Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Dating Advice for the Definitely Not Dead #3

Another exciting week for the DND (Definitely Not Dead)!  I have some people who think I am crazy and some who are loving the advice.  So keep sending those emails!

Today's column is specifically different because there is a topic that I am going to address from a distinctly Biblical perspective.  So if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, you will probably and definitely disagree with me and that's okay.  Also, if you are not an adult, this is really not for you. Stop reading now.

But before we jump in to that, here's our first question, from a reader we'll call Roach Motel.  The roaches move in, and they just don't move out!  So here's the question:

Q:  What are some red flags that should send me running from a potential relationship?

A:  This can be a subjective question because there are personal preferences that either are a giant NO in your dating book or you may have some grounded beliefs that you are not moving from.

For example, I know a guy who won't date a girl who doesn't eat meat.  So there's that.  Or me, personally, I am a super extrovert and am not interested in dating someone who is going to be a wallflower at a party -- I want to date someone who is able to handle himself in a social situation.

But then there are some definite red flags that you need to run, not walk, away from:

  • Anyone who makes you feel like you are crazy
  • Anyone who is physically abusive
  • Anyone who is involved in illegal activity
  • Anyone who speaks poorly of his/her mother (because he/she will never treat  you better than he treats his momma)
  • Anyone who has a reputation for being unfaithful in a relationship
Some walk-away-from situations are:
  • He/she wants to borrow money from you after a few dates
  • He/she is unkind or brusque with wait staff
  • He/she is habitually very late to your dates (ask yourself -- what is he/she doing that he/she is always late??)
  • You are of differing opinions on topics very important to you (and this can be anything -- church, alcohol usage, children, first kiss at the altar (by the way, I am not a subscriber to this), beard/no beard and, believe it or not, "she's too heavy," "she's too skinny," "I only like redheads" (a real thing from a group conversation I was part of);  you get the point.
  • If the other person is getting serious much quicker than you would like or feel comfortable with, this could be a recurrent pattern of his/hers that will leave you with a broken heart.  Might be a walk away.
There are more, but generally speaking, if a person is inconsiderate or rude to you or anyone else, you need to walk away.  Don't get stuck in the idea that you will never have another date.  You will.  And you will be glad you walked away from someone who did not respect you.

Q:  How do you know if someone is in it just for the hookup or is really looking for a relationship?
A:  This is where if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, you may want to put on your seatbelt because this is going to be a wild ride.

There are men AND women in the church who act like they are God-fearing, God-seeking people  that are only concerned with your well-being and honoring you.  

Key word:  ACT.  

Reality:  He's a hormone in a suit (or whatever people wear at your church).  And this applies to women too!  If someone you are dating is puttin' on the hot and heavy right away, it's going to end in sex.  It just is, unless one of you is Superman and has superpowers to refrain in compromising situations. Or you keep a bucket of ice nearby at all times.

Reality #2:  If you are in your 40's-50's, it's very safe to assume you have been in a sexual relationship before, whether you've been married or any other situation.  It's not like when you were 15 and "sex"was a far-removed romantic idea that you knew you were not supposed to do.  It's going to be difficult to avoid sex if you put yourself in situations that, well, are compromising.  

So how do you know if it's just for the hookup or for a relationship?  Well, here's one way to find out:  Wait 40 days to kiss this person.  If the other person is just in it for sex, they obviously will find a way to not call or text you after one or a few dates.  If they are down with 40 Days of No Kissing, then he or she is probably really looking for a relationship.  This is from Joby Martin, who is the lead pastor at the Church of Eleven22.  

If you're interested in more dating advice from Joby, check out the dating and marriage message series at the church website.  It's good stuff.

Encouragement:  Adult believers, pursue holiness!  It's not easy, GOODNESS KNOWS IT'S NOT EASY, but it's doable.  Stay away from the easy, quick hookup that takes away a small part of your heart every time you give in.  Hold out for the person who is also pursuing God and wants to put Him #beforeallthings.  

