ARE YOU BUYING OR SELLING?

Do you know anyone who is complaining that they are still single because no potential boyfriend or girlfriend meets all the criteria?  I hear comments all the time, such as “He could be a better conversationalist,” or “She hangs with her girlfriends all the time,” etc. My question to you:  Are you a buyer or a seller?  Purchasing agents are wired to be “tough to sell” because they put out objections. But in the dating world, if you want to date successfully, it’s all about selling.  You should focus your energies on “What will my date like to talk about?” Or, “Why does she hang with her girlfriends? Could I be taking her to places that she would like to go?”

In our Me-Me generation, too many times, individuals are focused upon themselves. When you take someone out, the onus is on you to show the other person a good time.  That doesn’t mean doing what you want to do.  It means doing what you both should want to do.

Girls—my grandmother said it best:  “The man chases the girl until SHE finally catches him.”  You need to be able to sell yourself in attracting men and be open to the possibilities, but also be “hard to get” once they are interested. There’s nothing wrong with being alluring—men are wired to chase.  Remember, starting out on a date by being hard to get will only get you one thing—no second date.

Men—there is a huge difference between being a “bad boy” and “playful.”  Girls always talk about wanting a guy who is a “bad boy”—someone that pushes the edge. In fact, this isn’t the case.  Girls don’t want men who are pushovers.  Girls like intrigue and mystery in a man, but when it comes to relationships, they also want someone who sincere and a gentleman.  Men that play the role of being aloof and/or act like a “jerk” are acting more like the purchasing agent rather than selling themselves.  Think about being playful but true.

In the end, it’s all about selling yourself if you want to get the order!

ROMANCE IN CRESCENDO

“I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett . . .” So begins the first love letter to 19th-century poet Elizabeth Barrett by a great admirer, Robert Browning.  Barrett, one of the best-known Victorian era poets, had a chronic illness and was in her late 30s when Browning first wrote in 1845 to tell her that he admired her work. They met for the first time in their fifth month of correspondence. After more than a year and 573 love letters, they wed in secret in September 1846, defying her father’s forbiddance. They fled from London to Italy, where doctors had said her health might improve. Her father disinherited her and never spoke to her again.

Until Valentine’s Day, 2012, the handwritten letters could be seen only at Wellesley College, where the collection has been kept since 1930. Readers can see them on line just as they were written thanks to a collaboration between Wellesley and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, which houses the world’s largest collection of books, letters and other items related to the Brownings. “It’s the fact that she defied her father, she was in ill health, they fell in love through letters, she left with hardly anything,” said Wellesley’s curator of special collections, Ruth Rogers. “If you want a perfect romance, just read the letters.’

One of the greatest romantic poems of all time was inspired by this love affair.

 

How Do I Love Thee?

By Elizabeth Barrett

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

Sonnet XLIII from Sonnets From the Portuguese, 1845

In this era of Facebook relationships and Twitter/Text communication, I am finding that there is a large percentage of our young adult generation that has forgotten the art of chivalry. The reality is that in a high tech world, there can still be high romance. Dating for Life is where it begins.

 

HONOR—THE GLUE THAT HOLDS THE WORLD TOGETHER

Imagine if no one kept their promises? What if laws were nothing more than ink on paper? And what if no one honored relationships? The world would be thrown into total chaos. Instead, you pick up your shirts from the cleaners on Monday because the dry cleaner promised them ready at this time. Your paper arrives each morning because a bunch of writers, editors, and production professionals promised to deliver it over night. Customers pay your invoices to them within terms, and you pay your bills on time as well. Of all the virtues of the world, honor is the glue that holds the world together.

From an action as simple as showing up on time for an appointment, to keeping a significant lifetime commitment, it’s honor that defines the moment. The incredible story of the musical Jersey Boys  chronicles how Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli kept a handshake agreement to evenly split their combined income, regardless of who was earning more any given year. They honored this pledge for over fifty years, and in the process truly honored each other.

Let’s be very clear. Being honored and having honor are two entirely different things. An “honorable” public official may be anything but!  Likewise, a badge that’s earned through an act of heroism is unquestionably an honor, but the kind of honor I speak of can only be lost through inauthentic actions. Simply put, to honor is a verb meaning “treat with respect.” Antonyms include “betray and disgrace.”  You can’t live authentically without exhibiting honor in every one of your actions. In pursuing your dreams, you should certainly be “true to thyself,” but you also must honor the world that surrounds you—family, friends, colleagues, customers, tangential relationships, and the laws of society, or you will be building your destiny on top of shifting sands. A sustainable life in crescendo can only be build upon a rock-solid foundation.

In every interaction with a fellow human being, remember the principles of Dating for Life.

