Make My Day
OKAY, SO NOW WHAT?
by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
SYRACU.S.E, Ind. -- A few weeks ago, I wrote an advice column on high school dating for near geeks, semi-geeks, and band members. Since then, I've been overwhelmed by by emails from current and former high school geeks, asking me what to do next.
One fictitious email from fictitious reader Brett Schultz said:
"Hail and well met, good sir Erik. I bid you adieu from the hinterlands of Misquamicut, Rhode Island, and the kingdom of Westerly High School. I have followed your sage advice and have actually secured a date with a real live girl! Oh my God, I never actually expected this to work! What do I do? What do I do? Oh man, I can't do this. I can't go -- oh, I can't breathe. I'm hyperventilating."
After I got Brett to breathe into a paper bag, I decided to write this column for him and all those other Romeos-to-be who were now too light-headed to watch their Star Trek reruns.
Okay, so you've identified a girl you like (she's breathing) and you've asked her out ("Will you umm. . . that is, do you uhh. . ."). To everyone's amazement, including your own, she said she would love to go to dinner and a movie with you.
There are actually a few simple rules to dating someone else's teenage daughter, besides the ones her father spelled out in his best-selling book and hit television show. They are as follows:
Rule #1: Choose a nice restaurant. This is a simple one. Don't choose a restaurant where you can "supersize" your meal. But don't overshoot the mark and pretend that you're sophisticated. Chances are your date has heard about the time you stuffed 200 Gummi Bears in your mouth, so she knows you're not a regular at "Le Snooty Frenchman." Pick something fairly casual like one of the many family-friendly chain restaurants. It's not great, but it won't give you garlic burp breath when you reach Rule #4.
Rule #2: Don't order messy food. You don't want complicated food that will get stuck between your teeth or end up in your lap. When I took my junior prom date to dinner, I made the mistake of ordering barbecued ribs. I was so nervous, I couldn't cut them, let alone eat them. I kept hitting bones, and eventually just gave up and took them home. Turns out I was cutting against the direction of the ribs, not with them. Avoid the same mistake and order something easy and clean, like plain lettuce and a glass of water.
Rule #3: We've already covered why you're a semi-geek in the first place, so this rule is simple. Don't pick a movie you've been dying to see. Your tastes are, well, a little weird. That's why you've had dating troubles in the first place. You're going to find yourself back at square one if you take her to see anything with lasers, phasers, or beings from another planet. Go to a movie she wants to see. Remember, you're on a date, you're not there to be entertained. Be entertained later when you can watch the Sci-Fi channel at home.
Rule #4: The goodnight kiss. This is the do-or-die stage. Most boys are probably thinking beyond this, but this is a family column. That, and her father is a gun nut. And mentally unbalanced. Just be happy he didn't go along with you, like he originally wanted. So be a gentleman. They make smaller targets.
By now, most of you semi-geeks are gasping for air and reaching for your paper bags again, wondering what to do now.
You've parked in her driveway, and although her mom hasn't started flicking the porchlight off and on, the clock is running.
"Well, uhh. . . I had a great time," you say.
"Me too," she says.
Then you sit in awkward silence, wondering frantically, "Should I kiss her? Will she let me? Or will she laugh? What if she tells everyone I'm a bad kisser? Oh God, what would Captain Picard do?"
Meanwhile she's sitting there wondering, "Is he going to kiss me or not? Do I have garlic burp breath?"
Just let your instincts kick in. Close your eyes, lean toward her and hope she's not recoiling back in horror. Bulls-eye! Okay, slightly to the left of bulls-eye -- you only missed her face by a couple inches. But after a few minor adjustments, you're locked in for your first kiss. Not too shabby for a charter member of the local Society for Creative Anachronism chapter.
You finally come up for air after several minutes, wisely not mentioning the moment you both sneaked a peek at each other at the exact same time. You experience a rush of emotions, and think "wow, this could really go somewhere." This brings me to the final rule.
Rule #5: I don't care how great the kiss was, do not share your feelings and future plans for the relationship with her. Wait for her to talk about it after another date or two. Or ten. Let it all develop naturally. Let it grow on its own.
By then, you'll be ready for the final column in this series: "How to Survive Being Dumped by Your First Girlfriend."