Friday, February 14, 2020

Decades Old Dating Advice

I have not started dating someone new since the waning days of Clinton's second term, which is when I met my ex-husband. I was with him throughout George W. Bush's presidency and we got divorced shortly after President Obama was inaugurated (thanks, Obama). I've been single since then. So, the reality is I don't really have much experience dating in the new millennium.

The mid- to late-90s, however? Now those were some prime dating years. I was out of school and I had a job and I had some fun roommates who also were enjoying being twenty-somethings. Sure, there were a few unpleasant dating experiences. Like with the guy who, when the check arrived at the end of a nice meal, said, "You can pay me now or you can pay later, if you know what I mean." I did know, and I gave him cash for my part of the meal and went home. Or the gentleman who yelled at the very pregnant woman struggling to get out of a taxi in front of us to "hurry the f**k up!" because we were running late for our dinner reservations in Georgetown.

But overall, the 1990s offered lots of fun dates and memories. If you are interested in pursuing some romance throwback-style this Valentine's Day, please allow me offer a few dating tips straight from the final years of the last century!

1. Make sure you live with people who can be trusted to take accurate messages when someone calls on the one home phone line you all share.

2. On a related note, if you move to a new apartment and the phone company hasn't hooked you up yet, stock up on quarters for when you walk to the town center several blocks away to call your boyfriend on a payphone.

3. If you decide to go to Blockbuster to check out a video to watch together, may I suggest the Melissa Joan Hart vehicle Drive Me Crazy (that includes a catchy number by Britney Spears)? It doesn't require strict attention to detail if you end up getting lost in conversation. Or whatever.

4. On a related note, if a date tells you that his favorite movie ever is Dumb and Dumber and he has seen it dozens of times, be wary.

5. On another related note, calling the movie theater to find out showtimes is going to be a lot faster than waiting for the dial-up to connect on your computer. And your local theater may not even have a website yet anyway.

6. Be prepared to dance to The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Big Pun, and Beck. Special shout out to you if you figure out how to move gracefully to Beck.

7. Since no one really has cell phones yet and therefore you cannot plan for a friend to call or text at a certain time in case you need a bailout, have another plan ready. Perhaps something like, "I've got to go. I almost forgot that I promised to record Friends for my roommate tonight."

8. Depending on your mood and intended destination, proper hype music as you get ready for a date should come from Destiny's Child, Blink-182, or K-Ci & JoJo.

9. On a related note, when someone breaks up with you while "Truly Madly Deeply" by Savage Garden is playing on the car radio, please take a deep breath and trust that in a few years you won't even remember the guy's last name. (OK, you will. But it won't matter.)

10. If the person you are dating does not understand that you cannot go out that night because you have plans with friends to watch the series finale of Beverly Hills 90210 and David and Donna finally are getting married, you just need to move on from him.

11. What to wear? A slip dress with a cardigan is likely a winner. If the occasion calls for something more casual, perhaps opt for a cap-sleeve t-shirt and boot cut jeans with some slides.

12. The guy from your Russian class in college on whom you had a crush that spanned two semesters is still waiting tables at Bennigans. Get a group of friends and request to sit in his section.

12. Enjoy this time! Meet lots of new people. Go on dates and have boyfriends but also reserve plenty of time to hang out with your girlfriends or just yourself. Learn more about who you are and what is important to you. It doesn't guarantee that you will make all of the right choices later, but it's a crucial stepping stone in the process. And don't be surprised if there is one person who stays in your heart and who you think about sometimes, even if you haven't seen him in years.

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