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Right Full Rudder!!!!!

My family loves boat life. So years ago I enrolled in a Coast Guard boating course and I learned many beneficial maritime rules and etiquette. It was interesting in that, unlike roadways, there isn’t necessarily a governing body that makes universal, stedfast rules for waterways. Hence, many of the Coast Guard’s pointers are more like guidelines that seem like common sense to ensure safety.

One lesson that stood out in particular pertained to how ships should approach other ships. Since there are no real “lanes” on waterways, boats can approach each other from 360 degrees and it is often difficult to tell who has right of way, who should yield or if the two are on a collision course. The way we were instructed to overcome this was to stay your course… however, if you were going to make a change in direction, make it deliberately obvious so that your intentions would be clear to the other ship. Basically, if you appear to be heading towards the same point as another boat, rather than tinker a few degrees to port or starboard (that is left or right to the lay person), make a strong move to the right to show the other vessel that your intention is to pass him on his port side. It seems simple and obvious, but until you are at the helm and captaining a boat, the importance seems inconsequential.

Of course you know this blog isn’t about boating. However, I was talking to a female friend the other day about relationships (I know, I know imagine that!) and she said something to the effect of, “I’m just not sure if he’s interested or not.” I pondered for a moment… how could she not know if some dude was into her? How does any girl not know? I asked other female friends of mine and realized this problem is far too common among women — not knowing when a man is interested.

The core of this problem is that most assume men send mixed messages. In actuality—we don’t. We send very clear messages. VERY. CLEAR. MESSAGES. However, many get lost in translation. It is like women are watching and trying to decipher if he just moved a couple of degrees to starboard or port. They wonder, “What did he mean by that?” or “He did that!” as if there is some subtle nuanced clue that reveals his desire and affection.

We are men — and as I have said it a myriad of times already but will recap — we are simple creatures. Our behavior is unsubtle, we are bold and vociferous and don’t usually sugar-coat things.

Just like the ship trying to navigate a busy waterway, when a man is interested he will make his intentions known with major, deliberate and obvious moves. To translate: if the move isn’t big and plain-as-day, then the message is NOT INTERESTED. (Well, maybe not completely NOT INTERESTED… but not gung-ho, can’t-stop-thinking-about-you interested in pursuing a true relationship.) When a man IS INTERESTED in a woman—and I mean truly, fire-in-his-belly interested—picture Sean Connery screaming out “RIGHT FULL RUDDER….NOW!!!”

There is an assortment of Right Full Rudder moves. They can include not just asking for your number but asking you out on the spot when you first meet to do something the next day; Probing with future questions about how do you feel about kids or living elsewhere etc., etc.; And for course, taking you to introduce you to family or intimate night with their closest friends. These all might come up at different times but there is one move that sets the stage for it all.

What is the quintessential Right Full Rudder move?…Date Package 1A. Date Package 1A is meant to woo and impress, to charm and appeal to a woman’s every sense. How do you know if you are on Date Package 1A? Trust me, you will know. If you think you might be on Date Package 1A but aren’t sure, then sorry to break it to you… but you are not. Set aside the wishful thinking and be objective.

I have yet to meet a dude who has taken a girl out on a “balls out” Date Package 1A that he wasn’t interested in.

Meeting somewhere for a cup of coffee, joining him with some of his friends for happy hour at Cabo Cantina or attending an impromptu function somewhere aren’t 1A Date Packages. However, they aren’t a relationship death sentence. Consider it a pre-date to probe and determine if the prospect is worthy of a premium date.

What does it mean if you not on Date Package 1A? He might still be interested… but it is more than likely interest in something other than a serious relationship. It could be a little wham-bam nookie, some companionship, a new wing woman, or maybe likes the gallery of your female Facebook friends. Or it could be that he just isn’t quite sure yet what he wants or where you fit-in and is trying to figure it out. But if all of a sudden he asks you out, picks you up with his car washed, has rezzies for a nice, new restaurant, tickets to some show afterwards or some art exhibit that you casually mentioned a month ago… then you just got upgraded to Date Package 1A.

There is also the common possibility that DP1A or some pre-date took place only for him to determine there isn’t a match or chemistry or whatever. It’s not a personal thing…it just is what it is. We all have a picture of what we want (or at least should have one) and if it doesn’t fit, either party can and should walk away in the most considerate way possible. No need to waste each others time.

The biggest dilemma for a woman is what do you do if you find yourself repeatedly on something other than DP1A? First just accept that he is feeling you out and wanting to get to know you better before he becomes an epigamic Peacock ready to show-off his plumage and mate. It could be that he actually finds you to be super-cool and interesting but wants to keep you on the friendship tip. If you are into him but find yourself on some mid-alphabet date package then you have a few options:

  • You can accept the new friendship/companionship. Self explanatory…you now have a new buddy but don’t expect too much.
  • Make him show his hand. What do I mean? Easy, don’t be so available to him. Go on a date with someone else, don’t be at his beck and call and certainly don’t put the rest of your life on hold waiting for him to make a strong move. You make a strong move one way or another, role the dice and see what you get. Better to know now than to waste weeks/months trying to figure it out.
  • Walk away. If you feel like you are giving him all the assets of you without him taking on any of the liability or contribute to the owner-equity, then the relationship balance sheet isn’t working for you. It’s better to save your ship and live to fight another day.

