A Discreet Guide to Getting a Date

Published April 24, 1980.

QUESTION: I am an 18-year-old female and have been reading your column on marriage. Like most other young women. I anticipate marrying someday. The only problem is I rarely date. I judge myself to be better than average in looks and have a fairly trim figure. How important is dating in regard to marriage, and what can I do to increase my dating experiences?

ANSWER: Dating in our contemporary society serves several important functions. Some of them are social and recreational activities, conferral of status and self-esteem, and sex role development or learning how to relate with the opposite sex. But most important of all, dating is how most Americans choose a husband or wife.

In his book, “The Individual Marriage and the Family.” Professor Lloyd Saxton of the College of San Mateo has noted “The person who rarely dates is seriously handicapped in the marriage market. He may have a very unrealistic, highly romanticized notion of what the person he marries is really like as well as only a very limited idea of his own needs. He may put too much or too little emphasis upon sex. Ultimately, with increasing pressure untempered by contact with reality, he may make a disastrous choice of mate.”

At most colleges where I have taught, there has been a lot of group dating. Three fellows may go with four girls to an activity, and initially there is no attempt to pair off. All have an opportunity to interact.

You may or may not feel comfortable initiating dating relationships outright as is presently being done by some women. Allow me, however, to suggest how this may be done . . . discreetly.

Remember the formula ACT-DATE.’ The “A” stands for animation, the “C” for closeness, and the “T” represents touch.

ANIMATION:  Simply put, most guys do not want to date a deadhead. To animate means to act alive or put life in your behavior and mannerisms. This is often done with a smile posture, hand gestures, facial expressions, voice inflection, and eye contact. While many think a spontaneous wink is flirtatious, the eyes are highly revealing. Don’t just stand inert when in a crowd or desiring attention.

CLOSENESS: Social space is often measured in geographical space. How close we stand or sit to another person frequently represents how we feel toward them. To indicate interest, stand or sit closer to the individual than you ordinarily would.  If you cling to the door opposite the driver’s side of an automobile, you often convey disinterest.

TOUCH. We live in a largely non-tactual society. Touch however, can be a high form of communication and by learning appropriate touch, you can communicate interest. Here is something I share with the young women in my classes, and they claim it works a high percentage of the time. You may want to try it.

Assume that the typical American male is a simplistic organism, much like an amoeba, who responds readily to stimuli and response. The next time you are talking to a fellow you like, smile, and use eye to eye contact while conversing. At the same time, stand a little closer to him than you ordinarily would. As you conclude the conversation, reach over and touch his arm or elbow and tell him you appreciated talking to him. Then leave. Do this three times in one week to the same fellow, and you should soon have a date. If not, check your deodorant.

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