Once upon a time there were two people who were born and destined to meet - one day.
Moving into the part of life that most of us are told eventually comes can be an exciting period of anticipation and emotional growth. This special part of life refers to the intimate attraction between two people - the discovery of destined hearts preparing to take hold of each other in a trustworthy and committed manner. In layman's terms, most folks refer to this as the courting or dating period.
The purpose of this story is to shed a little light into one not-so-great dating experience in particular. This experience's main theme can be altered to fit personal experiences of your own. Go ahead. See if you can relate!
Where It All Begins
Human attraction is rather complex; yet, it becomes almost simple without even understanding what is happening. Humans think, feel and react to each other. If there is an innate feeling of attraction, we are easily drawn into a place of wonder, anticipation and, in many cases, the unknown. Often, our minds begin to sing "Oh Happy Day" without as much as a voice to carry it. Somehow, someway, love is in the air and nothing can stop it.
Moving Forward into the Unknown
Dating isn't necessarily a predictable journey. For the novice, dating can be really exciting, for all things are shiny and new. For both the novice and seasoned dater ideas of what the other person is like, adventures waiting to be explored and the hope of two hearts merging together successfully are some of the most delightful pieces to the dating puzzle. The point is, dating should be a happy time; but don't walk too blindly into the dating scene. Occasionally things may pan out a little differently than expected.
Taking a Bite of Reality
Here is a story that begins with friendship. Different names are used to protect the innocent and the blatantly shameful.
Meeting new people through friends can be a handy way to skip out on finding dates in bars or other less-than-stellar venues. After all, if your friend considers this other person worthy enough to date you, he or she must be all right. Even if a match made in heaven isn't the ultimate end result, at least there is trust in your friend to have selected someone of value for your specific tastes. Or, so one would hope.
There was a girl named Donna. She had a friend named Becky. Donna and Becky had been friends since the camping days of their youth. As grown women in their late teens to early 20's, life was changing from the life of young girls to more mature lifestyles of young ladies.
Becky had already met someone to give her heart to. Donna hadn't dated that much, if at all. Like any good-natured pseudo-matchmaker, Becky remarks to Donna that she knows of a young man Donna might like to meet. Skeptically, Donna doesn't exactly jump on the idea.
She had little experience with dating men and wasn't sure about being set up with someone she didn't know.
Donna wondered where Becky had known this young man. She also knew Becky had a sensitive side, as well as a convincing side. She didn't want to hurt Becky's feelings. Becky's own love companion was a hair stylist with many acquaintances. It was apparent that the young man was a friend of both, although there wasn't much discussion about how they met or how close they were for Donna to make a deeply educated decision about taking Becky up on her offer.
But, even though Donna was nervous, she wanted to meet someone who might be a good match for her. She asked questions about the young man to get a better feel of what to expect. After some prodding, Donna accepted the offer to meet the young man in Becky's home where she felt more comfortable.
Days went by and Donna began organizing her thoughts about what to wear for her first meeting with the young man. "There was a sense of awkwardness to this whole idea; but it couldn't be that bad, even if it wasn't good." Donna thought. So she picked out a casual outfit that would be nice enough to wear at home or out for a bite to eat.
The meeting was to happen in the early afternoon at Becky's apartment. Becky had arranged a few snacks for the introduction in hopes of a warm and inviting welcome. The day had arrived.
Donna arrived at Becky's house about an hour earlier than the set time to meet her mystery date. With nerves and anticipation at hand, she waited. And waited. And waited. The hour had come and gone with no young man to be seen, much less appreciated. Donna's heart was somewhat relieved, yet peeved with feelings of being disrespected even before she had a chance to make a good impression.
Finally, a knock on the door. Two young men had arrived. Donna's date and another friend of his entered the living room and introduced themselves. The friend left and there they were - alone. So far so good, right?
Donna and the young man sat down on the couch to talk and nibble on a few snacks. After talking for a few minutes, it became abundantly clear - this guy was not only late without apology - he was as drunk as a skunk at a country picnic at 2:00 in the afternoon. Donna was livid and humiliated. Long story short, this match made in heaven took a very wrong turn on so many levels.
Believe it or not, dating requires thoughtful consideration and a plan of appropriate action. No one likes to be taken advantage of or insulted, especially in a brand new meeting arena. This couple was destined to meet - probably to learn what not to do while dating.
There is such a thing called "dating etiquette". Whether "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" or any other show of humility and grace comes to mind, it is imperative we treat each other with respect. Whether or not the young man was a big drinker or simply experiencing a case of nerves is unknown. What matters is that he was not prepared to handle his own feelings respectfully, much less someone else's.
Fear has a way of tainting the hearts and minds of men and women, even in dating. This young man could very well have been as nervous as Donna was. What went wrong was the lack of respect on the young man's part to get through the jitters together on a compassionate level. Leaving Donna to feel as if she were not good enough or worthy enough of respect from the start is a horrible way to enter into any relationship, much less a love relationship.
Not giving this meeting a chance through the selfish act of intoxication is only a symptom of a deeper issue. Creating strong boundaries and a seasoned habit of self-respect before entering into the dating world is highly recommended. The hearts of us all are designed to be appreciated and loved, not tested and disrespected.
There are hundreds of scenarios in the dating world. Good, bad and a mix of both are all possible. Dating is to our advantage if handled with care. We don't need to represent ourselves falsely; but we do need to approach dating with the respect it is due.
Old-fashioned or not, let's get back to the understanding that dating is not entirely about sex, love or marriage. It is about getting to know a person for who they are and connecting within the heartfelt realms of similar values. If those things ignite mutually exclusive fireworks, then you're on your way to "Oh Happy Day".