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A man and woman are sitting to dinner on their first date. He’s chosen a gorgeous restaurant and has an amazing smile. She looks absolutely fly in her new little black dress and he’s told her so once or twice already. SCORE! Flirtatious small talk has ranged from his athleticism to her impossibly deep dimples. Surface stuff? Yes. But it’s setting a cool, comfortable atmosphere and both parties are feeling each other.

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Then comes the “Kiss of Death” question which SHOULD allow both people to assess where the friendship/relationship has the potential to go (or not) but more often than not it leads to even thicker masks being painted on.

“So… what do you look for/like in a man/woman?”

Time after time this one seemingly harmless question changes a person’s demeanor and behavior unbeknownst to them.

He says he enjoys women who have a good head on their shoulders, give great conversation, have eclectic taste in music, work out and are into football. As he speaks she’s working her way down her self-check list, mentally checking things off with a smile until the “works out” and “is into football” leaves his lips.

What the what? She’s naturally petite, doesn’t do much more than Pilates and rarely watches football, aside from movies that have something to do with the sport. She hates football. But she doesn’t want to lose this awesome guy. Quick! What does she say?

“I’m really getting into football lately! Go Steelers!” Then she pulls any and every football tidbit she’s ever heard her brothers talk about and tries to arrange them all in a semi-literate way, praying he doesn’t ask too many questions until she can get home and Google everything she can on the sport.

Or the other way around, he asks what she looks for in a man and she gushes about men who enjoy traveling and know their way around the kitchen. He freaks. What can he cook? A bowl of cereal. But what does he say, mesmerized by the gorgeous smile of this woman sitting before him?

“Yeah, I enjoy watching the Food Network to get ideas for new recipes.”

“Oh, you cook?” She asks him with eyes bright.

“I’m somethin’ like a black Emeril Lagasse,” he brags, as he frantically makes a mental note to ask his sister for cooking advice.

We have all done it at some point. So focused on maintaining the interest of the person in front of us that we throw complete honesty out the window. We want to impress. We want to be wanted because, well, we want them; Feigning interest in things we could really care less about and pretending to be pros with things we are total failures at or have never even tried. Then, IF a relationship materializes, we wonder why things start to unravel sooner than later.

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