Initially, I was planning on posting a new edition of my long neglected Otaple Talk column, when I realized, that I hadn’t really shared anything regarding the dating game outside of what commercial interests would rather have us buy into. With that notion implated deep, perhaps it’s time to go ahead and share some ideas with those of you interested in a certain someone, and looking to make the weekend special. This applies to already established others, as well as those new to our lives. Many of us have had that moment where it feels like a good possibility to take the risk and just go for it. There already seems to be attraction in the air, and perhaps dating doesn’t seem like too much of an impossibility. It happens to anime/manga fans as much as anyone else, so here is a chance to share some tips on the subject for those looking for a little help.
So..in the name of discretion, here is a list of things that should NEVER happen. (unless they’re into that sort of thing..)
Many of these may seem obvious, yet over time, it has occurred to me that a little restating never hurts. So here goes!
5. Boring Dates.
Seriously, folks. This is among the most rudimentary things those setting out to date, even folks of a similar ilk. Whether your other is a fun-loving fujyoshi, or an AKB48 fan, you would do well to be inventive with where you go. There is simply no excuse to take your date out to yet another Taco Bell adventure. And it doesn’t have to be Japan pop culture centric either. There are plenty of things two can do that don’t involve exorbitant amounts of money, and travel. Growing up in a semi-rural area has given this writer a need to be a little more vigilant in looking for dating activities, and among the more fun ones I can share is to create projects to work on, or even investigating local libraries for cool stuff to do. Whether it be a museum trip, zoo trip, or even a trip to investigate local lore, there is always something to help one better enjoy their time, and in turn learn more about the other party. The point here is that you are here for THEM, and not merely your mutual hobby/ies. There’ll always be time for this, and one needs to truly test the waters without too much familiarity to bog things down. Again, this is about people, and not types. So get out, and get to know each other already!
4. No eCards, or Pre-Made Valentine Cards
Don’t trap yourself with this one. No matter how much grade school made it sound fun, this never was that fun to begin with. If you have sometime to say to your intended, please do so with something you made yourself, or by way of inviting them to something they never may have expected. All that comes to mind regarding this is the uneaten candy, and space-hogging amounts of cardboard and paper material taking up closet space. It is simply wasteful, and borderline callous in times like this. Besides, as a piece of commercialized material, it simply won’t do for those of us who were attracted to our hobby for it’s occasional breaks from the norm. There is no substitute for a creation of your own, or a gesture that last longer than a vase of flowers. And for crap’s sake, avoid the balloons.
3. Invite your friends over, or along with you.
Seriously. No. Do not ever allow this to become an option. As much as we love to have additional company around from time to time, the simple fact remains that this is about the two of you. Seriously. Dates, or dating activity are defined by actually spending time with the other which is the very simple definition of a DATE. A cordoned section of time dedicated to two individuals in the hopes of getting to know one another. And NO, this does not exclude dates involving walking a pet. If two are animal lovers, this may very well be a great opportunity. But to have any of your other pals around as “confidence”…Not a good sign in any respect. There may be time for pals at another juncture, but in the name of potentially advancing your relationships, DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER.
2.Get him/her another anime title as a V-Day gift.
For pete’s sake, I cannot stress this more. Especially when one can find out about these things with a minimum of effort. Subcultures can be a hotbed of easy buttons to push, and with anime this is no exception. Whether it be via a manga, or a DVD, activity like this can happen just about any day of the year, and with no real trial. So in the name of making your feelings stand out, please refrain from facile, uncreative solutions such as these. After all, isn’t the point of all this about how one singles out another from the entire pack?Man/Woman up, and make the time you have count by doing your homework! They deserve it, right?
Which leads me to the last tip, and main point of this entire post:
1. Allow Yourselves To Be Defined By Your Mutual Hobby
This is the core of it all folks. There is a great deal more going on between each of us that somehow gets marginalized when talking about the things we like, or the things that inspire us. And there are frankly so many other things out there that grant us the spark to seek out good company with others. And one of the great assets to meeting a fellow mind/heart is that they have ideas and loves that may be new to you. There is as much to be learned about yourself, as well as them through good dating discourse. But it all depends on where one is willing to go with all of it. Which is why it is so important to open one’s mind beyond the obvious to make a date or dating work out. Hobbies such as anime and manga are merely a touch point, an entry drug by which we find mutual means of connection. But there’s only so much this particular well can support what happens from that point on. Personalities are such the complex thing, and having a battery of new ideas and experiences can help bring this out of both parties. And a wheel like a relationship between two people can stop if noone chooses to take action. So make your meetings count, by taking that best leap forward with your best true self. Because in the grander scheme of things, this is all about you and the other, much less what you physically collect.
There is a great amount one can learn just by experiencing alongside someone else, so take advantage of this, and step outside the comfort zone with this person. Now that’s a true test of compatibility right there!