A man and woman are sitting to dinner on their first date. He’s chosen a gorgeous restaurant and has an amazing smile. She looks absolutely fly in her new little black dress and he’s told her so once or twice already. SCORE! Flirtatious small talk has ranged from his athleticism to her impossibly deep dimples. Surface stuff? Yes. But it’s setting a cool, comfortable atmosphere and both parties are feeling each other.
Then comes the “Kiss of Death” question which SHOULD allow both people to assess where the friendship/relationship has the potential to go (or not) but more often than not it leads to even thicker masks being painted on.
“So… what do you look for/like in a man/woman?”
Time after time this one seemingly harmless question changes a person’s demeanor and behavior unbeknownst to them.
He says he enjoys women who have a good head on their shoulders, give great conversation, have eclectic taste in music, work out and are into football. As he speaks she’s working her way down her self-check list, mentally checking things off with a smile until the “works out” and “is into football” leaves his lips.
What the what? She’s naturally petite, doesn’t do much more than Pilates and rarely watches football, aside from movies that have something to do with the sport. She hates football. But she doesn’t want to lose this awesome guy. Quick! What does she say?
“I’m really getting into football lately! Go Steelers!” Then she pulls any and every football tidbit she’s ever heard her brothers talk about and tries to arrange them all in a semi-literate way, praying he doesn’t ask too many questions until she can get home and Google everything she can on the sport.
Or the other way around, he asks what she looks for in a man and she gushes about men who enjoy traveling and know their way around the kitchen. He freaks. What can he cook? A bowl of cereal. But what does he say, mesmerized by the gorgeous smile of this woman sitting before him?
“Yeah, I enjoy watching the Food Network to get ideas for new recipes.”
“Oh, you cook?” She asks him with eyes bright.
“I’m somethin’ like a black Emeril Lagasse,” he brags, as he frantically makes a mental note to ask his sister for cooking advice.
We have all done it at some point. So focused on maintaining the interest of the person in front of us that we throw complete honesty out the window. We want to impress. We want to be wanted because, well, we want them; Feigning interest in things we could really care less about and pretending to be pros with things we are total failures at or have never even tried. Then, IF a relationship materializes, we wonder why things start to unravel sooner than later.
I don’t suggest baring your soul from the first conversation, but it is important to remember who you are and to be honest about it from the jump. We forget that some aspects of what we find attractive in others often morph and grow and change as we grow and experience life.
You would be surprised at how often my open disdain for things has created a larger air of interest on behalf of the guy. Instead of shying away because we didn’t share one or two of the same interests, it was now his opportunity to teach me something which could turn itself into a successful second or third date, and who knows after that?
Nowadays I try to avoid asking such a cornered question as “What do you like in a man/woman?” Instead, I just engage. I engage in conversation about any range of topics. I engage in small silly behaviors like singing off-key to a favorite song. I engage in being me in front of him and honestly, even if a relationship never materializes, more often than not, I’ve had some great dates and secured awesome friends. I would rather be my random self than to try to stuff myself into an uncomfortable mold. Because, let’s be honest, many men have no real clue what they “like” until they meet her. Forget what he “likes.” Be you. Whether a relationship materializes or not, he’ll respect it and you’ll know that you’re being appreciated for what YOU actually bring to the table.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women. Her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.