Introduction to Dating

We often joke that the difference between great, furniture breaking sex and rape is, that with the first, everyone is having fun. The simple fact is that sex -- no matter what various religions and moralists would have you believe -- is not only lots of fun, but a very normal and necessary part of how humans establish intimacy. Intimacy to create a bonded pair devoted to each other.

Realistically dating is very much part of an interview process. A process to decide if that person is 'right' for you. If not for a lifetime, then hopefully until the children are raised. And if that isn't your goal ... then finding someone who is 'right enough' for now. You may not want to raise children with this person, but for now he/she is acceptable and you both get something out of each other's company.

Although some may think that sex is the goal of dating, sex is only a small part of the process. It's a process of discovery of another human being (as well as having fun). Dating is a much bigger issue than just getting to messing up the sheets.

And when people forget that, that is where problems can arise.


Rocket In The Pocket

For both males and females sex is a VERY powerful drive. And it is made even more so by carbonated hormones and the fact that the human brain isn't fully developed until a person is in his/her twenties. (Neural pathways in the neo-cortex have not fully developed). But here is where things begin to get a little more complex than just ripping each other's cloths off.

Whether you approach the subject of sex from a scientific, religious or psychological perspective, there are complications.

To begin with there is the whole pregnancy issue. The human body is designed to breed at a much younger age than the owner is prepared to handle the complications of child rearing, keeping a working relationship going and understanding all the complexities of sex and emotions that accompany it.

The simple fact is that pregnancy is both a reality and possibility of sex, no matter how careful you are (or aren't). Therefore pregnancy must be addressed. Not only from the perspective that it could happen, but the importance of a bonded pair.

Realize that this is no small issue. A pair devoted to each other plays a huge role in raising that child. Creating the conditions to do so is the biological imperative of dating. It is to interview prospective mates for child raising and interpersonal benefit and stability. Human babies take a long time before they are self-sufficient and a bonded pair working together has a better chance of offspring survival.

Sorry to take the romance and fun out of it, but that's the biological view of dating. It's finding the right person -- not to have sex with -- but to breed with. First and foremost it's about species survival. And whether young people know this or not, their hormones and instincts are telling them to breed.

While sex is an incredibly powerful force, modern society is based on the idea that human beings are more than just baby making machines (otherwise we'd still be scampering up trees trying to get away from predators). That's where other issues come into play. And again the issue of a long term interview is a factor. If human relationships occur over years, decades and perhaps a life time, then the process of finding the right person is also going to take time.

Dating is a discovery process where both parties are interviewing the other for acceptability.

And face it, the odds of meeting Mr. or Ms. Right on the first time out is pretty slim. So it is more likely that many potential candidates will be interviewed ... as you too will be. Now during this process, odds are you're not only going to interview several candidates, but some of them are going to be serious duds ... if not outright problems.

Sex Is NOT The Goal

In light of the furniture breaking comment earlier, this statement may come across as a little prudish. But the purpose of dating really is to get to know someone. It is to establish whether or not you want to become involved in along-term relationship with this person or keep them at a certain distance. If you want a one night stand, there's always the bars and parties.

We'd also like to make something clear here, when we say 'sex is part of this process,' many people assume we mean it as the last part. They think of it as the prize or goal if you will. That's not what we mean. Sex is as much of a discovery process as everything else. It is finding out if you can trust this person, if you both are willing to compromise and finding out what kind of person he/she is. Sex is an extremely revealing way to find out if the person is considerate of your needs, patient and willing to work with you so you both can benefit. If someone is selfish and inconsiderate in bed, you can be they're selfish and inconsiderate out of it.

Now that you have a bigger picture on the subject, you have a lot more flexibility and understanding about dating.

You have school/career commitments that you need to focus on now. So you're if not going to marry the guy, that's okay. He's fun to be with right now and as long as you both know it's just for the time being, that's just great. Another goal of dating is socializing. It really is very much about going out and having a good time.

However, remember in the last section we mentioned that you're going to run across a few duds? Well one of the indicators of a loser candidate is someone who is not only entirely fixated on sex, but doesn't really care if you are interested -- or having a good time. Thing is nitwit there does think that sex is the goal. And that is going to seriously effect his behavior on a date.