Sure there could be instances where men are shy or nervous but that will also be obvious. I’m sure the cat who wrote the book He’s Just Not that Into You would agree with me. You want a man who is willing and eager to go “right full rudder” Date Package 1A.

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I Used to be a 10 Percenter

It seems many single men who are actively dating, at one time or another, at some point in their lives, played the percentages and maybe many still do. That was me many years ago; I was a ten percenter. I’m not really sure how or where I got the term from, but it wasn’t until recently that I was able to grasp the scope of what being a ten percenter really meant and how I have evolved from it. As single men in search of meeting eligible women there are many approaches and strategies one can choose. Some of these might be in a micro scale, such as pick-up lines, places to troll, or attention gimmicks. Others are of a macro-scope and they are a bit more subconscious in nature. These “macro” stratagies are a larger picture general philosophy in one’s approach, and a ten percenter is probably the most common of all.

The concept of a ten percenter is really quite simple. As men head out on their quest to meet new women they are basically playing the odds and percentages. A ten percenter is banking on the statistics that if he hits on 10 women in a night, one will be a score. So as simple math has it 1 out of 10 is 10% (hence the name 10 percenter). Now, we are really not dealing with perfect numbers, so some nights you might be in a 5% mode or maybe roll a fat donut after hitting on about 20 women on Taco Tuesday, but in the end it averages out to about 10 percent. The percent can also vary from individual to individual. Some athletic stud, charming Casanova, or funny entertaining Merlin might actually be pulling a much higher percentage but in the end it is still a non-focused, non-scientific shotgun approach, and a percenter is a percenter.

I don’t have to tell you all the flaws and the cheese rating with such a strategy, but I’ll point out some of the obvious weaknesses. One of the difficulties with being a 10 percenter (let’s just call him a “10p” for short) is that it really is counter productive if finding quality is your end goal. As the 10p man walks into an establishment he usually has his head on a swivel scoping out all potential targets from best to worst. Then after a brief assessment, if any at all, he moves in for attempt number one. The problem is that for the most part he doesn’t go for target number 1. He usually picks target number 3 to 5 first. It could be as a warm-up or just waiting for the liquid courage to kick in. As the night goes on and a few feeble attempts have come and gone, now maybe the time for an attempt at target number 1 has come. Yet, any chance at number 1 has probably already gone the way of the Dodo. See, any girl who has their stuff together and is confident and secure, even if she might have been interested would have sent you back to the minors at this time. Why? Because no available clear-headed girl is going to watch some player hit on and strike out with 2 to 3 others before he sloppily makes his way over to her. Maybe she might have missed it or didn’t see it, but for the most part, if she was interested she would have been observing.

Another shortcoming is that any self-loathing woman that would succumb to some scruple-less neophyte trolling blindly, is probably packed with more issues than National Geographic and needs some Dr. Finklestien time. The 10p strategy is nothing but a sift that tends to leave you holding all the whackies as the quality women pass right by.

Now, if just scoring is your end goal then one should just incorporate the “go ugly early” or “cougar hunt” strategy and be done with it, but I imagine that by the time you are in your late 20s, sport scoring isn’t too appealing anymore. But I guess we men walk that line at some point in our single tenure. And sadly that is how it was for me as well. I was a 10 percenter, and now looking back I was not proud of it. Because almost 90 percent of the velveta burros chicos out there trying to score a chica are 10 percenters and that is neither unique nor inspiring.

Then something happened to me…I realized something. It wasn’t sudden but rather more of a transitional evolution. Allow me to paint you a picture that most of us can relate to. It is like when a women walks into Bloomingdale’s or Saks there are dozens of departments and counters, yet a woman consciously knows what department she wants to hit. For the analogy’s sake let’s say it is ladies casuals. In that department there are mannequins, clothing racks, shelves, and counter-tops displaying the latest greatest gear making an attempt to catch your attention – as if to say “Pick me! Pick me!” However, all the chatter from the stacks and racks of clothes flashing in front of you it is relatively inconsequential. Because do you ever notice that your eyes quickly scan the whole environment but then all of a sudden, boom, it finds something that catches your eye? Maybe a couple of pieces amongst the hundreds in it’s midst. The rest is just noise and clutter that your mind doesn’t care or have the time for. You know what you want and gets your attention. For men it is much the same – we walk in some where and our attention fixates on or is drawn to what we like. It isn’t usually fooled or distracted.

