Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Step Your Game Up, Pt. I

So, thank you to "Home is Where the Heart is" for responding to my post with your own VERY detailed post. LOL! You should start your OWN blog! *hint, hint*

Anyway, "Home is Where the Heart is", your points are very well taken and I think I need to explain myself. I'm not trying to badmouth DC or blame DC for everyone's unhappiness. But for ME, it's just not that fun, dynamic place that you are describing. Obviously I don't think it's ALL bad or I would've run screaming from this town long ago. I happen to be one who believes that just because you're born in a city doesn't mean that it's the place where you're meant to stay for the rest of your life. I happen to be the only person in my immediate family who is a native Washingtonian. I tried to explain to my parents that if they had chosen to stay in their hometowns where their parents remained, then we wouldn't have the family that we have today. And, yes, you are right, things got lonely for a minute or two when I was in New York before, but I also had a LOT of fun in New York during that time. I mentioned the moment of extreme loneliness to prove a point. And, I ended up coming home for some health reasons that I'd rather not get into, but suffice it to say that I needed my mama and so I had to go home. Anyway, it wasn't the city that drove me away AT ALL. And my intention was always to return... I'm glad you love DC and that it brings out the best in you. But for me, it's just not that way. At least not right now...

Well, at any rate, the point of that last post is that I am actually a little worried that the City will lose it's charm if it becomes my home instead of my fun-filled vacation spot. I discussed this with my friend G, who is also a DC native, but now living in the West Village. I asked him whether my love affair with the City will end if I actually move there. He assured me that it would not. In fact, what he said was: "Brown Girl, if you move to the City, you will fall in love. And, being in love with the City is a lot safer than any other kind of love because, well, because the City won't break your heart." G, all that sounds good, but... we'll see about that.

So, the tough part (and the question that I was trying to answer in my last post) is figuring out whether I will actually make the move out of DC. I mean, I feel more vibrant, happier, more creative when I'm in the City, and those are feelings that I want to perpetuate. But, my dearest friends and loved ones are in DC. And leaving them is a really scary thing. The bottomline is that, if I'm gonna do it, now is the time. I have no kids, am painfully single, am in desperate need of a career-change, and have not yet achieved the American Dream of home ownership, so what's holding me back. I just don't want to be that 60 year old who looks back on her life and wonders... "what if"... But the jury is still out on whether I'll make it to NY. It'll take guts and a willingness to take a chance... both of which I am running pretty low on right now.

Tonight's post was originally posted on my MySpace blog in January of '07. I haven't posted on my MySpace blog since I started this Blogspot page and had actually forgotten about this post until I got a notice that someone had commented on it just yesterday. Apparently, it is still relevant. I am a busy little bee over here and will be for the next couple of weeks, so it's taking me extra long to finish my blog posts. As a result, I'm recycling one to pacify you until I come up with something new (I did add a few more details for you this time around). Don't shoot me! I'm working on something that could - hopefully - change my life. But... there WILL be at least one new post by the end of the week. Promise...

Anywho, onto today's post...

The last time I went on a date, the night ended horribly. A guy had been asking me out for months and I finally agreed to dinner. Everything was great… until the check arrived. There was an awkward silence between the two of us as we both stared the thing down. Finally, I faked as though I was going for my purse not really knowing what else to do to alleviate some of the tension across the table. But, rather than it being a "fake", it turned out that the jerk actually made me pay for my part of the bill. And, things had been going so well! When he called me for a second date – and believe me, I couldn't believe he would even ask about a second date – I politely declined and never returned his calls. If we had discussed going dutch beforehand, this wouldn't have been a problem, but it was made clear that this was our first DATE. And, in my opinion, going dutch on a FIRST date is just a dealbreaker (especially when no notice is given that I would be expected to pay my bill).

I really don't want to think of this guy as cheap or romantically challenged. I'd like to chalk this up to him simply not knowing any better (even though he is 30+, so I don't know whether he deserves the pass... by now he should know better). And, to prevent other women from suffering through similar embarrassing situations, here are ten steps to ensure a successful first date. Women are always complaining that chivalry/romance/selflessness is dead. Hopefully, this is a step towards getting today's man back in touch with your gentlemanly side and getting to that second date.

1. Call well in advance to schedule a date.
Please note that I said call. Text messages, emails, messages by carrier pigeons do not count. Asking in person is also a good idea. If you are interested in going out with a woman on Saturday night, have the common courtesy to call before Saturday morning, or even Friday. Women don't like to feel as though they were your "backup plan" because you didn't have anything else better to do. And, maybe she'd like to get her hair done, buy a new outfit, get a manicure and pedicure, etc. This also shows a woman that you respect her time. It is possible that if you wait until Friday night to ask a woman out for Saturday, she might have already made other plans with someone else who thought to call her SOONER!

2. Think "outside of the box".
No, I'm not suggesting that you take a woman bungee-jumping on your first date. What I am suggesting is that you go beyond the traditional dinner and/or a movie. Instead, ask her to go to a play or concert; a museum exhibit; a salsa dancing lesson with actual dancing to follow; a sporting event; cook dinner instead of taking her out. Give her something to talk about with her friends after the date is over. If you're not sure about what's going on in your town, check out the style section of your city's newspaper, ask friends about any exciting events coming to town; ask her what she might like to do. (It really is ok to ask if you're just clueless.)

3. Pick her up when and where you SAY you will.
I know this sounds like common sense, but sometimes, common sense isn't so common. Honestly, meeting her at the venue doesn't give the same effect as picking her up from her house (or another agreed-upon location) and escorting her to the venue. Most importantly, if you have agreed to take a woman out at a certain time, be sure that you actually show up at said time. Nothing infuriates a woman more than a man who doesn't keep his word. If you are late, this is not a good thing. If you don't show up at all… and you can't justify your absence with a doctor's note or something equally as official, you have probably ruined all chances for a second date. If you honestly can't make it on time or at all, in this day and age of cell phones, email, text messaging, etc., there is no reason why you can't give your date some fair warning so she won't be left high and dry on a Friday or Saturday night.

4. Dress for the occasion.
Do not show up for your date looking as though you just finished doing yard work. Dirty clothes, wrinkled clothes and the like are a turn-off. Surely, your date will make sure that she looks her best before stepping out with you. You should reciprocate. Of course, if the date is experiential and you will get your hands dirty, you should dress appropriately for the occasion. But, if you are taking your date for a night on the town, at least wear a button-down, collared shirt or a nice sweater. And, if you must wear sneakers, then be sure that they are neat and clean.

5. Bring a gift.
This, of course, is optional. But, you can never go wrong by bringing something nice to greet your date. Flowers are tried and true and always elicit a flattered response. Candy, traditionally a romantic gift, in these days of low-carb, calorie counting diet plans, may not go over as smoothly. (Although no warm-blooded woman can turn down Godiva!) Reflect on any conversations you may have had about what she enjoys doing, reading, watching. And, then, try to come up with something that she would appreciate. If she looks confused when the gift is presented, be sure to explain the meaning behind the gift. Even if you miss the mark, she'll appreciate your effort. A thoughtful gift gets you bonus points every time.

#s 6-10 after this commercial break...

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