Dating recon and some ideas.

20 Sep

Yesterday I hung out at a friend’s house.  It was a perfect day for being outside:  not too warm, not too cool, a pleasant breeze, mostly insect-free.  Later, after I had advised my friend on her eHarmony matches (they suckered her back in), her brother Fernando and cousin Billy Bob joined us for a game of Mexican dominoes.

Anyone who has played Mexican dominoes before knows that it is not a fast game, so I knew that I had the perfect opportunity to pick Fernando’s brain about dating and women.

Fernando’s main complaint about women and dating was that too many women are “not fun” and only want to “go to restaurants and drink wine.”  He wanted to find women who were more interested in outdoor activities like sports, hiking, and camping.  Finding non-butch church girls who like to do these things has not been an easy task.  Fernando also said that too many women only talk about themselves on dates.  When I asked what he meant, he said that they talk too much about their goals in life.  He would like to find a funny girl who can make him laugh.  When it comes to dressing, Fernando said he loves stilettos and hates pants tucked into boots, unless the pants are leggings.  (Where Fernando is going to find a funny, sporty, Christian girl who wears stilettos and doesn’t like to go to restaurants and drink wine and talk about herself the whole time is a good question.)

Fernando didn’t let the guys off too easily, either.  He said that at his church, the guys spend all their time messaging girls on Facebook and Twitter and that they have a Sunday face and a rest-of-the-week face.  Burn!

Fernando’s comments about boring dates got me brainstorming about date ideas.  Here’s a short list of activities that popped into my head:

  • See how many grapes you can stuff into your mouth
  • Staring contest – whoever laughs first loses
  • Print out lyrics to dirty rap songs and give dramatic poetic readings of them
  • Go to a store that sells hats and try on all the hats
  • Go to a Halloween store and try on clown outfits
  • Buy a Lego set and assemble it
  • Buy a coloring book and crayons and make art for each other
  • Sit on a bench and people watch and make up stories about the people (I recently rented Date Night, and Tina Fey and Steve Carell’s characters do this at restaurants as part of their date night ritual)
  • Buy a foreign language beginner book with a CD, learn a few phrases, and then try them out in public
  • Go to an arcade and play Dance Dance Revolution (if a group date, Guitar Hero for the Wii)

There really isn’t anything wrong with just going to a restaurant.  If you’re a foodie, trying new places can be a lot of fun.  I think the main point, especially early on, is to do something creative and interactive where you can build rapport and learn more about the other person in a way that doesn’t come off like a job interview.  (Of course, if one or both of you are dull as dirt, the tried-and-true blueprint is a blueprint for a reason….)

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34 Responses to “Dating recon and some ideas.”

  1. jack September 20, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    A female friend and I used to go out for cocktails and have a messy breakup for the advantage of the eavesdroppers. It’s fun to watch people pretend they’re not listening to your conversation.

    Me: “You wouldn’t be leaving me if I made more money.”
    Her: “How much more?”
    Me: “Another 10,000”
    Her: “I’d still leave.”
    Me: “I’ll start dating your cousin. Again.”

    Lotsa laughs. Don’t use a bar or coffee shop in your part of town.

  2. Josh September 21, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    AH, you’ve got to read between the lines. Ferdinand is speaking in code, because what he is saying is too politically incorrect to say directly.

    Fernando’s main complaint about women and dating was that too many women are “not fun” and only want to “go to restaurants and drink wine.” He wanted to find women who were more interested in outdoor activities like sports, hiking, and camping.

    This means that he wants a woman who is willing to defer to his wishes. Going to restaurants and drinking wine is what women want to do. It’s a test – he wants a woman to demonstrate the willingness to endure discomfort for the sake of being with him.

    Fernando also said that too many women only talk about themselves on dates. When I asked what he meant, he said that they talk too much about their goals in life.