Equally bad news is when someone who definitely doesn't pass your interview, but he thinks you're the greatest thing since sliced bread. And yes, these kind of guys can become stalkers or rapists when you try to disengage from dating (or even dealing with) them.

And face it, some people just aren't interesting to you. He may be a nice guy, but you don't want to be intimate with him. Dating is when you find these kinds of things out.

Now knowing that there is a whole range of possibilities about dating, you can more easily recognize when someone wants to take it off into a direction that you don't want to do ... or perhaps wants to take it to a place that -- while you might not object to the idea -- you're just not interested in going there that fast.

Safe Dating Tips

Dating can occur through several means. Often you meet someone through a larger group, you meet someone on line or a friend has a friend etc., etc.. How you get there doesn't really matter. The following tips for cover a wide variety of different types of dating. The information is grouped together because often these points have overlapping factors (they work together).

1. Dating -- like drinking -- is NOT a sprint. It's a marathon.

You aren't going to, nor should you try, to get everything done at once. There are lots of compatibility points that need to be gone over and the details worked out. Assume that the process is going to take time so relax and enjoy yourself.

2. Insist on public places for the first few dates.

That is to say don't agree to go off kayaking with someone on the first date.

Although that sounds silly, it conveys a very important point. Namely do not isolate yourself with a stranger. Even if things have gone well, do not agree to go off alone with a person to an isolated area later (e.g. go to the park to look at an interesting bridge). Avoid putting yourself  in fringe areas until after you have gotten to know and trust the person.

3. Only give him/her your cell phone number.

This creates more of a buffer between you and the person if you decide you aren't interested in developing the process any further. Remember,most of the people you date are NOT going to pass the compatibility

test. So have protocols in place to a way to deal with those you aren't interested in becoming intimate with -- especially early on in the process.

4. Agree to meet the person 'there.'

This serves several purposes --

       1) It protects your home address until you are more comfortable with the person knowing more about you.

       2) It allows you to not be dependant on that person for transportation.

       3) If he/she turns out to be a dud, you have an exit strategy and the means to implement it. 

       4) This is a test to see if he/she is willing to work and compromise with you (remember, this is an interview).

5. If you are without a car ...

This is not uncommon in larger urban areas or for younger people

1) Have cab fare 

        2) Have a local taxi company's number in your cell phone's address book.

        3) If things don't work out, call from either a convenience store or

            bar/restaurant (even if this means going to another one and 

            waiting). Always wait inside someplace where there are people.

6. Set up a "Dating Network"

This is another one of those 'serves several purposes' ideas. A Dating Network is group of friends who look out for each other while the members are dating.

1) Members of the network know when one of you is going on a date  with a new 'interviewee." They know because you inform each other of your plans -- including the interviewee's name, contact numbers where you met him and anything else you know about him.

2) If something goes wrong you call a network member and they come and get you.

3) Knowing that a network member is going on a date that evening, the other members know they are 'on call.'

4) If you're really not sure, plan to have a network member call you mid date. Then tell her, "I'm with John Smith, at (your location)."  She knows where you are and who you're with already, but now he knows someone else knows too.

5) If, in the middle of your date, you start feeling physically strange, call a network member (although the 'rufies' scare was over stated,  it does happen).

6) If you're still living at home, obviously your parents will want to be included in this list -- and well they should be. However, even then it helps to have a dating network of friends. And don't be shy about telling your parents you and your friends have taken this precaution -- it shows responsibility.

7) Make a 'pact' when going out with your friends. You all go out together, you all leave together.

8) Be willing to rescue your friend from someone if she's had too much to drink and things look like they are going too far. Men bemoan the dreaded "cockblocker," but look out for your friends and demand they look out for you too.

9) Set up a code word among your friends that informs them "No, I  really want to go home with this one." The conscious use of this term indicates that 'no, you aren't drunk.' It really is your choice to hook up with this person tonight. Respect this choice in your friends as you expect them to respect it with you.

7. Go in groups

One tactic that modern young people have developed is the "Group, Non-Date." A mixed group either goes out or just 'hangs out.' This allows young people to be together and interview one another without the obligations or social awkwardness of a formal date. Within the cover of the larger group the two people who are interested in each other can 'casually' interact without the 'stress' of 'being on a date.'

