Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pre-Dating: The Courting Thing

When we date, we take our chances that the people we meet will be "date-able" -- or, people that are worthy of our time and getting to know better. In order to do that though, we've become conditioned to playing by a set of rules or screening methods, upon which we must make this educated guess.

While people use different criteria to assess who they would date, the truth is that by and large, determining dating can lead to one of two very general paths: (1) Become nothing more than a series of dates or a one nighter (2) Grow into something based on a series of dates, where the intimacy comes with time, or courting.

So now let's take a look at these two options:

One Nighter: Often said to be a shortcut to ending things if it's done before you've had a chance to build with other people. And, how often do relationships grow out of those one nighters?

Admittedly, while we are in a new day and age, I think this one is tricky. There's no time limit on when it's appropriate to have sex, per say. But without knowing the person, is it possible to have the sex be anything more than... Well, sex?

Courting: This is when you get to know the person and all those quirky things come up: Can I date someone that works that much? Are they attractive enough? Do we have enough to talk about? Do they seem smarter than I am? Is he/she good enough for me? And the questions continue.

Essentially, while on dates to the movies, or just a drink, you're getting to know these things as well as the fun stuff: Does he/she take their coffee with milk and sugar or just black? Does she like tomatoes? Does he prefer whiskey or rum? You're learning what you do and don't like -- building foundation on the chance that maybe this person can be more than a brief phase in your life.

Even after both of these options chemistry is still what counts. But gotta get through the basics, first.

Everyone's pathway to a relationship is different. Before you determine whether a person is worth keeping around, you just gotta let the beginning stage run its course.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Reading the IOIs (or, Indicator of Interest)

One of the things that NEVER ceases to amaze me is trying to read signs of whether or not someone's interested in you. No two signals are ever really the same, and therefore require a bit of thought in each situation to make sure we're understanding what the other person is trying to tell us. Either way it ends up, you can be sure of one thing: Your target will send out vibes to let you know where they stand: "Yes I'm feeling you..." or "Well, maybe, but I'll keep my options open..." or "Or, hell no, it's never gonna happen!"

To borrow a page from the ever popular book, The Game, I would say that these signals can be considered IOIs (Indicators of Interest*) that will guide you on whether you should move in for the kill, tread lightly or, back off.

Anyway, that's exactly how my Saturday night went -- like a whole marathon of IOIs -- when I joined my pal Marisol out for yet another night on the town, at her old colleague's birthday party.

Here's a snapshot of the night... And some thoughts to boot:

Encounter #1: Jacob
Immediately upon arriving, I started chatting with some of her friends when a tall, pretty eyed guy, Jacob, strolled up to our table. While he spoke to the group I was with, I noticed he asked me questions about myself, slowly taking the conversation away from the rest of the table. Soon I found that we were in a full blown conversation which somehow became the segue for exposing his very crude humor. Not one to hide much, I displayed my shock at his humor and gently shifted gears back to the group at the table, giving him a clear sign that I wasn't trying to continue the conversation as long as he kept talking like that.
Verdict Says: So far, this isn't looking so good... A vibe of trying too hard? Maybe.

Encounter #2: Evan
While Jacob wandered off for a while, I ended up talking to Evan, whose friend was hitting on Caroline. Anyway, Evan, who I'm certain was influenced by the drinks that were flowing was totally doing the flirting thing: holding me by the waist, buying me drinks, talking into my ear... And rolling with the punches, I started to go with it and even return some of the signals. But, soon a group of women walk in and, by the time I'm back from the bathroom, he's trying to work his magic on one of them at the table next to us.
Verdict Says: Douche extraordinaire. No rocket science to this one.

Encounter #3: Mystery Boy
While I'm juggling Jacob and Evan, Marisol was doing a little field playing of her own. She'd set her sights on a good looking guy sitting at one of the tables near us with a friend enjoying the scene. For a while, she was trying to figure out the set up... But not before a small, thin brunette caught his attention, and whom, based on the big smile on his face, was probably just what he'd been looking for.
Verdict Says: Negative. He'd already had his sights set on a girl, so this was a lost cause.

Encounter #4: Jacob
While Evan disappeared, Jacob eventually wanders back to our table to pick up where he left off. And, because I was intrigued by his persistence, I entertained it. Soon, the conversation's going and even though the first time was crash and burn, he's trying to work it again, opening up the floor for me to leave the bar with him. It's clear he seems to think he's got a chance and thinks my intrigue is enough to land me for the night. But, giving him a run for his money, I cut to it, going something like this:

Me: So spare me the double talk, 'cause I'd prefer it if you were honest. Saves us both a lot of the crap. You want me to give in, and something's convinced you that I'll do that. But since I've got that figured out, you're almost better coming out and saying it.
J: (Smiling as he shakes his head) Didn't see that coming.

Me: Didn't think so. But now that we have that out of the way --

J: We can go one of two ways. Option A is together, which I think is a great option, so we go home together... Or Option B, where neither of us gets it, and we go home alone, which I don't find fun.

Me: Yeah, that sounds about right. Although you might as well know that Option A isn't in the cards.

J: No?

Me: No. It's not happening that easily.

And with that I thought the door was closed. After all, if he wasn't getting laid that night what was the point right? Guess again. Somehow, we ended up having an impromptu mini-date which involved grabbing a bite to eat, conversation and a walk home - a huge change from the way the night started out.

When we got to my door, we talked a little in the brisk cold before sharing a nice good night kiss. And now, we have plans for a date a little later this week.

Verdict Says: An unexpected turn, I know. But it seemed that once we were honest, there was nothing else to do but to get to know each other. At this point, I'd say a power struggle and curiosity are keeping this afloat for the hopes of a conquest. Who will crack first? The game is the foreplay, basically.

What it boils down to is that the dating game is all about indicators of interest: looks, conversations, actions... It all determines whether we sit by the sidelines or get into the game.

But make no mistake that your target is always sending you a signal... You just have to pay attention to make sure you catch them all. Who knows what you'll find.

* = IOI is a popular term in the seduction community, and there tons of sites that go into its meaning.

Image Credit: iStockPhoto