Check Please!

dinner check

 

 

 

You’ve been emailing for about a week. What a hunk! You shopped for the cutest little dress in the mall, and finally here you are. Corner table, candle glow…where did the time go?

 

The waitperson brings the check and puts that brown leather holder right in the middle of the table. The time of reckoning is here! Nobody moves a muscle toward it. Uncomfortable much? Of course it is!! It is a “defining moment” for many women and though it might come as a surprise to women, guys have their own dialogue going on in that cute little head of theirs. Wanna know what it sounds like??

 

“Well, women want to be ‘liberated’? This is what it looks like!”  “She makes as much money as I do. Why should I pick up the check?” “If I pick up the check, she is going to think I expect her to sleep with me. I learned my lesson from the last woman I took to dinner.”

 

And what is she thinking? “If this man is really a gentleman, he will pick up the check.” “If he doesn’t pick up the check, this is it for HIM.” “What? He isn’t going to pick up this check??”.

 

A dinner check, and even who pays for a cup of coffee can set the tone for everything that happens or doesn’t from that moment on. Why is that? Because we have attached so much meaning to this gesture and never really talk about it before we go out with someone.

 

Men have had experiences with women who HAVE taken advantage of them. Clients have told me many times about women they met online who will only meet them for dinner, order expensive wine and entrees and then ditch them…truly the sad definition of a “Dinner Date”.

 

There has always been confusion about what it means sexually when a man wines and dines a woman. There are also leftover emotions for Baby Boomers who turned the world upside down during the women’s movement. Women struggling over wanting to be cared for/cared about by having a man pick up the check. Men left without clear rules or roles now have whiplash. Picking up the check can be an opportunity for passive-aggressive anger or a genuine moment of not knowing what-the-hell to do now.

 

What can you do to make your next date free from this “deal-breaking” ending? Men…you can let her know “Dinner is on me”  if you genuinely feel that you want to give her that gift. Note, I said “gift”, not “expectation”. If you want to “go Dutch”, tell her that ahead of time, and share honestly your feelings about this arrangement.

 

 

Women…men do not read minds! I know we think they do, but believe me when I tell you most of them always need to be told what you are thinking. Don’t assume they will pick up the check (What’s with that???). Offer to pay your part. Bring cash with you and put down your part of the bill on the table. Allow him but do not expect him to say “No, let me pay.”

 

Know your own beliefs, attitudes and values about money and be prepared to accept that he/she may have very different ones from yours. Though some would say the first date sets the tone for the relationship spending patterns, I don’t buy it. If the relationship continues, it is crucial that you talk about money. I speak from experience when I say if those values are not the same it can mean a great deal of struggle and sadly in some cases, make the relationship impossible.

 

Here’s hoping if you follow this wisdom you will see him/her again but even if you don’t, both of you will have better digestion!

Bon Appetit !!

 

 

Beauty and the Beach…Life’s Lesson Made Easy

tai chi at the beach

 

 

 

I think I am one of the most blessed people on the Earth. There are many reasons including health, family, loving friends, the loves of my life and the joy of having lived in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

 

Every month I travel back to Carmel, California to see clients and visit friends who always welcome me into their homes with open arms and hearts. I leave after a few days feeling that everything is alright in my life and the world. It’s magic in this area of the world and if you don’t have it as a destination for yourself, I would think about that.

 

I lived in Carmel for 11 years and had a distant view of the ocean and my favorite body of water, those wetlands where the waterfowl and birds find plenty to eat. Between the river and the turquoise ocean, during the summer and fall there is a pond of sorts and brown pelicans don’t mind sharing a hot day with small children who shriek and laugh and Golden Retrievers who lust for the ducks floating nearby. It is magic.

 

The pond is temporary because in the winter, the current changes and most of the beach disappears, as does the road above much to the City’s dismay. The river that flows down to the ocean gathers power and eventually pushes through the sand and flows into the ocean. It happens like this year after year after year and though I miss walking that long stretch of white sand during the colder months, I know what to expect and remember that spring will bring the beach back, the river will look still and calm, and the children will return a year older.

 

Life is like this too if we can give up the notion that it should stay the same or not pull any punches. Humans long for things to stay the same…safe and predictable. We write a story with that plot and when life constantly tries to tell us that “normal” is change rather than the status quo, we resist like toddlers, refusing to believe it. And we suffer.

IMG_1123

 

 

Perhaps its time for us to spend some time in nature. I highly recommend the River Beach in Carmel as a tutor. Try and learn to meet the waves of life as if you are doing Tai Chi rather than building a fortress. It feels so much better.

Are We Using Each Other?

mad scientist

 

Recently I dated a man who said something that I haven’t been able to forget. In telling me about his experience in dating a woman whose husband had passed, he angrily stated, “I think she was just experimenting on me.” Up into my overactive brain, mice, rats, Skinner boxes and mad scientist faces rose to match his tone. But, I knew what he meant.

 

Unfortunately, the only way to find someone to love and who loves you is to meet and date them. If there were a shortcut, believe me, I would have found it. As I’ve said before, dating can be a bit like slogging through a pig pen after a week of rain. But implicit to dating is repeated episodes of “Sorry, but I’m just not attracted to you.” or some version of that death knell statement. But are we using someone, exploiting one another on our way to finding a match?

 

There are both men and women who are capable of using and exploiting and perhaps you have met one or two. I hope not. Men have stories of women who “just use dating to be taken out to dinner” and women who believe “he just wanted to have sex and when I said ‘no’, he practically pushed me out of the car.” But, for most of us, the reality is different. We just want to stay long enough to see if what we see is what we get or feel or want. Is the chemistry there? Is there more to it (him/her) than sexual attraction? As time passes, then and only then can we answer the questions that are crucial if we are to find a partner who is a compatible, healthy match.

 

How long does it take to “know” whether or not someone is right for you? It is different for everyone, but here is my rule of thumb: If on your first date you feel drawn to want to know more about him or her and it is mutual, go out again and do something different. If you still feel something, unsure what it is, go out again. By the third date most of us know whether what we feel and see and experience is what makes us feel safe, happy and ready to move forward. But sometimes when we are working on changing some patterns or habits or history, it might take longer to interpret our feelings and experience with someone.

 

Dating is one big experiment. It’s like being ordered at a Deli, sniffed like a dog, sized up like a candidate for a job. It’s all about knowing your intention that will determine if you are experimenting or using someone. If you are seeking dinner, someone with whom to survive the holidays or kiss on New Year’s Eve, a date for a party because you hate going alone, or even a good lay, just be sure the person you are dating has a matching intention! If not, write 100 times The Golden Rule before you go back online.

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