Before I get into actual dating again, I've decided that I need - as Dolores Umbridge would so heartily endorse - a more practical, theoretical approach. In other words, I'm going to think about it and talk about it a lot before I actually get out there and really, you know...do it.
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 (if they're foolish enough to tell me on a first date). 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.
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