Dating or dental work
Which is more fun?
By John Gray
Ask the average woman which she would rather do—go on a blind date or have a root canal performed without the benefit of Novocain and chances are she’ll pause 30 seconds and say, “I’ll go with the root canal.” Dating is tough. Not to mention tiring, humiliating and frustrating. It’s also necessary if you want to meet that someone special, fall in love, get married, and in a few years, look across the living room at that person lying on the couch with cheese stains all over his face from inhaling the whole bag of Jax and think, “Oh my God what have I done?”
Okay, so maybe I’m getting cynical in my old age, but being 44 and having dated a time or two, I do think I bring some wisdom to the table. Let’s start with a few of the do’s and don’ts.
Don’t trust people when they say they know someone who is “perfect” for you and they want to fix you up. By the end of the date you’ll be wondering if your friend knows you at all. We’ve all been there for that moment when you walk into the restaurant scanning the faces for this ‘perfect match’ and someone you are not remotely attracted to says, “Hey I think you’re looking for me.” You think to yourself, “Relax, maybe he has such a great personality that I’ll find myself drawn to him” only to learn his favorite movie is “Silence of the Lambs” and for the next hour your blind dates keeps telling the waitress, “It puts the lotion in the basket!” Later, he orders fava beans with a nice Chianti while making that creepy slurping sound like Hannibal Lector. This would be funny if a part of you didn’t think there’s a real chance this guy might actually have a woman at home trapped in his basement.
As for my do’s, do get out of the house. You won’t meet anyone curled up on the couch staring out the window at the moon. This works in fairytales, not so much in the real world. Prince Charming is not dropping by to toss pebbles at the window. He’s probably at Noche or Pearl wondering how a bottle of water could possibly cost that much. To that end I give you John’s Top Five Dating Tips.
1) Coffee first—The only thing worse than a bad date is a bad date that lasts two hours. You do not want to be in a fancy restaurant with a person you can’t stand, suffering through a five course meal. If the waiter asks if he can tell you about the specials and you reply, “I’d like the chicken, a can of mace and the check. In that order,” that’s generally a bad sign. I suggest meeting someone new for coffee first. This assures you that the ‘date’ can be over in 15 minutes or less. If it’s going great you can either order another drink or move from the coffee shop to a nearby restaurant.
2) Cell phone—use it or lose it. When it comes to cell phones I have different advice for the different sexes. Women should always carry a cell phone on the first date and keep it turned on with the ringer set on ‘high’. Program the phone’s alarm to go off roughly a half hour after you are scheduled to meet this person. You can pretend it’s not the alarm, but an urgent incoming call. Get up from the table and walk a few feet away, but not so far that he can’t overhear your conversation. If the date is going well and you want to stay, say into the phone, “Listen, I’m with someone special and we can deal with this tomorrow. Don’t disturb me again.” Then, shut the phone off and put it away. If the date is a disaster and the only interesting thing about this guy is that he can sing the theme song to “The Beverly Hillbillies” or name every episode of “Star Trek”, then yell into the phone, “Oh my God, you’re kidding! Now? Right now? Alright, if the heart transplant can’t wait then I guess I have no choice.” This lets you exit gracefully.
Guys, on the other hand, should not bring their cell phone or try any of these tricks. Listen buddy, it was your idea to ask her out and if the date is going badly tough luck. Suffer through dinner, walk her to the door and tell her it’s a shame you joined Greenpeace and are leaving in the morning for the shores of Australia to save the humpback whale.
3) Dating resume—This is my most brilliant idea ever (aside from that day Al Gore and I had lunch and invented the Internet) and will save everyone a mountain of misery. All singles should be required to sit down and type out a resume which lists their likes, dislikes, goals and deal-breakers. Picture it, you meet at Uno’s or Macaroni Grill and before either of you are allowed to speak a single word you exchange dating resumes.
“Allergic to cats I see. Hmm. I have two of them. Not good.”
“Oh you want to wait at least five years to have children? I’m ovulating right now buddy.”
“You think comedian Kathy Griffin is funny? Every time she’s on Bravo I want to stab myself in the forehead with a shrimp fork just to stop the pain.”
Dating services use a similar approach to match people, I just think having all your pet peeves and must haves on a piece of paper that you can hand out saves time and money. In fact, I have mine laminated.
4) Don’t buy, lease for awhile—When you meet someone you think is incredible the brain releases a chemical into your system that gives you a sense of absolute euphoria. Studies have shown this is the same feeling you get when you eat large amounts of chocolate or stumble upon a “One Day Sale” at Macy’s. The problem is that while your heart is going “pitter patter” your brain and eyesight are out to lunch. Meaning, you are completely blind to any faults this potential mate may have. This is why you should not move in together, buy a ring or even split an order of nachos for at least a year. If you have gone through all four seasons with this person and you still think they are swell, then you may just be onto something my friend. And if they are completely full of baloney and this whole thing is an act, chances are you’ll see some signs of trouble by the time you carve the Thanksgiving bird the second time around. Oh, and if he has been lying, cheating and using you, skip the wishbone, just have two big friends each grab one of his legs and make a wish! And finally…
5) Don’t settle—When you are lonely it’s easy to skip Mr. Right and go for Mr. Right Now. Don’t do it. This goes for the guys too. Far too many smart people have overlooked some pretty big issues in an effort to avoid being alone. If you want kids wait for someone who wants kids. If money is really important to you don’t marry a guy who makes 25k a year and then spend the next 20 years resenting the fact that you can’t afford a house in Loudonville. Be honest with yourself and any potential partner. You’ll both be happy in the long run. And keep an open mind that sometimes the one person you’d never choose is exactly the person you need. Don’t dismiss people before you get a chance to know them. Even if they’re divorced with kids. You’d be surprised what you can make work if you truly love each other.
So there you have it. My top five can’t miss dating tips. If you’re looking for love I wish you luck. Oh, and one last thing. On that first date avoid eating ribs. Not even Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie look attractive picking strands of pork out of their teeth. Go with the pasta. l
John Gray is a Fox23 News anchor and contributing writer at the Troy Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.