My guest today is Martin Perlin, a longtime lurker here at MeMyselfandKids. He came out of the shadows and lo and behold – the guy can write. Thanks for stepping up Martin.
Martin, originally from Seattle, Washington, is a husband and father of three living his dream in Raanana, Israel. Martin works in marketing. To clear his head and make sense of the world, he enjoys creative writing, building websites, and blogs on a number of different subjects. You can find his website at www.martinperlin.com and view his blog at noregrets.martinperlin.com
I have a friend that would really like to get married. He’s over 30 and has had little dating experience. My friend decided he needed to get feedback on how to act on a date. So, he published an ad offering to take a woman out for dinner and pay for her transportation in exchange for her impressions on how he should act on a date. Someone answered his ad, and they arranged to meet at a restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant had closed down a few years before. This just goes to show how long he’d been out of the field. Anyway, he found another restaurant to take his date.
When I started my own dating process, I didn’t think that I would have to sift through dates with over 90 women to find my wife. I thought the process could be streamlined, and made efficient. I looked for ways to perfect the impression that I made. I had dating down to a science, with a thorough cheklist: Shower, shave, brush teeth, floss, mouthwash, deoderant, aftershave, ironshirt, comb hair, zip fly shut, wash car, vaccuum car, choose car music, and get cash. I carefully considered the venue, trying to keep a variety of options available, so as not to repeatedly end up at the same café. I didn’t want the wait staff to recognize me. Well, I repeated this routine for nearly 9 years in what became a regiment of dating, like suiting up for a military drill.
By the time I met my wife, I was really tired of dating, and had to muster up enthusiasm to meet yet another girl. I stopped thinking about my checklist items and didn’t worry so much about the impression I was making. No, I didn’t let myself slide into a slovenly heap – unshaven, not showered, with a wrinkled shirt – but I just went with the flow.
On my first date with the woman that is now my wife of eleven years, I didn’t even check if I had enough cash. As chance would have it, the beach front cafe where we sat to talk didn’t take credit cards for small purchases (we only had two drinks). Without even breaking a sweat, I offered to wash dishes at the cafe to pay off my bill. My date tried looking on in good humor, but was consumed by embarrassment. I dug through my wallet and pulled out every spare piece of change I could find. In the end, I found enough small change to pay, and we left. Although my wife would tell you now that she was a bit skeptical of me, she was actually impressed at how I took a seemingly natural approach to this situation, lacking any shame at being unconventional.
Following up after his date, my friend related to me how it went saying “I should have been more careful with the soy sauce and not spilled it on my shirt.”
Overall the date went well, and the girl was pleasant and seemed to enjoy the time she spent with him. She only noted to him that taking leftovers from dinner to give to a homeless guy might not come across well with most girls he meets, and that he should check to make sure that the restaurant they meet at is still opened.
I wanted to tell my friend that he shouldn’t be so hard on himself, and not go into ‘dating training’ like he is climbing the corporate ladder. It’s not a job interview where you have 20 minutes and a resume to try and convince someone that you are the best person for the job. I wanted to let him know that just as I have valued him as friend over the years, that he really has a lot to offer a special woman. He probably doesn’t even realize that his clumsiness and ability to end up in comic situations holds charm and makes him endearing. If you want to appear to be someone else for your date, then you should actually become someone else completely. I’ve learned from dating that the most important thing is that being yourself can make the best impression of all.
So in conclusion, you should know, don’t cry over spilled soy sauce.