BONUS (because you made it this far):  If you are dating, seek out places where you are not tempted to compromise your beliefs.  Watching a movie at his/her house by yourselves is NOT going to end well.  How do you think the term "Netflix and chill" became so popular?  Go out with people, do things in groups, even arrange to meet somewhere if you like, because you KNOW your grandma told you not to sit in a car with a boy (or a girl).  Plan to be in the right situation and your choices are so much easier!!!

Thanks for reading.  Share this if you liked it!  Send me your comments and questions!  7terribrown@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dating Advice for the Definitely Not Dead #2

Wow!  The first week of the dating advice column blew up my inbox with questions on everything!  (And I do mean everything.)

A number of women have commented that they have gotten away from being the pursued because they have to be these aggressive women in the corporate workplace.  That may be true for you.  But as you already know, what's good for one is not always good for another!    So keep on letting those men pursue you!  You will get a man who really wants to be with you.  Men, you will know if she is a patient person and willing to wait for the best (that's you).

So without any further ado...

Q:  Who should pay?
A:  There are about as many opinions on this as there are noses (or other apertures), so here is my semi-professional opinion:  (And there are two parts to this answer, so read the whole thing) Not only should the MAN plan the first five dates, he should also pay for them.  Here's my reasoning:  Mr. Wonderful has pursued Miss Fabulous and, since she has made herself accessible but not easy, he is very pleased with himself that he has garnered a date with Miss F.  Since he is a man of action, he plans a date that is great but not the best date ever.  (Save that for later.)

He has planned it, so he knows what kind of financial commitment he is making. Miss F is undoubtedly making her own preparations, because she may decide that her current wardrobe choices are not gonna cut it and she needs something to accentuate the positive.  Or that she needs a blowout.  Or a manicure.  Or that Chanel red lipstick she's wanted for some time.  Girl World is complicated and not cheap.

PLUS, assuming Mr. W and Miss F go on a second date (and third and fourth and fifth), roughly three to five weeks will have passed and if she is any kind of woman you really want to be in a relationship with, she will be oh-too-glad to express her appreciation by say, cooking dinner, or picking up the check on date 6 or later.

Now, in my humble opinion, this is where the check-sharing can start.  If Mr. W and Miss F are "dating" per se, why in the world would she assume that he would pick up the tab forever?  He's not a prize in an all-you-can-eat contest.  Ladies, assuming that you have a job that pays you beyond your normal expenses, you need to pony up and take turns paying for dates.  If you are in any other payroll situation, get creative and go on free dates.  There are many things you can do in a city for free. Or scour Groupon for cheap dates.  Take a picnic--that's romantic. But make your relationship one based on mutual respect and admiration.

If you like him well enough to go on six dates together, you either like  him and want to continue to developing a relationship OR you are PLAYING HIM, and the words I have for that are words my momma taught me not to say.  But  you know what you are.  And if you happen to be outrageously beautiful, you STILL DON'T get out of paying after so many dates.  I have heard women say that "men should pay for the privilege of being seen with me."  So men can pay for your company?  Does your entitled attitude come along for free?

That whole mindset makes you a paid monkey.  And women are better than that.  Way better.

Q:  Who should initiate the first kiss?
A:  Gentle readers, since this is a column for 40 somethings and wiser, I think it would be foolhardy for me to tell you who should initiate the first kiss.  Plus, there are so many varieties of situations I can't even count them.  I mean, there's the "meh, how can I avoid being in a situation that would make kissing possible" all the way to "we have such incredible chemistry we must kiss NOW."

Think back on all the first dates you have ever been on.  Was any one the same?  I doubt it.  (If you've been on a lot of first dates and not a lot of second ones, that is a question for another column.)

Here's a guideline:  In that moment, go 90% there and let that other person come to you the other 10%.  It's either going to be there or it's not.  Yeah, it's from a movie, but it's great advice. https://youtu.be/DSpJQlBJCzA?t=1m30s

Alright, love me or hate me but send me your questions and comments to 7terribrown@gmail.com.  You may just see your question on the Definitely Not Dead.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dating Advice for The Definitely Not Dead

Gentle readers, we are about to embark on a wonderful journey of dating and education, like a date-ucation.

