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?”
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.”
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.
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.)