So recently I mentioned that I met a perfectly cool chick at a 4th of July party and also that I had a first date with her for the following weekend. The first date went 100% awesomely. I nailed every single one of my goals on the list, including the tipsy ass-grab and intense makeout session at the end of the night. It was lovely. Teri is a great gal and I’m super stoked about this one. I’m getting kind of a chub thinking about it.
Post-date, I did a lot of thinking about how first dates and the early-early stages of dating are so volatile. By volatile, I mean there is little stability and that anything can happen at any time. The other person could decide, for whatever reason, to flake out and never respond to another email, call, or text after a perfectly good date (even with a makeout) and how things can be so unexpected. Not only that, but on a minute-by-minute level during our first dates, things are fluid and there’s a lot of non-verbal communication and jockeying for position. The best way for me to break that down is with an example…
After my date with Teri, we met again at a backyard BBQ at a friend’s house that same weekend. I figured things would progress nicely and we’d move to stage 2, whatever that is. But, for various reasons, we took a step backwards. I tried all my normal tactics and got absolutely nowhere. At the end of the night, I was barely able to illicit a terse kiss goodnight. Remember, this is someone that I had had a fantastic first date with only 48 hours ago and that I was certain things were going somewhere. What happened?
It took me awhile to figure it out, but what I realized was that she was uncomfortable indicating our connection or showing affection in front of our friends, for whatever reason. It’s possible she was concerned about her social status among the other females of the group, or even that she didn’t want to be questioned about a new love interest. So what it felt like was that I was flirting with a statue. Displaying affection in a social setting isn’t something I think about at all, but for her it was really important, so she shielded herself, and it took me by surprise.
Taking this a step further. There are small but significant differences in the way that we express affection and the way that we go about establishing a connection with another person. I’m loose and nutty and ready to get close early on. I’m also very touchy and I would describe my love style as affectionate. She’s not. Teri’s deliberate, tighter, she tests a lot, does a lot of takeaways, and only gives out compliments and positive signs after you pass a test or earn a giveaway by doing something clever. As you can see, it’s complicated and there is a lot of potential for missteps and failed communications.
My point is this. All that stuff I said in the last paragraph isn’t something that you talk about on a first date or even a second date and sometimes it’s not something you talk about at all. Some people may not have thought about their love style ever or have the vocabulary to even have that conversation. The only way that I navigated through it was because of the skillz I’ve built up over the years and having gone on a ton of dates. I’ve seen every love style under the sun. I know which chicks are wide open and which ones are tight. I know the ones that like touchy-feely and the ones that are shy about touching. I know the ones that are humorous and can take teasing and the ones that are sensitive and get huffy when you bust on them.Three years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to get through those first two dates without fucking up something wildly. I would have gotten turned off because she wasn’t giving me enough or I wouldn’t have had the skill to navigate all the little testing, and it’s possible I would have given up on a perfectly good prospect. If you don’t have the skillz, how do you make it through those early dates?
I have two ideas:
1. Get the reference experience by going on a ton of dates and seeing what love styles are out there. Develop your skill. Read a bunch of high quality PUA theory. Try different stuff and make mistakes. It’s critical to be able to identify and calibrate to a person’s love style, energy level, and mood immediately.
2. Try discussing each other’s style on the first date. Be smooth and don’t just throw it out there and be creepy and expect results. Have a few drinks, kino escalate like normal, warm it up, and then throw in a “so, what’s your love style?” question somewhere during comfort. This is completely not field tested by me, I’ve never done it, so I don’t warrant the results, but I bet you can get a bunch of information about how she connects and how she likes to be connected with. Calibrate and proceed. Come to think of it, having this conversation is probably good to have at any point in a relationship, from first date to LTR.
Last couple of thoughts. How many dates with perfectly great partners are we blowing because we don’t have the skill to navigate the subtleties of each other’s love style? Probably a lot. It’s very rare that two people will have instant chemistry.
Speaking of chemistry, I think chemistry is bullshit. When someone says they are looking for great chemistry, what they actually want is someone with the skill to move from opener to rapport to comfort and create a fun environment while at the same time presenting well–dressing well, having an image–and projecting an aura of confidence and attractiveness. Not only do they want the complete package, but they want it to come naturally, like the other person was born that way and that the connection happened organically. Yeah, right! Chemistry isn’t something that happens naturally, unless you happen to be a Natural, which most people are not. Chemistry is understanding the opposite sex and having great game.
If you have the skillz to navigate a first date, you might also like these fine posts: