Do you like dating? Don't lie. You hate that shit, and so do I. It's an unpleasant precursor that you have to trudge through on your path to love and sex, a task not unlike having to wrestle an oiled Donald Trump before being allowed to enter a party.
It would be dishonest to claim that I can accurately describe what dating is like for you, specifically. Much like defeating the Crimson Warlord and saving the kingdom of Yrr, it's something only you can do. Then again, as an ill-advised Internet comedian that is vaguely aware of the concept of dating, it is practically my duty to try my hand at a field that has been so long dominated by Captain Obvious-style relationship gurus whose revolutionary secrets are generally in the vein of "people with shared interests are more likely to get along."
So, ladies and gentlemen: let's rock this joint with a bunch of dating knowledge I've gathered over the years. Maybe you'll find something that will help you, or maybe you'll walk out the other end laughing at my inept flailing at understanding the opposite sex. There's only one way to find out, isn't there?
5Everyone Is Equally Clueless
The only thing that really matters about dating is how you work the field yourself. Everyone's a fucking expert when it comes to other people dating, but when your own balls/ovaries are under fire, things suddenly get seven kinds of difficult. That's the reason "dating experts" are able to exist at all: they may seem hot shit at telling you what to do, but I guaran-damn-tee they get that same empty, sinking feeling inside when they actually face the object of their affection.
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I'm writing this from my own sexual perspective because that's the only one I've got, but feel free
to mentally substitute whatever you're into in the appropriate brackets.
Here's a relationship tip that I wish someone had explained to me a long time ago: most people get anxious about shit. It's not just you. This may seem like the most obvious thing in the world, but good luck remembering that in the dating game, where everyone is doing their best to hide all such awkwardness from the prying eyes of prospective partners while secretly sweating condensed terror.
These dice come preloaded with bullshit.
Oh, there are plenty of guys and gals who can talk with members of the opposite sex just fine ... when they're emotionally detached, i.e. nonsexual acquaintances or "just" bartering for sex. Insert a bucket of actual human emotion in the mix, and most folks' cool demeanor will melt into a slushie of barely contained confusion.
If we're discussing dating, this seems like a pretty good starting point: you might still be the same mess you were a minute ago, but try to keep in mind that so is everyone else.
4 The Best You've Got Is Not What You Think
What's the most impressive thing about you? Your butt? Your sense of humor? The way you can fit an entire tube of Pringles in your mouth at once?
Fuckin' nope! Or, you know, maybe. But probably not as much as you think.
As Cracked has previously pointed out, it's nigh-impossible to accurately gauge your own looks or personality, and chances are you're vastly overestimating both. A fun side effect of this rampant mis-estimation is that our qualities that actually interest other people can sometimes be very different than we think.
Cue an example from the real world. This is me:
Note that I didn't specify which particular world.
On a scale from orc to Soren, I might as well pack my bags and head for Mordor. Still, if someone pressed a gun to my head and forced me to name the things I think are the most attractive about myself, I'd probably come up with a long list of stuff like my eyes, my prehensile tail, or, normally, a lack of guns against my head holy shit please don't shoot me.
Yet, what compliments I've historically drawn tend to be focused on vastly different things than I expect. Like my hands. For whatever reason, they've been complimented a few times, and I've always, always had the same reaction: my brain goes all, "Neat, a new Sex Weapon!" and I start gesturing and waving and generally making sure my hands are constantly in sight in a really awkward fashion. This could not be more transparent or silly, yet I've never once realized it until the inevitable post-date "oh, shit, what have I done?" phase (you know the one) kicks in.*
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*Note to people who know me in real life: I fidget like a motherfucker anyway, so unless you've seen me in
full-on jazz-hands mode, all that flailing and twitching probably wasn't a flirting attempt. Probably.
Which brings me to a related point. Tons of guys seem to have an inbuilt need to flaunt whatever the other person seems to like about them as a courting ritual of sorts -- a dude version of wearing a low-cut top, if you will. What we tend to forget is that it doesn't matter whether the thing your date digs is your amazing WoW skills or your hulking musculature. If you force-feed it to them to the point of exhaustion, you're only going to look like a dick.
So, the next time someone compliments your hair and you feel the urge to spend the rest of the date fixing it while bombarding them with hair-related information, remember the idiot from the Internet who has spent more than one evening playing the invisible piano to some poor soul who made a passing comment about his mitts. Trust me, you don't want to be that fucker.
For a female take on awkwardness around the opposite sex, please consult Christina H.'s column on the subject.