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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rules of Engagement

He's standing across the room, standing 6ft forever, wearing your favorite fragrance, smiling with all his teeth intact. Mid-laugh, he pauses noticing you, noticing him and your exhale is caught somewhere between your chest and your throat. Yep, he's the definition of breathtaking. A quick lowering of the eyelids and a return to your conversation is just the distraction needed to casually glance over your shoulder. Yep, he's still watching.   Quick...walk 6 steps to your right, twelve to your left and look again. Yep...following you like a diehard Twitter fiend. There's mutual interest, so what do you do with it? Ever found yourself in the scenario above and spent the night doing the "long thoughtful look" across the room, only to go home phone number, facebook friendless and wondering what went wrong? I've watched friends from 8 to 80, blind, deaf and crazy blow this scenario like Monica Lewinsky. Rarely returning for the re~gaze, forgetting that holding in the stomach shouldn't keep them from smiling, failure to launch the "sly~shy nod and wink" maneuver. So tonight, I'm keeping it light, with a few quick rules of engagement.
Men will be the first to admit, (in a really quiet voice that only takes place in their hearts, in the dark on a stormy night), that they appreciate being the pursuer. But, we've got to empathize with that long, heart pounding walk across the room and possible rejection in the most public of forums. I can only imagine the internal conversation dude must be having in his head as he knee wobbles his way into your circle of friends.

"She probably has a man..."
"I hope she's not the type to loud talk a brother..."
"Do I have enough cash on me to buy all her friends drinks?"
"Damn it, why did I think this Ed Hardy shirt was a good idea?!!!"
"Why is the one with the wart on her chin waving that huge flag with her number on it?"

See, while you're sitting there, safely flanked on each side by your homegirls, and her homegirls, wondering if you've sweated off all your eyeshadow and hoping your pedi is being shown off in the best possible light, he's having the same anxiety attack...the difference is, he's decided to approach YOU. (Which should be clue number one that he's at least somewhat interested). When he approaches...let the man off the hook with some sort of encouragement. True indeed, you don't have to immediately disrobe and begin doing the sissy bounce when he asks your name, but at the very least, tell your insecurities to shut up for five minutes and engage this brave man.

We have a way of meeting, dating, breaking up with, getting back together, becoming engaged and getting married all before finding out a brother's middle name. So far, he's only said "Hi", but somehow we've heard, "Hi...I'm going to marry you in 3 years time, make you forget everytime you've been hurt by every man from your father to Tiger Woods, give you pretty babies and personally make your sun rise every morning for the next 80 years."  That's a bit much for any single human to take on within the first 20 minutes of meeting. Imagine him telling you he's expecting you to be his mama, nurse, secretary, maid, homeboy and concubine who doesn't mind unreturned phone calls, at that first meeting and you're getting an inkling of the expectations being thrown about like shirts after a soccer win. Slow the hell down! You'll find out all kinds of amazing factoids by actually listening to what he's saying, instead of reinterpreting it to fit your needs. I continue to firmly believe that it's difficult to hide a wife, child, drug habit or unemployment for an extended period of time. Whether you've gained access to this information through conversation, asking around or the huge, engraved wedding band on his ring finger, taking things slowly can help you save face and avoid confusion. (Unless you're into that kind of thing...)

If you've made the mistake ...decision to be out with a gaggle of female friends, introduce him and beat a hasty retreat to chat him up one on one. This sounds bad, so allow me to explain. He's not auditioning for American Idol or Showtime At The Apollo and he's not there to finance a night of drunken debauchery and lady drinks for your homegirls. He just happened to be out, followed the shining spotlight of your brilliant smile and decided to approach you. This is not the moment to begin "Testing" know how we do, ladies. "If he's willing to...then he's a keeper".  (There'll be plenty of time for that later! I keed, I keed). Let him get to know you without a chorus of backup singers. I guarantee you'll hear him more clearly if you're not attempting to quiet your best friend and keep her from telling the story about that one time involving you, the amputee and the Greyhound bus station.
(Good times...)

In a short conversation, you've gained his name, number, facebook information, twitter name, and a general idea of where, when and how he lays his head for the night. (Save Googling him until you're at home...). The chat was intriguing, witty and filled with enough pop culture references to let you know he was born within the same millenia as you and he hasn't spent time trying to buy, sell or trade you. What next? Leave him alone!
"It was nice chatting with you and I look forward to hearing from you next week."
That's called, "closing the deal". It works this way. You've given him the heads up that you approve his approach. You gave him the green light on his communicative abilities and the let him know that you want MORE of the same give and take. Now come here...closer...just a bit closer to the screen. Paying attention, because I'm going to whisper this next little bit. You've given him (and yourself) an expiration date. The ball is now in his court with a "best if used by" date.

This whole mutual attraction thing is not rocket science. Obviously, I'm scratching the bare surface on the potential of this situation. Hey, I never claimed to be a guru...

Add your two cents and tell me what I'm missing.

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