- When I start seeing someone and I get interested there’s this elusive enigma about who they are and how we will mesh. Their hobbies and interests, their various looks (the date look, the outdoorsy look, the bedroom look, their morning look, you get the idea). I absolutely love that discovery! I can’t explain how exciting and exhilarating it is to peel those layers back and learn this other person and see how they integrate in my life.
Unfortunately, sometimes that’s not how it happens … have you ever heard of the Fog of War? I’m not referring to the movie or video game references or anything like that but instead the concept as introduced by Prussian military analyst Carl von Clausewitz. It reads as follows (roughly translated, and information copied from Wikipedia)
The great uncertainty of all data in war is a peculiar difficulty, because all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight, which in addition not infrequently — like the effect of a fog or moonlight — gives to things exaggerated dimensions and unnatural appearance.
I thought this reference was particularly apt considering how makeup and push-up bras work. Seriously though, while this concept is what makes war ridiculously complex, it also adds that same complexity to dating. Unlike war, though, this fog has many positive effects in the dating world that don’t exist in combat. So, this is kind of where the analogy ends, but consider that while all of those unknowns are scary and could potentially lead to your burgeoning love turning out to be the commonly feared axe murderer (but really, who murders with axes these days?) it could also lead to the amazing revelations we know and love. The “I can’t believe we share this passion, or enjoy these same things, or feel the same way …” that we’ve all hopefully experienced. Those moments are what make fighting and struggling for love worth the effort. They are exquisite and unique and shouldn’t be missed.
With that said, don’t purposely bypass them by blowing away the fog. It’ll dissipate naturally if you let it. We are all imperfect beings; if you’re dating someone who is rational and realistic they’ll have rational and realistic expectations for who you are and what you bring to the table. This allows for you to be vulnerable with someone you love and know that you don’t have to look amazing when you wake up because frankly, nobody looks amazing when they wake up. (One caveat, I’ve looked upon some people as they’ve woken up and still found them entirely enchanting … so that’s definitely not to say that people don’t look good, but more that nobody feels like they look good.)
What I’m getting at is this: when you meet someone you like, don’t parade out all of your imperfections for them to see in one grand event. It doesn’t matter how compatible you two may be, it’s difficult to take in every fault all in one tidy package. You’re lactose intolerant? Ok … that’ll come up when you go get ice cream. You don’t drink? Let them reach the conclusion on their own. I’m not advocating or suggesting you should lie to someone if they ask, by all means tell the truth, just don’t force everything on them at once. We all have our quirks and foibles and it’s difficult to absorb and put proper weight behind each one when faced with a large collection of them. I don’t care if you have X Y or Z, but don’t tell me about it in graphic detail on our first few dates. Let me become enchanted before finding out some things, that glow will more than compensate and overshadow your faults.
So do yourself a favor, do your potential date a favor, put the effort in up front. Put your best foot forward, wear the clothes you think you look good in and make you feel confident, go places you’ll be comfortable in, give yourself a chance. Don’t sell yourself short and lay out a list of shortcomings for them to reject you over because others have in the past. They might not care about those at all but it’ll be still hard to swallow if they’re forced to choke them all down in one gulp. Wear your fancy underwear when you’re intimate the first few times … prepare and present your body like you’re a Greek God or Goddess, even if you don’t have abs chiseled out of marble or a figure to sail a thousand ships. Don’t do it because you want to form this fake version of yourself, be natural and be true to yourself … but have fun with it. When else in life is it ok to gussy yourself up and really be your best you and have someone see you that way.
If you’re married, all is not lost. I don’t care if there isn’t a wispy tendril of fog left for as far as the eye can see. Buy a fog machine. Maybe don’t let your significant other witness certain events if you think that would help generate some magic. It’s never too late for new non-holey underwear meant for special occasions. (Guys, this is geared towards you, pay attention)
Preserve and embrace the natural progression of things. Kindle the flame of ephemeral mysterious perfection.