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Andy

Breaking the mold

Posted: Monday, Dec. 07, 2009

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Photo by Alison Henry

"According to Andy" is our weekly peek into the male psyche, written by various contributors. To become a contributor, contact Editor Alison Henry.

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Hello, I'm a 28-year-old single male working in sales. I've recently had the toughest year of my life, leaving me in the awkward position of having to relearn everything about being single and dating!

One thing comes to mind when I hear the word "dating": Couples don't date. And it's a shame.

Think about it: When was the last time you actually went on a date with your very significant other? Stumped? I'm not surprised.

Everyone has different ideas about what constitutes a date, but for me, it's a time to gain knowledge and appreciation for the person you are spending time with - something many of my fellow men seem to have forgotten.

As guys, we often figure that once we pass the first date, we "have it in the bag." But what about her? Was she impressed, bored, intrigued or repulsed? We usually don't know and rarely take the time to discover once we have our sights set on the "final goal."

Because of our instantaneous lifestyles, most of the romance has been sucked out of our relationships. But changing this is as simple as taking some time to stop and smell the roses. Seriously, when was the last time you and your date took a walk and actually stopped to smell the roses?

Dates don't have to be all about flash and money - they should be about sharing experiences and finding reasons to continue seeing this person or not. If you call it "date night," then it's just for show. Spontaneity and surprise are better received than plan and routine. Send flowers, show up unexpectedly or write little notes for a "treasure hunt." Actually planning a "date night" is about as awesome as planning for... well, anything. If you must make a plan, be flexible. Ask what she wants to do and be able to act on her decision. Let's face it: Women's moods can change on a whim. Why not be able to accommodate and adapt accordingly?

In the end, men should be asking themselves what they are really trying to accomplish. Yeah, yeah - I hear ya, guys: "Sex." It's a big part of every relationship. But you shouldn't just be trying to get in her pants. It's important to learn and discover each other's likes and dislikes. Your time together will be 10 times better if you worry more about what's on her mind instead of what's on her body. And that mental and emotional connection you've made will inevitably lead to better things... and not just in the bedroom.

So now that you're up for a little more effort and originality, what's your best date idea? Ever go ice skating uptown in December, holding hands like you were in middle school? When was the last time you cooked a girl dinner? Maybe surprised her with a picnic? Checked out Discovery Place or The Mint Museum?

Maybe your usual plan (until now) has been drinks at a bar where everyone's eyes are roaming and you can't even hear each other. Maybe you frequently bring her out with your friends. Come on guys, we can do better. And girls, you should expect more. Guys need to break the mold and step up their so-called "game." It's worth it for everyone.

Women tear up during chick flicks because deep down they want to experience that fairytale in their own lives. It doesn't take a million dollars, just an imagination and a little desire to be better.

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