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Audio recorded at Bluestockings November 2010
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Christina Bruni


Any self-respecting fashionista in the dating world knows there's a difference between Louis Vuitton and baggage. I recently signed up for a friendship networking service that introduced me to two guys. Bachelor Number One couldn't tell a Louis Vuitton from a fake. That is, he had baggage that was best left at the door.
I would've been okay with his luggage if he was nonchalant about it himself. Here's a hint: it will not go well if you have a negative attitude about your situation. Expecting your date to not respond favorably to you will only set up the other person to not have a positive view of whatever suitcase you're carrying.
Listen: I'm not perfect. I ditched a great guy who gave me a rose on our second date because I had issues at the time. And I don't expect the guy I meet to be without his own quirks. (For the record, I'm a quirky gal.)
However, I do not feel it is too much to ask to keep the contents of your Louis Vuitton private. The first date is not the time to wallow in your misery. You should also power off your cell phone and not talk on the phone while you're with the person you hope to attract.
OK: I get it: we all have psychiatric conditions. That's OK. It doesn't mean we have to trumpet every detail of our diagnosis and treatment.
Bachelor Number Two?who I'll give an invented name because he's a keeper?did everything right. He had interesting things to say and could keep up a conversation. He also packed light?not like he was going on a long trip or had just been on a long trip to hell-and-not-quite-back. I will take in a heartbeat the guy with a pizzeria job over the guy with a great job and steamer trunk.
A female friend felt it was cruel that I employ The Face Test. A woman, a long ago friend who is not now in my life, once asked me after I went on a date, "Did you like looking at his face?" I told her no and she said I had my answer right there: it was OK not to continue to see the guy. Number One would've made the cut if he had the ability to laugh and take things easy. I suspect that if he got the punch lines to my jokes it was two days later on the train.
Really: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You and I could catch a glimpse of the same person and have two different reactions. I realize my own pretty face is an accident of genes and thus I do not covet a boy toy because that is not what I value. Above all else I prize my rational mind and that is what I look for in a potential romantic partner: intelligence, kindness and a sense of humor. It does not matter to me whether a guy has chiseled cheekbones or an Armani physique.
Benno is attractive in more ways than one and that was definitely a selling point. He is tall yet doesn't seem to tower over me. We spent two hours talking over dinner at the Cornelia Street Café.
I respected the first guy because he made an effort?it could not have been easy for him. I give an A to anyone who reaches out in the hopes of connecting with another person. And I'm not going to flatter myself: he might not have been interested in me. It works both ways.
Right now, I've been so fatigued I rarely have energy to even go to the gym. I've decided not to continue to seek out other introductions to friends with the networking service. I have two jobs and a third on the side. I'm experiencing burnout from my second job because it involves acting like an advice columnist and it drains me emotionally.
Also: I wish I could say I'm the type of person to play the field. I'm not, okay? I've bet on Benno and I'm willing to let the relationship ride to see where it goes. The beauty is that we can be friends first. Should anything develop, that's okay. I cook a fierce Sole Citron.

Now I'll leave you with my Top 10 Tips for a First Date:

  1. Women: no "jeans and a cute top." Think: a dress or skirt.
  2. Men: Say no to jeans, say yes to pants and good shoes.
  3. The first kiss is just that: a kiss, not frogging with your tongue.
  4. Refrain from talking about your liabilities, whatever they are.
  5. If you can honestly say it, tell the other person you enjoyed the evening and would like to do it again some time.
  6. No talk about ex-boyfriends or girlfriends.
  7. No talk about your past lovers or sexual experiences.
  8. Read a newspaper or watch the news beforehand: you?ll discover fall-back conversation topics.
  9. Smile. Relax. Be kind.
  10. Remember to tip the waiter or waitress generously.