FIRST DATE GUIDE FOR A GENTLEMAN

I was thinking the other night about the first date. The experience, that no matter what your age, your confidence level or experience, always draws butterflies. The pressure of the first impression. The desire to look and feel your best, and the preparation and care you take with grooming and wardrobe. Before the date even begins, you may play the potential scenes in your mind like a movie. I’ve had a lot of first dates. An experience where the challenge and opportunity intermingle fluidly, teasing you.

As opinionated as I am, I will also share my thoughts with you on what makes a great first date because after all, “the wise warrior avoids the battle.” First dates are not about seduction. It is an opportunity to road test your emotional intelligence through listening, empathy, sharing.

Dress For The Personality of Your Date.

If you are going on a first date, presumably you have conversed with your date and have sense of her style and personality. Unless you are attended a formal event, mirror her style with your dress sense. I went on a date once with a guy who peacocked his suit out to the point where I felt it was chaotic, and it turned me off. There will be plenty of time, to reflect your personality through your wardrobe later on but work the K.I.S.S method and you may just land one at the end of the night!

Keep it To a Two Drink Maximum.

Trust me. I know you might be nervous and a cocktail will calm those nerves, but keeping your whits about you is key. Another personal story…Well, I will save that for another day, but let’s just say that alcohol impairs judgement which can sometimes make for a night with too much vibrancy than one can handle. I understand you may both be oenophiles and sharing a bottle of wine, may just be necessary. I say hold off until date the second or third date. The thrill of the first date is whether or not there will be more to follow…so, keep it to two.

First Date Conversation. How to Get to Know Someone.

Assuming the conversation that led to a first date was charming and interesting, don’t overthink. I suggest have a few funny stories, interesting questions, or curious observations. I want to know know that you are intellectually curious. The ability to have depth but also laugh at yourself, or find humor in a situation, strikes the perfect balance. LISTEN intently. The best conversation often flows from the questions and observations of your date. Remember, its a volley. The most annoying thing is when conversation becomes an interview. You ask the questions, they answer and don’t attempt to want to know about you.

To Pay or to Split. The Bill Conundrum.

As far as I am concerned, the man should always pay on the first date. I like to be courted. I think a man paying show’s respect and deference to the time spent in a woman’s company. Call me traditional. I can tell you that many of my friends who say it doesn’t matter, find “going dutch” to get irritating. Its a small investment for the potential that exists.

The Perfect Ending.

As someone who builds connection for a living, there are levels of it, and sometimes, you find that no matter how you try, it just doesn’t feel natural. If you are feeling it, lean in and be sure to ask for a 2nd date at the end of your first. I think by date #3, you will know where things are going. When you kiss, be adaptable to her style. I’ve had my share of bad kissers and that actually kills my impression.

First dates are an adventure! Relax into it and enjoy the journey.

MORNING LOVE: SUNSHINE

I hope you enjoy my post this morning. I did it at sunrise. My favorite time of day. Even if I don’t get a chance to witness it, the early morning, early riser in me recognizes and appreciates that it is a new opportunity to create. A new opportunity for the capacity that is within myself – sometimes to lay back and contemplate, but mostly to charge ahead. I don’t believe people fundamentally change that much. However, I think we all have the capacity in us to choose our perspective and behaviors that accentuate ourselves and our relationships with others.

MONDAY LOVE: PASSION & PURPOSE

People seem to have a love/hate relationship with stress. I think in some ways, being stressed means they are more important, have more responsibilities, and that the person who is not anxious or worried has it easy or is just sailing through life.

I hardly believe that it is only people with great responsibility and power, that take ownership on stress and anxiety. It is our perspective on the world, the people and situations in our orbit. We know there is more than one way solve a problem, to make a decision.

Change your perspective. See the responsibilities that seem to overload you as an opportunity to grow and make a difference. Every decision you make, live and think with passion, ultimately that breeds compassion.

Monday is no longer different than a Friday.

I want to wish all my friend a special holiday weekend. As someone with an ultra curious mind, I read up about the similarities between Easter and Passover. While they are different in many ways, fundamentally they are ground in a deep and rich history and yet, at the same time focus on renewal and redemption.

What can we learn?

The History of Redemption

For me, this Holy Week, wraps up with a pause to appreciate and reflect on what was sacrificed. While I am Catholic and not Jewish, I spent a little time reading about this very important time in Jewish history. The exodus of the Jew from Egypt, freed from slavery under the Pharaohs and space from the plagues. Apparently they left so fast, that the bread didn’t have time to rise.

In Catholicism, the story of the Last Supper and Jesus’ crucifixion, is a centerpieces of Christian faith. The Apostles were challenged in their faith and though in a few instances they failed, the story of redemption is seen through the crucifixion and death of Jesus, dying for the sins of world, and rising again, giving hope to all of humanity.

In both, Easter and Passover, you find vivid events that mark a turning point in one’s faith.

Faith and Renewal.

The arrival of spring and these high, Holy holidays are about renewal. The idea of a fresh start. A new season. The reminder of the blessings in your life and the gratitude they deserve. Humans are not divine and God does not expect us to be. Our mere mortal souls are not just shaped by goodness but by ALL of our choices. It is deeply rooted in the acceptance that we are accountable to ourselves, first ; living with confidence and freeing ourselves of other’s expectations and judgement.

