All the Crazy Men
Like many of my new and exciting ventures, the very one you are reading began with a call to my best friend, Madeline.
“You could write about the men,” she offered.
“The men?” I questioned.
“Yeah. All of the crazy men youʼve dated.”
“The crazy men?” I once again had to question her.
“Yeah, you know. There was that 40 year-old man or the really interesting one that went away for a while... Or that cheese dip. You could write about the most perfect beer cheese dip in all the land.”
On to the crazy men.
As a direct result of moving to Dallas, I am no longer in the sweet, protected bubble community of Auburn University that only Glenda the Good Witch could have created. I have dated (and for the clarity of this post, please know that dated means gone on approximately one to five dates with) a plethora of kooky characters. This included the one who left Dallas to pursue business with his multi-millionaire, has-his-own-Wikipedia-page father, who was 21 years my superior but/and offered to take me to Europe with him, who was a bigger Beyonce fan than me (quite impressive, actually) and also had a mini identity crisis on our second date.
After sampling a variety of dating do’s (and don’ts), I have decided to give you my (unsolicited) first date advice:
1. First things first, get up and go!
When you are new to the 8-5 working schedule, after-work activities do not look particularly appealing. I might be alone here, but if I am going off of my Facebook newsfeed, many young adults would rather brag to their Facebook friends about their Netflix binge sessions than interact with other humans. And while relaxing and recharging is necessary for health and well-being, laziness and loneliness will achieve the opposite result.
You’ve probably heard that even if the date is not great, at least youʼll have a good story. Iʼm here to tell you that you will get more than a good story. If your drinks were great or the cheeseburger was heavenly, you can offer up your recommendation (or lack of) to the next person with whom you converse. I have friends who were on bad dates but ended up hitting it off with the waiter or someone else at the restaurant. Netflix cannot introduce you to new people, but magical things can happen when you leave your house. Not to mention the obvious - some of your dates will be amazing, and you might never have gotten to know this incredible person had you given in to lethargy.
2. Engage and ask plenty of questions.
The beauty of the first date is that unless you are entirely lacking in imagination, you cannot possibly be bored. Over a first date of tacos and cocktails, one young man let on that in high school he dealt hard drugs. Was I horrified? Absolutely! Was this information something he should have kept to himself for the time being? Some would argue yes; others would give him brownie points for his blatant and upfront honesty. Instead of making my dramatic exit right then and there (sorry, Mom), I milked the situation. Like previously mentioned, I have lived a wonderful, yet sheltered life. So I used this opportunity to get a deeper (see: any) understanding of the intriguing world of drugs. I asked all sorts of questions, and let me tell you - I learned more from the man sitting across from me than I ever did in D.A.R.E.
3. “Safety never takes a holiday, ladies.”
My dear friend Anna-Claire Gibson once coined this phrase, and it is one that I will never forget. One of my favorite aspects of living in a big city (other than the option to sing “Bright Lights, Big City” at any time and it actually apply) is the endless opportunity to participate in social activities. Concerts, late nights at museums, pop-up urban parks, funky bars, sidewalks and grocery stores all make great settings to potentially meet someone new. The problem is, if a person approaches you at one (or all) of these locations, you are agreeing to go out with someone without any character references. I have gone on dates where I do not know a single soul who knows the person sitting across from me (once again, sorry, Mom.)
It might seem mysterious and romantic to meet someone organically and by chance, and then proceed to date him or her. But the reality is that when you dated in high school or college, generally the pool from which you chose was smaller and could locate at least one person that knows who you're dating. Now, the world is your (dangerous) oyster. Do not get up to go to the bathroom as this will leave your drink unattended. Do not forget to alert a friend - or many friends - of your first date location (thanks, Rhett, Ellen, Madeline and Hannah). And most importantly, do not forget that safety never takes a holiday, even on a first date.