Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On "Date with Purpose" by Tracy Montgomery ****

This practical guide doesn't focus so much on dating per se but on preparing to date well. Many of the points should be common sense: keeping yourself clean, dressing well (but not being a slave to faddish and expensive fashion), maintaining a budget. Montgomery is proclaiming that good dating has to start with yourself.

For that reason, her earliest chapter focuses on getting to know yourself. She suggests you take a trip to a place you've never been by yourself. There, observe other couples, get to know the locals. In other words, find yourself, and once you know yourself, you'll be better able to find another to complement yourself. Not necessarily bad advice, though this suggests that we have an essential self, which can be problematic. Our self is what we do and who we are--I don't know if we have to go looking for it or that, once looking for it, we can even find it.

The sections on dating, to me, seemed to be based around largely common sense. She doesn't offer any magic here. Find things you like to do and share them with others. That's how you can find who to date. If your activity doesn't lead to lots of repeated contact where a predating relationship can be forged, then you'll have to resort to "devious" means and get a phone number or something of that sort, and get to know the person that way. In getting to know a person we will also hopefully build attraction. She's not a believer in the various gurus who try to claim attraction is all in playing games.

Rather, real attraction--lasting attraction--rests in our character. Personality itself rests in character. If we forge strong character, then we will attract people and keep them, more than someone who forges a superficial personality but who can't keep up the show over a long period.

I like that she focuses on what seems most real in people. She makes the whole process of dating seem much less scary and much easier than it's ever seemed to me.

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