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Dating, like most things, is an acquired skill. It is a muscle that must be maintained, or else the body will fatigue and soon leave you an awkward mess of giggles and wine spilling. Trust me, I’ve been there.
I consider myself a good dater. Not great, but good. Is it worth noting that I may have significant experience because, I don’t know, no one wants to lock me down? Maybe. But there’s a thin line between self-deprecating and depressing, so I’ll move on.
Over the past few years of dating I have developed my own Playbook. I’m no Barney Stinson a la How I Met Your Mother, but it’s something. Not every date calls for a pre-determined strategy, but when you’re going in blind, like off bumble or a set-up through co-workers, it certainly doesn’t hurt. A wiser human than I once said, “Proper preparation prevents poor performance” and I stand by that.
My strategy is as follows.
Determine Your Audience
Before I can pick the best play from the Playbook, it is most important for me to understand my audience. Is this a suitor of the same age? If so, we probably have things like income, dating history, and affinity for getting drunk on weeknights in common. If this is an older suitor, he probably wants someone a little more “I’ve always been really mature for my age” and less “shots?” Perhaps this date is a father with joint custody who isn’t afraid to face a bottle of wine on a Wednesday but would rather pass a kidney stone than step foot in a club.
The type of audience you’re dealing with changes everything from date location, to conversation, to whether or not you reference J. Cole or Nat King Cole. Analysis is important, people.
Choose Your Play
On the particular night I will describe below, I decided to go with the “Just Got Home” maneuver.
My suitor was a bumble match 9 years older than me. A successful professional with a knack for weekend surf trips, he’d just gotten out of a serious relationship (I knew from five minutes of Instagram stalking). He was a reformed party boy, the classic 30 year old bachelor/business guy looking to have a good time while still maintaining fully functional liver. Through some basic open-source research, I discerned he liked a girl who could keep up. The “Just Got Home” was perfect.
Shoot Your Shot
I initiated the maneuver by suggesting we meet at my house for a drink then walk to a BYOB taco place around the corner. He was all in. 8 o’clock? Perfect.
I got home from work at 6:30 pm and hopped in the shower. I’d spent the day with clients and was looking pretty post-work frazzled. Immediately after my shower I cleaned up my entire apartment. I’m lucky, my apartment is furnished and makes me look far more mature than I am, so I knew I had that going for me.
After my shower (in which I actually shaved my legs), I flossed (mostly to feel responsible), put on my pump up song (“Rock Ya Body” by MVP, not Justin Timberlake), poured the obligatory pre-date drink (two fingers of tequila on the rocks) and texted him, “Running a little behind at the office – we’ll probably arrive at the same time!”
“Working girl. Nice. See you then!”
Next, I started to get ready. I did my hair and makeup then stood in front of my closet. One has to make a strategic outfit choice when executing the “Just Got Home.” I chose my flyest work suit, a fit both mature and just tight enough to wear to the bars. I blow dried my hair, charged my phone, and threw back on my blazer.
At precisely 7:45 pm my date texted me, “En route!”
“Me too!” I responded. It was time to activate.
See, the most critical part of operation “Just Got Home” is always the final clean up. You must, similar to a successful serial killer, erase any evidence that you were there.
I proceeded to trace my steps to make sure there was no clue that I had previously been home. Once the apartment inspection was complete, I turned off all the lights, locked the door, and walked out of my apartment and down the street.
Once I got to the corner two blocks away I turned on my heels and headed right back the way I came. I even put in my headphones for effect; I didn’t want him to think I was a psychopath that goes sans podcast on the commute home.
As I was approaching my building, my date pulled up in his Uber. Almost like, I don’t know, it had been planned.
I waved from the sidewalk as he got out of the car and kissed me on the cheek.
“I’m so sorry, work has been crazy! I Just Got Home!” I said, as we walked up the stairs into my perfectly clean apartment. The place glistened like responsibility and an excellent credit score. I dropped my bags, slipped out of my shoes, shrugged off my blazer (which now smelled of Acqua Di Gioia for women By Giorgio Armani instead of Metro Sewage by Trash), and offered my date a drink.
“Tequila?” I suggested.
I poured him a tequila and water as we chatted. He made a joke about how he would never be able to focus if he worked with me, considering how good I looked and all.
I laughed and responded, “Are you kidding? I’ve been running around all day! I’m so flustered!”
Hook, line, and sinker.
The rest of the date proceeded with flying colors. It’s still the one bumble date I reference whenever someone asks, “What’s the best date you’ve ever been on.” Little did I know, I was actually bullshitting the ultimate bullshitter. The guy had a few moves up his sleeve as well, including but not limited to domestic travel. That, however, is a blog for another time.
Today what I came here to say is that we’re all human. Everyone wants to date someone who has their shit together, and look, I’m sure you do in fact have it together 90% of the time.
That being said, for that other 10% of the time, I implore you to try out the Just Got Home and fake it until you god damn make it. If it worked for me, it sure as hell can work for you.
It’ll be our little secret, I swear. .
Image via YouTube