- When you first meet the person, you're sizing them up, seeing just how big the box / package (yes, I realize there's a double-entendre) is, judging if the paper, ribbons, and bows make the package attractive, or if it's just ostentatious.
- You go a step further, shaking the present, wondering just what's inside, but getting some clues - is it heavy or light? does it rattle? plastic? dense? metallic?
- As you unwrap, you peel away the paper and then the packaging, exposing more of the person (obligatory Shrek reference).
- You throw aside the wrapping paper and the box, realizing that it's not important, as you pull out whatever the hidden present is.
- Now, you know what you're dealing with - and more times than not, the excitement is gone before Christmas morning is over. This is the part of dating that can really be painful, in that you have to keep going through presents till you find the right one . . .
At first, I was pretty upset by this - it was like I was the little kid, who had asked for a new bike for Christmas, and there's this big box next to the tree, that's the perfect size for a bike. It's got the right heft, feels like there's something inside that's on wheels, etc, etc. I'm super-excited, but as I'm pulling away the paper, I wake up and realize it's all a dream. I go downstairs and see there's lots of presents, but definitely nothing that's a bike.
With a bit more thought though, I'm trying to take a bit more positive look on this. First, I had two fantastic dates - none of the awkwardness that seems to mar first dates, and it seemed like we clicked and got along pretty well, and had a fair number of similarities (and a good number of differences as well).
In fact, as I told a co-worker, these dates reminded me of what a good date should be. Lately, dating has felt like a bit of a job interview, where I'm jumping through hoops, trying to feel things out, and second or third dates still feeling like work. These two dates were just fun. I felt like I could be myself, and things were good, and it's reminded me that dating doesn't have to be a chore. It can definitely be painful (especially when expectations are crushed), but the rewards are worth the effort.