Saturday, July 7, 2012

Invite her in

I was reading Badger's account of a dating disaster and it occurred to me that most of the discussion, male and female, was missing the point. If you are a man who is searching for a partner, as opposed to a player seeking to score, then the entire subject of "what is the ideal place to take a first date" is fundamentally a category error.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a chain restaurant if that is where you go with your social circle every Friday night. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with going to an elite downtown Italian restaurant if that is simply part of your normal routine. The point is that whatever you do should be a natural part of your life, because you are auditioning her for a role in it.

One of the reasons I felt relaxed about marrying Spacebunny was because she was already well-integrated into my life. On our first date we went to a soccer game, worked out, and then went to one of my favorite restaurants. Sure, the fact that we ended up closing down the place was a good sign, as was her focus on staying in shape, but the more important thing from the long-term perspective was her ability to genuinely enjoy my lifestyle, which for all its occasional flashes of glamor is essentially boring, repetitive, and low-key. Before we got engaged, she had already become a regular of the Friday night gang that met after work to lift weights, then went to the same Mongolian barbeque every week. It was a routine that the two of us continued long after most of the gang got married and went their separate ways.

It's counterproductive to focus on impressing a woman or showing her a good time. If nothing else, the energy required to maintain the charade is going to become exhausting over time. And worse, if it works, you're not going to have any idea if she's actually compatible with the way you truly live. There is no magic key to dating for the obvious reason that all men are not only different, but have different habits and objectives.


Heuristics said...

Yes. Good advice.

There is also another reason for not doing anything out of the ordinary on the first couple of dates: it is very important to be at your most comfortable state of mind and this is much more difficult to do in a new kind of setting. If it can be done (here in sweden it often can be, especially during winter) the best place for the first date would be at your appartement. Though the kind of women that would aggree to that are not always girlfriend material...

SouthTX said...

This is a good point. My wife and I were co-workers and friends working part time before we got romanticaly involved. She had never dated. I was dating literally a wild preachers daughter. Her Mom that to this day I respect steered her to me. I dumped the crazy one for the good girl hottie. The rest is history. If you are natural friends before you become involved, chances are you both will be successful.

Anonymous said...

sounds like a "just be yourself" advice....

Chris said...

The key phrase here is: "if you are a man who is searching for a partner, as opposed to a player seeking to score." Nobody is interesting all the time, and faking it in a marriage is starting off wrong anyway.

VD said...

sounds like a "just be yourself" advice....

Not at all. Quite the contrary, in fact. I'm not saying this will attract anyone, it may well repel many women. But that is a good thing, unless, of course, you are seeking to modify your life to better suit that of the women to whom you are attracted.

In which case, go ahead and modify it accordingly. Just don't think you can go back to your old habits as soon as you manage to start a relationship with her.

mmaier2112 said...

"The point is that whatever you do should be a natural part of your life, because you are auditioning her for a role in it."

Good point, sir. I like the title "Invite Her In", too. It's your life; you ask her to visit it and see if she might feel like staying. If you both think her sticking around is a good idea, great.

If not, "Next!" and you're doing both of you a favor by doing so.

Stickwick said...

If you follow this advice, your potential girlfriend may also discover activities she never knew she liked. I never would have guessed, but I discovered I really like hockey, because it's a big part of my now-husband's life.

Shoulda Known Better said...

The guy should have considered himself lucky to have only paid for two glasses of "expensive" wine for each of them before he got the cold shoulder. When I was a young and clueless beta, I often spent a crapload more than that (restaurant meal, maybe a club with a cover and expensive booze after that) before I got denied.

content with her life said...

This may be why I never responded to guys who take me to the fancy places for the first date. It always felt like they were showing off. My best first dates usually involved a game of pool, wings, drinks and conversation. And for the permanent guy it was a Sunday of football, including the Sunday night game.

Badger said...

I like how you can ape multiples of my posts at once, it shows my writings are congruent and go together (linked from within my post:

One of the subtexts of this entire discussion is that "dating" really is dead - guys are not going to get much positive result from arranging an awkward social outing with a woman he barely knows hoping to pick a slate of events and locations she likes. If he normally goes to those places,

My number one rule when planning a date is never to go somewhere I wouldn't go by myself.

Badger said...

"If he normally goes to those places," that's fine, but inventing a new social habit because he thinks it's what he's supposed to do is a recipe for incongruence and anti tingles.

Country Lawyer said...

It should be pointed out, since no one else has noted it that there are plenty of women out there that will "pretend" to like all things you do until you're married and then stop being interested in these those things.

This often comes as a shock to a lot of men, and while a man may be alpha enough that this doesn't happen, it happens to enough men that even blue pill books on marriage have noted that this happens.

This is similar to the sex cut off that occurs to many married men after the woman that had sex with abandon before marriage suddenly stops after marriage.

NAMALT (not all marriages are like that).

SouthTX said...

I'm not saying being yourself works. It depends on yourself. Its worked on my wife now going on 25 years. I do try to make an effort to temper the asshole.

mmaier2112 said...

Good point, CL. I've never understood why women would do that. Seems to me that her doing that gives her man plenty of ammo to use on her too. Seems stupid all around, especially since I don't know any man that actually WANTS his woman around him at all times.

traumaboyy said...

Why then get married and fuck up a good thing??

Badger said...

