How To:

Ok, I promised this weeks posts would be about hope. I haven't forgotten and I might be straying from the topic a bit with this but, I'm kinda excited about an essay I just submitted. Excited enough to reprint it here, just for you:

How to Date Me: A Field Guide For Men

By: Amie Longmire

 

I will not pretend to understand what a man goes through when asking a woman on a date. I can't speak for women everywhere but what follows are friendly reminders in case you find yourself about to ask me out.

 

1. My first date expectations.

I only have one. To get to know you better. I never say yes to a date out of pity or expecting an engagement ring. I'm treating the first date like a scrimmage. It's not the big homecoming game. We're not there yet. Getting to know me is going to be a long distance run not a wind sprint. I won't be giving you enough information about me on the first date to make any life long plans. Even if our chemistry is clicking, I try to avoid hormonal decisions. It might not be romantic or polite to bring this up right now but, I need to know that we can actually be friends, that I can trust you with who I am, and trust you, that I can make you laugh, that I can genuinely laugh at your jokes. I fear I've used all my sports analogies in the first paragraph.

 

2. I have a no drama policy.

I love my life. I am not a victim and I don't need rescuing. I'd consider rescuing a puppy. Never men. Leave your baggage at the door, be honest about its existence, and I will do the same for you. I don't speak in "girl code" and I don't play mind games. I'm sorry if previous women have left you feeling used and abused but I am not other women. You can take me at my word. Elisabeth Elliot once said, "You marry a sinner. There's no one else to marry." If this first date eventually turns into a trip down the aisle, we will be unpacking our respective histories together for years to come.

 

3. Reframing a successful relationship.

I believe that God brings us together for reasons we don't always understand at first. Not all dates go well or turn into lasting romantic relationships. Some dates seem doomed and rally after some time has passed. You and I have both picked our way through rigorous dating terrain. Can we both agree to treat each other with kindness no matter what happens?

 

If we are being ourselves, our expectations mutual, and we find that one of us no longer wants to continue, we will have the guts to be honest about it. No dropping off the face of the earth, or suddenly losing your number. If we are honest from the beginning, determining that we cannot move forward is a way of coming to a successful conclusion. This is a difficult talk to initiate. It should be an open dialogue.

 

I don't have a poker face. I'm a terrible actress. If it's not going well on my end, I will not be able to hide it. On the bright side, if it is going well, you will know immediately.

 

4. Let go of your list.

You know the one... At some point you sat down and wrote out the list of qualities you want in a spouse. We've all done it. I did it. In my early twenties I made a comprehensive list (it was more than 2 pages). I folded the list and lost it pretty quick. Several years later, I found it again, read it, laughed, and made a new list in my journal (only one page this time). I'm pretty sure a few more years went by before I found it again. Rereading it, I noticed something. The qualities I asked for where all things that I wanted to manifest in myself. I want to be a better leader, a stronger communicator, financially responsible, faithful in the small things... Shouldn't these be basic prerequisites for everyone?

 

You can save your list if you feel strongly about it but, I don't want to hear of it for a long time (say years). Reducing me to a list tells me that you care more about your own agenda than you do about learning who I actually am. It's a back handed way of telling me that I'm an object.

 

5. I am not an object.

Neither are you and I promise not to treat you like one. I'll give you a tip. Most men are not chatting me up because they think I look smart. I live in Los Angeles. I'm tall. I'm blonde. I like to wear cowgirl boots. But there is so much more to me than these  superficial things. You'll win my attention and respect pretty quick if you can make me laugh and ask me intelligent questions.

 

6. Dynamic characters only.

I teach college writing courses and I find myself telling my students the same thing over and over. A story where nothing happens and the character never changes cannot be counted as a story at all. I want the story of my life to be filled with adventure, growth, laughter, love, risk, and whimsy. I think God's imagination for my future is immeasurably larger than anything I could come up with on my own. I'm looking to spend my life with someone, possibly you, in such a way that when our lives merge, we are a force of nature the likes of which the world has never seen. This is a tall order, not for the faint of heart. Only dynamic characters should apply.

 

7. Be a gentleman and treat me like a lady.

I will say, "I got it" when you hold a door for me or help me with my coat the first few times. I'm my fathers fiercely independent daughter. You will need to remind me that you are doing this because you are a gentleman not because you think me incapable. I need your help remembering these things.

 

8. Avoid a post date freak out.

Are questions and doubts plaguing you after you say good night to me? Do not freak out on me. I've seen great guys get derailed this way. There is a phrase I'd like you to remember: object permanence. Object permanence is Jean Piaget's idea that objects (or people - in this example only) continue to exist even when you cannot see them. Babies haven't learned this yet. It's the reason they love to play peek-a-boo.

 

If you wake up the morning after our date and wonder how it went or you're doubting the effectiveness of a punchline or if something I said confused you, know this: If our motives were clearly stated, mutual, and honest, there is no reason for second guessing yourself or me. You are free to proceed with confidence. I hope that you will.

 

Good luck. I'm rooting for you.

P.S. I've always wanted to try kayaking.