 

LIVING LIFE IN CRESCENDO WITH ROMANCE

“You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear” – Unknown

Nothing is more special than a romance. Mario Puzo described Michael Corleone as being “hit by the thunderbolt” when he first laid is eyes on Apollonia. There’s neither rhyme nor reason—it’s romantic love.  Interestingly, there is no other word in the Merriam Webster dictionary that adequately describes love– affection, attachment, devotedness, devotion, fondness, passion. There are countless poems and songs that describe love, but simply put, love is love.

The real question is how do you keep romantic love? Hopeless souls that try to contain it lose it. It can’t be caged. Those who guard against it with protective shields kill it.  Make it a game and you mock it. When two people fall in love, they are engulfed by waves of hope and dreams. Each moment is precious and filled with harmony. The future is bright!

Then why do things sometimes change?  Do the realities of day-to-day responsibilities tarnish the golden aura of love? It doesn’t have to be this way. Living life in crescendo with romance means appreciating and nurturing the dreams of your partner, while still pursuing your own dreams. I know one couple from childhood who couldn’t be more different. Therese is a firecracker liberal and Ph. D. who founded a graduate program in early childhood special education at a local college. Kent is a conservative, consummate musician with a Masters in Performance Music who plays gigs at night and teaches piano by day. On paper they couldn’t be more different other than they both love to laugh. Therese is the only girl that Kent has ever kissed or dated. They have been together for fifty years, since freshman year high school. Therese still cheers Kent on when she can attend one of his gigs. Kent adores Therese, even when she’s away for weeks on an educational mission to Africa. Each lives his and her life in crescendo, but together they maintain a romance in crescendo as well.

Get the picture?  For more information, check out Dating for Life.

WHY CHIVALRY IS DEAD BUT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE

Chivalry is the code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood, originally conceived as an aristocratic warrior code.  Maybe that’s why women have always liked “bad boys” through the centuries. But hard to get is also hard to keep. Perhaps chivalry was something the shining knight used in pursuit of the maiden; after the wedding, perhaps the armor tarnished.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary has four definitions of Chivalry, to which the only modern version is “gallant or distinguished gentlemen.” Maybe the fact that society has slipped several notches in the formal etiquette implies that there are fewer gentlemen out there; or ladies. Pomp and circumstance is now circumstantial punk.

To me, the biggest impact to dating is crowd-sourcing. It started with IM—instant messaging.  I could never understand when my son or daughter had “nothing to do” at 7:00pm on a given Saturday night, and yet at 7:30pm they were headed to a big bash. Why?  The crowd had achieved the tipping point in consensus for where to hang out, i.e. whose parents were out of town. This phenomenon evolved into Facebook and now Twitter. Name me any recent time when a young guy simply asked a girl out for a first date, without first meeting in a group activity. It’s a rarity.

For chivalry to return, the first step is for a man to take the first step and ask a girl out. The next step is to remember that the Greek origin of the word “date” is “didonal” which means “to give.”  Whether you are taking a business colleague, an old friend, one of your relatives, or a potential sweetheart out on a date, it’s up to you to give that person a good time. To give someone a good time, you need to prepare for it, find what they like to do, and extend every effort to honor them on your date.  It’s not that hard. Chivalry doesn’t have to be dead.  It starts with the principles of Dating for Life

HOW TO RESURRECT CHIVALRY—PART FOUR, ROMANCE IN CRESCENDO

So now you have a true relationship. Girl, you’ve WON! You got your guy. He passed the test and at least 80% of your check-list and vision-board items are fulfilled. And guy, congratulations. You now have a good woman, and don’t have to worry about getting a date for next weekend.

What just happened? You stopped playing the game. Chivalry isn’t just for romantic warriors—it’s a lifelong process. You surprise your partner with flowers or other surprises at the front door. You plan interesting dates weeks in advance. You never stop opening doors, either literally or figuratively. Romance must be in crescendo!

Every step you take in a relationship is a step toward further bliss or a downward spiral. Love is a living, breathing thing. It needs to be nurtured. Here are seven ideas to consider once you have a developed a flourishing relationship:

  1. Whether you have kids or not, at least one night a week must be “your” night.
  2. Consider in each New Year’s goals to pursue a bucket-list item together
  3. Always catch your partner doing something good.
  4. Never stop being playful. Be hard to get even when you’re 100% “got.”
  5. Never take anything for granted. Play truth or dare if you need to, but always learn something new about your partner every once in a while.
  6. Every morning, kiss your partner and wish him or her a beautiful day.
  7. Treat every day together as if it were a “date.” If you don’t ever stop dating, then you’ll never stop romancing in crescendo.
  8. At the end of each day, when you and your partner’s head hit the pillow, whisper in his or her ear, “I had a wonderful date tonight with you.”

I welcome more ideas if you want to volunteer them. The key to dating in crescendo is to live your lives in crescendo.

HOW TO RESURRECT CHIVALRY—PART THREE, GIRLS ONLY!