    Code for career-oriented women. A woman with “the plan” has little room to accommodate the autonomy and desires of a husband, who, if anyone remembers, should be the leader, not the accessory to the successful woman who has-it-all.

    He would like to find a funny girl who can make him laugh. When it comes to dressing, Fernando said he loves stilettos and hates pants tucked into boots, unless the pants are leggings.

    He probably doesn’t actually like humorous girls. Humor is inherently aggressive – it rides at the edge of impropriety and discomfort. What he means is “makes him laugh.” A woman who nurtures and supports him and makes him happy.

    Again, he probably doesn’t like stilettos. Women with stilettos are impossible to maneuver , and are essentially helpless unless sitting down or standing on smooth hardwood. What he means is, again, a woman who is willing to endure discomfort for the sake of being attractive. A woman who takes physical upkeep and appearance seriously.

    Tucking pants into boots is the direct opposite of that. Though extremely practical, particularly for the outdoors activities he prefers, it shows an unfeminine disregard for appearance.

  3. Aunt Haley September 21, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    Good anecdote. Are you sure the bar-going and wine-drinking isn’t hurting your chances with the church virgins, though?…

  4. Aunt Haley September 21, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    And they say that women are roundabout!…

  5. Josh September 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Men can be roundabout, when speaking the truth plainly will get them into trouble.

    “Do these jeans make me look fat?”

    “Well…”

  6. Lily September 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    “Tucking pants into boots is the direct opposite of that. Though extremely practical, particularly for the outdoors activities he prefers, it shows an unfeminine disregard for appearance.”
    What should she wear on these outdoor pursuits?

    My BF is always saying things like are you sure you want to wear that (I usually wear skirts and heels), wouldn’t you be more comfortable in jeans and flat shoes? What does it meeeeannn…?

  7. Lily September 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    ““Do these jeans make me look fat?”
    Well? Are you an omega? Just speak your mind and mean it :-)

    Or perhaps
    “why do you ask”

  8. Joseph Dantes September 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    He’s probably being genuinely nice and saying exactly what he means. Men cannot fathom walking around in the stuff women wear. Whenever I used to say this kind of thing to women though, they always wanted to interpret the subtext instead of my literal meaning.

  9. Joseph Dantes September 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    Wrong answer.

    If you want a girlfriend to lose weight, you have to deliver the message via subtextual body image anxiety.

    Saying so in direct words means she’ll get the subtext, “I don’t love you anymore.”

  10. Josh September 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    I agree with Joseph…you’re fine. If you usually wear skirts and heels, he’s not afraid that you’re some kind of tomboy who only wears jeans and boots. You can take what he’s saying at face value.

    Just to clarify, if you go on some outdoor activity, you should definitely wear a closed-toe shoe with some ankle support. Any responsible man would insist that you do. He would have a be a real d-bag to make you wear heels while hiking.

  11. Josh September 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    I have two responses:

    1. An immediate, non-committal response, something like, “I dunno, come closer so I can get a better look.” Context-dependent.

    2. A more serious response, to be delivered at an appropriate time. An explanation as to why I dislike being asked these questions, that it’s not my job to jump through hoops and choose between dishonesty and unkind truth. Questions asked in good faith will be answered in good faith.

  12. ASDF September 21, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    That line is such a cliche. I don’t think it’s ever been said outside of tv shows.

  13. Aunt Haley September 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    Has it even been said on TV shows?

    Probably a better line would be, “Do I look fat in this?”

  14. Bhetti September 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    I think Fernando should just ask these girls out to outdoorsy activities, and introduce them to how fun it is if they don’t regularly try it.

    I think dancing’s a great deal of fun! Salsa, perhaps?

  15. Aunt Haley September 21, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    Fernando is actually on a self-imposed dating hiatus at the moment, but the next time I see him, I’ll pass on your suggestion for whenever he’s ready to go wife-hunting again.

    I love dancing, but I don’t roll with a dancing crowd. My friends are not too athletically inclined, in general.

