A Great First Date
This brisk, informative read is geared mostly toward men because, “Generally speaking, men are less skilled than women when it comes to dating.” The author chalks this up to guys not discussing relationships amongst themselves much—something that’s reflected in and/or exacerbated by men’s magazines, which don’t exactly pour on the relationship advice. This book helps fill that void.
The logistics of organizing a date usually falls to a man, and whether women realize it or not, that can be an additional source of stress on top of the basic “Will she like me?/Will I like her?” variety. That’s where Circuit Theory comes in handy. For those embarking on a serious dating campaign, Lo recommends spending each first rendezvous traveling the same circuit (i.e., bookstore/long walk/window shopping). This has the double benefit of (a) relieving anxiety by reducing variables and (b) providing a stable background against which to evaluate the only new element: your potential new partner.
Lo calls this the “Fair test requirement,” and if this strikes you as too methodical, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s addressed by #7 in the section Frequently Asked Self-Sabotaging Questions: “You’re taking all the naturalness and spontaneity out of relationships; don’t you care that you’re making it cold and scientific?” This objection is elegantly laid to rest by reprinting some famous poems that followed a fairly rigid structure. With an almost infinite variety of words rotating through a set framework, the originality and beauty of the content is what stands out. In the same way, the theory goes, we can appreciate what each unique person has to offer as they pass through your dating circuit. Lo also puts bad dates in perspective; peppers the text with quotes from Malcolm Gladwell, Anais Nin, etc., and explains why the classic dinner-and-a-movie is exactly the wrong choice for a first date (he doesn’t recommend a potential couple sharing a meal until date #3).
Throughout the book, the Ten Baseline Beliefs are used as a reality check and also used to describe the person who will most benefit from reading A Great First Date. Assertions like “You accept the world as it is, not the you wish it to be,” “You know that another person’s opinion of you is none of your business” and “You understand that anxiety is the fear of the hypothetical” will prompt readers to evaluate their own lives and mindsets, all while they’re developing skills as a dater.
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