THE PERFECT TIME FOR A DATE
As I remember, not that it has been that long since I actually had a date, of course… it occurred to me while deflecting a friend’s unannounced visit and still the revelation appears vividly in my mind. It was the simple discovery that our bodies have a “Social-Clock”! Yes, a social clock. As clearly as I can explain a “social-clock” is an internal mechanism regulated by our brain to govern those motor functions that facilitate social interaction and it is directly responsible for our moods at different times of the day. From that time on I would never take it lightly when someone told me they were a “morning-person”. For example, this means that their social clock may be able to perform certain social functions more efficiently in the A.M. rather than in the P.M. Now getting back to my story, there I was relaxing Friday night at 8:00 P.M. when the phone rings. I hesitated to glance at the caller ID, there was absolutely no one who I wanted to talk to, I was just beginning to unwind. It was one of my very close friends who was typically amped beyond all possible, (and reasonable), belief our moods were like night and day. I instantly knew as he greeted me that his giddiness far surpassed my serene temperament. I was relaxing with a tobacco pipe in one hand and a good whiskey in the other after a long week. My body had already begun to wind down, enjoying the peacefulness of a quiet apartment alone at last having escaped from all the cares of the day. It had been my intention to gently slide into a handsome-nap, after taking my libation and smoke, for as I mentioned before I had earned and had been looking forward to this quiet time all week long. So I kindly informed my dear friend that while I would certainly have been more than pleased to entertain him had he called at an earlier time, our schedules were presently mis-matched as my dangling languor, even then, schemed to sheepishly escape merest rumour of his frolicking nature at all costs. Ending our conversation I suggested that he conserve his reveling for the moment saving it to greet me in the morning when we might cut the rug together. No revelation could have been timelier and the sound of the phone line shutting off could not have sounded sweeter. His and my mood were poised at opposite ends of our social clocks, while he was just gearing up for a gregarious jaunt of social adventure I was winding down to enjoy the dwindling flickers of a solitary meditation. It reminded me that one should always be aware of the windings of their social clock.
At that instant it occurred to me why some of my past dates had not been more memorable suggesting that with better scheduling against my social clock they could have been quite notable indeed. My sin against the dating gods was all too clear, rather than decline what my curiosity imagined to be a promising affair knowing I was already socially exhausted I forced myself to placate my libido rather than my common sense. No more would I accommodate anyone’s last minute date request late in the evening after we had both got all of our “must do’s” out of the way. From now on the date would take priority as a must do and it should be scheduled at a time that best suited both of our social clocks. I have always had the good sense to schedule a first time date as early as possible knowing I am at my social best in the morning and the early afternoon. Moving toward the evening I find that I am less motivated to summon energy for the considerable attention it takes to manage a successful conversation and to entertain a virtual stranger. When I was a bouncer… umm I mean a “Floorman” I often told carousers that they should have stayed home because they were not feeling sociable before I escorted them out of the club. That lesson taught me to respect my emotions and to avoid crowds and people in general when I was not in the mood to deal with them. Let me make the distinction that work is one thing and your personal time is another. Most people have jobs that require them to deal with the public to some extent and while you are on the clock you must be the model of politeness and attentiveness. After the pterodactyl whistle blows, (a Flintstonian reference I could not resist), you are on your own time and there are some social phenomenon you can manage differently or choose not to do so at all. I am well aware of the fact that as the evening draws closer to night I become cranky and drowsy, I am less interested in dealing with people especially strangers and more interested in taking some contemplative time alone.
When we are substantially within the getting to know you phase of a relationship conversation typically takes a great deal more energy because both parties are still quite unfamiliar with the way their would-be lover works; it is a period of intense discovery. Discovery, like most important things requires far more attentiveness than a standard well-oiled routine. Anyone who schedules a date with a new acquaintance when their social clock is in the red has set up a potential for interpersonal disaster. Ideally a date should be scheduled when both parties are full of vim and vigour but since everyone’s social clock is different it requires them to be smart and carve out a time that suits them both. Anyone who has experienced a late night date that ended up with some half-baked sex and then one or both parties falling into a snoring stupor can relate. So my best advice for a first date, (firsties) up to at least the 5th date (fivesies) is to schedule them at a time when both of you will not be exhausted from work or from your daily chores. Since most people work between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M. this means scheduling the date for a Saturday or Sunday morning or lunch. Lunch dates are always a good compromise because many people who are socially sluggish in the morning are in full gear by the early afternoon. The problem with lunch dates as a first date is that they fall during a time of high demand and are often cut off far too short to be effective. Late night dates are better suited for people with whom you have already vetted out the “Getting To Know You” phase of a relationship. The better you know each other, the fewer questions that have to be asked and answered making it easier to intuit a person’s temperament and to enjoy the softer side of their personality. In the final analysis a well-rounded social experience is all about being able to enjoy the intensity as well as the quietude afforded by an acquaintance with whom one is cultivating a companionship of increasing interactive proximity.