  16. ASDF September 21, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Those girls Fernando describes are bourgeois social climbers to the max. I know their type well, and your man is right. They are boooooring! I didn’t think that megachurches had them in great numbers.

    He should check out eharmony. I haven’t signed up, but I did the test and get my matches sent to me on a regular basis. It is full of sporty Sally Homemakers.

    I’ve never met a girl who could make me laugh though. For dating, I think a way better bet is to find a woman who thinks the man is hilarious.

  17. Aunt Haley September 21, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

    ASDF, wouldn’t megachurches be THE place to find bourgeois social climbers? Megachurches have money, status, and a lot more single men than a tiny community church.

    Fernando’s sister (my friend) is on eHarmony. So far, the matches have been pretty unimpressive. You should join, though. And then report back! Take one for the team!

    I haven’t met a lot of young women who are funny (or at least what I think is funny). It’s probably easier to find a woman who thinks the man is funny, but with that comes the risk of finding a woman who wants you to do all the entertaining. (For the record, I am very funny.)

  18. ASDF September 22, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    I thought the whole benefit of meeting girls in church was that they were less vapid and status-seeking than their secular counterparts.

    I can’t see pictures on eharmony, so I can’t say how much talent is on there. I might just have to join for curiosity’s sake. There is definitely a dearth of culture though. Out of my 200-odd matches, only one lists in the “Favorite Books” section what might be considered classics. By and large, “Eat, Pray, Love”, books about social justice, and elementary school teachers talking about how much they love the books on their students’ curriculum(!) have squeezed them out.

    If your buddy wants outdoorsy girls, he should move to an outdoorsy place, like the Pacific Northwest. Everybody camps and hikes up here.

  19. y81 September 22, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    If you want intellectual religious girls, wouldn’t you join an intellectual church? But I don’t see a greater contradiction between being a Christian and a bourgeois social climber than between being a Christian and looking down on dorky guys or fat girls.

    For if, above all these, my sins abound,
    Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace
    When we are there. Here on this holy ground
    Teach me how to repent . . . .

  20. ASDF September 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    I don’t look down on dorky guys; they make the world go round. Though it wouldn’t kill them to hit the gym and get a haircut.

    I look down on fat girls because I find their appearance to be slovenly and because they lack the willpower to rectify it with diet and exercise. The Lord wants us all to look our best!

  21. y81 September 22, 2010 at 4:41 pm #

    If the Lord wants us to look our best, wouldn’t He also want us to be as rich and as popular as we could be? Thus legitimizing “bourgeois social climbing.” I am very skeptical that this is what the Lord wants. All these things seem to be at best permissible indulgences.

  22. Cane Caldo September 22, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    What do you mean by looking down on dorky guys and fat girls?

    1) If refusing to date them is “looking down” to you, then you’re definition is wrong. I’m pretty sure many of my Southern Baptist sisters mis-read that verse as: “The mouth eats out of the abundance of the heart.”

    2) If commenting on bad traits across a group is “looking down”, then I don’t know how any sin could possibly be listed. When you get into trouble is when you say “Eric is a dork”, or “Sally is too fat”; not when you say “There are several dorky fat people in the church.”

    The difference I see is–and this is intra- and extra-church, is that it’s perfectly fine to needle dorky guys, but quite unacceptable to comment on fat gals. One of those is wrong.

  23. ASDF September 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    That attitude is the reason that frumpiness is epidemic in churches.

    Why would the Lord create certain body types that arouse me, and why would He imbue humanity with a universal sense of beauty and aesthetics, only to then say that when it comes to choosing the one woman who I get to sleep with for the rest of my life, not only am I supposed to disregard such features, but that she is supposed to expend no effort in cultivating them?

    That is BS. Everybody should try their best to do the best with what God gave them. Not be smugly content to look like a schlub because looking good is a “permissible indulgence” for the less holy.