My grandmother gave me sage words of advice years ago. Again, this is for girls only! She sat me down and said, “A man chases a woman until she finally catches him.”

I have repeated her advice to many girls, and to my surprise, many don’t fully understand its meaning. Maybe that’s the problem!

Let’s revisit knights in shining armor and chivalry. Essentially, two big jocks fight with one another and, and the winner gets a rose thrown his way by a lady of the court.  Not much has changed. Girls, let me set the record straight. (And by doing this, I may lose my man-card…) Guys are very much like puppy dogs.

  1. Puppies dogs are playful, and would rather have a good time than not.
  2. Puppies are linear in their actions; tell them to sit and they will sit.
  3. Puppy dogs want to please, but you have to tell them how to behave.
  4. Puppy dogs love to chase; throw the stick and they will fetch it.
  5. Puppy dogs also like rewards for good behavior, not punishment.

When a guy asks you out, tell them what you’d like to do in a polite way—don’t beat around the bush. They won’t get it. Chances are they’ll have a good time no matter what it is you want to do.

If your date shows up unprepared, you need to set the tone sweetly but immediately. You aren’t going to change a man after too long, because the pattern is set. If he won’t change early on, it’s enough of a red flag that he’s not worth dating. A friend of mine’s daughter just married a guy that she assumed she could change after the altar. The marriage lasted under one year.

And playing “hard to get” will get what you want.  It’s been that way since Cleopatra won over Anthony. Men are hard wired to chase. A super majority of them dig femininity, too; they get enough “macho” in the locker rooms. Let them chase you until you catch them. And as you play “hard to get,” also be “hard to forget.”

Never abuse your innate and awesome powers. Remember that an abused puppy dog usually turns mean, and with good reason. Abuse the power of your feminine lures, and you will ruin a perfectly good relationship. If you keep these simple points in mind, you will develop a great relationship in crescendo!

HOW TO RESURRECT CHIVALRY—PART TWO: EXPECTATIONS

Hypothetical situation–you finally worked up the nerve to either text, Goggle Message, Match-chat, or …picked up the phone and called someone and asked her out.  The first important question:  What are your expectations? They should be nothing more than to have a nice time. I hope that this was communicated to your date as well. If you are hoping that “this is the one”, then you’re better off not going out at all. High expectations can’t be met.

The second question:  What do you want to do on your first date?  Do you really want to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee, like 95% of first dates.  I understand frugality, but seriously, if you’re going to waste several hours going out for coffee, why not really do something instead?  Sure it will cost you a few dollars more, but decide to do something that you and your first date want to do together, i.e. dinner and a show, street carnival, bike ride—anything but Starbucks. You’ll have a much better time than starting out a relationship that is built upon coffee grounds.

The third question:  Will you plan out a schedule for your date? I can’t tell you how many singles from age 18-40 have told me that their date shows up and then asks, “So, whaddaya wanna do tonight?” Really, is that all that you’re about?

You can do better. Remember, it’s your date’s opportunity to evaluate you, too!

Fourth question:  Can you exhibit chivalry–be on time, dress well, open doors, etc.? After all, if chivalry is an ancient code of honor, what can be more honorable than showing your date some respect? Heaven forbid you have a great time, but your date didn’t because of your own inactions.

Final question:  Can you be honest with yourself about your feelings?  At the end of the evening, you’ll know if you had a great time, a good time, or a bad time.  You’ll know if this person is a potential lover, friend, or merely acquaintance. There’s nothing more disrespectful than lying or text-dumping a date. If you only want to be friends with your date, it’s not the end of the world. Be honest about it and you may end up with a friend in the process. More importantly, you will be ready to date in crescendo!

HOW TO RESURRECT CHIVALRY—PART ONE: GETTING A DATE

There are few options to finding a date:

  1. Fix-ups.  One time I was fixed up by my grandmother. I should have known better, because she thought that her polka dot shirt matched her striped pants because they had the same colors. Warning to guys:  girls have an entirely different meaning to their phrases “she’s sooo cute” and “what a great personality” than you do. Again, keep in mind that you got what you paid for—fix-ups are free. Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t.
  2. Meet-ups. Networking through the office, clubs, or even church has potential, but keep in mind that any group environment also comes with group advice. If your meet-up happens to be a bar, keep in mind that the “good time” you had with your future date may have been largely due to alcohol.
  3. Match-ups. Match.com is clearly the leader with 34 million members and 84% usage, but there must be hundreds of other dating sites.  Check the facts—it’s well worth the read.

But there is still only one way for a guy to actually get a date:  ask her out! Here’s where chivalry begins, because love doesn’t come with instructions.  In my next blog, I will offer some insights on how to get your head on straight before you begin your first date. Seriously—like they say in golf, “You win or lose the best at the first tee.” If you not ready to date, you can’t expect romance to grow in crescendo.