Since I'm working on Valentine's eve, it occurs to me that I ought to repost an old favorite of mine about dating from back in the day (2003) when TG and I were...and publicly wish my wife a Happy Valentine's Day to boot!
So Tenacious G (my [then-] sweetie) and I went out for our pre-Valentine's Day dinner last night. We have the boys Friday, and it'll be a zoo everywhere, so we went to our favorite neighborhood bistro and had a nice dinner together.
Which was slightly spoiled by the conversation at the next table. I'm usually pretty good at filtering, and too polite to acknowledge that I'm eavesdropping (or reading your mail upside down on your desk), but this was just too much, in every sense of the word.
It was a first date. He was (from the conversation) about my age, but overweight, balding, and with a sunlamp tan and a pony tail - a combination that I can't imagine the ladies could resist. I'm commenting on his physical attributes (actually more his "presentation" of them) because they meshed so well with the personality that he displayed at dinner.
I kept one eye on my watch for a bit and at one point he talked over three minutes without stopping. I think she said about ten words in the entire hour and a half that we were there, and the conversation from their table never stopped.
They (he, actually) discussed Iraq. He's against it, but he would have gone to Canada if his lottery number had come up during Vietnam and would personally drive his son to Canada today (in his Ferrari) if he was in any danger of serving in the military. We can't invade Iraq, he explained, because we haven't defeated Al Quieda, and we haven't made a settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians. Once we do those things, he'd be open to considering it if it was OK with the U.N.
I have a discussion on his points over at Winds of Change.
He discussed work. He's apparently a prosecutor, and he discussed how unfair the laws that he is sworn to enforce are, and how he practices his own form of "jury nullification" on cases that he thinks are just unfair.
He discussed (at painful length) his divorce, his lack of a relationship with his children, and his dysfunctional dating history.
He discussed his cars (a 70's Ferrari, a 60's Porsche, and a new BMW).
He discussed dancing, and the kind of music he likes. He went on a long riff about "the sensuality of just moving your body to music" ... i.e. he dances like a white guy.
So in 90 minutes, he did a kind of miniature "Biography Channel" special on himself.
There are so many problems here...
Look, I've never been a 'playa', but I've certainly dated a bunch (TG would say "more than a bunch") and met a bunch of neat women (even married a couple). I've given some dating advice to my sons and to my more relationship-challenged friends (male and female, showing that they'll take advice from anybody). But it was all I could do not to turn around in my chair last night and go "Stop. Stop now. Ask her something about herself, and let her complete her answer. Explore her interests. Hand her the keys to the conversation, because believe me at the rate this is going you aren't going to be getting any tonight."
So let me offer some dating advice to my fellow middle-aged divorced guys:
Shut the fuck up.
Don't try and "sell" yourself, its boring and ineffective. Help her sell herself, and in doing so you'll sell yourself far more effectively than you could otherwise.
Don't inventory your possessions, inventory your passions.
Don't recount, in real-time, the story of your failed prior relationships.
Don't talk down your exes.
Basically, don't assume that you're the only interesting person in the room.
And lose the damn ponytail.