Provocative opinions aired on the clothes line of life.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Playing Too Hard To Get - Part Two

 So, a cane. Kinky.

This post is dedicated to Lucy Sheriff who has been waiting ever so patiently for this belated second installment.

Having explored the fickle scenario of securing a date through the process of unavailability in Part One, I was keen to test the waters of that transitional period where date; the noun becomes to date; the verb. Entering into a situation where you've made it past the initial checkpoint and are attempting to secure a regular occurrence of seeing someone, which if all goes smoothly should inevitably lead to relationship-ville.

However this often proves to be a tricky endeavor as daily commitments take priority and slotting your new love interest into your life can be easier said than done. Of course when you're hopelessly infatuated with the person and find yourself proclaiming to skeptical friends that they're the one after just one casual tryst (I've never done that, seriously I haven't) you'll find yourself pushing aside important aspects of your life without a second thought. But is this really the best method in achieving the coveted monogamous union in which you have free rein to digitally secrete all over each other much to the rest of the online worlds distaste?

I've been reading from the scriptures of the Holy Bible again (aka the extreme self-help book simply entitled The Rules) and according to them, continuing with your life as normal is essential in maintaining his interest long-term. Now on the surface this seems to be pretty standard advice. There's nothing new there. I mean who in their right mind would put their responsibilities on hold for someone they're only casually involved with?

But it sounds familiar doesn't it? There you are drifting around somewhere near cloud nine and you'd do anything to push the relationship further along just that little bit faster. Suddenly you begin to act completely out of character in your fledgling attempts to gain a commitment and in doing so project an unrealistic fantasy onto him which fails to materialize because it simply never existed.

If the situation were to appear in a Facebook newsfeed it would read something like: "Miss head in the clouds has been painfully and embarrassingly rejected by Mr saw this one coming and bailed."  

So with that in mind, here are a few basic guidelines to follow during this transitional period:

"You should never accept a Saturday night date after Wednesday."

No date yet but at least I have my period

This seems a little extreme to me. Wednesday is that magical mid-week period when people start thinking about their plans for the weekend. So if anything post-Wednesday is ruled out that only leaves two days prior during the bleak part of the week for him to ask you out. (Going by the rule that Sunday is excluded from date planning procedure). Unless of course you've woken up together from Saturday night or he's your Sunday boyfriend.

Do we really have to start throwing them away purely because they're disorganised? It's incredibly difficult to find someone who you genuinely want to see again. So risking the courtship simply to ascertain that one has already made fictional plans seems incredibly childish to me.  

Why you should follow it: Not being at his beck and call is the key here. Men enjoy to be challenged and while I'm all for being spontaneous he'll ultimately have more respect for you if you're not rushing out of the door the minute he asks you what your plans are.

Why you should cheat it: In these early stages your turn of phrase is everything. Believe me, I recently engaged in a drunken late night conversation via the ever convenient medium of the mobile phone where I conducted myself in a way which I considered (at the time) to be a forthright and no-nonsense approach. When in fact it was nothing more than a psychotic misinformed tantrum. (Or from the segments I can remember anyway). I had the right idea but my words and the way in which I chose to orchestrate them failed to achieve the desired effect.

So, my point is, by all means accept a date after Wednesday. Accept it on the same day if you really want to (I don't see the harm) but just phrase your reply in a cool and collected manner. And don't reply straight away. Also, ammend the details of the arrangement he proposes. If he wants to meet at a certain time push it back or move it forward to accomdate your schedule. 

"Fill up your time before the date."

Hmm which bag of lettuce...oh who cares I'm so marrying him

This is practical but easier said than done. Presumably (if you've adhered to the first rule that is) you have a few days to wait until the big date and therefore more time to obsess about it. You fluctuate between frissons of excitement and paranoid feelings of self-doubt. Idle musings on what to wear lead to insecure thoughts about what their perception will be of you in broad daylight (very unforgiving).

