It’s a world of laughter and a world of tears,
It’s a world of hopes, and a world of fears…
Let’s focus on the fear for a moment.
I recently had a date with a gentleman named Bart. He was a musician in his early fifties, well known in his industry and had a large circle of friends and collogues. While enjoying a cocktail at Ritz Bar and Lounge, a fantastic Midtown venue, the conversation flowed like a well-written song. We reached the topic of vacation destinations. Bart lit up like the Enchanted Castle at night as he told me of his one and only option.
“I only vacation at Disneyworld!” exclaimed Bart, as happy as one of the Dwarves when Snow White rings the dinner bell. “I’ve gone every year since I was 19!”
I did the math. At 53, Bart has been to Disneyworld 34 times.
Bart is one of the handfuls of men I have met lately that are obsessed with all things Disney. By obsessed, I mean these are men that can sing every lyric to every Disney song. Men who not just know the plot line of every Disney story, but also can tell you the scenery, costuming and year it was released on DVD. These are men that are the first to pre-order the DVD of Frozen and the last to leave the theatre when they see Aladdin… for the fourth time. And when it comes to vacation, you can bet Cinderella’s pumpkin coach that they’re on a flight to Orlando dreaming of their check-in at the Grand Floridian because last time they stayed at the Yacht Club.
From my past experience with DisneyHolics, I knew that I had to be exceptionally careful in my approach.
“It’s the only place you go to on vacation?” I asked.
“Absolutely! Why go anywhere else?” replied Bart. “The resorts have everything you could want. When were you there last?”
This is when I remembered… the Disney obsessed believe everyone has taken a hit of Tinker Bell’s Magic Fairy Dust and feels the exact same way about the Magic Kingdom.
“I’ve never been,” I said with a smile. I might as well have told Bart that I singlehandedly drowned a litter of kittens.
“That’s just stupid- how can you miss out on this? It’s magical!” he said with undying enthusiasm combined with just a shred of judgmental disgust. “Where do you like to vacation?”
“I love the beach. When I think Florida, I think Lauderdale,” was my honest answer.
“Eww. Don’t like the beach. It’s hot and dirty,” responded Bart. “If things work out with us, I’m taking you to Disneyworld.”
That was probably the scariest thing a date has ever suggested, and I’ve heard a lot of suggestions. Disney is just not my thing. It’s a fantastic necessity if you have children. Not being a parent, a Disney vacation has never been on my radar. And he was very quick to nix the idea of the beach and the idea of relaxing seaside or poolside working on a tan and enjoying that Golden Sun.
There is just one moon
and one golden sun.
And a smile means friendship to everyone…
Let’s focus on that friendship smile for the moment as I plan my date-exit strategy.
It turns out planning my exit strategy wasn’t necessary- all it took was my answer to the following question… “Have you seen Frozen?”
“No, I missed that one,” I replied.
There was almost no need for a verbal response from Bart. His reaction of shock, combined with disbelief and horror could only be paralleled to finding out that I made a coat from the kittens I killed earlier and wore it out barhopping with Lindsey Lohan.
“I really don’t think we have much in common, Craig,” replied Bart.
At last- Bart said something that I could get on board with 100%.
“I think you’re right, and that’s totally OK,” I said sporting that friendship smile.
And with that, the date was over. I decided to take advantage of the warm, fall evening and walk for a few blocks. I wasn’t the only one taking in the beauty of Manhattan on this warm fall night- many were hitting the streets just like me. Smiles and skyline everywhere I looked. I realized that I was already in my own Magic Kingdom and somewhere in this enchanted land my own beach loving, HGTV watching and bourbon drinking Prince Charming is waiting for me.
Being different is one of great things that make humans human. Different looks, different likes and different opinions can really lead to not just a fine date, but also a spectacular relationship. There’s nothing more fun than sharing points of view, and sometimes your own point of view may change based on the insight that others provide. Sometimes, differences are learning opportunities, whereas sometimes the differences are obstacles.
Sometimes there’s just one difference too many.
A love for Disney- even one that borderlines obsession- is not the strongest example of a deal-breaker difference but was one for me nevertheless. In my case, I know I could never be the partner Bart needs because there’s no way I’m spending valuable vacation time in a Disney park on a yearly basis. There’s also no way I’m curling up on the couch with him on a snowy Saturday watching The Little Mermaid for the 18th time. And I’m sure he would be just as enthusiastic at the prospect of a beach week in Waikiki or a marathon of America’s Next Top Model or Pawn Stars.
Some differences are much more serious, involving religion, politics, and whether or not a marriage is in the cards. As a responsible dater with our eyes on the prize of a lasting relationship, we need to keep our eyes open to the differences that could be deal breakers.
When a difference becomes a roadblock, it’s best to take a detour and get a new map.
Think about the difference in question and ask yourself, “Is this something I can live with… every day.” If the answer is yes, then chances are it’s not the biggest difference after all.
If the answer is no, then ask yourself if the entire “body of work” this person brings to the table makes the difference something you can live with every day. If the answer is still no, then it’s time to move on.
We know the road to “Happily Ever After” isn’t going to be easy, but discovering major differences in the beginning and making decisions based on them early on is much easier than suffering the ramifications of eating a poisoned apple.