PART TWO: I don’t speak much because 99.9% of what goes through my mind doesn’t belong in a first conversation. So I leave a neutral impression, not appearing of interest but also not offending anyone. Lady Friend talks and jokes and passes around business cards and leaves a great one. To broaden her horizons, then I sidle up and teach her the terminology I learned from Google about lighting farts. In an instance where one lights a fart and the flames roll up the crack between one’s buttocks, it is called a canyon fire.
Leaving a good impression is fantastic; neutral is fine. What isn’t fine is leaving a bad one. My interlude with Beetlejuice in college put me in mind of this topic. He was clearly interested in me, but in twenty seconds, he’d made such a bad impression that I fled. Mario Lopez did the same thing. Knowing how much I love to observe people, years ago a friend gave me her dating website password. I spent a month roving personal ads from California to Kuwait.
What are you thinking, strange goslings of the world? When one is trying to impress, there are certain things that belong in a personal ad, and certain things that do not. For instance, if Gay Panda were trying to think of something to put under hobbies, and since the bare truth that one hobby is reading personal ads is too weird to admit at a first meeting, I would write (falling out of) kayaks. Other hobbies: reading, watching comedies, writing, learning how to cook.
Do you see what I’ve done? I’ve made myself look normal*. I’m active. I’m intelligent. I enjoy humor. I challenge myself with new activities. I’ve made a funny comment that I like kayaking, but I’m not very good at it. I come across as modest and likeable. The reason that Octomom, the cartoon character of this century, was never offered the TV career she coveted as a child expert was because she was so unlikeable that no one could relate to her. How did she come across in her first interview? To me, she was unbalanced, self-interested, childish, and extremely narcissistic. Would you respect her as a child expert? Would you dream of dating her? Do you care whom she’s voting for in 2012? I’m pretty sure that you don’t. When you are advertising yourself, as you are doing when making a first impression, you HAVE to be seen as likeable.
A negative impression is your death knell. My favorite example was a man who wanted a lady to call his own, but shot himself in the foot with the hobbies in his personal ad. He had two hobbies: wizards and underpants. It is fine to have hobbies of wizards and underpants, both can be utterly fascinating topics in the right time and place, but this information does not belong in a first contact. If he got a single hit from a real woman, Gay Panda would be surprised.
Announcing that you love to lick elbows will send people screaming away. I knew someone with an elbow fetish, but she kept it to herself until you knew her better. Saying that you were potty-trained by thirteen months also works against you. Yes, you look advanced beyond your years, but when being asked for your stats, NO ONE means at what age you mastered the can. You are much older than that if you’re hunting dates, and if your biggest accomplishment in the intervening years has failed to surpass early success on the pot, I worry about you. At least I won the science fair twice**.