Why you should follow it: When you're in the first flush of meeting someone new, it's very difficult to separate the reality of the situation from the fantasy in your head. Don't get your hopes up because ultimately you won't be doing yourself any favours. You should treat the date as thought it were an impending New Year's Eve celebration. The spontaneous gatherings at the local Pub almost always trump the pretentious parties you've been planning for weeks in advance because you haven't over-analyzed every minute detail and just left the events to occur naturally.

Why you should cheat it: OK, you can't physically stop yourself from envisioning the date, you're excited and it's only natural. It's like trying not to think about a red dot. Impossible. But don't let your mind wander anywhere into the immediate future beyond the date. That's risky territory and at this point not at all certain. Don't let your crazy fantasies manifest themselves by talking about him or the date to anyone else either. Especially not to mutual friends the two of you may share. (There's nothing worse than people assuming the relationship is more serious than it is and attempting to force it along).

"Don't see him more than once or twice a week."

  Absence makes the heart grow fungus

So you've been on three or more dates together and are talking to each other via some medium virtually every day. Naturally you're beginning to form an attachment and are beginning to reassure yourself that you're not going to die alone and wind up in an advanced stage of rigor mortis before anyone discovers you.  

Why you should follow it: Resisting the urge to say yes every time he asks you to do something is a sensible move as a new love interest is a novelty which should be kept that way. And note that I said sensible. Yes it's a wonderful feeling when you've met someone and you think it could really be something. But don't enter into a relationship with someone just because you're fed up of being single. Also it's important to remember that you had a life before him and if things don't work out you'll have one after him too. He won't. But you will.  

Why you should cheat it: Don't cheat it. That's right you heard me. And I know exactly what you're thinking: I can always e-stalk him. No. Not a good idea. There's nothing wrong with having a cheeky gander at his Facebook photos, but don't let yourself fall into a habit whereby you're checking his profile as much as you do your own. It's not healthy and is essentially a form of modern torture. You'll have access to a plethora of information without any of the context around it. So any girl that he's photographed with or has a message from will obviously provoke an unnecessarily jealous reaction. If anything you should hide his updates from your newsfeed to avoid temptation entirely.

"Stop dating him if he doesn't buy you a romantic gift for your Birthday or Valentine's Day."

No scrubs
While I enjoy being treated I'm certainly not the type of person to be bought or to be taken in by wealth and pretension. I don't think it's necessary to have to break the bank in order to have a good time with someone, especially not in the beginning stages - if it doesn't work out it feels like such a waste. Besides there are other far more important qualities I look for in a man which don't include how generous he is with his wallet (of course I'm not advocating that you should let yourself be taken advantage of by a shameless freeloader either). Similarly being lavished with gifts so early on just seems so insincere. But I think the key thing to remember here is the thought.
Why you should follow it: This is the most personal rule and one which I can't really advise you on because it's purely down to the individual. I wouldn't be the least bit offended if a guy I was casually seeing didn't indulge me with a sentimental gift on Valentines Day. But that's because it's never been important to me, whether I've been in a relationship or not. Sure I've exchanged cards and received gifts, but I've never behaved any differently on this particular occasion. Going out for a romantic meal is something I enjoy on a regular basis not just once a year.  

Birthdays are slightly different, but in no way do I expect a gift. A small gesture as simple as a thoughtful message will suffice. A sign that they're putting in a little bit of effort is more than enough to keep me happy. I'm not a fan of public gestures at all.

Case in point: A few months ago I went on a date with someone I wasn't overly keen on. He arrived with a bouquet of flowers. Which was very sweet, but I felt it was a bit dramatic for the casual drink we were having. Ultimately the flowers worked against him because it felt too contrived and although the thought was there the sentiment just got lost.

Why you should cheat it: If you're a particularly materialistic person then you should at least admit it to yourself and find someone who will indulge and spoil you if that's what it takes to truly make you happy. After all life is too short to settle for anything less.