Nerd Date: Just Say No Mar20

Share This

Nerd Date: Just Say No


a blogumn by Clark Perry

alonetime-Thomas HawkOver the past seven months, I’ve devoted my mad skills to giving you fun tips on dating. All of my suggestions have been thoroughly field-tested for strength and accuracy. I dare not recommend anything I haven’t tried myself at least a few times. I’d give a shout-out to the bevy of lovely ladies who’ve kindly assisted me on this topic … but that list is just too damn long.

Which brings us to what might be called my anti-column, in which I implore you to momentarily disregard everything I’ve said until now.

Sometimes the best date is the one you don’t take.

I’m not talking about playing hard to get, although that tactic has its advantages when played properly. Letting someone wonder about you, even chase you, can be a great sport. “The thrill of the hunt,” it’s called. For some people, this form of flirting can be a great indicator of a potential mate’s attraction and playfulness. We all do it to some extent. As long as you’re not cruel, it can be a lot of fun.

I’m talking about taking a break from dating, whether you’re a casual Casanova or in a special relationship. No matter what it is you love doing — dating, following politics, collecting Pez dispensers — every now and then you simply need to take a break and clear the slate.

Why? Well, abstinence certainly makes the heart grow fonder, but the problem there is that you’re still thinking of yourself in relation to others. I’m suggesting that you need to regularly attend to your relationship with yourself.

Look around you. It’s clear that we’re not spending enough time alone. Our society won’t let us. If we want to feel connected in this crazy world, we need to be Facebooking and texting and watching eight hundred channels of high-def TV in the grocery checkout line. Our world is fragmented in a million pieces and it’s only natural that we seek out ways to connect to each other.

The danger here is that we can lose sight of ourselves. We’re looking out, not looking in, and that can be more detrimental to your love life than anything.

Until you’re right with yourself, you ain’t never gonna be right with someone else.

You need to make a date night with yourself. Seriously. I’m not talking about some half-assed attempt to stay home on a Tuesday and eat mac-and-cheese and watch TV. No, you do this on a weekend night and you do it right. Dress up. Find something fun and contemplative to do — museums are great for this, as are plays and movies. You can never go wrong with browsing at a good bookstore.

What exactly are you looking to achieve when you do something like this? Simple awareness. You’ll probably feel lonely and uncomfortable at first, especially if you’re surrounded by shiny happy couples. That’s fine and to be expected. Acknowledge that and then lose yourself in your activity, or follow that cue and just sit and watch the people around you.

There will probably be no cosmic epiphany or sudden blossoming of your soul’s potential. It will likely feel quotidian and sorta lame and very anti-climactic. Which means you’re doing it right, because real life is like that.

If you’re dating someone steady, how do you take a break like this without hurting their feelings? It’s all about communication. You need to let them know this momentary break isn’t leading to a break-up. It’s just about you wanting to take time to regroup and center yourself. In fact, you may want to encourage them to do the same.

This isn’t about isolating yourself from the world. It’s about taking the time to reacquaint yourself with yourself. It’s about stoking the fires that make you who you are.

Do you already take time to spend with yourself? I’d love to hear what you do and what it means to you. Please sound off!

. photo credit: Thomas Hawk
More Clark musings may be found at his regular digs, clarkblog