Saturday, December 5, 2009

Who Asks Who Out? (It's About the Chase)

As I consider dating prospects, there's one question that I continue to ask myself: Is it OK to ask a guy out first?

Now this is one I continue to get different opinions on, from men and women. Many guys I've spoken to still prefer to ask women out; it feeds the idea of a chase.

Other guys? Well, they seem to like to not do the heavy lifting (a little lazy, in my opinion).

Meanwhile, women also land on both sides of the coin. Some still like to be asked out (admittedly, I'm of this school of thought) while other take the bull by the horns and decide to ask a guy out.

Truth is, whatever your preference, it's the idea of a chase that makes dating fun.

I've asked a few guys out in my day. Although in hindsight, those situations haven't fared well for me. Not to say they don't work.

Personally, these days, I play the game by dropping hints. And if it's right, then he'll ask me out. If not, then there's no way it would have worked.

Besides -- Not such a fan of lazy guys. :-)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Before Taking it To Bed

I remember the first time I got past second base with a guy, in my teens. I agonized over it for days, asking myself all sorts of questions: Is he my boyfriend now? Did he enjoy it? Will he break up with me? Was it too fast?

Of course, these always seem to fade and the thrill of it all is always more important than what happens afterward. (Personally, I can't seem to remember what all the hype was about back then.)

As I got older and the realities of sex entered the picture, I realized that each time I decided to take my relationship with a guy to the next level, the physical mattered a lot more than I ever thought possible, and in a different way.

I had one situation with a guy, The Casanova, who admittedly swept me off my feet instantly. And, because it was new, he was HOT and I wanted to pique his interest, I spent a couple of weeks agonizing what I needed to do to keep him interested -- and how elevating the relationship on a sexual level would change the game for us. So, I asked myself a whole new set of questions, with more grown up ones emerging: How much time should I wait before taking it there? Does this have long term potential? Can I trust him? Who else has he been with? What did it mean? Will he see me differently?

I remembered dissecting the decision for quite some time before it happened a month later. And, even though it was a great time (and he's tried to pursue a physical connection with me as late as last weekend), everything else fizzled out. And, the kicker? I don't think any amount of time I held out would have changed the outcome. Simply put, 90 Days or 9 Days wouldn't have changed the fact that we became a physical relationship.

That's why, when I came across a post by @SingleCityGuy about the "90 Day Rule" I couldn't help but find it interesting. Based on some ideas by Steve Harvey, the 90 Day Rule (which I appreciate) creates a benchmark for how long you make someone wait before letting the relationship escalate to a sexual level. And, while 90 Days may be a bit long in my book, I think the core idea is there: if they're willing to wait for you to figure out what you want, then they may be worth it. After all, you get the chance to really break down what you're feeling and whether you're into the person enough to be around in the morning.

These days, when it comes to deciding how and when I'll take a relationship to a physical level, I let my brain do the "critical thinking." But in the end, I trust my gut. I still don't like to rush... But I run with it. I trust my feelings and ask myself a whole new set of questions: Do I feel a spark? Will I feel good about myself after it happens? Do we have more to talk about than the superficial? Am I having a good time? Do I trust him?

While I think time an important factor to consider (you gotta have something to look forward to), I try not to let that be my only guide. Instead, I made each decision based on my vibes from the guy, individual situation and time we spend together. Then I let the chips fall where they may.

Song: In honor of this post, I'm going to link to the ever sexy J. Holiday video, "Bed." And, if you need the lyrics? Check them out @ Any Song Lyrics.

Image Credit: iStockPhoto

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kissing Pals

Before I got a (little) wiser to the ways of the dating world, I made the huge mistake of having kissed a guy friend or two in the past. Very intense kissing sessions that have significantly altered the way I've interacted with them ever since.

The first time it ever happened, I was in college and it totally caught me by surprise. But I admit, since we'd been friends, I was convinced it meant more. But, after a spell of not talking, and realizing that it meant very different things to the both of us, I became aware of an ugly dose of the truth I was just going to have to accept many more times: he just wasn't that into me.

Then there was one time that was a little different. Brandon and I had been grad school classmates and had grown close since graduation. That was when we started hanging out pretty frequently -- so much so that when he was randomly over here one night, I didn't even give it a second thought that
he was at my place after 1 a.m. And then, being so caught up in good time we were having, I just dove right in. No second thoughts about it.

At this point, I should probably say that I hadn't felt a strong attraction to Brandon. Sure -- he was adorable in the "Boy Next Door" way. But that was pretty much where it stopped for me. Pretty spark-free.

Anyway, what started out as a kiss ended up with regrets when I woke up the next morning. I had no clue why I did it other than curiosity but I didn't want this to change anything between us.

The events after that were kind of hazy, but I know it was an experience that weirded the both of us out because we ended up psychoanalyzing it instead of doing what we should have done: treat it as one of those random, freakish things between friends. Suddenly we needed to define it, like a rerun of "Dawson's Creek," and what should have been fun and funny just wasn't.

It was around this time that I realize the impact that hook ups have on relationships. See, before then, I was of the school of thought that you could be friends with someone even after something like that happens. However, after the issue with Brandon, I was suddenly not sure.

We've managed to put that all behind us -- for the most part and today's he's happily engaged to a sweet girl. But, all I know is that now it's shaped the way I view hooking up with friends -- which is a bummer only because I know there are a couple of guys that I am curious about if nothing else. I mean, as long as everyone agrees, can it be all bad?

