I like to date “experimentally”. Trying peculiar approaches to get to know someone better and telling particularly outrageous stories about myself off the bat are two prevalent practices in my intimate escapades. There was one time I pretended to have an interest in sports to make myself feel more manly. Unfortunately, this particular girl knew more than I did and it was quickly revealed that I was full of shit. Not a great first impression to make. However, I generally feel like I’m pretty true to my eccentric self with strangers. Which makes me somewhat of an exception to a common practice in dating; that practice being acting like someone you’re not.
During the trials of teenhood, I would do almost anything if it brought with it the elusive chance of someone playing with my naughty bits. This resulted in putting up with girls whom I didn’t actually admire and usually… being the dumpee. Over the past few years, I’ve gained a more mature confidence and find that I am now doing roughly half the letting down gently. I’ve also found that seeking personal chemistry leads to better sex and fewer walks of shame. Of course, taking a maturer approach means that it’s not all about fucking and getting to do the dumping anymore.
Everyone prefers certain qualities over others and dating is how most of us suss out a compatible mate. Although, I find that in the early stages of a relationship, many people are scared to be themselves, which is stupid.
Of course, there’s an element of shyness / insecurity to consider. Not all are as open to potential embarrassment in front of strangers as I am. Although, I am of the belief that people everywhere (except, maybe in France) could benefit from a general loosening of the lips. I digress. The real question that I’d like to answer is “How long do you wait before showing someone new your true colours?”
Personally, I don’t think it should take more than two dates. However, the timing of such an event can be complicated. Generally, it’s going to happen over an extended period as comfort in the other person builds. One has to consider where / how you met, how much you actually know / remember about said person, what you’re looking for / what they might be looking for, what their friends are like (/if they have friends) and many other idiosyncratic preferences we, as individuals, possess. The thing is, there are too many people who, when they like someone, try to sculpt their outward demeanour to fit what they assume the object of their affection / lust is looking for.
Remember when I said I was an “exception”? Well, it’s not always a good thing. I can be downright retarded when meeting someone new at times (usually excessively inebriated ones) *Editor’s Note: This is true. The first time I met Seamus (it was a New Year’s eve), he told me he needed more pictures of lesbians and then tried to kiss me. We’d known each other for about ten minutes.*. Having your guard/filter down isn’t always a good idea. There are those who are cynical to the level where the first thing they think when they meet someone is, “He / She looks like a cunt.” For people like that, I say it’s probably better to filter yourselves a tad (also, let’s be friends). It’s this whole concept of preventing your true self from surfacing for weeks, months and years that needs fixing.
How though? When I asked one of my friends the bolded question above, his reply was “You don’t.” So, maybe more than how, what we need to do is look at is why.
I’ve put together a few examples of some inclinations that people might feel encouraged to hide while dating, but probably shouldn’t:
You are a Plushie
First of all, ew. But! Say, you’re a successful businesswoman who leads a pretty normal life. You just have this abnormal attraction to children’s comfort toys. So, what? Everyone has strange addictions and some of them are too weird or obscure to even have names. Embrace your oddness.
Like any peculiar personality trait, the longer you hide it from someone you’re supposed to be intimate with, the worse an impact it will have on your future happiness. Plus, if you meet someone that doesn’t happen to find your… hobby… totally disgusting, you never know how quick getting to the really fun stuff might be.
This is one of those things I would say should probably wait until the second date to reveal. Unless, you know, you met in an online plushie forum or, serendipitously, in a toy store and it’s revealed that you were both shopping for yourselves. I’m sure the latter has happened at least once.
You watch Jersey Shore
Jersey Shore is one of those shows that create a great divide in the circles I run with. On one hand, you have the very accurate description of it as “the stupidest show on television” or the spanning “reality television is the demise of our society” and so on…
On the other, it’s the stupidest show on television! The way these people live their lives is G.T.Ridiculous. Personally, I think it’s a lot of fun and am forced to wonder if nay-sayers have seen more than part of an episode. It’s not the first thing I generally bring up with people (maybe I should try it), nor is it my favourite show, but I’m not going to hide my opinion that J-Wow is the only real person in the cast… Despite her very fake chesticles.
(Illustration by Malcom Jamison)
You are an alien
Don’t worry. So am I. Planet Telex. And you?
You kind of hate everyone
This is one that is far more prevalent in modern-urban society than I think you realize. I mean, you’d probably have to engage with more strangers to come to that conclusion, but trust me. If hating everyone had a club, it would be called Vice Magazine… (R.I.P.)
You are a Commitment-Addict / Commitaphobe
Why is it that it’s so hard to admit what you’re really looking for? Do you know? Or is that the problem? Maybe, you feel like you’re totally ready to meet that amazing person and settle down, you’ve just been unlucky in finding them. Yeah? Yet, when someone that really gets your juices flowing comes along, it’s easy to pick-up and get lost in the moment. This someone is so great. At least, right now. Let’s make plans for further into the future than we’ve known each other. Let’s talk about weddings. Let’s talk about kids. These are things both commitment-addicts and commitaphobes do.
The line between the two can be blurry. It may sound callous bouncing around in your brain, but the admission that you are currently too emotionally shallow to engage in a committed relationship will help your potential mate keep their own romantical feelings in check. Likewise, if you’re looking to work toward the white-picket fence, retire to the suburbs kind of life, you should warn the person sitting across the table from you. It might be exactly what they’re looking for. It also might not. In both instances, keeping your intentions on the DL may lead to heartbreak, drama and confusion. Suck it up and be upfront… It could turn out that your visions of the present / future are more compatible than you would have imagined.
Whatever it is you prefer to keep below radar, we can’t change what’s made us who we are, even if it’d have been better any other way. It’s the oddities of life that make people interesting. While, it can be nerve wracking to build up the confidence to say what you’re thinking when you’re unsure of the response you’ll get, you’re going to have to be yourself eventually. People speak of “sacrificing” for love. This can be a problem. If you’re losing out on life because you’d rather satisfy someone else, you’re going the wrong way.
I’d say more, but I fear it might be too much.