Officially, they're both just out with their group of friends. But in reality, they're very actively participating in the bonding/dating process.

This also has all kinds of good personal safety  implications, not just from a dud date, but other kinds of problems that can occur on a night out

Note to parents: if you're concerned that you child isn't datingmbut 'just going out with group,' the truth is, yes he/she is dating -- actively so. It's just not happening in the way you think of dating. The good news is the group non-date is far safer for preventing rape than the 'traditional date.'

8. The Double Non-Date

Amusingly, the group non-date idea has been picked up by older daters as well -- with a slight twist. Often couples who know two single people, will decide to play matchmaker. (While this can be well intentioned, it can also be somewhat embarrassing). That's why taking an idea from teens can solve all kinds of problems.

Instead of a group non-date, mature people do the Double Non-Date. With the Double Non-Date instead of being set up for a 'blind date,' the couple goes out and invites two friends along. You're not going on a date, you're going on an evening out with the couple -- and someone else. This allows the two people to meet and decide if they what to pursue the issue further. But to do it without the awkwardness of it being a blind date. It also allows for the couple (who know both parties) to act as a liaison between two strangers. Another common variation is dinner parties at the couple's home. Again, it's not a date, you're both just there for dinner.

9. Lunchdate

Lunchtime is good for first dates/get-togethers This time frame has several advantages

1) It gives you exit strategy/excuse to leave if he turns out to be

a dud. You tell him you have to get to a class, back to work or

to another appointment.

2) There is less sexual pressure. This is especially true if the meet

is in the middle of the work or school week.

3) This strategy is especially good for people you've met over

the internet or through a Web dating service.

4) Lunch menus are cheaper than dinner.

10. Go "Dutch"

Even if you don't split the tab down the middle, take turns paying. This is a simple idea that has important reasons. It is a very thin line between someone wanting to impress someone with his ability to pay and him feeling that you 'owe' him for the money he has spent.

Granted this is a hold-over of Neolithic magical thinking  (that if he buys you things you'll sleep with him.) Unfortunately, there are also still women who take advantage of men's wallet in this manner. Going Dutch keeps the Neanderthal thinking at bay.

11. Plan the evening jointly

Be an active participant of the evening. Remember the sooner you establish yourself as a thinking independent person capable of taking care of yourself, but willing to compromise, the sooner he will reveal himself if he isn't. Don't establish the protocol of being a doormat.

12. Don't allow unexpected change in plans ... participate

Things can change because of unexpected events. Stick with the basic plan (e.g. 'He' running late. You meet there, no he can't pick you up at home). If there is that much of a change either meet him at (for example the theatre) or renegotiate the evenings plans (for example, forget the movies, just meet for dinner).

Such unexpected changes, while seemingly innocent, can be used as part of ploy. Perhaps to find out where you live or perhaps to see how easily you can be controlled by him first causing the problem  -- then presenting a prepackaged solution. (That's part of the whole treating  you like a doormat thing). Don't just go along for the ride, participate in the solution.

13. Communicate

Remember, this is a two way interview. You both want to find out about each other. As flattering as it may be to find someone who seems to be only interested in you, look for an equal exchange of information. Also be leery of someone who is only interested in telling you about himself and not interested in learning about you.

Remember, this is a two way interview that either of you have the power to break it off before it goes too far.

14. Be assertive, not aggressive

Know your boundaries, but also respect his/hers. Don't be afraid to communicate if you are uncomfortable with something. And -- if that is the case -- do not allow yourself to be talked into or pressured into doing it. And this includes being teased. Often teasing hides a type of manipulation. (Besides, 'friendly' teasing is only socially acceptable among established friends ... if it shows up too soon, that doesn't bode well).

15. Don't incapacitate yourself with alcohol or drugs

This is another one of those multi-reason subjects.

1) Even if you are nervous, control your intake. Alcohol not only affects your judgment but it reduces your ability to protect yourself.

2) Remember it is a two way interview. Getting drunk and sleeping with him is a good way to fail -- unless he's an alcoholic then he'll think you're his kind of gal.