I have accumulated a large number of questions from inquiring minds that want to know, so what you are about to read is dating advice for those 40-ish and 50-ish.  Maybe older, IDK.  But I know that people in this age range are DEFINITELY not dead and are actively dating.  Some just a little more cluelessly than others.

So, without any further ado.... and I look forward to reading your comments.

Q:  How do you know it's a date, and not just two people doing the same thing together as friends?
A:  In today's world, there is a lot that a person has experienced by the time he or she has hit their 40's and older.  Part of that experience is undoubtedly rejection, and that can even range from not getting as many likes as you would like to a brutal rebuff of unrequited love that is announced in a painfully public place.
So it shouldn't come as a huge surprise, Alex Trebek, that the answer to the $800 question, "Rejection"  is "What do I run away from screaming?"
I think that men and women are afraid to commit to actually wanting to go out with someone to see what they're like, because WHAT IF it doesn't go well or the other person doesn't respond like you hope they will?  That would be rejection and that feels stinky.
So I think the best solution to this problem is this:  Ask.  I wish I had followed my own advice!  I once said to a friend who I hoped who would be more, "Hey, let's eat food together."  We got there, he paid, but then I really felt it going to the friend zone so I turned the conversation to an area of ministry we were both working on.  If I had started this whole thing by saying, "Hey, you are a person I'd like to get to know better.  Would you like to get dinner?"  That would have given this other person a chance to say yes or no with more information upon which to base his answer and he wouldn't have gotten shang-hai'ed over Chinese food.
So, I put this to both men and women:  If you want to get to know someone better, tell them.  Feeling wimpy?  Ask in a text.  But here's the flip side:  No judgment.  If you don't want to get to know this other person better, say so, and don't run to your friends or instantly text, "OH MY WORD.  YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE WHO JUST ASKED ME TO DINNER."  Appreciate the guts it takes to even dare to think that you could meet someone amazing, and respect it enough to not gossip about it.

Part 2, Kind of
Q:  I just had dinner with this person that I would like to see again.  What is the next step?  How long do I wait to contact him/her?
A:  This is the most critical part of dating.  And so many people, especially women, SCREW THIS UP ROYALLY.
First of all, people of the 1970's and 80's, what was true a long time ago is still true today.
Women, you have got to let the guy initiate the contact after this first get together.  Let his Alpha Male Wolf Pursuer  pursue you!  It is hard-wired into men to pursue.  I can't tell you how many dating stories gone wrong I have heard that started with, "Well, it had been a few days so I called him/texted him/messaged him and I never heard from him again!'  Hands off, ladies!
I would highly recommend having a friend who appreciates your level of crazy on this topic and will let you send her texts that you are dying to send to him!  So you get your text out and yet you are not SCREWING UP your status of being pursued.
Men!  Assuming that you want to see this woman again, do not feel like you need to follow some man handbook that reads, "Date 1:  Wait three days and then call.  For 5 minutes."  Contact her within 24 hours if you want to see her again at any point in time.  It does NOT have to be an expression of undying love or an Oprah interview about how she feels about you.  How about a "hi, had a great time, would like to see you again.  How's your (day within a week) look?"  Trust me, a woman who is worthy of your time and respect will appreciate this.  And if she doesn't, you have saved yourself a ride to CrazyTown on the Struggle Bus.  Haven't you taken enough of those already?
But it bears saying again:  women, do not pursue men.  It's kind of like that book, which I think has some truth to it:  If he is not calling, he is just not that into  you.  And do YOU want to DRIVE the Struggle Bus to Crazy Town?  I think not.  Respect yourself by letting yourself be pursued by a man you like.

Like this?  Have questions of your own?  Email them to 7terribrown@gmail.com.  I'll try my best to answer the ones that seem to address the most common issues we adults face as we bravely navigate the waters of dating.