Well, until I stumble upon one of those severely not OK situations, I'll keep an open mind. But that's me.

Image Credit: MorgueFile

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Case Study: Knight in Shining Armor Syndrome

One of the greatest and worst things about dating in your 20s is the fact that it's still very much a trial and error process. But, you have your friends to bat it out with as you try to understand each situation for what it is. And, interestingly enough, I find that many of the guys in my life do things that would make for fabulous case studies.

One of these guys is Patrick (mentioned only recently), who I'm finding has many an interesting situation up his sleeve when it comes to the ladies. When I last left off, he and Lady #2, or Ms. Slow Burn were really picking up steam. Sounds good right?

Not so fast. Herein lies the hurdle: a ten year old ex she seems to have a hard time letting go of -- and who she is considering living with once again.

Now, here's where I see a huge flag: This situation, to me, screams baggage. Like, seriously. Enough for anyone to keep at bay. I mean, do you really want to deal with a situation and a history like that? Logically, I would argue no. But here's where Patrick, a smart, witty and good-looking guy defies this very rule. Essentially, instead of letting this one slide, he decided to up the ante and ask her to live with him.

When he tells me, my eyes bug out of my head. I mean, I had a hard time taking this one in only because a few months hardly seems like a basis to become roommates with someone... Especially when there's an ex of a decade, who, for all intensive purposes, is still very much in the picture. Well, at least as far as the girl is concerned.

And so I'd have to label this "Knight in Shining Armor" syndrome. Prime example of trying to save the quintessential "Damsel in Distress," which I would say is quite accurate for a woman caught in the trappings of an emotional struggle with an ex that has drained her emotionally.

In drilling it down, I'd have to say that situations like this one set the stage for a syndrome as old as time: the idea a girl needs to be saved. Or the idea that a man needs to be a hero. What's more compelling about this is that the syndrome has a little side effect: the guy channels his emotions towards a woman who is emotionally unavailable, which doesn't make it easier for a woman who would be willing to commit.

In summation: While this plays off of an old fairy tale notion, this can exist in many forms across genders and in multiple situations. The gesture can be considered sweet, but its effects can have lasting impact.

The Mystery of this Syndrome: Why it happens. Is it our instinct to protect? Maybe. Is it our desire for companionship? Could be. Is it an excuse to avoid real commitment with someone who is emotionally available? Possibly. I'm sure we could give it tons of reasons, although I don't think we could give it one satisfying answer.

So we won't. But instead, I found a great song that discusses this very topic, with the lyrics on the screen so you can see how well it applies. It's corny but appropriate... Enjoy. :-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Two to Tango

A couple of months ago, I was in the wedding party for one of my best friends, Melissa. We've been close for about five years, so I was excited and looking forward to the event. While taking part in the weekend's festivities, I met her cousin, Jeremy, who caught my attention instantly. He has boyish good looks, he was witty, made me laugh and seemed to have it together. And, I was sprung and looked for any opportunity to find chemistry between us.

Anyway, we clicked at the wedding, ended up grabbing a couple of drinks and having a great time. That night we did make out (but no "home runs") and I was intoxicated with the magic of the evening. In the morning, as I woke up reeling from the night before, I was smitten. I found myself wishing on the possibility of more dates, because of course we had a "natural" chemistry that just happened and there was no way I imagined that right?

Cut to the present. I haven't seen Jeremy since that night and other than a few text messages, we haven't had any other contact. And believe me, it wasn't like I didn't put it out there. I invited him out, dropped volumes of hints... But I couldn't seem to get him to ask me out. Sure he'd had a great time. But not great enough for it to materialize into anything more than the one fun night.

Truth is, my situation with Jeremy isn't much more different than the kind of things everyone goes through all the time: when we meet someone that just "grabs" us and we're sprung, only to quickly have the tide change and make us realize it's never going to happen. Suddenly, the infatuation phase is over and reality sets in rather quickly.

Anyway, Jeremy entered my thoughts as I was at my cousin Liz's dinner party on Friday night in my hometown of NYC. While I was there, an old schoolmate of hers, Patrick, and I got into a conversation about just that: the idea of what draws us and keeps us hooked on some people over others. While we were there, he had been talking about two women: one immediately grabbed his attention, which he felt instantly. The other... Well, that one was a little slower and snuck up on him.

In any case, Lady #1, Ms. Instant Attraction was great for about a week... And just like that she got difficult. Meanwhile, Lady #2, Ms. Slow Burn, just crept up ever so smoothly. Now it's Lady #2 on his mind. Meanwhile, Ms. Instant Attraction became such a difficult case that it almost wasn't worth it. So he pretty much threw the towel in.

It wasn't until later that night that I realized that Patrick's story reminded me of my situation with Jeremy or guys like him. He "caught" me just like Ms. Instant Attraction did for Patrick. And like Patrick, my situation with Jeremy just got hard... Games were played. And that's when it seemed very one-sided. At least in Patrick's case, he had the opportunity to find something with another woman that luckily enough not only surprised him, but has potential.

What it comes down to is that there is no denying what excites or grabs you about another person. That's the beauty of raw attraction. But, when it's ends up being one sided, it suddenly feels like a one person dance when we know the only way to tango happens in pairs.

In short: When the dust settles, raw attraction isn't always enough. That's when chemistry takes the lead, and makes the difference between a dance for a single song or all night.

Image Credit: