Leveling Up: Dating As A Skill And How To Master It

Image courtesy of SamDreamrock via FlickrIn the dating game, geeks like you and me tend to have terrible luck when rolling character stats. We roll high on intelligence and dexterity but critically low on charisma, strength, and, most unfortunate of all, wisdom. Which means we rock at rocket science and Pong, and suck at holding a conversation about either rocket science or Pong, and especially at figuring out what another person is thinking. All of that adds up to awkward, if not downright disasterous, first dates.

But all is not lost, fair adventurers! Even unluckily-rolled characters can become a dragon-slaying force to be reckoned with, with the right equipment and experience. That’s really why E created this whole site, to give geeks a +7 Profile of Attracting, and the tips they need for the next quest.

Even with a kick-ass profile and reams of articles and dating advice, sometimes there is just no substitute for experience. Dating is not a magical moment of serendipity; it is a skill. A skill that takes time, dedication, and experimentation to build. It is very, very rare that you meet the person you were meant to be with, you fall in love, and live happily ever after without ever having to figure out who pays for popcorn on the second date. Not saying it never happens – my first date with my future wife was four days after I proposed to her – but the likelihood is, well, about as likely as rolling five natural twenties in a row.

The first person you date is not the person you will end up with. But the first, second, third, and fourth person you date will all help you build the skills and confidence you need to be able to wow that final date. If you hold out for Mr or Mrs Right because those first four people aren’t your type, don’t fit exactly in your interests or attractions, by the time you finally meet the future Mr or Mrs You you’ll still hold the awkwardness of a dating novice and risk losing out.

For my queer geeky women out there: This one is especially for you.

There is an old joke. What does a lesbian bring to a second date? A U-Haul.

It’s true. We tend to jump quickly and deeply into intensely committed relationships, speeding through the puppylove and dating phases of the relationship to fighting over how to hang the toilet paper and which toothbrush is yours and why it looks like it hasn’t been touched in three weeks. We are losing our dating abilities.

If, for some horrible unseen reason, I ended up single tomorrow, I would have no idea what to do. I wouldn’t know how to ask someone out, what to talk about on a first date, even where to take someone. I wouldn’t know how long a date is supposed to last, the cues for a goodnight kiss or a friendly handshake at the end of the date. Being able to read someone during conversation, how to make small talk, and knowing how you present yourself are all skills not only essential to dating, but a successful life in general.

So what can you, a socially awkward gay (or straight) geek do to build your dating skill set?

  • Date people. Date lots of people. Have lots of horrible first dates. Have slightly fewer horrible second dates.
  • But D! Dating is hard! Yes. Yes it is. So ask lots of people out. Don’t be afraid of rejection. Even just building up the confidence towards asking someone to coffee or to hang out and watch a movie can boost your dating skill level.
  • Practice on unsuspecting coworkers and friends. I do this often at work; I will commit myself to engaging more customers and clients instead of doing the bare minimum communication necessary to the transaction. And it can be surprisingly difficult, talking to someone about the weather. But the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll become.
  • Set realistic expectations for yourself. No matter how hard and vividly I envision it, Kat Dennings is not going to walk into work one day and, immediately stricken with me, ask me out for coffee and little something sweet on the side. But the cute blonde girl, with a significantly smaller chest, who works two offices over? Smiling at her, talking to her, and getting to know her could actually score me a date.

Commit yourself to developing your dating skills, and soon you will leveling up like a boss.

What skills have you developed while dating? What do you wish you had known going into a first date, and what did you learn coming out?

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