16. Know late night coffee shops

Often there is a transitional period where you're still not sure if you want to go to bed with someone or not. Late night coffee shops/hookah bars allow you to extend the evening, without alcohol clouding your judgment.

You extend the time together without either committing to or implying that you will sleep with someone. Unless you've decided that he's a keeper and that you're going to rip his clothes off that evening, don't take him back to your place -- and even then it's often better to go to his place (that way he doesn't know where you live if you decide it is a one time deal). If something turns sour, it's harder to get him out of your place than you getting out of his.

As an addendum, if you do go to his place, call one of your date network friends and give her the address (or leave it on your homephone answering machine.)

17. Keep an eye on timing

In the previous section we mentioned the bonding process. This  is how humans establish intimacy and move towards sex. It is a very important element dating because it talks about the stages and a pacing of the process. If you haven't read the section on the Human Bonding Process, we strongly recommend you do.

A very large issue of this whole process is establishing trust. Trust in the other person is a huge component of an established relationship. But trust isn't something that is immediately granted or gained, it takes time to develop. Understanding the importance of trust, helps you understand all sorts of other issues about dating and why timing is something you need to watch.

1) Desperation -- Someone who is too 'hungry' for something will often try to rush things along. Whether this be sex or rushing into a relationship. Desperation indicates that something may not be exactly be wrong, but something certainly isn't right either. Exhibiting this desperation/hunger is one of the fastest and most assured ways to fail the interview. It comes across as a rush to achieve one's own desires and goals -- without considering what the other person wants. That's why it's such a turn off. Realize, desperation isn't  just limited to men in dating -- it comes in many forms and applies to both sexes. Desperate people often fail the interview process and, being desperate, they try to force it to work again.

2) Beware of someone who tries to 'get to know you' too fast --

This is the marathon vs. the sprint idea again. Being poetic, discovering who the other person is kind of like a flower opening, it takes time to reveal itself. Someone who wants you to reveal all to him/her immediately may be desperate, but quite often there is something else going on. Something not good. Such people are often manipulative and controlling and a big part of that is information gathering. Information that he/she plans to use against you later.

While a desperate person gives off a particular 'vibe,' someone on fact finding junket gives off another, very distinct impression. While such people can be witty, charming and seemingly interested in you there is a certain degree of cold calculation behind what they are doing. In fact, you can begin to see this by how they react to information that they can't use against you.

While such a person is seemingly interested in where you work (that he can use against you) he will become quickly bored and change the subject when it comes to discussing general issues and challenges about your  profession. Someone on a fact finding junket will continually change the subject once he/she has found the desired information. Once you know about this timing, it becomes obvious when you see it.

3) Watch for someone trying to get to sex too fast -- Remember how we said sex is as much about establishing trust as the rest of the bonding process? Sex is very much an act of trust. Trust that the person is interested in your needs and wants as well as his/her own. Someone who is 'moving too fast'  towards sex is displaying selfish motives. That person isn't looking at dating as a mean to get to know you, that person is looking to get laid. While that isn't necessarily a bad thing,  if that isn't your only goal, then problems can easily develop between your differing agendas.

4) Watch how fast someone wants to get close to you -- We're not  not just talking about sex now. We're also on about someone who wants to jump into a relationship. Under any circumstances a distinct danger signal is someone who wants to become your best friend too quickly. Friendships, like relationships take time to develop. Someone who wants to get involved with you too fast is revealing that something isn't quit right.

A serious danger signal is someone who doesn't have any long time friends. Long time friends are an indicator of a person's personality. People who have stuck with a person for a very long time, indicate that person is worth knowing for a long time.

Selfish and dysfunctional people quickly reveal themselves to be unreliable and hurtful to their friends ... as such they are quickly abandoned. Such people are often on the prowl for new 'best friends' because they've done wrong to others. The older a person is without an established circle of friends, the more indicative of negative traits.

An additional warning signal of such people is a string of inconsistencies in stories and statements. Old 'friends' can confirm or deny these statements. Without them, all you have is the person's words that something happened a certain way.

