Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dating Tips

Water park date with the Brinkruff kiddos.  The smiles say it all.

It started with a conversation about dinner.  I tossed out potential restaurant venues and weighed the pros and cons of each locale.  Paper napkins vs. cloth?  Plastic forks vs. stainless steel utensils?  Kraft mac-n-cheese vs. the homemade, gooey sort?  

Eleven-year-old Caleb listened and then piped in, "Do you think the Cheesecake Factory would be a good spot for a date?"

Cheesecake slices the size of my head?  Quesadillas guaranteed to change a life?  Fried mac-n-cheese...enough said.  Of course, Cheesecake Factory would be a good choice, but I doubted Caleb's question was based on cuisine.

I inquired, "Why do you ask?"

Under the lens of his glasses, I could still see the twinkle in his eye.  He explained, "Well, I'm in middle school now and I'm thinking it's time to start thinking about dating."

Holy buckets.  

I certainly didn't see that one coming.

I blurted out, "Well, you're too young to date."

He looked deflated.

I softened and stammered, "But, yes, the Cheesecake would make a nice location."

From there, the conversation flowed organically.  He said the idea of dating came from his books.  (Thanks Divergent, Hunger Games, and likeminded teen books!)  And no, he wasn't eyeing a special lady.  But, he wanted information about this foreign world of dating.

"Do you have any dating tips?" he tossed out.

From when Caleb was just a pea-sized image on an ultrasound photo, it was the question I imagined he would ask...one day.  How did this moment arrive so fast?

Without ample time to craft a sage response, I went off-the-cuff.

I told him to think about the characteristics he's looking for in a girl, then find a date that checks off all of those boxes.  A friend told her daughter "You can fall in love with anyone if you don't have a plan."  I like her advice!

I said he needed to be the person he hopes to attract.  For example, is he looking for an honest, reliable, compassionate person?  Be that person too.

I reminded him to be a gentleman and show interest and appreciation for his date.

After our conversation, I thought of everything else I should have said.

Pay for the date.

Pull out the chair.

Open the door.

Let her order first.

Listen when she speaks.

Compliment her appearance.


Avoid the ones who gravitate towards drama.

Skip the ones who aren't really interested in you.

Beware of the ones who have more tattoos than charm. 

Please, oh please, don't bring anyone home who curses like a sailor, dresses like Brittany Spears, and engages in less than savory activities.

And so, I'm recording these ideas in my head.  One day, when he's ready to date, I'll be ready too. 

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