Swipe left, left, left, left, left, pause to look at profile…..left, left, left, left, pause……fuck it, swipe right. Match! He’s got kind eyes, a nice smile. Let’s see where this one goes…sigh.
Online dating (online, apps, etc) has been, to be generous, the bain, vain, and drain of my existence for the roughly 6 months I’ve been trying it. I’m 35 (save your judgment), have two kids, and live in a small town. The dating pool is slim, but not non-existent. And I try my best to take every new “match” with a fresh sense of consideration I feel they deserve. In this case, I had the best first date with a person I didn’t even see coming and truth be told, I almost swiped left!
So what do you do when you’d like to go on a date with someone and you’re both single parents who have your best availability during the day while your kids are at school/daycare? Simple. You plan a lunch date. And me being the cheap date I am, when he told me he likes sushi, I suggested a hole-in-the-wall joint where I get my favorite spicy California rolls.
We were both late (points for solidarity), but we hit it off quite nicely. We sat at the fellowship hall-style table and chairs as long as felt comfortable, having a great conversation despite the voice of Trump on the flat screen on the wall behind my head. I wasn’t ready to part ways and his easy laughter at my corny mom jokes told me he could tolerate me a little longer, so I suggested we go a couple doors down to a furniture outlet store and walk around. He was down for my spontaneity (points on points).
Now, as we were walking to the store, I was already planning to request that he show me the best representation of his furniture style while we were there. Like a real-life Buzzfeed quiz, I was going to keep our date alive and I was feeling pretty proud of myself for my creativity on the fly. What I wasn’t anticipating was learning more about my date while roaming around a furniture store than I had on any other first date I’d ever been on.
So here it is, my top 3 Reasons You Should Have Your First Date in a Furniture Store (in true, listicle fashion):
1. The Waiter Rule
I’m not big on rules, more of a let-things-happen-organically-and-stay-in-the-moment type. But you know the saying, “A person who is kind to you but unkind to the waiter, is not a kind person”? I think it’s fair to observe this type of behavior on a date. In my experience, most of the people I’ve dated are hip to this rule. So they tip well, are generally still kind even if their order is jacked up, and may indulge in a little small talk with the wait staff in an effort to give a good first impression. It’s a little less straightforward and maybe less easy to fake than dealing with salespeople at a furniture store.
As soon as we entered, my date greeted the workers with a smile and welcoming head nod. No big deal, right? Probably not. But as we traveled around the space, various workers would come and check on us (read: sell to us). Each time, he gave them his full attention, but also yielded the floor to me to interact as well, both of us sharing the secret that we knew we weren’t going to buy a damn thing that day.
If you’re like me, you watch how your date works a room at a party or event and what we’re really trying to do is see if they can hold a conversation without too many awkward moments or just being outright rude. My date was conscientious and patient even after the seventh time someone came to ask us if we were taken care of. (To be fair, we were there for two hours.)
But even more than his courteous and easy-going nature, what stood out most was how easily and freely he laughed. First dates can become so pretentious, with your date trying so hard to be cool that the date can become stuffy even with people who are typically humorous and fun-loving.>
Take away: Is your date kind to those around them? Are they being their authentic self and allowing you to be your authentic self?
2. Values and Decision Making
Okay, I’ll admit it. I really DID ask him to show me furniture that felt represented his style…and I may have also asked him to explain why he selected what he did. I asked him, knowing he has a rambunctious toddler at home, “If money and child-proofedness weren’t an object, what would you select?” Turns out, my date had recently purchased furniture, so he was quickly able to show and tell.
He told me that with or without the kid, he would select the same type of furniture because he valued durability. He stated that he had made the choice of a new bed based more on the delivery date than the style. This made me laugh, but it also showed me that he’s simply practical.
There was a point where we came across some blanket throws. At $80 a piece, I expressed that I felt they were overpriced and I couldn’t see myself paying so much for something I could likely make myself. He agreed and I found myself at that moment thinking, I’m so glad he’s not bougie. Nothing against labels, sometimes they are the best quality and worth the price, but there is something about a down-to-earth man that brings comfort to the girl in me that grew up eating ramen noodles and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day during the summers.
His priority was comfort and function, with only a dash of style (we both dig dark grey couches…original, I know). It was compatible with my sense of style and practicality. I’m just not sure that I would have had the opportunity to talk about selecting furniture for a home in any other context on a first date. There was something about the ease in which we exchanged ideas that showed me he was comfortable talking about decisions that we might make in the future as a couple.
Take away: Is your date just “bad and boujee” or are they intentional with their money? Are they comfortable sharing the decision-making in a partnership?
3. Intimacy and Respect
A typical first date finds you seated across a table from your date, or at best, shoulder to shoulder in a dark theater with an armrest between you. (Yes, sometimes we get more creative, but let’s be real, dinner and drinks or dinner and a movie are go-to first dates.) Keeping with “tradition” provides a small sense of comfortability.
So when we plopped down on a couch in the middle of the store, there was something unexpected, but naturally intimate about it. Perhaps it was the physical contact, sitting right next to each other. Or the fact that when I laid back to test out the “power headrest” and turned my head, there was something incredibly vulnerable having our faces 8 inches apart under the unforgiving fluorescent lights. There was no hiding.
In that intimate moment, the undeniable electricity between us allowed my mind to easily envision myself kissing him in future moments like this. I can honestly say that I’ve never been able to assess chemistry to such a degree on a first date before this ‘moment’ we shared on a couch. Awkward hugs and even straight-to-the-bedroom first dates can only tell you so much.
I don’t think I have to tell you that there is no shortage of opportunities for perverted jokes in a furniture store. Arms of chairs and couches at just the right height with just enough cushion-for-the-pushin’, tables that already have bare tops, and beds….everywhere. I’m a fan of irreverent humor, but coming from a date in the early stages of courting, such comments can feel really icky. In a world where women walk around in a constant state of feeling like prey, little comments about our bodies or even our beauty can easily feel predatory or threatening in those early stages.
One of the most powerful aspects of my date while passing through dining sets and recliners together, was that I didn’t feel for one minute that I was being ogled. And yet, I knew my date found me beautiful. It doesn’t get better than that, folks.
Take away: Are you being objectified on the first date? Can you see yourself sharing intimacy beyond sex with this person? Also…there is no need for a power headrest ever. None.
I’m not saying you’ll have the best first date you’ve ever had by taking a two-hour walk through a furniture store like I did…but you just might learn a few things about the person you’re with, good or bad. But again, sometimes the best dates are the ones you didn’t have planned with a person you didn’t see coming.
To the fella that gave me the best first date I’ve ever had, thank you. Thank you for being open and spontaneous, and giving me something to write about that doesn’t come from a place of pain. How’s that for a first love letter?
The role of men is changing in the 21st century. Want to keep up?
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Source : https://goodmenproject.com/sex-relationships/3-reasons-to-have-your-first-date-at-a-furniture-store-mlyd/