The other night I was playing the radio game with some friends. (If you’ve never played the radio game, you should remedy that posthaste. It’s great car-trip fun.)
Anyway – on one song, my friend named the artist before I did, and in his excitement, put up his hand for a high-five (for his amazing musical catch).
Without even thinking about it, I slapped his hand in reciprocal excitement…only to then think, “wait…why am I celebrating his win? He’s my opponent? He’s the enemy!”
So, why did I high-five him?
And it’s human nature to respond.
I’m basically just a sheep, blindly following non-verbal commands…even if it means praising my adversary.
And while that’s fine for me and a buddy playing the radio game, its more insidious counterpart in the dating world…isn’t so fine.
But it happens ALL the time.
Men and women both do this – me make assumptive gestures – in words and actions – and on a date, it’s hard not to return the metaphorical hi-five.
Picture this… you’re 5 minutes into a date and the girl makes a comment about how you’re going to just LOVE her parents….
Or, before you’ve even finished your first drink, the guy is planning your next date.
This is an issue I keep encountering in my own dating life… men who assume. (And we all know what happens when you assume…)
Everyone jokes that women all do this – practically plan out your wedding before you’ve closed out date one. But, I’ve experienced it recently, comin’ from the menfolk too. It’s not just us girls.
These are the guys who, by their references and actions, presume all manner of things…about a level of mutual attraction that isn’t necessarily there.
There are two main forms this unrequited “we have a real future together” attitude comes in: verbal and physical.
This includes, but is not limited to…
– making plans to do things or visit places together, inlcuding international travel
“Oh, you haven’t seen the new Mummy exhibit at the Science museum? We’ll HAVE to go…”
“Well – you’re going to LOVE the margaritas in Cabo… you’ll see…”
– speaking about meeting family and attending family functions
“That’s totally something my mom would say! She’s gonna love you.”
“You haven’t experienced St. Patrick’s Day ’til you’ve spent it with my crazy family. You’ll see.”
– talking about what kind of house you want to live in, how many kids you could have together (or how to blend your existing kiddos), who would move to the others’ place, etc.
I was on a date recently with a sweet guy. We were hardly 15 minutes into our date… as in – the food hadn’t even been ordered yet – and he was pulling up photos of RV’s we could use for future camping trips.
(Now, a caveat – most men, when they hear that I don’t like to camp, always want to win me over… so, this isn’t THAT strange, but when he continued on later in the evening, showing me more spacious and convenient road-living options… it was too much.
Really – ANY talk of RV’s is too much.)
These are tricky in first-date land. Because everyone comes in with a different set of rules and limits on what they will/won’t do on a first date. Will you hold hands? Snuggle? Hug? Kiss?
These are already sticky wickets for 2 people who LIKE each other…but what about a date you’re just ‘enduring?’
Assumptive posturing in the physical arena may look like:
– Putting your arm around my shoulder
– Opening up your hand to you, as if to say, “hold this”
– Leaning in eagerly, and oh-so-expectantly for a kiss.
These (and more) are all things that it’s hard to NOT reciprocate, without feeling like a 1st-class jerkface.
Say you’re watching a show/concert/movie and a guy puts his hand, open/face-up on your knee… …what would you do OTHER than hold it? Give him an akward low-five?
Put a Werther’s in it and give him a friend-zone-worthy smile?
Cross your legs at that exact moment, as if you didn’t even notice his hand there, and watch his arm fall off with a thud?
Shoot him that “not gonna happen, buddy” stare? (Seems harsh!?)
This happened to me recently on a date… I wasn’t feeling the spark at all… but the guy sweetly put his hand out… and what did I do? I took it! And we held hands for easily 10 min! And all the while I was conflicted about the mixed messages I was probably sending. Argh…
Same for the arm around the shoulder!? Wriggling out of that isn’t exactly a subtle communication. Sigh…
Now… the more egregious faux-pas are easy to sidestep.
If I’m dancing with a guy and he presumes to grab my hiney, I’ll take his hand RIGHT off. That’s culturally acceptable… and often expected.
But, refusing to hold a hand…just seems mean!?
And yet…I really don’t want to hold the hand of someone I’m not feelin’ chemistry with. Am I locked in, simply by rules of courtesy?
What’s a girl (or guy!) to do?
I need some super suave, stealthy tricks to evade these unwanted gestures.
Not unlike the “hug & roll.”
Open to suggestions here, friends.
The moral of the story is this…
When you’re on a first date –
READ THE ROOM!!
Use the clues your date is giving you to know if you can pull off the hand-holding or even a little goodnight snogging. Watch for things like eye contact, light touching, sitting close, etc. to know.
If she’s making frequent trips to the bathroom…with her phone, or looking off into space, or checking the time, or scooting away… it’s not the time for a smooch OR showing her the latest motorhome models.
“It sleeps 6! That means we CAN have those 4 kids!”