I admit it… I’m a Meghan Trainor fan. Her songs have that retro 50’s vibe that just takes you back to a happy Fonzie-filled home-baked cakey place. Her cover of Like I’m Gonna Lose You with John Legend is sure to be the love song of choice this New Year’s Eve.
I’m a pretty nostalgic guy, and when it comes to relationships I definitely gravitate towards a partner that values family, fidelity and what it means to be a good friend. Those 1950’s standards of behavior are paramount to me, and my hope is that I find a partner that holds the same beliefs. When I met Tony at Gym Bar in Manhattan, I could tell in the first 20 minutes of conversation that he was cut from the same Atomic Era cloth. When it was time to leave, I asked him to dinner the following night.
Having a date with a 21st century man with mid-20th century sensibilities… what could possibly go wrong?
We decided to have a New Jersey-based dinner date because Tony was a born and bred Jersey Boy who has never lived outside of Bergen County. I already knew that he came from a big Italian family, and he shared over those first drinks that they want him to “get married already”. Hearing that, it was no surprise that Tony would ask me my “intentions” when it came to dating and what my idea of a perfect relationship entailed. Before I could swallow my swig of Merlot, Tony decided to answer his own question.
He began performing his cover of Dear Future Husband, but his lyrics were slightly different:
- I want a picket fence, suburban life. Manhattan terrifies me.
- You will never go to a bar alone or with your friends, there’s too much temptation to cheat.
- We could go to a bar together, but I prefer not. Sports bar? Never!
- A regimented life is best; Monday is laundry night, Tuesday is movie night, Wednesday night is…
I forget the rest of the days of the week because I was more horrified than a teenaged camper being chased by Freddie Krueger. I was going to tell him that temptation, if desired, can be found at a grocery store or a funeral home, but Tony continued singing…
- If you want to see your friends, you can invite them over for dinner- you cook. You’ll cook a lot.
- When you leave work, you come straight home unless you tell me first.
- I come from a big family and all holidays will be spent with them.
- We can host Game Night for our friends!
It was that moment when my present date’s desire for an Eisenhower-era relationship of the past became my potential prison warden of the future.
At the end of his song, I did something I’ve never done on a date. I started with a little startled jump, then reached into my pocket and retrieved my cell phone. I looked at it, made a face of horror (considering the situation was simple to pull off) and faked a text message.
“Oh no… Damn! Brinks just texted and my alarm went off at the house. I need to go.”
And with that, I escaped the potential jail cell called a relationship with Tony.
Any of us with an EX would most likely say that “if we knew then what we know now, we would have never gone on a second date with the schmuck”. Some say that you really don’t know a potential mate until you’re at least a year into the relationship. Others say it actually takes longer. By putting his cards on the table straight out of the gate, I learned that his idea of a perfect retro relationship didn’t jive with mine. Tony spared me a future break-up speech I surely would have given down the road.
Dating should be fun. Dating should be interesting. Dating should be sexy. Dating is a vetting process- no shoulds about it.
As a basic rule of thumb, I suggest the first couple dates be fun, casual and flirty. Of course you’ll learn some things during these dates, but the important thing you’re learning is if there’s mutual attraction and chemistry. If those dates give the green light for more dates, then you’ll start to learn the things I learned on my first date with Tony.
And if their love song of what a relationship is to them doesn’t harmonize with yours, there are plenty of other singers on the radio. You’ll find the right recording artist and you’ll make a fantastic album together!