Takes one to know one. You’ve heard it. So I’ll remind you that I was a matchmaking client. That’s right. I, too, wanted someone to please just find the good guys, and call me when you have a match, because I love my career and I’d like to get back to work. After a 7 year long-term relationship ended, I tried dating on my own for a couple of years. Getting a date wasn’t near as hard as finding a quality guy who was compatible with me in more arenas than an initial flirtatious attraction.
Unlike what must be 99.9% of the singles population, however, I never did online dating. Not once. So I never had the online sensation of the dopamine rush when Mr. Hottie McHot (with his alleged current photo) chose to engage with my (photo shopped) current photo. Instead, I was good at meeting real singles and going on real first dates. Repeatedly. I would let friends, colleagues, and even close acquaintances set me up. So I had practice at real and organic blind dates before even hiring my matchmaker.
But, gentlemen, there is something else you and I do or do not have in common. I never had date-related “negative head talk” AFTER the date. Instead, mine tended to be in the parking lot, still behind the wheel, having arrived at least 5-10 minutes early, and while staring straight ahead. I remember the questions well….
”Really?! (Universe) Are you serious? This is my life? I’m 35 years old! Divorced! No kids! Sitting in a parking lot in Texas. And going on a blind date. How did this happen?!!!! Are you flippin’ kidding me?”
So, in my case, I called a “life line”, as in my long-time best friend who lived far, far away. I subconsciously knew she would have the positive words to knock me off high center, and to realize I was an eligible single, so go in there and meet a good guy who is simply looking for his person too. She would remind me, you always enjoy meeting someone new. So go have a nice glass of wine, a nosh, and engage in some interesting and adult conversation. And that was it. As simple as it gets. Go in, sit down, and meet another educated and motivated human, who also happens to be single.
Every time, after her pep talk, and after a no more than a 2-hour first date, I would leave refreshed. She was right. He was somewhat interesting. He had a different and multifaceted human interest story. And whether we end up on a second date or not, I’m glad I expanded my mind and my experiences to have had this date. “I’m getting closer,” I would tell myself. I would drive away from the date with positive reflection and affirmation. What we DO have in common, what we DO enjoy sharing, what we DO seem to care about in the big picture.
You see, gentlemen, my negative head talk was to myself before the date, not after. And the self talk was about my disbelief that this chapter of my personal life’s novel was simply not the chapter I expected. It didn’t mean my life was going to be a best seller. Or that the book should be thrown out all together. It was simply a chapter I needed to embrace, to get me to the next chapter.
Which is why, when I hear my gay men matchmaking clients tell me about negative head talk on the drive home after a date, I coach. For years, when I hear only negative next-day feedback (or even negative talk from his “friend” who isn’t being supportive), I coach him to STOP that, rechanneling the energy. It was simply a date. And most times, according to the other bachelor, it was a delightful and personable two hours of interesting sharing, chatter, and even laughter. What’s so negative about that? Think of the positives. He was more than likely a somewhat equally educated, driven, successful, nice looking, fit, well traveled, ambitious, and pleasant single who is also searching for his compatible match. It’s not determined in the first 5 minutes (like you think it is online). Matchmaking is a process. And it’s worth it. Let us find the good in each other. It’s the good that has the potential to be your companion, lover, comfort, and partner for life. Drive away from a date with wanting to know more.
Usually when a man says, “I don’t think he wants a second date with me” I actually hear on the matches feedback call, “I look forward to seeing him again.” See, our bachelors are more than photos. They can talk. And they want a second date. So leave your date speaking words of affirmation for a more positive beginning to a new chapter of love, light, and opportunity.