Unfortunately, one often encounters deal breakers on those first dates, making any future seem unlikely.
Take my date last weekend...please. Actually, he was a nice enough guy. Good-looking, above average intelligence. We went for brunch at a local joint at the Jersey shore, sitting in the Fall sunlight, sipping mimosas. Happy so far!
Small talk ensued, which generally sets my teeth on edge. I hate small talk. Weather, current events, "What do you do for a living?" "Your mother, when she's available." That kind of thing. Deadly. But I know, I know, it must be done.
"So what kind of music do you like, Peter?" I halfheartedly asked.
"Heavy metal for the most part...like Dokken."
"Dokken? What do you mean Dokken?
"It's an 80's metal band."
"Oh, I'm aware. They have lots of hair. I just never...forget it. So who else do you like?"
"What? You never what?"
"I never heard anyone mention Dokken as one of their favorite bands before. That's all. Like, it was the first band you'd mention."
"Well, who would you mention?"
"Any band other than Dokken?" I responded with a nervous laugh.
We quickly changed subjects but somehow Dokken loomed over us the rest of the brunch. They might as well have been at the table, guzzling my mimosa and giving me lap dances.
Peter and I never had a second date. Which is fine. But it got me thinking about the Dokken Factor - or any other element that makes you say, "Sorry cowboy, this is just not going to work."
Listen, I don't think everyone should think just like me. I mean, musically, I have some nerve judging anyone. I like heavy pop, for instance. The poppier, the better. I've stopped parties dead in their tracks from putting on a little Barry Manilow to add some "spice" to the evening. Phil Collins fills me with a deep sense of glee. I think The Bee Gees are one of most misconstrued bands of all time.
I also like classic rock. But I can't help that. I'm from Jersey. I was born with Boston in my blood, Van Halen in my veins and Genesis in my genes.
And it's fine to have differences in taste. It adds a certain fun, playful tension. But differences as great as Dokken? That may just be an unbridgeable gap.
My ex-boyfriend is a big movie buff. And when I say big, there are few movies that man hasn't seen. We can talk for hours about performances, directors, a certain shot or scene that has stuck with us forever. When he started dating again, he went out with some gal who over dinner said that she didn't like black and white movies. They gave her the "creeps." I had to break it to my ex that they stood no future whatsoever. He agreed. The Dokken Factor, clearly at play.
More intimately, a female friend of mine had been dating a man for 6 months when she confessed that while their sex life was going well enough, he never went down on her. He told her the first time they had sex that it just "wasn't his thing." (And no, it wasn't a hygiene issue. I asked.) I told her that she may need to break up with him. She sadly agreed.
She did talk with him about it before ending it. He reiterated that he just didn't like going down on women - not just with her, any woman. Cunnilingus done well may be one of the most deeply sensual and wonderful sensations a woman experiences sexually (in my humble opinion.) To do without, because it's not his "thing"? Au revoir, pussy hater.
I know - we all have our sexual preferences. But not as big as this Dokken Factor. It should be a primal drive to want to go down on a woman. Instinctual, I argue. If I was a straight man, I'd skip the breasts and run, not walk, to eat at the Y. And if a man doesn't like to do it, then he's either sexually self-centered or lazy (which means lame sex) or he secretly prefers other sexual organs in place of the vagina, if you get my drift.
Sometimes, deal breakers turn out to be deal makers. Surprisingly, I dated a Christian guy and we managed quite well for some time. As long as he wasn't proselytizing, I had no problem. It's strange that I would fear a problem, truthfully. I'm a spiritual person. Not in the Christian sense (though Catholic blood still courses through these veins, whether I want it to or not) but what did I think he would do? Burn me at the stake? Beat me with a Bible?
He cursed occasionally, drank beers and had the most devastatingly beautiful lips that he would place oh so strategically all over me. When he kissed me (which was heavenly) "Son of a Preacher Man" would play in my mind. I imagined that I was defiling him, sullying his Christian goodness, which was ultimately a real turn-on, for both of us.
One man I dated cowered in quite a dangerous situation we encountered. A homeless man approached us on the street one night, when I lived in Philly, with a pipe in his hand. I had to scare the guy off by using my special "dealing with crazy people" technique. When I was done, my date stood far off to the side, applauding. Applaud this, Dokken Factor.
Sadly, I don't always heed deal breakers. I had a wonderful date many years ago in Brooklyn - a romantic movie, a lovely dinner, great conversation, laughs. When we walked home, we came to his place first. It was there he said goodbye to me, leaving me to walk about 10 blocks home at 1 am in a semi-sketchy neighborhood. I remember trying to shrug it off, but tears kept filling up my eyes on my solo journey home. Yes, I could have asked him - but I didn't. He could have offered, too. I stayed with him for several difficult years.
Clothing, while not a deal breaker, can certainly be deal altering. A man constantly donning a baseball cap can dampen my spirits a bit. Wearing sneakers all the time is a turn-off as well. T-shirts with slogans plastered on them...ick. He doesn't have to be a fashion plate but show a little effort. Show that your look matters.
At this point of my life, I hope my deal breakers turn into meal makers. A man who cooks well can lure me in pretty quickly, transporting me past many Dokken-like character flaws. Sad but true.
So while I don't think I'll ever fall for a metal-loving, pussy-hating, Budweiser t-shirt wearing Christian who thinks black and white movies are creepy, I'm still open. At least, I try to be.
(That lap dance by Dokken doesn't sound so bad afterall. If you guys are available (which I'm guessing you might be), please meet me at The Sandbox Cafe this Saturday. I'll be the girl with the mimosa and the semi-jaded outlook.)
(Yeah, that's right. Manilow. Try to stop me. Just try.)
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