5) Beware the Speed Seducer -- Yes, seduction is a learned skill. Any and all moralizing about sex aside, different people take different attitudes about sex. Some people don't want to have sex with anyone that they are not intimate with. Some people view sex as a sacred joining. Some people view sex as an expression of love and tenderness. Some people use sex as form of self-medication for self-esteem issues. Some people use it as a stress release and means of relaxation Some use sex as a weapon of controlling others. Some people use sex as a way to get to know someone else. Some people just want to get laid -- with no commitment or obligation.

Recognize these different motivations apply to both sexes. Not only that, but realistically, at different times, the same person can cycle through any and all of these attitudes. (In fact, with some people these motivations change as fast as they change their clothes). We mention this because awareness of your changing motivations can keep you from getting hurt by Speed Seducers.

Although it is inaccurate to categorically say that Speed Seducers prey on those they seduce, there are those that do. So that element must be considered. However, being more pragmatic about it,  the immediate goal of speed seduction -- for both parties -- is to get laid. This is why it is important to realize that you too can cycle through these different sexual intents. Realistically you can't seduce the unwilling. And that is a key issue to recognize; speed seducers specialize in focusing on people who if they aren't exactly in "I'm just looking for sex" mindset, then people who aren't adverse to the idea of rolling around in the sheets that evening. As incredible as this may sound, often you may notconsciously realize you are in this stage of the cycle. But that doesn't mean the speed seducer doesn't see  it. Speed seducers come in with a whirlwind seduction that can literally sweep you off your feet. As long as

a) you are a consenting adult

b) you consciously know what you are doing

c) you recognize that this is a 'one night stand' our attitude is: Have fun. Unfortunately, often the person being seduced doesn't recognize that speed seduction isn't about establishing long term intimacy -- it's about having  sex. This can become a problem if normally he/she has a different attitude about the significance of sex (or hasn't fully developed his/her attitude about it). Someone who is normally more reserved about sex, can end up feeling bad about being speed seduced later. This even though -- at that moment -- he/she was in 'a mood.' Often such a person will end up feeling bad later on about violating his/her normal standards and allowing him/herself to be seduced -- and apparently 'abandoned.' Just as common, the seduced decides that he/she wants some more of that person's attention. In both cases, this is trying to appy  the longer term standards of how you create relationships, to a one night stand. This is why it is important to recognize a speed seduction for what it  is. If you can't or don't normally operate that way, don't allow yourself to be speed seduced.

6) Carry condoms in your purse

Even if you use a different form of birth control, unprotectedsex is a  bad idea -- especially with a speed seducer.

18. Get to know his circle of friends

This is another one of those important for o-so-many reasons issues.

1) You can judge someone by the company he/she keeps. In fact, you often can get better view of a person by whose company he/she keeps than by looking at the person directly. That person may be presenting a good front towards you, but his/her friends  will feel no such obligation. If there are consistent tendencies among friends, then odds are that person also has those tendencies.

2) As mentioned previously, a lack of old friends is a serious danger signal ... as is an unwillingness to introduce you to his friends.

3) Watch his friends for 'unusual' behaviors towards you. Especially among the young, it is not uncommon for people to be friends with someone who engages in unacceptable behavior -- but doesn't direct it at them. For example a man can be friends with another man who treats women like dirt because ... well, simply put ... he isn't dating him. Often friendship will prevent them from warning you about their friend's negative tendencies. We can't tell you after a disaster how many times women hear, "I wanted to tell you about him, but I couldn't" Knowing this you can pick up indications of their desire to do so by their reactions when everyone is together.

4) You can check out his stories. Another reason old friends are  important to get have is that they can tell you things that he might have intentionally left out (because they make him look bad).


Marc MacYoung

Growing up on the gang-infested streets of Los Angeles not only gave Marc MacYoung his street name “Animal,” but also extensive firsthand experience about what does and does not work for self-defense. What he teaches is based on experience and has proven reliability for surviving violence. If it didn’t work, he wouldn’t be alive to talk about it.

He is considered by many to be one of the most analytical thinkers on the subject of  surviving violence and personal safety today.  He has taught police, military, martial artists and civilians around the world. His message is always the same: Hand-to-hand combat is a last ditch effort when other, more effective, preventive measures have failed.