Friday, March 28, 2008

Advice Column #16

Hey Bartender!

So I spent valentines day at a bar alone, and I met a woman who was drinking away her sorrows with her best friend. I got her number and now we're supposed to go on a first date. Any amazing first date suggestions? I'm a little shy, more of a nerd than a player, and want things to go well. Or at least to have a second date. Please?

Wow, isn't that the ideal end to a lonely valentine! Before we get to drinks, we need to talk about strategy. I'm not going to tell you how to get laid (there goes the readership); this column is about how to fall in love with someone. That's what valentines day was really about right? Cards and chocolates are only the beginning to our culture's meek attempt to articulate love.

So how do you spark love? Sure, you managed to get a phone number on the most desperate lonely night of the year, but now you're confronted with the pressure of calling her, and going on a date, and of course, courting her. Wow, that's certainly more to live up to than most mornings. You can do it kiddo. I have faith in you, or in me explaining to you what to do, and hopefully you knowing how to take some serious advice.

Call her and ask her out. Don't wait or be coy or play games. Just ask her out. That's why you got her number, because you wanted to spend some time with her. If you got her number for some other reason, this might not be the column for you. I'm still too hung up on love to care about anything less. And while you were drinking away valentine's day, likely with a glass of something that I pity you for- you were pining for companionship, not sex. So remember the goal you have set forth for yourself: love, which requires you to spend time with this woman in order for you both to fall in love, then yada-yada, birds, bees, fireworks- not my business.

Call her. Focus on her. When you speak to her think of her as the most important thing in the world- this is paying attention. You are paying it to her because she is worth it. Not because you are the "nice guy". You are the guy who actually listens. Your self-depreciating humor is funny. Your interesting stories are actually interesting. Don't spill your guts at her. She'll have to learn to love your guts later. Right now, for a while, you need to hold some things back- this is being mysterious. Are you actually listening to her yet? If you're bored, then you're boring. And don't tell me that you're mom said that, I know. Where do you think I learned this stuff anyway.

Back to the date. Ask her to meet you for tea. Tea? Yes, because you don't have to get someone drunk to get them to kiss you. If you do, you shouldn't kiss them back. On this date, you are not goal oriented, you are having fun. Fun is easier if you don't have to figure everything out on the spot. Before your date, discern an attainable fantasy- by fantasy I mean something you want to do that is fantastic. During the date convince her of your plan's brilliance. Then do it.

What am I telling you to do? While you're out for tea, say to her "I've always wanted to kiss someone for the first time in a planetarium". Then hand her tickets to the local science museum's planetarium show that starts in an hour. Wink. Or if there's no convenient planetarium, say "I've got this telescope in the back of my car, would you like to join me on some interstellar navigation instead?" Tell her stories about watching Star trek as a kid, or about astronomy club in high school. Valentines day may have passed, but romance is not passing you by. Can you name some constellations? Remember to bring a star map, or make up your own stories. It's your date. You want her to be enchanted, and you want to be enchanted too. So if planetariums and night skies aren't your drink, what is? Figure that out. If nothing else, have a first date that makes a sweet story.

Falling in love is about new experiences, about making someone feel a certain way for the first time, about bringing a sense of wonder between two people and holding it there for as long as possible. If you can do that on a first date, there will be a second, and many more. Another day, after you've discovered that she's the most fun person in the world and that you're both willing to have incredibly adventures in small ways, then you can slip some booze into the tea. Maybe she loves your guts, or loves your liver a little less than your heart, and together you'll see what both of those organs can handle.

How should you St. Valentine that tea? Pour half a glass of a spiced tea into a shaker with ice, add a shot of gin, a few dashes of bitters, and some honey. Shake and strain into a glass with cracked ice. Call it whatever you called that constellation, or tell her you named it after her. Or order up an old favorite, like a Zoom: one and half ounces of brandy, one fourth of an ounce of honey, and half an ounce of fresh cream, shook and served in a wine glass. Another delight for your new love could be a Honeymoon, a drink consisting of one and half ounces of applejack, half an ounce of benedictine, the juice of half a lemon, and three dashes of curacao all shook and served in a wine glass.

But first, you have to call her.

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