Most people who know me will tell you that I am not the 96% Lean Ground Beef of the Dating World. I’m not the most physically fit or attractive guy out there, I’m old enough to remember when Dinobots first roamed the Earth, and most forms of social interaction frighten me. To that end, I’m glad I have a girlfriend now; someone who loves me for who I am, even though I cannot remotely fathom why. To answer the two most obvious questions: No, I am not just making this person up, and No, it’s not Laura Fraser. Although, if Laura Fraser is reading this right now, I would just like to say that I’m available.
I re-entered the dating world several years ago full of optimistic enthusiasm. I figured that, if nothing else, my various exploits would make excellent fodder for humorous anecdotes. This was before I discovered that dating is stupid and I suck at it.
For instance, I am immune to “signals.” “Signals” are those little subtle hints that people give off to show that they are attracted to one another, such as smiling, winking, flirting, or if the they are particularly intoxicated, heavy petting. I have no idea how to interpret these signals. If a girl is flirting with me, I have no idea if she is flirting with me because she likes me unless she comes out and tells me that she likes me. I could always just ask if she likes me, but I find it’s far safer to assume that if I like a girl, there will probably be some reason why it would never work out between us, such as she’s already married.
Many magazines promise to deliver practical dating advice. These are all women’s magazines. You don’t find much in the way of dating advice in men’s magazines because men are more concerned with automotive repair and fishing tips than understanding their relationships, which is exactly the reason women feel they need to turn to magazines for dating advice.
These magazines are always full of such helpful articles as: “Top 10 Ways to Impress Your Lover in Bed,” “What He Says and What He Really Means,” “Take Our Completely Random Compatibility Quiz,” “Dr. Phil Thinks You’re an Idiot,” “How Many Days Should You Wait for Him to Call?” “How Many Dates Should You Go On Before Expecting a Proposal?” “Is Two Years too Long to Wait? You’re Not Getting Any Younger You Know,” “What Is This Guy’s Problem Anyway?” and “Bat Boy Saves Pope from Bigfoot Rampage.” The truth is, ladies, that if you want to get closer to your man, it would be far more effective to just develop an interest in fishing.
Men and women are not really that different when it comes to relationships. We both want what everybody wants: comfort, safety, appreciation, and affection. Yet these magazines assume men and women are only capable of relating to each other in the same sense that a sea slug is capable of relating to a banjo. After reading all this practical dating advice, women modify their behavior to fit what they’re told men want, and the men are more confused than ever because none of it has any basis in automotive repair or fishing.
I do have some ideas that could make dating far less stupid. For example, I think single people could find each other much easier if they wore buttons to signify that they are single and ready to date, sort of like how married people wear rings to signify that they are not single and ready to date. It would save everyone a lot of hassle, except women, who would feel the need to coordinate their outfits to include the button.
The less time you spend with your partner, the more successful your relationship will be. I realized this by watching people who have been married for at least ten years. Between work and sleep, taking care of the kids, and enjoying their various hobbies, happily married people only get to spend about an hour of quality time together per day, and it’s usually at the end of the day when they’re both tired. Since nothing really exciting happens to most people during the average day, this actually saves both partners from having to hear about, in explicit detail, stuff they care nothing about, such as a synopsis of the entire Beast Wars Transformers series.
Finally, I think all relationships should begin with sex. Even business relationships, as long as both partners are willing, or as it’s known in the business world, “mutual.” Too many power plays and mind games and roadblocks are tied up with this, and it would be much easier to focus on actually building a relationship once it’s out of the way.