16. 5. 2017
Fun stuff or risky challenge? Although dating can be a little of each, it really depends upon your outlook on life – negative or positive. The wallflower will say, ‘Urgh, too many unknowns, I might be rejected,’ while the go-getter will think along the lines of the famous quotation, ‘Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.’ The word ‘dating’ can apply equally to the first few tentative meetings between prospective partners, the ‘sniffing out’ process, and also to the resulting relationship, when both parties have decided they’re on the same page. Think Romeo and Juliet, think romantic restaurants, candle-light dinners and walking hand-in-hand beneath a star-filled sky.
In order for mankind to continue, sexual intercourse has to occur and, in most of the modern world, the accepted path towards mating is that of dating. In times gone by it was generally left up to the parents to ‘select’ a suitable partner for their offspring, an arrangement that did away with the necessity of courtship. And, in those far off days, it was generally taboo to engage in pre-marital sex. However, once the union had been agreed upon by the parents, it was a done deal, a tying up of a business contract between two families. Indeed, in some countries, such as India, this is still the customary approach to marriage. Fifty or sixty years ago, it was common to meet your future partner at a dance, at work, at a bar, coffee shop, disco or youth club, or at a party or someone’s wedding. Today, with the widespread use of social media, things are much easier. These days, however, dating and marriage are not always associated with the idea of raising a family. The traditional male/female friendship, expanded into same-sex and transgender alliances, do not necessarily come together in order to reproduce.
What is dating?
It’s all about meeting someone. And, once you’ve met and feel some sort of attraction for one another, it’s about spending time together on successive dates to see if that initial burst of enthusiasm continues. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Successful dating is wonderful, warm and happy, and usually develops into a relationship, whereas on the occasions when there’s no obvious spark, it’s time to move on and date someone else.
The obvious and easy answer to this is, ‘Why not?’ Most people date, it’s an accepted form of meeting other people who may have the same interests and aspirations as ourselves. While it’s nice and relaxing to read a book in front of the fire or watch Corrie with a take-away-TV-dinner, there’s not too many of us who want to go through life on our own. Dating is all about sharing stuff with another person, enjoying laughter and conversation over a coffee, discussing the futility of politics, dancing or going to the movies, and, yes, sometimes engaging in argument. The world is crammed silly with beautiful places to visit, fascinating art galleries and museums, street markets and bistros, and, unless you happen to be one of life’s recluses, all these things are fun, fun, fun, when you do them with a like-minded friend. And, as mentioned above, dating has never been easier. So perhaps now is the time to leave the comfort of the sofa and become a socialite.
Where to start?
Start at the beginning. Explore your immediate social network. Anyone take your fancy? How about the girl you always see on your way to work? How about the guy who holds the door for you when your hands are full and your mind is on another planet? Nothing? Never mind, there are plenty of alternatives: online, offline, inside, outside, alone or with a group of friends. Nowadays, people meet in a huge variety of places and situations. Late-night shopping at the supermarket is often a good place to meet other singles. Then there’s bookshops, coffee shops, fast-food establishments, music festivals, airports, dance classes . . . any classes, the list is endless! Don’t be shy, go ahead and introduce yourself. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? Yep, that’s right, the person might not be interested. But then again, he or she may well be waiting for just such an event, an ice-breaker, an invitation to communicate.
How to make contact?
The above section deals with face-to-face meetings, but perhaps this is something you are not ready for. It could be you’re more interested in the more laidback approach of dating through modern technology, via the Internet and organisations such as International Love, Facebook, Whatsapp, and Skype. These dating sites, and many others like them, do away with the anxiety some people associate with meeting ‘in the flesh.’ At least, not before you’re had a chance to communicate electronically and check out the person who attracted your attention in the dating profile. Say ‘Hi,’ swap messages and photos, and get to know the man or woman that could be your prospective partner. Yes, it’s exciting, and yes, it’s easy! And everything is under your control. You decide how far you want to go, what is and what isn’t acceptable, and whether an eventual meeting will or won’t take place.
The all-important first date
Social networking via the Internet is the easiest and most common way of meeting another person. But there are protocols and practices that should be followed in order to guarantee the safety of your first meeting, your first date with that potential soulmate. Always arrange to meet him/her in a public place, somewhere busy where there will be other people - a coffee shop, a restaurant, a shopping-mall, and inform your family or friends about what you’re doing, maybe asking someone to call you on your mobile an hour into the date. It’s also a good plan to have an exit strategy, an excuse to leave if the situation becomes boring or edgy.
What about clothes, what should I wear on the first date?
Although this question is most frequently asked by women, there are many males who have a problem when it comes down to selecting the correct clothes to wear when meeting someone for the first time. Basically, we should wear the clothes that make us feel most comfortable. It’s really no different to any other social occasion, and it’s important to be portray ourselves as we really are. There’s no point in putting on a suit or a ball gown if these clothes show us in a different light from our normal, happy selves. We are what we are, and it’s best to be ourselves from the get go. In other words, don’t be a chameleon – the real you will shine through, whereas the imposter will stumble and fumble and be disqualified.
And . . . finally.
Remember: everybody wants somebody to love. In just the same way that you are actively searching for that one special person with whom to share your love and your life, there are many thousands of other people searching for someone like you. To be successful in your quest it is vitally important to be honest about yourself and what it is you’re hoping to find. If your height is five-foot-eight, don’t tell the world that you are six-foot-two! If you are looking for a leggy blonde – yep, you get the picture. The day will arrive when you meet your contact face-to-face, and the truth will be plain to see. Enjoy life and enjoy the excitement of successful dating.