As I’m writing this, I haven’t met your mother yet. Your Dad probably has a lot of growing up to do before he’s lucky enough to meet your mom. Be that as it may, I feel obliged to share this advice with you, not only for guidance, but also as a forewarning.
By the time this has reached you, I’m sure that there are even more technological advances interceding with dating than there are now. And if the present is any predictor of the future, then people are even more disconnected, isolated, and lonely than they are right now.
It’s comforting and safe – sending texts, Snapchats, liking recent photos on Instagram. Making sure you don’t seem too available. Playing the game. But you’re my son, so trust me when I tell you, you really don’t want to get sucked into that. Instead do this:
Take her on a date. A real date. An “I’m going to pick you up at nine” date.
Show her that you’re for real. Life is too short to play games and if you’re not interested in playing them — show her that.
Show her that you’re comfortable enough to brave the unknown of it all.
Because the truth is, if you actually get rejected, it’s the best possible news you could ever get — you’re actually one person closer to finding a real companion and you no longer have to waste anytime on someone who doesn’t want to meet you halfway. Sure, it hurts a little, sometimes a lot, but it’s never personal. If you can see the reality of the situation, it’s actually great news.
As a man, there has to be a time when we’re done with the games. We’re done playing. This is how we feel about her and our actions have to reflect that.
Success in any other endeavor really isn’t any different: This is what I want. This is what I’m going to do to achieve it. There’s no half-way, half-hearted approach about it. It’s simple. Be simple. If our love life is going to get any easier then we don’t need more technology or more dating apps, we need simplicity. Most of all we need courage and common sense. We all want to save our time, our money, and our heart, so let’s just cut the bullshit and find out who this person really is, face-to-face.
Taking her on a date shows her that you’re a gentleman, you have manners, and that you value your time with her. Be old fashioned. You don’t have to show up with flowers and you don’t have to take her somewhere fancy. It doesn’t even have to be dinner; it can be anything. Mini golf, coffee, an art gallery, hell, take her to monster truck rally because at least that’s more ballsy than 1,000 carefully crafted texts that elicit your desired response.
When you take her out, get to know this person. There’s a completely unexplored world sitting right in front of you.
Relax, laugh, have fun. Don’t take out your phone. Be present. Be yourself. Don’t feel like there are these crushing expectations of how it’s supposed to go. It’s not a job interview.
The fact is: it takes guts to take someone on a date, it really does. It takes guts to put your ego on the line, to risk rejection. It takes guts to really tell the truth — to show that you’re genuinely interested in this person and there’s nothing in you that is willing to hide it. But that’s what being human is all about.
And the truth is, it’s so much more interesting taking these chances. Because you don’t learn anything from hiding behind a phone; you don’t grow. You don’t get a chance to outgrow or even embrace your awkwardness. You don’t get any cool stories either. What kind of life is that? It’s not the one I want and it isn’t the one I would want for you either.
Nothing compares to the real thing. Being face to face with another human being that you hardly know, but want to get to know — that’s the real thing. When you get out of your car and walk her to her door — that’s the real thing. And when you don’t know whether or not you should kiss her and inside you’re freaking out but you do it anyways — that, my son, is the real thing.
But when you invite her over to binge-watch Netflix, (well, you’re in the future right now, so Lord knows what you’re watching. Hopefully it’s season 15 of Sherlock) — that’s not real.
The butterflies, the awkwardness, the forced conversation. Usually, we try desperately to avoid these. But they’re a rite of passage.
Nothing truly good is free in this world, it has to be earned. You don’t get to find someone you’re truly happy with by playing it safe, by not putting yourself out there.
Robin Williams said it better than I ever could. “You’re not perfect, sport. And let me save you the suspense. This girl you met, she isn’t perfect either. But the question is: whether or not you’re perfect for each other. That’s the whole deal. That’s what intimacy is all about. Now you can know everything in the world, sport, but the only way you’re finding out that one is by giving it a shot.”
So give it a shot, son — you won’t regret it.
Oh, and one last thing. When you take her out, wear shoes. Real shoes. Not sneakers, not Jordans, not Airmax’s and definitely not sandals. Just trust me on this one.