The biggest dating mistake men make?

Have you ever been to a greyhound track?

Once on a bachelor party in Daytona Beach — I will never forgive Johnny N. for picking that armpit of the universe for such a hallowed occasion — we went to the track for a little hangover therapy.  It was a fruitful expedition — not the least because in my few hours there, I developed some foolproof mathematical theories for dog-betting, namely P Theory.  It basically went like this: if a dog stops, lifts its leg and takes a whizz on the way to the start line, you should bet on him.  Why?  Because he just made himself a half pound lighter than all the other greyhounds, that’s why.  And if E=(1/2)mV², then at a constant E, a lower m (mass = total amount of greyhound = slightly less after a P, hence name of theory) you get a higher V — velocity = speed = winning!

This trenchant insight netted me the princely sum of $5.35, which I then proceeded to blow on Bud Lite, which, albeit refreshing, did not win its race.

But I digress — let’s get back to the dogtrack.  They get in their starting pens, and with the pistol — bang! — they’re off.  They’re running like their lives depend on it, chasing the rabbit.

Except that it’s not really a rabbit.  It’s this mangy, grey, torn-up rabbit puppet that’s been stuck on a stick just in front of the doggies so they have something to trigger their chase that wascally wabbit instincts.  And if they were to actually catch up with it — man are they going to be disappointed.

So why am I telling you this story?  Well, let’s think about the last time you saw a girl you liked at a party.  Your heartbeat immediately speeds up: “Who’s that?” you think to yourself.  And bang! You’re off.

God, she’s perfect.  So damn cute.  What should I say?  How can I maximally charm her? Oh man, now that I’m talking to her, she’s kinda interesting. Can I get her?  When should I ask for her number?  Will she go out with me?  Will she sleep with me?  Will she be my girl?  How can I keep her?

Yeah, this has happened to you a million times.  You see a cute girl, and suddenly, you’re the greyhound.

What you have done here is that you have already oversold her to yourself in your own mind — and that’s the biggest dating mistake men make.  You’re so monomaniacally focused on getting her that you forget that there’s one more person in this interaction: you!  I mean, do you even like her?  Or is she just hot?

‘Cause brother, I’ve gotta tell ya: sometimes the worst possible outcome is that you actually succeed in getting her.  And now you’re that greyhound that outran the rabbit and finally got the taste of mangy, grey, torn-up puppet in its mouth.  Not what you were bargaining for, methinks.

The opening of the Tao Te Ching has a great line about this:

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

When you’re caught in desire, you tend to go blind.  When you go blind, you can’t evaluate the merchandise that’s right in front of you.  And then, you may end up stuck with something with you didn’t really want.

What should you do instead?  Feel the desire, then rise above it.  Think, “Ah!  It’s that pesky little desire thing again, a.k.a. my pecker trying to do my thinking for me.  That’s cute.  Now let’s see what’s really happening here.”

And then you proceed to think for yourself and evaluate the woman in front of you not just as a collection of face, boobs and butt to trigger adrenaline and dopamine in your body, but as a whole person.  Is she kind, mean, polite, crude, considerate, sweet, nasty, high-minded, snarky, interested, oblivious, deep, shallow, calm, neurotic, jaded or enthusiastic?  What’s she really like?

When you re-humanize her, then you re-humanize yourself, too.  What fulfills you?  What do you really want?  Instead of rushing headlong into chase mode, you become more discriminating.  And when you become discriminating, not only do you make better choices for yourself, but you also become more attractive.  You’re setting the frame with you as the buyer, not the seller. And that’s powerful stuff.

Statistically speaking, it’s a small portion of the population of single women who are going to be a good match for you — way less than 10%.  So you would be wise to have in place this rigorous process of evaluating who’s in front of you instead of rushing off to chase the grey rabbit-puppet.

So, don’t oversell her to yourself.  You have no idea if she’s that special.  Instead, slow down, relax, and see — and allow the good of the universe flow to you.

4 Comments on “The biggest dating mistake men make?”

  1. Irene

    Hi, Alex

    I really appreciate you trying to get some common sense into the heads of men, but why do I have the feeling this article pretty much hit a wall? Am I right to be a bit sarcastic here? No harm intended, though.

    1. Ali Binazir MD MPhil Post author

      Irene — thanks for the note! First of all, you’re not being sarcastic — you’re merely being critical :) Second, I’m not sure what you exactly mean by ‘hit a wall’, but you’re not the target audience for the article (assuming you are a woman), so it’s okay if you didn’t quite understand it. This is the kind of thing guys do all the time (including this one), and it lands them in all kinds of trouble.

  2. frank

    this is so true. Men sometimes can be very right brain where they see the big picture but don’t see all the details. I’ve fallen for the crusty rabbit myself and when you get it you realize what a mistake it was. That is why dating is important because you get to know a lot more important details to fill in the gaps and your fantasy picture in your mind becomes more realistic then you can decided if she is the right person.

    I think women can be more left brain where they have a list of details they want a man to be but fail to see the big picture of simply being human not some special order dude from a Sears Catalog..hmmm I think I’ll take one please.

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