Failed Social Dating Events

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For some people meeting potential dating partners can be hard.  I am one of these people.  This time of year it can be particularly painful to be single because you have no one to buy Christmas presents for, no one to kiss at midnight to bring in the New Year, and Valentine’s Day is just a giant salt lick to put on the open wound that is your heart.

A few years ago a mutually relationship-impaired friend and I decided we needed to put ourselves out there more and take a few more swings of the dating bat.  Our first attempt was the night club scene and we picked a place the Internet said ranked high with singles because we had no idea where real life women actually hung out.  Our first mistake of the night (other than deciding to go to a night club in hopes of finding love the first place) was that we showed up at the bar at around 9:00 PM because we didn’t know things don’t really start until after midnight.  There was total of four people in the bar, including the two of us and the bartender.  The only other person was a lady sitting at the end of the bar who might have been a waitress but I’m not sure.

What most people don’t know about me is that I’m actually quite shy.  I get nervous easily and I can be socially awkward.  My superpower is to take an uncomfortable situation and make it even more uncomfortable by saying the wrong thing.  My go to response when things get awkward it to throw humor at the situation but my humor seldom comes from a place of mindfulness.

For example, back in the nightclub I decided to order a drink but since I don’t really drink alcohol other than the occasional beer, I had no idea what to order.  I’ve always wanted to be one of those suave guys who has a drink they prefer shaken-not-stirred or over-easy or however you’re supposed to order it.  I’m not that guy but the bartender was patient enough and soon we were joking about the possibilities.  He asked why we were there and when I told him he wished us luck.

Here’s where things go bad and it would be helpful if you can remember you’re on my side in this.  I still hadn’t ordered a drink and it was getting strange so I panicked and threw out a bad joke.  I told the bartender I was new to the nightclub scene and wasn’t sure if I got my roofies from him or if I was supposed to have brought my own.  It was clearly a joke (admittedly a poor one) and the bartender snickered.  The girl sitting down the bar didn’t think it was funny and proceeded to tell me so…loudly.

I profusely apologized, told her it was a terrible joke and that I was an ass hat.  Then saying the worst thing possible, I offered to buy her a drink to make amends.  She was still blowing her rape whistle when we decided to try another bar.

For our second attempt not to die alone, we tried speed dating.  If you’ve never been speed dating, don’t.  Whenever six minutes is far too long to spend with someone, it’s probably not going to work out well for the relationship.   There was a fair amount of time between the check in and before things got rolling and most everyone started drinking heavily.  I didn’t drink and found out later I was the only man present who wasn’t completely shitfaced drunk and could actually carry a conversation.  Ladies, if you need a reason not to try speed dating picture going to the event and then having me be the best options among your potential suitors.  See what I mean?

The event began; I pinned my number on and was off.

At one of the first tables (I can’t remember which one because my memory has tried to block out the entire event) sat a very well-endowed woman who wore a shirt that left little to the imagination.  She had so much cleavage I probably could have parked a bicycle in it.  As I approached the table I noticed she had on a necklace with Tibetan writing on it.  Ah-ha, an ice breaker.  Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

“Are you looking at my tits?”  She asks.  I haven’t even sat down yet and this is how she decided to open the conversation.  Why do women dress like this then get offended when guys notice?

“No.”  I said a bit off balance, “I was looking at your necklace.  I know a little bit about Tibetan Buddhism, what does it mean?”

“Actually it’s my room-mate’s necklace.  If you like, I can call and you can speed date her!”  She said.

I still had 5:55 minutes to go until the buzzer.

This was my most successful date of the evening.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about love and meeting people since then and the best formula I’ve come up with is the same one the Buddha used for spiritual practice…the middle way.  The Middle way is fairly simple to explain, don’t try too hard and don’t try too softly and you will more than likely succeed.  The Buddha used the example of guitar strings to explain the middle way.  If the strings on a guitar are too lose, they don’t make any sound.  If they are too tight they snap and break.  There has to be the perfect balance of tension and slack for them to play in tune.

Dating and relationships can be the same way.  If we try to hard we come off as creepy and desperate.  Trying too hard can be a difficult urge to resist because when we find someone we like we have a tendency to go completely overboard.  On the other side, if we try too softly or play it cool we come off as indifferent and snobbish.  We have to find that perfect balance of active listening, being compassionate, and supportive while at the same time not being possessive, petty, or crazy.

Finding the middle path can be very hard, but if you listen to what your partner is saying and pay attention to how they respond, you will probably be alright.  If all else fails…ASK how you are doing and err on the side of trying softer.

Greg Behrendt, author of one of the most successful relationship books ever, He’s Just Not That Into You, offers this tip:

“If you are a good person and are of service in this world and you have a life that is yours, that you like and that matters and you don’t need anybody…someone will come along and fuck that up with their love.”

Happy Dating.


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