When I met Tappy a crush began. We would cross paths in the hallway in College as I left class, and he was going to his. As time went on you could sense that I was hanging around after class, and he was coming early just to up the odds of running into each other. After every 2 minute conversation I would say, “We should get together sometime.” HINT HINT, *nudge* *nudge*
But he never got the hint! He’d say, “Ya that’d be fun,” and then walk into class like I didn’t exist. After a couple weeks of this, I decided I would break the social norm and ask him out! I walked back up the stairs and into that classroom, seconds before the professor was going to start and I asked Tappy if he would like to “hang out” with me and to let me know when right there in front of everyone.
I walked out of that classroom with hot rosy cheeks and so many embarrassing thoughts swimming in my head, but that night he sent me a message with the days and times he was available and said he would love to get together and do something.
Come to find out “Dates” are becoming rare, and asking someone out is even more unusual. This was already becoming the case 10 years ago, when Tap and I were in College. On our Christian campus the motto was “Ring By Spring.” Instead of traditional dates, individuals became couples and were talking marriage and commitment head first.
5 years ago, we were talking to a bundle of girls I enjoyed mentoring. The idea of having coffee with someone was “awkward” to them. They said “people don’t do that anymore.” “You are either friend-zoned or full out in a relationship.” The commitment came before the date!
Then there’s now. Tappy and I recently watched a documentary called “The Dating Project,” which followed 5 single people at various ages (18-40’s) who live all across the US from New York to LA. They discuss the dating scene, their personal experiences, and their mindset for relationships. Over and Over the theme was of a “Hook Up” culture – Where individuals would find themselves wondering if they were “dating” someone or not, unclear of the other’s intentions, hooking up with strangers for status or some resemblance of love and attention.
Then, in the documentary, we meet a professor who sees this trend all over a university campus and decides to challenge it within her sociology class! She assigns her students to go on what she calls “Traditional Dates.” These Traditional Dates have some great rules that offer a guideline of where to get started when you are looking for a mate. Here are my favorite 4 Guidelines:
1. You Ask, You Pay & You Plan
Too often, students found themselves on an “accidate.” The fact that it was a date was never clear, or the intentions were different for each party. To date well, you need to do so with clear intentions. Make sure the person you ask knows that it’s a date.
This is where I failed. I didn’t clearly state that it was a date! So on our “date” we ran into my pastor who asked, OUT LOUD, if we were on a date! I was so nervous. I wanted it to be a date, but I hadn’t clearly stated that. I didn’t know if Tappy wanted it to be a date or not and here he is in ear shot! If I said yes, would he be freaked out, if I said no would he think I wasn’t interested? Don’t make the same mistake.
Then if you ask, you should have a plan. Keep it simple and in an environment that allows conversation (unlike a movie). My personal favorite is an icecream date! Tap would probably choose coffee. Other ideas would be long-boarding, rollerblading, a game of PIG basketball, a walk around campus or at a park.
2. Keep it under 90 Minutes
For a first date keep it short, 45-90 minutes. You are just testing the waters. If it’s bad you have an out. If it’s good, you keep the interest alive and you don’t beat it dead with a stick. They said get out under 90 minutes especially if it’s good.
This is one I would not have thought of! If I’m having fun I can easily loose track of time, but I think we can all agree that less can be more. I don’t think anyone regrets a little bit of a chase or those early butterflies.
3. Prepare 3 Questions
As well as planning the activity, you need to come prepared with three questions. Any more than that it may feel like an interrogation. However, three questions helps keep the conversation going and shows genuine interest. These questions can always generate follow-up questions, and that’s good. Go where the conversation leads! You shouldn’t follow your questions like a check list, just have them as back-up.
4. No Touchy
The purpose of dating is to get to know someone well and to discover if they are a good match for you. These first few dates should be touch free as you engage your mind. An “A-Frame” hug is allowed, but touching shouldn’t be introduced until you’ve gone on multiple dates and see a possibility of a future and lock-in a relationship status.
This here is super counter-cultural, when we live in a world of Friends with Benefits and Casual Hook-Ups this may not make sense. However, our bodies are literally scientifically wired to create emotional connections out of physical ones (It’s called Oxytocin). Then the more emotionally attached the more biased our opinions and the more our decisions are affected. #beenthere #donethat Tap and I have both stated that we stayed in bad relationships, because we were prematurely invested. It can keep our decisions wiser to not engage prematurely in touch.
Tell me, what do you think of traditional dates? What are some of your favorite date ideas?
Singles: Go ask someone out! Use the guidelines, and tell us how it went!
Couples: Tell us your first date stories!
For more “First Level Date” guidelines check out the documentary “The Dating Project.“