    As far as being a bourgeois social climber goes, it is not a sin in my books, except that they commit sins against good taste and interesting conversation. These people aren’t popular with anybody but themselves, and rather than getting rich, most of them are probably in debt from trying to keep up with the Joneses. It is a poor comparison.

    [Aunt Haley: Congratulations on being the 1000th (approved) comment on the blog! :D]

  24. Aunt Haley September 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    There is definitely a dearth of culture though. Out of my 200-odd matches, only one lists in the “Favorite Books” section what might be considered classics.

    ASDF, your inner SWPL is showing!

  25. y81 September 23, 2010 at 6:05 am #

    Maybe there is no disagreement here. If bourgeois social climbing is not a sin, but just something you find distasteful, then you should not date anyone whose company you don’t enjoy. Also, as I hope I have made clear in previous comments, you definitely should not date anyone you find physically unattractive. A LTR with someone you find unattractive would be kind of pointless, and a marriage on those terms would be unbearable.

    My only question is, if it’s not a sin, why would anyone be surprised to find bourgeois social climbers in church? There are all kinds of people in church. “Elect from every nation/Yet one over all the earth. . . .”

    BTW, if someone wants to meet intellectual girls (I can’t say that was ever on my list, but de gustibus non est disputandum), I would think the logical steps would be: (i) join a large church (there aren’t many intellectual people out there, so you need a big pond to find even a few fish) and (ii) start a reading group, where you can read Augustine, or Kierkegaard, or George Herbert, or the Bible in the original Greek and Hebrew, or whatever intellectual pursuit strikes your fancy and brings you to your true love. Better than eHarmony, for sure.

  26. Joseph Dantes September 23, 2010 at 8:02 am #

    I think the whole argument over whether bourgeois social climbing or insert any x lifestyle choice is sinful is stupid.

    You can be any kind of person, within the explicitly defined limits of sin.

    Being rich is more difficult, but not forbidden.

    The test is not whether God cares that you’re doing x, or wants y for your life. Jesus was here on earth and he showed zero concerns for such things.

    His concern, his only concern, was to do his Father’s will.

    And he told others, leave everything behind and follow me.

    So if you’re not leaving everything behind to follow him, then x y z p and q are all sinful. And if you are, then x y z p and q are all irrelevant.

  27. y81 September 23, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    I agree with everything Joseph Dantes said. Alas, I have so much on my mind (clothes, job, bills, household, etc.) that it is difficult to leave everything behind and focus solely on Him.

  28. Joseph Dantes September 23, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    y81 while I appreciate the agreement, I’m not sure you’re agreeing.

    Jesus was very interested in doing his Father’s will. I don’t see him talking much about “focusing solely on Him.”

    Doing != focusing.

    Probably you were just unconsciously lapsing into Christianese. But Christianese is a sloppy habit of the mind that leads to an life unfruitful for the Kingdom.

  29. y81 September 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    By “Him” I meant Jesus. As to “following” versus “focusing,” either one is metaphorical, since He doesn’t mean for me to actually walk somewhere, nor to see him through my corneas.

  30. Joseph Dantes September 23, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    First of all, Jesus told us to imitate him, and his continual theme was absolute devotion to his Father. We are to imitate that. Focusing on Jesus is focusing on the wrong person of the Trinity.

    Secondly, Jesus apparently never saw the Father either while on Earth, so that’s no excuse for not doing his will, which is revealed with plenty of specificity in the Bible.

  31. y81 September 24, 2010 at 5:38 am #

    “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” That is the course I recommend, on very good authority.

  32. Joseph Dantes September 24, 2010 at 7:21 am #

    And yet, Jesus never said that.

    Now which is the higher authority?

    Don’t make the error of assuming that what the Church condoned as scripture much later is all of equal authority.

    And if you did fix your eyes on Jesus, you would immediately see that he did not recommend fixing your eyes on him, BUT HIS FATHER.

  33. Cane Caldo September 24, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”

    Good luck separating the Trinity from one another.

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