I was a late bloomer, by all accounts (especially my sisters’). I didn’t attend anything resembling a date until I was 15, my first kiss wasn’t until 16, and according to a personal survey of female peers (ongoing throughout my travels) I was quite late in far more intimate courting rituals.
Perhaps this is why I continue to feel incredibly awkward dating… Especially when sitting at a table with a stranger making small talk about our lives, which, neither of us know anything about. Don’t get me wrong, on a scale of one to ten, dinner isn’t the worst thing that has ever happened to me. However, when alternative offers include a bike ride, caving, maybe even a walk, count me in for the physical challenge.
The question I have been contemplating, and trying to explain to other female co-horts (who prefer a meal as a first date), is Why the physical challenge is a better first date than the sit down meal?
Maybe its as simple as being in the present. It is possible that sitting at a table sharing a meal is a chance to discuss what you can and have done, where in contrast, having a physically challenge like shredding pow or climbing is a chance to show your potential suitor what you can do. Show vs. tell. Self assessment: I tend to think of myself as pretty low-key when it comes to dinner conversation but find myself quite impressive during an adventure. Not just for strength in endurance, but company, hilarity, problem solving skills, and generally positive attitude in knarly circumstances (ask my most recent California road trip partner, Allison).
Often, during an adventure, there is a kind of connection that can be built through shared experience which can be difficult to find over a meal. This seems like the foundation of getting to know someone and getting excited to know someone.
It doesn’t always have to be an adventure either, it could be a project. Any activity that gives two people a chance to work together on a secondary task. Something that averts attention from presenting your best self (which is only a partial truth and totally in vain) and puts the emphasis on accomplishing something in unity. It builds a bond for future conversions and gives a snap shot of what a person is capable of.
Dinner seems so outdated when held against the back drop of knowledge gained about a person during an adventure. Think about what you might learn about a persons capabilities during dinner… in terms of action you might be able to answer the following questions post: Do they have good manners (important but secondary), and do they pay for your dinner (the importance of this is an entirely different post and a can of worms I won’t release yet). These questions seem unimportant when compared to; What kind of attitude do they take on challenges with? Are they resourceful and imaginative? Do they make light of details going a rye? etc. This information seems significantly more useful.
For now I am not sold on the sit down. I will continue to participate only because I want to be open minded, but the physical challenge wins every time. I’d love to hear what others think… Comments? Thoughts? Feelings? Concerns?