UK.

      And nice post by the way—it gave me a good laugh. A friend of mine shared this on her facebook profile and, well, I was curious to see what all of the girls were talking about and “liking”. Your pic made me do a double take though, so I had to ask (although honestly, I don’t know how it could not be Lingfield).

      There was one line of your post that I found particularly insightful (ok, maybe it was more than a line—an idea, let’s say). “'Cause what it comes down to is this: taking a girl on a date is more than getting to know each other. Yes, that is important. But it's also an opportunity for you to say, ‘Look. If you were mine, here's how I would treat you…’” I think that that, right there, says it all. Although I’m not so sure about the “opportunity” part; it seems to me that the guy always says “Look, this is how I would treat you…” whether they intend to say it or not.

      Oh, and one last thing: keep breathing. That's the key. Breathe…

  3. I completely, completely agree. And I think that it is SO important to see that a guy you're dating can do this because hey, nothing changes when you get married and you don't want to be the one making 100% of the decisions, feeling like the guy is the one along for the ride. You need to be equal, of course. But there is a role that the man must fill and not the woman: it is the role of presiding. When the man doesn't fulfill that role and essentially make sure that the family is on track with what's needed, the family struggles. I think that this ability to preside can be seen in whether or not the guy makes sure everything is taken care of on the date. Like you said, it shows that he can take care of you and make sure your needs are met. How could you ever trust in a relationship where you have to wonder about that?