dating lessons

Bug_Girl_MINovember 25, 2003

ok, i'm new, and i am stumped. I finally have moved to a nice city where i might actually have a chance at finding a guy, and it's been So Long (+8 years) since i had an actual date i have no idea what to do. (small rural towns do not have many avid book readers with front teeth, two things on which i am unwilling to compromise on. girl's gotta have standards.)

a friend fixed me up with someone and it was horridly painful. we went out and i couldn't say anything, it was hugely awkward, like being back in junior high all over again. This is very unusual--normally i don't care what anyone thinks, since i'm pretty comfy the way i am.

Is total regression normal? or am i just missing something? i didn't have any trouble at all dating in college and grad school--help! what did i forget??

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My dear, it's like anything else - you have to start from scratch and re-learn those skills. I agree, meeting someone new makes you tongue-tied, nervous, self-conscious and all the other adjectives you can think of. Dating hasn't changed thru the ages, but it's lots different than high school and college when you are older.

The best advice I can offer it to be secure in the knowledge that you are a unique person with unique qualities, so just be yourself. With anyone, the first date is uncomfortable and awkward - it's always that way it seems.

I am soon to meet a new man, with the intentions of making the best first impression I can, but I am SO nervous my stomach hurts constantly. We talk for hours about anything and everything, and have so much in common, but that doesn't erase the fact that I have not been in the dating arena for many years, and I am worried sick about messing up or appearing to be ignorant. In short, I am SCARED! I know he is intelligent, compassionate, loving, well-read, and so am I, but yet I feel so inadequate - it's normal. I am basically prepared to meet this man and possibly make a fool of myself, yet I am open to the possibility that I will be meeting someone very wonderful - someone who will make a difference in my life.

Dates are fragile affairs where the pressure is on to impress - go with no expectations. Make your date feel as comfortable as possible, act natural and keep the conversation simple. Allow him to do the most talking, thereby learning a lot about him without having to reveal everything about yourself. Men love mysterious women, women who can carry on an intellectual conversation and women who listen as they talk about their favorite subject - themselves! LOL If you are relaxed, they also will be relaxed. If you act as if you are meeting an old friend, all else will fall into place naturally.

I want to wish you the best of luck - keep us posted on how you're doing.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2003 at 9:20PM
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Carrie B

Before meeting someone, try to establish (either through friends who are setting you up, or maybe an email exchange, if via personals) some common interests. Things you'll be able to talk about on your date. Also, if it is a "blind" date, talk on the phone once or twice before meeting. See if you've got "conversational chemistry". If you can't carry on a 15 minute phone conversation that is not completely awkward, chances are your date will be awkward.

I would also try to arrange "short" first dates with men you haven't met yet. If you are being "set up" or if you met the guy through a personal ad, arrange to meet for coffee or a beer and keep the date to one hour, or an hour and a half. You might even want to tell him in advance that you need to leave by a certain time. That way, there's not the awkwardness of having to sit through an entire dinner that could take several hours. And then, if you are lucky enough to be having a marvelous time and want to stay for another beer or two, or dinner or whatever, you can laugh and tell him that you don't really need to leave, that it was an escape valve that, thankfully, you don't need to utilize.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2003 at 9:40PM
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You had what was technically a 'blind date', so of course there would be some embarrassment. Where did you go on the date? I've found that if you actually DO something, instead of sitting and facing each other across a dinner table trying to find something to say, or sitting in silence at the cinema, the ice gets broken much quicker. I think even an afternoon coffee is a terribly artificial situation - both trying to impress, and usually both behaving like mute idiots! I find that a day-time outing, say to a beach, or to a weekend market, or 10-pin bowling or a wander around the local botanical gardens or something, is a far better option than the usual evening outings to dinner or a movie. A much more casual and relaxed atmosphere all round, plenty of room to say 'Oh look at that!' or 'Let's have a swim' or to laugh at yourselves if you do something idiotic like spill ice-cream down your front.

You've taken one step on the road you want to travel. Just because you stubbed your toe, doesn't mean the next step won't be much easier. And the one after that!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2003 at 1:11AM
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Actually, i find that many of the guys my age (40ish) *don't* want intelligent conversation. they seem to want one of two things:
A trophy bimbo, in her 20's or teens
someone to talk at, not to.

the situation was a dinner, and it was another entomologist, so we had lots in common to talk about. i think i just feel like the number of "live" single, intelligent guys is so small, that i feel pressured not to blow it.
i dunno. i both glory in and despair that i'm a spinster.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2003 at 8:46PM
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Interesting point, Bug Girl. I haven't had the joy of dating since I'm newly single, but I've been wondering if it will be as silly as it was when I was younger. Luckily I'm not about to jump into the fray just yet. I've earned some recovery time and I'm going to enjoy it.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2003 at 9:34PM
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Welcome to the board Bug Girl....I can relate to the junior high feeling but it's more of a positive than an awkward for me.....I have a date for next weekend where the butterflies are there makes me feel like a teenager again and I am loving every minute of the angst that it's will find it, and when you do just enjoy every moment of that feeling because there is nothing in the world that can replace it.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2003 at 1:55PM
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