Monday, February 06, 2006

Those Three Little Words....

Not every person of the opposite sex who walks into your life is "dating material."

First of all, when you are interested in someone, it requires that he/she pass what I call "The Three Points Test" These three points are as follows:
  • Available
  • Heterosexual (at least in my case--this turns to "homosexual" if your preferences are different)
  • Interested

There are many ways of establishing the validity of these premises when you meet up with someone who you think may be dating material.

Available: It is undeniable that people who are single tend to act a certain way. This "certain way" is determined by one of two things--either he or she is contented being single or he or she isn't. If contentment is involved, then you have good news and bad news. The good news is that you probably have a pretty confident, self-assured person on your hands who can handle ten minutes by himself/herself and has probably mastered taking care of himself/herself. The bad news is that he/she may not be looking at all, and just because you show up doesn't mean that his/her perceptions of the glories of singleness are going to change.

Heterosexual (or sexual preference compatibility with you): If you're a chick, you know the guy "you just wish wasn't gay." This usually stems from his ability to relate to you BECAUSE HE IS GAY, so that generally rules out that premise. I haven't seen a common reverse situation for men. At any rate, there is some credence to the concept of "chemistry." Chemistry can mean a lot of things--mostly different forms of compatibility which may or may not have something to do with physical attraction. However, I usually go with the "trust your gut" premise on this one. If you "feel something there" then, more than likely, the other person involved feels at least something there, too. In fact, I can't think of one situation I have heard of where someone felt "chemistry" and yet, the other person in question felt nothing at all. I suspect that if chemistry is not mutual, as unusual as that may be, the person who isn't feeling it will probably pick up on the attraction the other person does feel, and then respond with subsequent discomfort. Look for this if you have any questions about chemistry. If you do not observe discomfort, it is either because A) the feeling is mutual or B) that person is gay (or heterosexual, depending upon your preference).

Interested: This, of course, stems from mutually felt chemistry, so you get a two-for-one-kill on this one. However, I urge you not to get distressed if someone isn't interested in you. Someone may be attracted to you, but not interested--and there are hundreds of reasons for that. Of course, you can't be completely objective about the "signs of interest" when you are the one sitting in judgement of them as they relate to you. In addition, you may be tempted to include/omit certain signs or events that disprove your case upon its presentation to someone else for an objective point of view. Some things are pretty clear signs: first, effort is key. If he/she makes an effort to see you, especially if there are abject circumstances involved, you're probably good to go. Few people waste their time "being nice." Sometimes, you have to be patient with this one, sometimes you shouldn't be. Remember--no matter how clear it may be, "interested" does not mean "relationship."

Remember--every relationship isn't Pride and Prejudice. Preconceptions and expectations no matter what they are can be dangerous when you are sitting in the middle of "I don't know what is happening"-land. We all want things to work out and to have a good time. Set guidelines as to what is acceptable to you and what isn't but don't expect your situation to fit into that premise. If it does, great, but if not, cut loose instead of make excuses.

That is my inspired thought for the day. Thank you, muses of common sense. They visit so rarely....

Feel free to discuss....

6 comments:

Chris G. said...

it's a nice ideal to reach for at least...but i think i've been in relationships which break all three of those tests. the available thing makes for greater social stability on a wider scale, so that's fine in principal. the heterosexual thing is a matter of degree for some people, but it ain't always worth pushing the issue. and perceptions of interest and chemistry are far too dependent on personal bias and insecurity to be useful, (beyond sweet rationalization). but your last paragraph backtracks enough as it is, so no need for me to be argumentative.

slskenyon said...

Argumentative? You? Never....

It's all about setting your own personal standards for yourself. Expectations when it comes to other people are all together different. If you say to yourself, "I am not going to get involved with someone unless...," you're doing yourself a favor as long as your choices are in tune with who you are and what you want. Therefore, my last paragraph does not backtrack at all--it simply states that although you may set personal "premises" those should not translate into "expectations" given there is more than one person involved. And, even if you do set these "premises," they do not add up to a successful relationship necessarily, again because there is more than one person involved.

Would you want to be in a relationship with a "taken" lesbian who wasn't interested in you?

I rest my case...

Chris G. said...

(first bit) you set out from a didactic position in order to outline a required test, and then (last bit) asserted that it's all about setting personal standards...which implies that others need not adopt these same standards. i agree with the last bit, not the first.

i'll do my best to not hijack your blog in the future...couldn't resist though.

and yes.

slskenyon said...

You can make as many attempts to "hijack my blog" as you like. Of course, success is all relative....

Anyway, yes, it is about "personal" standards, but I fail to see how pursuing someone who is available, sexually compatible with you, and interested in you is a bad thing. In fact, most successful relationships must start from this point. If he/she isn't available, then you are stuck either pursuing someone with someone else, which is usually futile, or ending up in only half a relationship given your significant other is focusing on someone else. If he/she is not sexually compatible with you, well, that makes it rather dull...to say the least, let alone unsatisfying in the general human need for intimacy. If he/she is uninterested, well, you'll have a hard time trying to get that person to appreciate who you are, and since a relationship is generally about sharing that--going both ways on that street, you're rather stuck.

If I find one for you, I'll get to you ASAP.

Chris G. said...

again, i have no problem with the standards as an ideal, i'm just pointing out that the concepts of "available", "heterosexual", and "interested" are in no way concrete; we ourselves have a role in determining how the other person is defined according to these standards, and this is done in a way which accords with our interests (as you said).

as such, they are not concepts which should be used as a test. they're the explanation of the test's results as much as they are the means to knowing these results.

which is useful, don't get me wrong, but it's misleading to say that this "test" is somehow revealing some abstract, definitive answer.

Gem said...

I find myself agreeing with everything people have been saying on the subject of love, sex etc on this blog, and then wondering if there might be a connection between that and the fact that (correct me if I'm wrong) we're all currently single and looking...

I suppose there is such a thing as over-intellectualizing relationships. I regularly get accused of it anyway, so it must exist (hope that squares with your empirical principles, Chris ;). If we're still saying this in ten years' time, then I might worry. Until then, I'll see you in the Thoughtful Singles' Bar.