Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Pet Peeves and the Philosophy of Car Door Chivalry

Sunday night I found myself in Layton shooting the bull with a dozen girls and my friend Collin.  The discussion seemed to center around two topics:

1. The proper use of apostrophes with regard to possessives.
2. Dating gripes.

The first topic spun from the subject of text messaging, which was surprising since I didn't think anyone bothered with grammar when it came to text messaging.  The second came up, I think, because the twelve girls thought it would be fun to put the two guys on the spot.  Everyone started bringing up their biggest dating pet peeves, and within no time, we were knee deep in an analysis of that old dating stand-by: door etiquette.

I'm not talking about doorstep etiquette.  I'm talking about opening car doors etiquette.  Maybe it's because I've been dating since the Clinton Administration, but I still find it astounding that when the opportunity presents itself to dig deep into the innate conflicts between the genders, people can't get past this dumb little hitch.  Personally, I'd be much more interested in discerning the answers to more pressing issues, such as:

1. How do you ask a girl out in her place of business?
2. How do you tell the difference between "Playing hard to get" and "She's waiting for you to just go away?"
3. What is Evangeline Lilly's phone number?

But no.  We're still stuck on, "should you open the door for her to get out of the car, or just to get in?"

Here, let me solve the mystery: If you get out of the car and she's still sitting there, go open that door, too.

End of story.

Eventually the discussion wrapped back into a more general conversation about dating pet peeves, which I failed to enter officially, partly because I don't harbor a lot of "on the date" pet peeves.  Most of my gripes are based in the before and after stage of the date, and that's a topic for another, more bitter post.

The other reason I didn't pipe up is because last night's discussion involved a lot of talking back and forth across the room and yelling and mini-conversations and random tangents, and in those situations, I'm a lot more likely to sit back and enjoy the ride...then write about it the next day.  But for those who were curious...

Josh's Top Three "On the Date" Pet Peeves:

1. Introductions

When you go on a date in Salt Lake City, you stand a better-than-average chance of running into someone you know over the course of the evening.  When you do, the courteous thing is to introduce your date to your friend.  The non-courteous thing to do is stand there and talk to your friend for a really, really long time while your nameless date stands there twiddling his/her thumbs. (Just for the record, even if you do introduce your date, you still shouldn't carry on the conversation for longer than, say, 30 seconds.)

2. Conversation Blinders

As a guy, I enjoy the luxury of being the one to initiate the majority of my dates.  This means I usually go into an evening assured that I'll be able to hold a decent conversation and have a good time, and most of the time, I do.  However, two of my most disappointing dates happened because in spite of a wealth of common interests, the girl I took out was only interested in talking about herself the whole night.  Whenever I tried to chime in with any parallel experience I'd had that might augment her monologue, you'd have thought I'd just suggested she get a gym membership or stop eating chocolate.  Seriously, the vibe was tangible.  On the more recent of those two dates, I physically had a headache by the end of the night.

3. The Side Hug

Most of the time I'm not the kind of guy to push the physical side of the relationship.  I know that sometimes it happens quicker than others.  But I also understand that giving someone a hug with both arms does not constitute an amorous relationship of any legally binding degree.  Now, if you're holding a purse and some leftovers in one hand when the inevitable Doorstep Scene occurs, that's one thing.  But if after a month of dating you're still acting like you have nerve damage in half your body, the message you're sending is that I'm a walking meal ticket, and not much more.

*    *    * 

The funny thing about those dating vent sessions is I never know how to take them.  As we sat there and listened to all the other girls share their horror stories the other night, Collin and I couldn't decide whether we should feel satisfied or depressed.  On the one hand, we knew that there were guys out there who were screwing up a lot worse than we were.  But at the same time, we were still single.  I mean, if we were showing up on doorsteps an hour late with bad BO, frothing at the mouth and expecting our dates to pay for a quick run to Arby's, at least we'd have a reason for the resulting rejections.

We knew one thing though: We had the door thing down.  And that has to count for something.