For people who are more refreshed and sociable during the first 8 hours after they awaken first dates are best suited for mornings, not after a long day of work. On a first date a gentleman should be well rested and comfortably clothed so that he can be responsive and observant, accommodating and spontaneous. He should not be overwrought by the cares of the day. Weekends and mornings are typically best for first time dates because the getting to know you phase burns a great deal of mental and physical energy if it is moving in the right direction. Dating should not be stuffed between convenient periods of unavailability. If you look at your calendar and find that you have to force a date in your schedule you should not be dating you should be looking for a way to carve out time to have a life! First time dates are when you most need to be fresh and alert because you are indeed shopping the other person’s personality and you need to know what is on the menu. I have always taken offense when a person pushes the getting to know you portion of the date to the end of their day on a weekend or late-night on a weekday when they could have simply met me directly after work when we would both have been fully conscious. When someone schedules a date at or pushes it back to the 11th hour it is a clear indication that they have not prioritized you or the date and plan to wing-it wasting both of your precious time. A gentleman should never offer or accept a late date for a 1st time date if he has honorable intentions, (that is honorable platonic intentions), as it is disrespectful of the socialization process suggesting the intent is to mate rather than to date. If a gentleman wants to mate he should make his intentions perfectly but privately clear. Let the gentleman be clear about his intentions not confusing the two (mate and/or date) and there is certainly no harm in directly stating his intent if it is more sexual than social remembering that sex like socializing is best suited for a time when he is at his best.
The getting to know you period should last for as long as it takes (there is no formula or timeline to define how long) therefore each date should carve out of their social design a generous chunk of time so that neither party is rushed. Even if he is really pressed for time (in which case he should not have scheduled the date) a gentleman should never rush a date after it has started. Better to cancel the date beforehand in order to avoid confusion and frustration. A gentleman should have had the thoughtfulness to have generously schedule his agenda as a show of respect for the other parties’ time and effort.
“You never know what important events your date may have cancelled or set aside in order to make quality time to spend with you so always respect the other persons time and hopefully time will also respect you.”
There is nothing worse than when two people get into a good conversation demonstrating a strong social vibe only for it to be prematurely ended due to lack of time management. So first dates should ideally be scheduled as early as possible and during daylight hours especially on weekends to show there is a true commitment and interest and calendars should be cleared at least 4 hours to accommodate a long and productive experience. If you have a previous engagement directly following a date please inform the other party before scheduling it so that they can also arrange or accept engagements after your date expires. I say this because many wonderful dates go well beyond the time they were originally intended to span, you might want to lavish extra time to get to know your beau and it would be a shame if you or they were so moved only to discover that you have other plans. That is a deal killer for spontaneity early on. A gentleman never schedules a date if he knows he will be rushed, tired or preoccupied as a show of courtesy and if something does come up other than a real emergency he should decline it deferring and devoting his attention to the date.
After the getting to know you phase has been vetted out thoroughly a gentleman can plan dates later in the afternoon or evening. Afternoon and evening dates are usually less energetically charged and can include more relaxed settings where both parties can enjoy one another’s company without continuous distraction, activity or conversation. Scheduling a first time date in the evening always runs the high risk that it will be lackluster due to sheer fatigue. After you become comfortable with another person it is possible to do more chill activities later in the day and even invite them over to your home to lounge and just enjoy each other’s company. Before scheduling a late evening or late night date make certain that you actually have the energy to pull it off assuming the other party has been waiting up for you. I personally enjoy late evening or night dates for cuddling and listening to music. I prefer less conversation and more relaxation like watching a flick sitting outside enjoying the weather lying on our backs on a picnic table counting the stars or watching the clouds go by against the night sky. Late dates can be lovely because the expectation is less intense, some late dates can even involve taking a nap together. It really all has to do with each party being able to understand their social clock and putting in the time to coordinate them both for the most pleasurable experience. Bottom line, in order to have a successful date a gentleman should understand how his social clock works and he should be mindful of the way his dates social clock can best mesh with his own…
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to understand your date’s social cycle. Some people are more energetic in the second half of the day or even late evening or night than in the morning so it may be a challenge to coordinate schedules so that you and your beau are fresh and energetic at the same time so you can enjoy an effective vibe. In the beginning you just have to ask them when they are best suited to socialize, after a while you will begin to get more familiar with the flux of their social cycles. After you have been able to cultivate a successful relationship the next phase is to really understand your partner’s social clock so that you can get the most bang out of your precious quality time together. It is also important to understand your partner’s social clock when planning events, dinner, vacations, etc. All of this takes time. If you respect your dates and your social clock you will find that spending time together can be far more enjoyable. Obviously it is important to understand when there is an insurmountable conflict between your dates and your social clock. Never force the issue, nothing is worse or more un-sexy than being tired feeling and looking tired on a date. Don’t be afraid to suggest that there may be some inherent incompatibility but also remember that if you truly like a person and want to invest in them you will have to sacrifice to do so which will invariably mean taking a serious look at how to best exploit your dates and your social clock.
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