I meet the most interesting species of adults while dog walking—one of my many eclectic survival jobs. Anyway, yesterday at the dog park I was talking with a dog walker—who is a super nice guy, handsome, buiiilt—he’s a nutritionist and is a bulky dude. I see him often and we chat about different things. Yesterday, our conversation moved to: how to approach someone they’re interested in, and how much is too much “bluntness.” His word was “bluntness.” I followed up with saying I think there is a big difference between “blunt” and “straightforward,” and he agreed. The trouble many of us face when attempting to date is that there is a whole pool of candidates with different desires. Some are in the shallow end, just looking to splash around and have some fun, while others are paddling around the middle of the pool kinda wanting to commit but don’t want to go all the way to the deep end, and at the far end are the invested divers and lap swimmers—the ones with commitment in mind—in the deepest part of the pool. I told Buff Dogwalker that I think that no matter what part of the pool you’re in, no matter guy or gal—straightforward is always the best. I’m not saying walk up to someone and ask in the first thirty seconds if they’re interested in sex and only sex.
Instead what I’m saying is try to push aside your nervousness (visit my blog from two weeks ago!) And yes, everyone is nervous or has some modicum of the anticipation of rejection, especially in the dating world.
Here are some steps to get into straightforward dating:
1) Observe! Instead of focusing on yourself, focus out and read the body language and cues of the other person. Everyone should probably know by now that if someone is leaning toward you, or coming closer they’re probably interested. If women smile or look down, or play with their hair—they’re interested. If men lean, or puff up, strut, or offer to buy you a drink—they’re interested. If none of these things happen, they’re probably not interested, so move on. When it comes to ladies, well, we will laugh, or find a way to touch you, or lean in. Eye contact, especially when it is followed by blushing or a smile is an indicator for attraction for either gender. And likewise for disinterest, if either party seems distracted, looks over your shoulder instead of at you, or finds a reason to walk away, they’re not interested. It sometimes happens that someone stops you as you’re walking away, but don’t bet on it—but if they do—stay.
2) Engage! Once initial interest is established, create easy conversation. It’s really ok to have a few topics that you always talk about—people joke about weather being a conversation topic that anyone can talk about, but its true. I’d pick a few things that you can easily converse about. Try not to talk about things that you’re a super smarty on, or political or religious topics… those can happen down the road. Music, celebrities, movies, community happenings, cheese: all are interesting starters.
3) Be Straightforward! After you’ve chatted for a bit, if you’re still interested, you can bring up that you’re interested in dating, or a casual romance (aka, just sex), or that you’re looking for something long term. I’m not saying you’ll be guaranteed any of these, but you’re welcome to throw it out there. You’re also welcome to just see what happens. A safer alternative is to ask the person on a date, if they don’t ask you first. On the first date you can always have the “this is what I want out of this relationship” conversation. I internet dated for a year, and to be honest, at some points I didn’t know where anything was going. Sometimes dudes told me flat out that they wanted a certain thing out of dating, whether it be dating, relationship, or sex. Although, at the time it was a shocking conversation (and could have been brought into the conversation more subtlety and not as pointed), I really appreciated those men who said something like, “I really like you, and I’m interested in only BLANK right now. Is that something you’re interested in?” I know you’re probably saying something like: “but that just totally pigeon holes the whole relationship into one thing.” Well, what can I say, you’re right. BUT, if its said straight forward what the other person wants, you can make your decision now and move on if you’re goals are different.
In this fast paced society where we can find information on our phones at any given moment, order food on the internet to be at our door in 30 minutes, and talk to anyone instantly, why not be straightforward with your dating desires just see what happens? I’m not saying flat out ask for sex. I’m saying state your intentions. As in, “I’m not looking to really dive into a relationship right now, but I want someone to go on fun outings with,” aka: I’m just looking to date. Or, “I’m really looking to just find someone for fun tonight,” aka: I really only want to hook up. And finally, “I’m looking for something long term to see how it goes,” aka: I want to date and possibly have a relationship. Always add on a: “And how about you?” to the end of these.
Yes, this may seem blunt, but turn it around; if you’re looking for something specific when you go out—which you probably are (its really ok, and probably best to be honest with yourself)—just be honest with the person you’re interested in. I have so many hindsight conversations with girlfriends and guyfriends that all sound like: If I had only known that he/she only wanted to date, I would have been willing to do just that, but I didn’t know. Yeah, it’s a bit brutal, but if you’re honest and lightly straight forward, you’re not leading the person on. Do you really want to keep someone around who has a different agenda?
Buff Dogwalker ended our conversation yesterday, saying that he wished he had known that the woman he approached only wanted to sleep with him. She told him at the end of their second and last date, that he could have had her, and she wondered why he waited so long—according to him, he didn’t even try to kiss her at the end of date two, even though he wanted to, he was trying to be a gentleman and prolong the romance. Hindsight, he said he would have slept with her and cut through all the baloney if only he’d known what she really wanted.
Almost three years ago, I started a relationship with a guy, and I thought that he wanted a relationship. He lived out of the city, so it was rough. One day, I invited him in for a sleepover. I realized the night of said sleepover that we were just going to be casual. Since we never talked about it, I didn’t know. He decided that he wanted a relationship. Because we didn’t talk about it, we were focused on different things, and three months later after stringing each other along, it ended poorly. I’m still beaten up about it… “if I had only done things differently” floats through my head when I see a doppelganger of his walk by me on the street…
So there you go. Agree, disagree. Try it, don’t try it. I’m all for honesty, and I’ve Duty Dated enough that I’m done—I know what I want, so from here on out, I’m going to state what I want upfront. Maybe it will work, or maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll miss out on possible opportunities. From now on out I’m going to be honest with myself and my conquests, relax, and see what happens. Because dating should be fun. It should be treated as a hobby. No one freaks out or overthinks yarn, book club, or collecting stamps.
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