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Starting Something New: 5 Minutes to Being Nothing Like the Last One

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I've often compared dating to sales, for I do believe that if you want to see someone again, whether its a customer or a date, you had better treat them well. Everyone needs a plan.

But dating is far more complicated than all that, particularly if you're genuinely excited about getting to know who someone truly is, and especially if you find yourself wildly attracted to her.

First you have to make sure the object of your affection travels the same road you do, and that's often the most frustrating and difficult part. You also need to make sure she knows that you're interested. But you can't actually say that you're interested. You have to do it in such a way as to not freak her out and make her think you're some kind of maniac. This is more difficult than it sounds, even when you're a "celebrity" like me.

You have to let her know that you miss her when you're not together, that you think about her all the time, but you can never actually say those words until some point later. And its hard to say when that time might be. Two dates? Five? At what point does one cease to be a stranger... or a stalker?

You have to let her know that kissing her is something you could do for hours on end without sounding desperate (whether or not you've actually done it). You need to tell her that kissing her is like an amazing dance where you both seem to know each step... but you can't actually say any of these words out loud. Worse, you have to find a way to let her know how completely beautiful you think she is without sounding like a crazy person.

You have to let her know you're happy just sitting next to her, and do it in such a way that she doesn't think you've spent the last five years of your life in a tree.

And I precede these statements with the phrase "you have to let her know" because when you're dating, one of the most important things you can do is make sure she understands how wonderful you think she is. Because if you don't, she'll think you're a jerk, regardless of how careful you are to stop yourself from saying something that might be perceived as too sweet. You see, "sweet" is creepy when it comes from someone new, so you can't just blurt out something sweet, because apparently that's just creepy.

There's a tremendous amount of pressure to not be anything like the last person she dated, because that person was crazy. Amazingly, this is a universal phenomenon, and trust me, the last one was always crazy. Oddly enough, you can never actually verbalize that you're not crazy, because the more you say it, the crazier you seem. Don't ever say you're not a nut.

Yes, it is tricky, and it can be exhausting, but its really quite wonderful, too. Sure, in the early stages of dating, sometimes you end up counting to 10 in your head before speaking, but that's part of the fun. For example:

In my head: "You looked terrific last night, and it felt so amazing to be with you."
Out loud: "Yeah, I had a great time, too."

In my head: "I could have kissed you until morning."
Out loud: "OK, well, have a great day. I'll talk to you later."

Its a bit like trying to make friends with a stray cat (try to resist the obvious but unintentional pun). You want them to know you mean them no harm, but you can't move too fast or they'll run back under the house.

Here, kitty, kitty...