Ah, rejection, the coupling world’s (most?) feared dating outcome. Rightly so, in my opinion, because when someone else discerns that I am not up to the job of co-coupler, there’s no message gap: I am unworthy, unlikely ever to find lerv. Sob.


But my reaction to rejection is determined by me, not the rejector. We all know that rejection is integral to life. The people we choose not to be with infinitely outnumber those we do, so the sooner we find some way to accommodate this, the better off we’ll all be.

Organ transplant recipients need drugs to prevent their bodies rejecting the foreigner within. In a sense, taking someone into your life requires the same kind of treatment, the difference being that instead of drugs we find intellectual and cultural ways around our differences. The fewer the sticking points – or the easier they are to bridge – the less likely is rejection.

What I’m trying to say is that rejection (or its absence) is good in two ways. Rejection gives us information that I am definitely not a match; non-rejection tells me that the other person doesn’t have to use big behavioral changes (drugs) to keep me around. That’s all worthwhile knowledge.

In our mind’s eye, the ideal coupler is someone with whom we can share time happily without modifying anything about ourselves. That’s a foolish notion, but we’re kinda sorta on the right path here…a good fit is just that – someone who has the right coupling DNA for our own.

So reject away. But be careful to know that we reject everyone in some way.

Character: Podcast #15

This week Kregg and I examine the necessity for examining character. Is there such a thing as partial good character? Why does character matter? How can we discern good character from the not so good?

Check out the podcast and let us know what you think.

A New Love Vocabulary

Having a language as flexible, complex and wide as English does us no good if we don’t use it.

The point of language is to convey what’s going on in my head to your head. The common protocol, to steal a computing term, is the words, syntax and grammar of our chosen medium; English. If we both understand the rules, our limit then becomes the number of words we know, the variation of description. Vocabulary is everything.

Given than mind-melding does not yet exist, language is the best tool for the moment. So let’s unleash its power.

The best example of ideas and language restriction that I know of is the word “love”. We throw this thing around like it’s a favorite paperback book, a story that everyone knows. Difficulties – and miscommunication – occur because we use “love” too widely. We use it as a catch-all emotional descriptor, intentionally disregarding the fact that feelings are infinitely more nuanced than one word can convey.

A New Love Vocabulary is my plan for us to begin to tease apart our emotions. There are many words we can use to more completely and accurately describe the machinations of our brains and minds. My hope is that clarity will make us all live more in the light.

For instance:

Instead of saying I love her, how about:

* she makes me smile when she laughs at my jokes

* she makes me think of her first

* I admire the way she never condescends

* when she gets up to go to work, I am proud of her determination

* I respect her faith

* I am calmed by her equanimity

All of these might indeed add up to love, but look at the more complete picture you have.

That’s the goal: Remove the fuzz, create cleaner edges.

Evolution in Dating

When you are twenty, you can afford to date without forethought. Having all the time in the world allows you the luxury of asking anyone for any reason to spend a little time together. Because you are new to adult life, stretching your experience with different kinds of people works to help you figure yourself out. We find our life’s envelope by fooling around at the edges.

Logically, there’s no reason not to do the same if you are fifty. You might even want to make the case that being free of youthful responsibilities – and maybe even your own children – means you can return to self-discovery with your dating. Life gave you ups and downs, and now you can use the found knowledge to find someone compatible.

But I don’t think it works that way. Maturity narrows our focus to those elements of life that are important. Casting off that which doesn’t interest us gives us time and (importantly) the energy to pursue what is of value. Discarding choices can be liberating, in the sense that we more clearly define ourselves…both to ourselves and that yet-to-be-found other person.


Rule Two. Concentrate.

On the girl, that is. Gentlemen, women have an atomic clock integral to their brains. It’s much more accurate than your Tag, so just take note: if your eyes leave her for the smallest measurable interval, she’ll know. In the words of MW, this is called ‘eye-darting’ and significantly reduces the likelihood of getting what you’re after.

The danger of first dates for guys is that whilst apparently benign, they are actually conducted under pressure-cooker-like conditions. You know that little Mars Rover guy? Well that’s you. She’s playing the role of the hypercritical flight controllers, checking out all your moves before, during and after you’ve made them. Poor sap, you think it’s a quiet cocktail, but really you’re at seventy-three atmospheres and it’s six-hundred degrees.

Don’t think you can surreptitiously check out that babe who just walked into the bar, because you’re wrong. Babe might notice, date definitely will. And you’ll notice that at the end of the date it’s suddenly six-hundred below.

The upside is that if you focus on the job at hand and resist any other quadrant of the compass except that which encompasses her, things might go your way. It’s easy really. Pretend you’ve got a crook neck and have limited left/right mobility. Look into her eyes as much as you can. Blink. Nod your head, smile, and the second date’s as good as yours.

Unless you’re on a first date with the babe.