"It should be pointed out, since no one else has noted it that there are plenty of women out there that will "pretend" to like all things you do until you're married and then stop being interested in these those things."

I've discovered that I have a sort of pathological aversion to stating what I really want up front, and this is exactly why - I've seen enough of people just meeting the bar that's put in front of them and then coasting the rest of the way. (Part of it is in my younger days people used my disclosures against me, so I am averse for that reason as well.)

The NAWALT brigade will squeal, but letting oneself go after the wedding happens. How many is "plenty"? I don't know, but enough to make me nervous.

I have to say my heart is warmed when I talk to couples who say "yeah being married is pretty much like before we were married," which indicates the "I got what I wanted, now I can stop trying" hasn't happened.

Beau said...

I did a wedding last week at the UFO Festival in Roswell. The Country band playing on center stage on Main Street obliged us, yielding the stage then providing background music. Traditional vows in the most unlikely venue; with eyes closed it could've been in the most formal church setting. The groom promised to care for, protect, and lead his wife. She promised among other things to obey him. When the pronouncement was made, "You may now kiss the bride," she planted a very passionate kiss on this blessed man.

Nate said...

This is great advice. Also... I would add... never seal the deal with a girl until you've seen her in a real-world stressful situation with high stakes.

I'm not saying you shouldn't marry a girl that falls apart. I'm saying you need to know how she reacts... and how much she falls apart... so you can make an informed decision.

Markku said...

"One of the reasons I felt relaxed about marrying Spacebunny was because she was already well-integrated into my life."

Syd Barrett said it best (Pink Floyd - Bike):

You're the kind of girl that fits in with my world

Anonymous said...

As stated, a man should have his plans and goals in life. He should be doing what he likes and invites a women to join him. Not contrive a play to impress a woman. I ride motorcycle, it is a joy of mine. I might text hey I am going to ride out to xxx for a bite, you up for that?
If she says no I am still going. If she says no enought times, she gets eliminated. Sure I will compromise, but I live my life, take it or leave it. Changing your life for her just ends up with you feeling resentful.

jwshell said...

A man who changes to impress a woman before he marries her is very unlikely to be a leader she will willingly submit to after they marry...or to frame as Athol would, he will not be a man she will allow to Captain the ship...

Doom said...

Okay. And yeah, before you offered this advice that is pretty much what I am doing. Although, on the first date, I actually found out she liked sushimi and took her to such a joint. But then I was curious about which local sushi joints were good before I thought of asking her along, so it wasn't really a stretch. And I wanted to go with someone but my friends aren't that keen on eating "bait". Next date if she wants to go will be to one of the best steak houses I have dined at, not necessarily price wise if it is a bit pricey. That is one of my regulars though. I've wanted to try their bison (they raise all their own meats and have for generations). But I don't want to risk it all, so I've offered to split a ribeye and a bison ribeye with her, so we can... sample.

Now, finding a woman who can live with my lifestyle, though, is the only way. She won't be able to really fill or fit in, health problems and some other things keep me on a very odd track. But she can do two things. Live her own life and allow me to live mine, mostly together but often quite separately too, even in our home.

And you are spot on with the 'boring' part. That is something I check about, closely. Life is, mostly, rather... boring. Can she deal with that? I think that is bigger than almost any other thing. If she needs constant excitement I ain't it. Too... damned... old... Probably always was. Though... I am not dead yet, either. I'm still up for a little chase and fluff football, or... such. And probably more often than almost any 'she' would be. Which... is vital from my side, I think, too... if I can get her hooked.

jamsco said...

"went to the same Mongolian barbeque every week"

On Snelling north of Rosedale (Next to Fuddruckers)?

Toby Temple said...

Indeed. You would not want a wife that will abandon you because life just suddenly became much harder than before.

Yohami said...

"It's counterproductive to focus on impressing a woman or showing her a good time. If nothing else, the energy required to maintain the charade is going to become exhausting over time. And worse, if it works, you're not going to have any idea if she's actually compatible with the way you truly live."


Anonymous said...

One woman I dated.
I invited her for drinks at a local dance club. Early before the dancing started so I could bail if it was not clicking.
We stayed, danced and made out.
Next I invited her to my fav mongolian BBQ (Not kidding I love my MBBQ.) She had never had it before. I told her to trust me.
She enjoyed it. I did the stop my my place to pickup something deal so she got to see my space.
She commented on liking sushi, so I told her she could take me out for sushi next time. Which she did and provided desert at my place.
I sometime offer to burns some steaks on the patio. I do steaks, grilled sliced potatos and grilled aspergras. Add wine and put on a movie after dinner, that I never get to see...grin.

Women are like kites on a string. Once you figure out when to let them run and when to pull in the string you have it made.

Aethelfrith said...

For months I'd been vacillating on whether ending my relationship was a good idea or not. It still smarts, but ultimately my relationship was unsustainable.

My ex lived more than an hour's drive away. The distance meant that I had to make every visit count (whether I went to her place or she went to mine) which meant I had to work hard at being a lot more social than I usually am. On my second date I remember praying to Jesus that I not be boring.

There were other reasons it ended, but this certainly was a big one.

The Stig said...

Dang VD! The most user-friendly advice you've ever written. Nice.

sequence kid said...

There is not a reason to change yourself for any reason. Its very detrimental to any relationship you are in. Once the real you comes out the cats out of the bag and the other person may not like what they see.

J.R. Humphries said...

Khan's. Good place.

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