The actions not just the world of living. We determine how much power we have or give away. This is what faith restores in us. The believe in ourselves, and the perspective that nothing or nobody has the capability to control us.

THE PERFECT MARTINI

A few nights ago, I had the perfect martini. Bone dry, with a twist. Simple enough. Bemelman’s in NYC. The bartenders are unpretentious, not referring to themselves as “mixologists”, letting the simplicity of a drink, speak for itself.

I used to be a vodka martini drinker until my best friend insisted I try gin. It is quite amazing how, many gins vary in their flavor profile. Typically Botanist, St. George or Eleni, a gin from Piedmont Italy, are my favorites. At Bemelman’s I tried Kinobi, a Japanese gin. Wow! The subtle notes of citrus made it the smoothest martini I have ever had.

The Dirty Details on This Special Drink.

The simplicity of the drink for one. Ernest Hemingway, the de rigueur drink of the business lunch in the 50’s and 60s, and personified by James Bond as a cocktail of sophistication.

There is a little back and forth as far as its origins go. The one theory, is that it was developed on the fly during the gold rush from a miner’s request to a bartender as he was going back to the town of Martinez. Apparently there was no champagne! Another theory? An Italian bartender in the 1880’s, named Martini di Arma di Taggia, made it at the Knickerbocker Hotel in NYC. However it was invented, the recipe was first published in 1884, in O.H. Byron’s book, “The Modern Bartender.”

A Few Tips.

Hold it on the base of the glass, not the stem. Sip slowly. The glass matters – V shaped not in the Coupe glass. Stirred not shaken – no matter what James Bond says. Cheers!

TUESDAY LOVE: ITS ABOUT ME

Our energies are often focused on communication with others and listening, that we forget the most important person: ourselves.

Sending a little Tuesday love your way via audio…or you can read on…

Why do we sometimes let the ugliest parts of ourselves – , selfishness, insecurities take center stage through judgement and criticism of others? How are we communicating with the person that matters most? Ourselves. Is there a negative feedback loop playing that we aren’t even conscious of?

Take the Power Back

The desire to find contentment centers around living in the present. This pairs with the idea of not only being conscious of our listening skills but also what we tell ourselves. the past is rear view and can’t be change. The future hasn’t happened and fear of the unknown can only bring paralytic behavior.

Oh its not all doom and gloom. Anyone who knows me, know I am not like that. GRATITUDE. Live it. FEEL it. It’s easy to forget in our fast paced world. This is the path to contentment I will admit, even I struggle with it. I get caught up in the extraneous details and lose focus on what matters most – the who and what that is in front of me.

The Value of Fractional Learning

The mistakes we make are easy to repeat but just as easy to learn from, Who says it has to be all or nothing? Bit by bit we take chunks off of our mistakes and grow from them.

Amor Fati

My best friend told me I should read the book, “The Obstacle is the Way.” I chose the audio version and LOVED it. The life I live is chock full of adversity and obstacles but over the past couple of years, I have chosen to think differently about it. Stress doesn’t have to be stressful. Sure, it is easy to let emotion to overcome us. I can choose my perspective and the action behind it. I have free will, that gives me the breadth to decide not what my fate will be, but how I will behave and think about the circumstances. I have to do this every day, and some days…well I am not so good at it.

Amor Fati, love your fate. Live in gratitude, no matter where you find yourself in life. Do not take your will for granted. Act on it. This is living powerfully and with meaning.

GENEROSITY OF GRIEF

I will be follow this audio note with a written companion piece.

We have all suffered loss. It seems as if there is an abundance of grief, mourning, stress, anxiety – emotions that make us feel stuck. Yet, we find ourselves “searching” for the emotions that can propel us forward, for contentment and opportunity.

The purpose of the audio note was to chat with you about a difficult subject. We may realize there is no clear cut answer to finding our way through those emotions, to each his own. It is a subject so personal and yet universal. A topic of reflection.

LOVE’S TRICKY PARTNER

Love every day. Find a reason, be the reason. The vulnerability in love- pain, pleasure, joy, sorrow is a malleable emotion needing its artist to discover and bring out its beauty. Be ready to celebrate. Do not be fooled, love is not a fickle emotion, that is merely its facade. It is lust that is served up on a silver platter, almost taunting and tricking you. Love, is the much less flashy cousin of lust. It is not trying to convince you of anything. When you are ready and willing and more importantly, open, it has boundless time and energy to give.

The Question of Readiness.

We all have our own definition of love. It is finding not only acceptance but, compatibility in that definition, which can be, a lifelong challenge. Is it our desire to be loved or to be lusted after? It is wonderful to be fawned over, for a shared sensuality to come to life. The heat on high without depth.

Love is where we find that depth. A burning desire to dive below the surface and explore the soul beyond the sex. It is only perfection in that it where we choose to be, understanding that more than one-dimensional emotions lives there.

Love is Anything but Blind.

We are the eyes of love. The choices we make are not always based in romantic reality. There are many reasons why we choose the partners and paths that we do, little of it having to do with love itself and more the idea of it.

Im not blind. Life is too short not to love deliberately and long every day. Make the choice to not fear the overwhelming strength of passion and compassion that a true love can hold.