As a newly single, “slightly” over forty girl, I have entered what I believe is the Bizarro World of dating. There is an under current, or should I say, strong undertow that drags those of us in this situation into the depths of (insert Jaws theme) The Dating Zone. Because I was in my previous relationship since I was nineteen, I am like a baby in the kitchen. I don’t know the stove is hot or a knife will cut me. I just barrel through the kitchen with no clue that there could be something that hurts me.
With that said, I have come up with my own rules for The Dating Zone. If you know me, this should not come as a surprise since I march to the beat of my own drum anyway. Between on-line dating sites and the Buckhead single scene, I have encountered all types. I have held many discussions with my friends, both male and female, on this topic as well. And, for the record, men have a very different perspective on dating, however, I have heard them tell me they also experience some of the same frustrations as women.
What I will share can be applied in all dating scenarios. You already know this: common courtesy and chivalry, old school. I have either chosen these, or look for them in my dates. Please hear me on this, many of the following rules I have chosen to adopt because it is the right thing to do. I believe everyone should practice these, however, I will continue regardless of whether I get treated properly or not. I choose to treat every individual with dignity, respect and love for my fellow human.
1. Respond to emails and texts promptly. When I get an email from someone on an on-line dating site, whether they are a match or not, I respond. I might say, “Thank you for reaching out. I do not believe we are a match. My best to you.” Julie Spira, the country’s foremost expert on on-line dating stated on my radio show, “Everyone is holding their phone. You have ONE hour to respond to a text. Four at most with an explanation.” Not responding to texts or emails is RUDE. Now, there are times when someone gets a little cray cray; you may have to block. Before then, respond!
2. Nobody is interested in a pen pal. Texting for six weeks is boring. Please shit or get off the pot. Ask her out or move on. Every once in a while, I go through my contacts and send texts to my long-term pen pals whom I have never met. “Hey babe, if I don’t hear from you, I am guessing you are not interested. I am deleting. Been fun. Ciao!”
3. First date: Yeah! You got off the pot! What ever the venue, agree to meet. Girls, please don’t get in the car with a stranger, dress appropriately, have a positive attitude, smile and be ready to chat. Men please open doors, help with coats, help her with her chair. And, I am sorry, women NEVER pay. Choose a place you can afford.
A. Text earlier in the day confirming time and place
B. Please be prompt, or text with arrival info.
C. *Never stand anyone up. I cannot stress this enough. Everybody has emergencies. If you have time to go to the bathroom, you have time to send a quick text explaining. This is, by far, the rudest, most insensitive thing you can do.
D. Thank your date for a lovely time, regardless if it was a match. Girls, this is essential. He has paid for your drink, lunch or dinner. Be gracious and use manners. I always send a text a little later thanking them for a nice evening. (See #1) Men, please respond to the text, it is the polite thing to do.
4. If you think there is a chance, ask her out again.
A. And here’s a piece of JS’s mind: If you have chemistry, if there is something there and you know it. If you say it out loud and verbalize what you are feeling, have the courage to take a chance. I have written many blogs on being vulnerable. This is scary. Put on your big boy boxers or big girl panties and take the risk. This is where life can change and be exciting. You can experience truly enjoying another person and find someone who can care deeply for you. Don’t let something go when it has the possibility to be something great and fun.
5. Sharing isn’t caring in The Dating Zone. If you want to get to know someone, being distracted by many other dates doesn’t help. When you like a person enough to go on a few more dates, give them the time to get to know them better. Don’t let another person get in the way until you have decided this one isn’t working out.
A. This does not apply if there is no chemistry and you are not going on more than two dates with someone.
6. Keep up with texting, emailing and phone calls. In between dates, check in. I think daily is best. Let the other person know you are still interested by asking how their day is going. Chat on the phone late at night to get a better feel for the other person’s personality, likes, etc.
A. Physical chemistry will get you together. Emotional and intellectual bonding through discussion and spending time will keep you together.
7. Talk about the next date. Make plans to go out again. Let the other person choose the next spot. Refer back to the first date rules. Chivalry always applies!
A. Don’t take your new date around your friends unless they can hang and you don’t have to babysit them. The flip side: when you are comfy, start introducing your new heart-throb to your world, except the kids. When you bring someone around your friends, it is a statement. (Yah, I messed this one up, royally!)
8. Be honest about your intentions, with care. If you are not looking for a relationship, let that be known. Then there will not be expectations. I have had four men say they are looking for a wife. Well, if I said I was looking for a hubby, you would all run for the hills. Be careful about revealing your long-term relationship goals until you are comfortable. However, when someone asks me a question, I will tell them straight up. So don’t ask me what you do not want to know.
Many of you will not agree with me. That is ok. You have to go with what works best for you. You must, though, at all times, treat every individual with compassion, understanding and respect. My last rule is to have fun. Enjoy meeting new people, the conversation, diversity and the experience. Love makes the world go around. I know there is someone out there for you and for me. Tell me what’s going on in your life. I want to hear from you.
Wishing you love, balance and peace.
Amore & Baci,