Friends First

In earlier years, I was not know for my patience. If I wanted something, I wanted it now. This was especially true with women. However, I soon discovered that my urges and life reality seldom converged. As the saying goes, “Disappointment is the fruit of expectation.” Safe to say I was often disappointed.

Having led a rather reclusive social life in high school and college, I had little dating experience. My thought at the time was that dating was something you did in order to get married and live happily ever after like Ozzie and Harriet, (my apologies to those of you who have no clue who this couple is. Suffice to say they were the all American ideal of convivial married life in the 1950s. There is no equivalent couple on today’s television as convivial married life no longer seems to be a desired situation in America). Anyway, Ozzie and Harriet were my role models and I based my theory on dating on attaining their smiling perfection.

My idea for a great date was this:

I find a girl who seems to fit my shortlist for the perfect wife and ask her out. What “out” means doesn’t really matter, we’re just going to go do something together. She, seeing my sweet smile, unabashed neediness and sweaty nervousness, takes pity on me and says, “Yes. Of course!” I nearly feint, but manage to remain standing long enough to meekly reply, “Wow!” To which she answers, “What are we going to do?”


Longer pause.

Finally, an inspiration pops into my brain.

My mouth opens, “I heard the fish are running. Let’s go to the fish hatchery and watch them strip eggs.”


Longer pause.

She turns and walks away.

Okay. That didn’t turn out as hoped for.

It took some work for me to finally get my “Ask her out for a date” pitch tuned to where I got a girl to totally accept my proposal. I think the winning jingo was. “How about we go midnight bowling?

On to part two in my One Easy Step to Romance and Eternal Bliss. Nothing complicated, we walk into the bowling alley, I pay for shoes and a few games, buy two large Cokes, and we claim our lane. A few warm up games, during which I pay close attention to her form, also noting how well she bowls, thinking, she’s done this before. I watch as she throws a gutter ball after three straight strikes. I wonder if she’s noticed that her score of 135 is far higher than my 42. She smiles as she returns to her seat and sips her drink. I pick up my ball and turn to face my pins, then suddenly turn to her, ball gripped tightly with both hands, and blurt out, “Will you marry me?”

She continues to sip her Coke as she stares at me, a blank expression in her eyes.

I repeat my request, “Will you marry me?”

This time there is a response. She drops the Coke. It falls to the floor and explodes all over my shoes. I drop the bowling ball as I stare down at the brown liquid chaos. I see the large black ball land on my toes.


I see the ball continue to roll towards the gutter, then notice that she has disappeared and catch a fleeting glance of her, coat in hand, rapidly disappearing towards the exit.

Okay. That didn’t work so well either.

Neither did numerous subsequent efforts. Keep in mind that the emotional turmoil that resulted from these failures took months to recover from, so my dating efforts were spaced healing months apart.

Yes, admittedly I’m a slow learner, especially when it concerns social matters. However, to my credit, eventually I did figure out something important.

It is much better to have great friends than to have occasional great sex. Good friends I look forward to seeing again and again. I can’t say as much for some sex partners, although I’m sure those partners couldn’t say much good about me.

I adopted a new dating and relationship strategy. Friends first. I decided that the intimacy I really wanted, that feeling of closeness and security was only possible by building friendship, a process that takes time and commitment. Friendship is not a one night stand. Yes, the bliss of sexual pleasure is alluring, but is often a momentary illusion, a glimpse of something grander. But that something is only possible with dedication to building a mutually rewarding relationship.

Friends first.

I don’t expect anyone, especially those youthful in years and filled with love fantasies to pay much attention to all this. Each of us must find our own way in life, however painful that may be. But I offer this final thought.

If there is someone special you’d like to be involved with, start with friendship first. If this works and the two of you become respectful, trusting, and supportive of each other, new doorways will open.

Friends first, because if you can’t be friends, why bother?.

(Looking for more ideas on love and romance? Check out my new book on Amazon, Remedies for Reluctant Romantics, 100 Ways to Sweep Love Off Its Feet.)

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Remedies For Reluctant Romantics

Winning at the Game of Love!
Romance For Dummies…

Ick! Sick!

Your head feels like it was just hit by a bowling ball. Your nose is running faster than an Olympic sprinter, not to mention your body is shaking like a leaf in the.winter wind. It dawns on your numbed mind that you are sick. But wait, maybe this isn’t so bad

How so, you ask? Because being sick maybe means you’re not dead, at least not yet. Not

convinced? Let’s me expand my argument.

I am currently in the recovery phase from an illness, nothing more than the so-called common cold. But this one was not so common, for me anyway. This litter bugger knocked me off my feet for most of a week, a highly unusual event given my general level of good health. My hiatus from the normal daily routine of morning exercise, writing, connecting with community, etc., was therefore interrupted. My brain couldn’t count to three without locking up. My wife nicknamed my nose Little Niagra. The pillows on the bed beckoned for a timeout to rest. I was not in this world. And this was good?

Actually, yes. Being sick can knock you out of an existential rut. In my case my daily routine was getting too “routine.” It was time to stop and consider what I was doing and why I was doing it.

The mentally alert in my audience might inquire if such deep intellectual journeys are wise or even feasible when ill. Good question. Try to answer that one yourself next time you’re sick. For me, lying motionless staring out at the bland sky with tissue stuffed up my nose, being sick is a great time to think. What the hell else am I going to do? Admittedly, under the influence of numerous pills rumored to combat the symptoms of my illness and knowing that my body is a battleground where millions of germs, good and bad, are fighting for control of my future, clear thought may not be possible. But, in my case, clear thought is not usually possible even when I’m feeling exceptionally well.

That said, I find sick time is thought time, although the results are often black and imponderable.

Are you convinced yet? Well, give me the benefit of the doubt; being sick is a good time to think about life and your legacy, since not being sick means you’re merely worrying about surviving the day’s workload and how to pay the month’s bills.

Let’s try another tack. Being sick is good because then other people take care of you.

Right. If you don’t have people who care about you, then it’s not likely they will care for you. I truly hope this is not your case. If it is, write to me, I can care from a distance.

Another “sick is good” reason: being sick is a legitimate excuse to eat things you know you shouldn’t when you’re healthy. Ice cream, cupcakes, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, even chocolates. True, your particular illness may prevent such forays into the refrigerator since short-term results may involve quick trips to the bathroom to expunge your foolishness. But, nobody but your grandmother is going to give you grief for indulging in your dietary fantasies. Just don’t let your kids see you doing this, it will be very hard to explain why you feed them cod liver oil and sour grapefruit juice when they are ill.

Another good thing about being sick, you finally can have a real, honest excuse to call in to work and say you can’t possibly make it today, which will partially assuage your guilt for the last five times you called in “sick” so you could go fishing (see previous blog).

Lastly, and this may be the only true thing I’ve written on this subject, being sick gives you a chance to appreciate how wonderful it is to feel well and healthy. For, truly, our good health is essential to our happiness and this gift is too often taken for granted.

There, that’s all the convincing I’m capable of right now. I need to go back and crush those pillows with my mucus congested head and give my mind a break. If you need more input on this sick subject, I suggest you do your own research, although I’m not wishing that !

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Remedies For Reluctant Romantics

Winning at the Game of Love!
Romance For Dummies…