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Believe it or not, I have no real dating experience to draw from when I write. I met my husband when I was in tenth grade. We married two months after I graduated so none of that kid stuff really applies. I still had a curfew when I had my bridal shower. I know, sounds insane, doesn't it? Even to me. Lucky for us, it wasn't the disaster everyone expected it to be.
On the professional front however, I'm at a slight disadvantage. All I can do is imagine how strange and awkward it would be to get asked out by a man I don't know very well. How do you gently decline invitations without offending him? How do you know when to accept? What would the date be like and when, where, and how do you introduce those potential deal-breaker subjects that would indicate you'd be compatible? What happens if you really like this person but simply aren't attracted to him? How would you react if he touched you, moved in for a kiss, or suggested more?
Me? I'd probably go into a major panic attack, but then I never claimed to be normal. So what is it like for a normal woman, one who's been through this over and over again? No doubt she'd be a lot calmer.
Are there cues I'm not aware of? Things that make her radar go ping? What will she judge him on? How is she going to react if his eyes drop unconsciously to her chest over and over again? How would she read that? Would she suspect he's only looking for a quick hook-up or would she give him the benefit of the doubt, based on what she's wearing, and be flattered? Would she playfully toy with him, squeeze the girls together as she fusses with her wrap or sweater and make her cleavage even deeper? I'd love her for that.
I watch a lot of movies to gauge these things. Nora Ephron has been an enormous help. Reading is also a rich and wonderful resource. I never pass up articles on dating and dating advice. How else am I going to know what's going on? Is three dates before intimacy still a general guideline? What's allowable before that? I'm sure alcohol is probably a big factor in that decision.
I also like to know what guys think about women. If I see an article or poll on these kinds of things, I pounce. Often they cover what women wear, how we wear our hair and, what products we put in it. Guys have definite opinions on make-up and perfume too. They'd much rather taste a woman's bare skin than the perfume she's spritzed on her neck and chest. Do they mind kissing lipstick? I don't even like wearing it so I can only imagine maybe they would.
These questions are the bread and butter of writing. They're also a lot of fun to contemplate.
- Tara Mills