Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating, and religion.
Why I have chosen this idea for a post, I simply cannot answer. It could enhance your observational awareness of human interaction, clue you in to the silly things we do to attract a mate, or even give you a few tips. Either way, my only hope is that you become overwhelmed and lost in the extremities of our dating world, and also see some of the similarities we share with other animals partaking in this wonderful and completely psychotic game.
I have never been one to hit the bars every weekend, or go out on the prowl to submerge myself in the vicious cycle of dating. There are usually other things I am interested in. Although, last night was an exception. I became curious and decided to parade around the infamous Beale Street in Memphis to celebrate a friend of a friend’s birthday charades, or something of the sort. After a while of inebriating myself and interacting with people I barely knew, I decided to pose the question, “Who would like to go dance like a fool in front of the stage with me?” I informed them I was a terrible dancer, and the experience with me would probably be quite embarrassing. But it worked out alright, and we proceeded to dance like a couple of wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube people.
This makes me wonder, what is your style of dating? How do you behave when you are trying to attract and form these elusive bonds with a potential significant other? Is it different from everyone else, or do we all have the same blueprint with small variations? Finally, how does the technological generation of texting and social networking alter how we behave? Well, it is time to stretch the muscles in the two vision spheres on your face and do some research into the matter.
First Phase: Judgement
One of the key adaptations that has led to our survival as a species is our outrageous ability to judge and predict how another being or object will behave, based on our past experiences. We do this, literally, thousands of times every day. It helps us to be more efficient. It helps up to live longer. Also, dating. It helps us with dating. A recent study was published stating that our brains are so excellent at judgement that they will predict and make a subconscious decision on how trustworthy a person is before your conscious mind can perceive and have a chance to ponder on it.
This probably helps us to avoid many bad decisions, and was developed because of its excellent win-loss ratio over hundreds of thousands of years. So next time you are scanning around looking for a possible mate, as we call it, listen to your brain and await the tiny, discreet feeling you will get multiple times while passing over someone you deem untrustworthy. It’s quite enjoyable and even more beneficial than we have time to imagine.
Second and Third Phase: The Interested Gaze and Subtle Gestures
Silly body gestures.
Once we find another lovely person we are interested in, we make a jump for it. There is one tactic, that I am not completely sure we are aware of, or control. And don’t worry men, I am not just illuminating our silly nature, but females also take part in this one too. When we know there is a chance for this person to become aware of our existence, we make damn sure they are AWARE. As men, we swell up our chests, strut, and make extremely exaggerated movements. C’mon guys, we MUST display our dominance and confidence in the presence of other males, as we sweat and pray that this behavior will tug on that potential significant other’s heart strings. As for you, ladies, you tend to have certain characteristics that will reel in a date. Some of these are the arching of the back, playing with your hair, and even thrusting your bosom outward.
Make that eye-contact!
We all know the first step to initiate a conversation with someone. It is that first eye-contact. Does the other person shy away? Do they hold contact, or is it just a brief glance? Do you see the corner of their lips curl upward in a slight smile afterward? Turns out, the illusive eye-gaze is popular in many cultures and an important part of the “dating” ritual. Locking eyes with someone means you are interested or curious, and it forces the other person to make a choice. Either run away, or speak. What a delicate ritual it is!
Isn’t all of this humorous? Don’t worry, many animals partake in the EXACT same behaviors when courting. It seems that most highly developed species have a set of rules that the majority will abide by. It remains untouched in our genome. I’m in a rush for time so I won’t search for a source, but one genre of fly will actually dance for the female in order to win affection. The female will accept the male with the most sufficient dance. In my opinion, we should all start having dance-offs to attract, rather than strutting around and searching for that soulful, eye-contact that we constantly seek in dating scenarios.
Phase 4 Four: The Strengthening
Now, we can hit the imaginary fast-forward button. The lovely couple has found an attraction within each other. When one of them receives a magical text, the fire will be kindled. Now, when I say fire, I don’t mean a love begins to grow. But, for the sake of brevity we will call it that. Actually, no. What I mean to say is your brains reward system will “code” that lovely lady or man into its program and tell its friend dopamine to kick into action every time you think of them………thanks brain! You are fantastic! Fireworks begin to fly. BOOM! POW! BANG! *sparkle* What happens next? They go on a few dates. One person will take the lead and deplete their personal collection of green paper currency and there you have it. Successful relationship.
Now, we may as well talk about the all too common outcome, and let’s not be delusional. Many things can have detrimental effects on the attraction between two people. Unfortunately, it can happen the first time you see someone, or after a few weeks of getting to know them. Your body language may be off, a certain smell could trigger an unpleasant moment from their past, or that array of thoughts that you have collected and developed into a personality your whole life may not coincide with their collection of thoughts and memories that their existence is based off of. You just aren’t compatible. That’s alright. Science says so. Dim your sadness, and move along. Why? I’ll tell you why!
It’s Not in Those Jeans They’re Wearing, It’s in Those Genes You’ll be Sharing!
If you find yourself at the negative end of a meeting with your plan for a significant other, DO NOT PANIC. Incompatibility happens all the time. It is in your genetic coding. Success only arrives when you both decide, yes, it’s a great idea to form a human baby with that person. Why? Because we are designed to keep the species alive, as all other species are. We aren’t too much different from them. If your brain, which is linked to and created from the imprint of your DNA decides that this person is not a good potential gene-sharer for your taste, the dopamine flowing will stop when you see that person, and you will lose interest. It is imperative that you remember this. If you start believing that your heart has been crushed when someone turns your offer of mutual attraction down, you will have a terrible time. Do as I do, look them in the eye and say, “I wish your warehouse of excess dopamine would be released when you see me, but I understand if your biological underpinnings and genetic identity do not wish to allow it at this time.” Trust me, this stuff works! Now, stand up, thrust out your chest or bosom like that beautiful peacock you aim to be, walk with a little bit of swagger, establish your dominance, and let those vision spheres roam once more, Search, search in the name of all that is good in this world for that meaningful eye-contact and feel that reward system again. If you’re fortunate, I’ll have this dance-off-for-a-mate-thing happening in a few years. It will catch on. Good luck, you ol’ human, you!