Sunday, April 5, 2009

First Date Cherry Zinger Euphoria! Expires Two Weeks From Today

Everyone loves that feeling you get when you leave a really good first date – there’s a little extra energy in your step, a twinkle in your eye, a goofiness in your smile perhaps and the sneaking thought “this one’s got potential.” If it was exceptionally good, you might even be struck by that urge to shout it out to the people you pass on the street “FYI, I just had a great date. No, really, a GREAT date! This one’s hot, fun, smart and, as far as I can tell, seemingly normal.” Ok, you might refrain from sharing this earth shattering news with indifferent strangers but perhaps your doorman George will get an earful. If someone could just figure out how to bottle this euphoric feeling, the waiting list for the iPhone last year would seem like child’s play in comparison.

But what happens in the ensuing days can buttress that feeling of being in seventh heaven* or it can leave one feeling like he or she just stalled 10 feet from the finish line. Yes, my friends, in today’s blog we are talking about Momentum.

Remember the scene from the movie "Swingers" when Vince Vaughn et al. try to convince Jon Favreau’s character that he should wait the requisite three days before contacting the sexy woman he met at the bar who was seemingly interested in him … or was it four days? As we all recall, the loveable nonplayer embodied in Jon Favreau’s character ultimately decided to ditch the advice of his all-knowing “playa” friends when he met the lovely Heather Graham and he made The Call the next day. The reaction of his stunning swing partner on the other end of the phone left the audience clapping internally at the prospect that Mikey had arrived.

Now, I understand that the above movie scene involved the question of contacting someone after just meeting him/her as opposed to having actually gone on a “date” - but in my view the same theory of momentum applies. I imagine that everyone is familiar with a phenomena that can occur where one can walk away from a really enjoyable date (whether it be the first, second or third)* and due to lack of momentum it can easily be the last. As I wrote in a previous blog, yes, one must be wary of a relationship that takes off like a harrier jet – that’s likely too much momentum which will oft lead to a crash and burn scenario. But one also runs the counter risk of being the tortoise that does not win the race.

We all know New Yorkers are busy people. There are always calls to make, errands to run, things to do, people to see, places to be seen. And when you’re slammed at work, it certainly can get the best of you. It’s plausible, I suppose, to see how one can leave a good first date and for whatever reason, wait a few days to follow up. More likely, though, in that scenario the interest is superficial at best (yes, the lesson repetitively drilled into female brains from “He’s Just Not That Into You” should be flashing in neon lights). Most men when they are really interested are present the next day in some form (text, email, call … yes, some men even still send flowers).

But let’s go a step further and contemplate the scenario where there is a real interest on both ends and there is the next day “checking in” call/text to say “hi –just seeing how you’re doing.” Without the next date being planned in the foreseeable future, both the guy and girl still run the real risk of losing the connection that was so tangible just days ago. Indeed, the ideal scenario is to set up the next date at the end of the current one … that shows real interest and the awareness that you if you like this person, chances are so does someone else …

Let’s address a New York reality: in Manhattan everyone – even your average Joe or Jane - can be a playa. If you wait too long between communications or dates, chances are your latest “like” interest has had another pretty good date (or at least hook up) in the interim. The only logical conclusion that can be drawn by one’s leaving things to chance is that he/she is really not that interested. We’re all familiar with the expression “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Which never fails to bring to my mind the competing expression “out of sight, out of mind.”
So, pray tell, which is it?

Recently, I heard someone repeat the quote “You can blow out a candle, but you can't blow out a fire. Once the flame begins to catch, the wind will blow it higher.” My internet research tells me that Peter Gabriel can take credit for this bit of wisdom. Is the moral of the story that one should just recognize when something's simply “a candle” (or is it possible that you can actually turn your candle into a flame if you hire an arsonist?) As men typically set the pace, at least in the beginning, there really should be a warning label on the love potion: Delay Drinking At Your Own Peril (insert skull and crossbones here). Men, when you call or email a woman after too much time has passed and she’s blasé she’s really thinking “Buddy, your time’s over. You’ve expired.” Drink anyone?

*For the curious, the term “seventh heaven” can be traced to the Jewish and Islamic faiths. The Jewish religion recognized seven heavens, the highest of which was the abode of God. In Islam, the seventh heaven is a place of “divine light and pure ecstasy” (the division of the heavens apparently finding its roots in Babylonian astronomical theories).

**To be clear, I am addressing an amazing date experienced by both sides. This is not to be confused with the amazing date experienced by one side and the mildly satisfying evening passed by the other.

1 comment:

  1. My two cents: I wouldn't set up the next date on the current one, but I always try to find out what a girl likes so I can then suggest a specific date she will enjoy when I touch base with her. She likes modern dance -> hey, had a great time last night mtg u, check out who's performing at the Joyce next week, want to go?

    -- Scott Jeffrey