Our take home lesson from last week is that there are times when it’s not appropriate to share things immediately. Something my pastor once stressed to me is that “there is no such thing as instant intimacy”. You aren’t going to be best friends after the first date. I don’t, necessarily, want to hear about your tortured childhood over our first plate of linguini.

Where this becomes a problem: if your “first date airs,” that fine polished veneer that you and your momma know isn’t the real you, never fades. Some people have trouble letting someone get to know the real them because the first dates went so well, what if he gets to know the real me and dumps me? So what do you do? Go through your dating life walking on eggshells, trying not to disturb the status quo, until when? You get married and you breathe that sigh of relief as “now I can be myself”. Unfortunately, he didn’t get that memo that he hadn’t been dating “myself”, he’d been dating “first date airs”. After you say “I do” is a lousy time to first start being real with someone.

Entering more of a gray area is the exaggeration. A woman once asked me out with the question “do you like jazz?” My response: “I love jazz!” The problem was that I couldn’t tell you the difference between Miles Davis and tuna. Not that I let that stop me from running to the library and checking out a stack of CDs so that I was conversant on jazz. Now, I will tell you right now, there are a plethora of responses I could have given which would have conveyed the same message “yes, I would like to go out with you” without the whole “I will tell you whatever lie I have to in order to go out with you” stink attached to it. In retrospect, a simple “I know nothing about jazz, but would love to hear some” would’ve been sufficient. The slight exaggeration, “I like football” when you mean “I know what a football is”, can aid in conversation and be used as a starting point to get to know someone.

Some people consider deception, to a degree, an accepted and tacitly accepted part of the game. Spinning deceit around such scenarios as: a woman likes you who you have no interest in, but she asks you out on a night that you know full well you aren’t busy; breaking up with someone and they as you “why?” There do seem to be times when deception is accepted, and appreciated, when it’s done to spare someone’s feelings. Call it the “mercy lie”.

In the downright wrong area of things is the outright, Joe Millionaire-style lie. Lies that are so big and stupid because they can’t possibly be kept up for any length of time. Which means that they are designed strictly for short term gratification.

As you date, you should be revealing more of your real self and learning more about their real self. I have been collecting suggestions on dates, or situations, to get to know the real person.

1) Go on a grungy date. For example, go camping or hiking with them. Adversity has a way of either drawing people together or prying them apart. See what each other looks like when you don’t have three hours to perfect your look in front of a mirror.

2) Ride with them. If you want to see what sort of raging psychotic looms just beneath their surface–the looming psychotic that you will see when you get into your first argument–then ride with them. In rush hour traffic. I don’t know what it is about a steering wheel and traffic that combine to reveal all sorts of hidden aspects about a person. At a church I went to, they had a parking lot problem such that they had to have attendants in the lot to direct traffic. Did I mention that this was at a church? These attendants were cussed at, hit with cars, flipped off, yelled at and otherwise abused.

3) Go through a period with her. Ladies, I know that some of you don’t want to hear this, but one week a month, you aren’t the person that you were on the first date. It’s important that you let the guy see this side of you (now don’t get me wrong, I ain’t mad at you if you put this off for a year or whenever you are sure that he won’t run screaming away). As I shared with a guy friend of mind, there are sometimes when you won’t know whether to give them a hug, or cast out the demons.

4) Intentional dates. Do something that you suck at and they don’t. Do something that you’re great at and they are not. You can learn a lot about them by how they handle defeat or victory. Do things that you are both unfamiliar with. Do stuff where you are forced to interact. Lord knows that I love the big silver screen, but I am the first to admit, that it is not always conducive to one-on-one interaction.

There is not such thing as instant intimacy. It takes time to develop trust and you should allow for the time it takes to learn about each other. Some people are easier to get to know or easier to trust than others – these things vary from person to person. Be aware of what is going on with your date, the person you are with. Heck, just be aware. The bottom line is that more often than not, we date and fall in love with an idealized lie. Unfortunately, far too many marriages end because we end up divorcing the reality.

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