Back in the Saddle Again: A Dating Refresher Course

10 Jul

I started out to write about something that was irritating me and I found out that I was a lot more irritated than I thought. So, what started out to be a single blog got so long and unwieldy (around 13 pages) that I decided to make it a seven-part series–like I said, I was irritated. This is the first installment, sure to be read by at least myself and, maybe if I make it worth her while, my sister. So, here it is.

Back in the Saddle Again: A Dating Refresher Course

Every so often people get refresher courses. Professionally, we acknowledge that seldom-used skills can get rusty or that newer, better practices arise. Medical people pass boards and take continuing education classes, as do a variety of professionals like firefighters, bartenders, accountants, and teachers. Even if it is your heart’s desire to handle hazardous waste you need to maintain hazmat certification. But no one ever gets basic training, let alone refresher courses, for dating.

And yet, as a vital public service, there really should be. The percentages are catching up with all those who were oh so convinced that they had found the loves of their lives just in the nick of time for college graduation (yeah, how ‘bout that) and they are reentering the single scene and fucking things up. Out of the game and all messed up they are wading back into the mire, trying to date again only to find that they have no idea what they are doing anymore, if they ever did. Apparently, what works when everyone is under the gun to partner up before the music at the end of college stops, isn’t necessarily what works for the 20-10 crowd.

So, for the safety and peace of mind of the dating populace suffering this alien invasion, it seems only right that there be some basic guidelines for the whole messy process and those who find themselves back in the dating pool brush up on said techniques. Here are a few things I think should be on the list.

Refresh Yourself–Part 1: People Don’t Change

Much as we might like to think it is possible, and, in theory, it is possible, it just isn’t likely that people will change. Why? Because we do the things we do for a reason. Smart things, dumb things, innocuous things, we do them all for a reason. For example, people don’t generally wake up one day and say, “The weather is unusually warm for October and I am going to cheat on my spouse.” More than likely a cheater has established a pattern of disrespect and cheating so they can feel powerful or validated or the thrill of danger or get even with a parent or some such crap. No, we don’t tend to jump headlong into things, we tend to tip-toe into things, practicing our behaviors from our earliest years, good and bad, in small things, preparing ourselves for bigger things.

No matter what we think or say, there is no reason to believe we will change our behaviors while they meet our needs. Regardless of how valid, invalid, brilliant, bone-headed, rational, irrational, awesome, dumb-ass, high-minded, or base the reasoning behind our behavior is we are doing it for a reason. We do it, whatever it is, to meet our driving emotional needs.

This is why it’s dumb to think you’re going to change someone and turn that unfortunate individual into the person you want them to be. Nope, pay attention to the signs and go into things with your eyes open or get the hell out of there. Women, a guy who is rude or off-hand or violent with you when you start dating, when he’s supposed to be wooing you, is not going to improve when he gets comfortable and lets himself go. Men, if you are interested in a woman who needs to have a harem of guys constantly traipsing after her and vying for her or lies to you or is cruel to you, then I hope you like being a submissive because she is always going to be the dominant—might want to get a pair of ass-less chaps and a ball-gag to go with that life choice.

But the same goes for the good stuff. People who have character development, integrity, and generosity, treat those around them well, value family, and tell the truth even when they don’t have to, that doesn’t change either. This is why it’s a good idea to watch how a person you are interested in treats those whose opinion they don’t care about. As humorist Dave Barry says, “A person who is nice to you and mean to the waiter is not a nice person.”

Thanks for reading this installment, stay tuned for Part 2, a tribute to the fact that human beings are liars.

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Posted by on July 10, 2009 in Relationships, Series


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