Happy Valentine’s Day, or Happy Shut the Fuck Up About Valentine’s Day, depending on what part of the country you’re from. Rather than field a bunch of questions from those not sure if three-dates-plus-a-spent-the-night-and-almost-fucked-but-stopped-midway-through-because-he-lost-his-boner even warrants a trip to the Hallmark store, I decided I’d bring you some thoughts on romance, sex, and dating from the people I love the most.
Keep your eye out towards the end. It’s where I ask you a few questions. I’ll be featuring the best of the responses (send them to email@example.com) in next week’s column.
First up — my parents, a.k.a. John and Kathy, a.k.a. the folks. They met in the student cafeteria at Michigan State. My dad was the adorable geek waiting in line for goulash, my mom was the sexy older co-ed with the ticket punch. They’ve been married for more than forty years now.
Mom: I attempted to turn a friendship into a romance. It didn’t work. We both decided just to remain friends. I learned that if the spark isn’t there in the beginning, you can’t change it into something else.
Dad: Smothering the other person when I was a teen, because I was so desperate to be loved. Being an "octopus" overly interested in "making out".
How is dating better (or worse) than it was when you were making the rounds? What’s one piece of old-school advice today’s singles should follow?
Mom: I think women are in a much better position today. They can make the first move without looking strange. In my day, we spent so much wasted time by the phone. That said, if a man is interested in you, he will show you. After a few dates, you’ll know by his actions.
Dad: Technology makes it too easy to be in each other’s face all the time. It was part of the pain and thrill to wait to see or talk with someone. The decision-making process is too rushed. People cruise on to the next candidate without trying to adapt to and build upon each other’s differences. Take your time — get to know one another and each other’s families and friends. Don’t be too quick to leap into bed.
Mom: He doesn’t have to be another you. You’re two different people. You share values on the big things, but can be very different on hobbies, abilities and talents.
Dad: A mutual liking for tomatoes, raw onions and green peppers.
Dad: Rephrase and mirror their side of the argument, so the other person knows you’re listening. Couple this with some humorous self-deprecation so they know you realize you’ve been acting like a know-it-all. "Honey, I acted like an ass again. You didn’t need or deserve that."
What does it take to be a good kisser?
Mom: Another good kisser.
Dad: Adapting to and being open to feedback. In my case, my future wife-to-be asked why I was biting her lips. I changed my style. Go slow. Don’t be aggressive. Start lightly, brushing over the good parts like the cheeks first, then proceed to parts of the anatomy. Don’t bite!
Next up is my best friend, aka Mary, aka the Laverne to my Shirley. Mary and I met when we worked at a dot com. We went through layoffs together and even dropped a few axes of our own — she a husband, me a live-in boyfriend. When those types of life events coincide, epic friendships form.
Depends on what "it" is. If it’s a committed relationship, there’s nowhere else to go but down, and by "down," I mean "out."
Is there such a thing as "always and forever" type love, like they talk about in Jodeci videos?
What would you tell a couple considering an open relationship?
I’d tell them that the person pushing for it in the relationship really wants to break up but is scared to let go of the security and friendship in the relationship. There must be some statistics out there on those ’70s couples that participated in key parties. Two words: Ice Storm.
What are the most important things to do right after getting dumped?
Call your best friend and listen to her tell you what a douchebag your ex was. Ask those closest to you what they didn’t like about the loser. Chances are you’ll end up glad you escaped any more misery and embarrassment.
What can you learn by being single that you could never learn as part of a couple?
How freeing it is not to shave your legs for six months.
I wish I had known to use a lubricated condom the first time I had intercourse. The first few times I had sex, it hurt like hell. My boyfriend and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
What’s the most important thing a newbie should know about online dating?
What should couples do when they feel like they’re stuck in a rut?
Ideally, have sex with other people. Realistically, imagine having sex with other people. Also, be patient. A vacation or some other routine change might help. It’s very normal to have your interest ebb and flow. Don’t panic.
©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com