With that analogy in mind, it was simple. I’m able to walk into a social or public environment and boom, my eyes spot what I like within minutes. And I am willing to bet the house on it that for women it’s just the same and maybe a little more apparent. See women are not as obvious in their prowling as us men, so when they do spot some stud across the bar their eye lock tends to carry a bit more gravitas. Therefore it became easier to increase the odds in your favor and maybe add some integrity to the single life instead of looking like some salivating ADHD dog showing the lipstick.

Now a day it is just easier to go out either alone or with friends without any pressure or expectations. I simply enjoy the moment and my time out without having my head and eyes spinning like a top to see who is around. I just make myself aware and casually peruse the surroundings from time to time. I’m very cognizant of what I like and if I see it, I make sure that I keep in tune to what kind of vibe she is throwing. If her posture and body begin to point my way it is a positive, if I catch her glancing more than once as I gently glimpse back then it is score, and if eye contact is made and a smile is exchanged then it is most certainly on! However, there are few things to note. Peeping a hottie from across the room is good and acceptable. Gawking and beginning to stalk some chick that graciously accepted your first round of drinks and refuses to do a body shot with you is crossing the line. Once the congruency in body language is established and the time comes to make a move there is a very critical detail that can not be overlooked or ignored and if the situation is not right then a shot should not be taken. That is, the approach must be genuine, sincere and as unforced or unawkward as possible. Maybe find some common ground, a silly spur of the moment observation or if nothing else comes to mind, introducing yourself and asking her name should suffice. But if the window does not open and your only option is to D-line swim technique through her over-protective girls’ night out lackeys, then it is probably better to retire your ship than to push a bad position. Go ahead, call it a night and live to fight another day, while you save face and bounce out with dignity and pride intact. Who knows, if she is feeling your vibe and likes what you are tossing then she just might create the opportunity for you.

So now that I am no longer a 10 percenter, it doesn’t mean that I am 100 percenter or even a 90 percenter. It just means that I know what shots I want to take and the ones that aren’t quite right. Because even a highly trained military sniper will wait motionless for hours and possibly days anticipating the arrival of their target from hundreds of yards away; and even then, if the conditions aren’t favorable for the perfect shot, they will not pull the trigger. Yet even when they do decide to take the shot, it doesn’t guarantee a kill. They just know that enough of the variables were congruent to allow the greatest chance for success.

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I know what I’m fishing for

When it comes to dating or settling down I often get accused of being too picky; and if you’re over 30, have never been married and are still single this has probably happened to you as well. Too often I’ve had to explain as to why I have yet to be tied down or what happened to the last girl (and half the time it’s not me ending things…I get dumped too).  There seems to be a fairly consistant reaction that when I say I do not have a girlfriend, the person I am telling’s inner voice begins an assesment as if they are trying to figure out what is wrong with me.  Does he live some secret life? Maybe he is flat out loco or isn’t ready to settle down.  It is as if being single is some sort of death sentence or negative condition.  The irony of it all is that most of those so concerned about my bachelordom seem to be in less than happy relationships. 

Trust me, I have no qualms with being single…however, it isn’t my end goal by any means.  However, I’d much rather be single the rest of my life than concede a relationship that isn’t healthy, fitting, and fulfilling. Now this isn’t intended to be a self-defense editorial on my state-of-dating so I’ll keep it general and pepper it with plenty of analogies…so here I go again breaking down for you like Grisham does fiction.


Exhibit A

With every ex that has come and gone the picture of who I am, and what I want and don’t want becomes ever clearer.  First off, I do fancy myself a catch and I have the T-shirt to prove it (see exhibit A)!!! It’s not being arrogant but it is true that we are all uniquely different so is it a far stretch to say that each individuals uniqueness makes it harder to find a compatible match? Being with “The One” should be easy and drama-free, if not at least drama-light, especially during the initial courting stages. Yet, finding that “One” isn’t necessarily so; many factors and variables play into it. It’s also not about wanting to find the perfect person or Ms. Flawless so she can be Mrs. Jessica Flawless-Alonso (damn…that sounds pretty good!!! For those that don’t know I have thing for Jessica Biel).  It is about finding that perfect person for each of us, that we can grow with and compliment us. I’ve actually had an ex or two who were able to see my idiosyncrasies and shortcomings as charming and entertaining, while I saw their imperfections much the same way. There were other reasons for it not working out but this important factor was present, therefore proving that it does exist. We should be with people who “fit” us as we do them. Someone made a great analogy the other day and said that finding a mate was like picking out a race horse, none are perfect but you have to find the one you can live with and that has the attributes that you want. A little oversimplified, but it works to an extent…add in that ineffable X-factor, chemistry, connection or wow, and BOOM we have ourselves a winner!!! Regardless of a person’s negatives, when things click they are hardly noticeable but when that chemistry/connection is missing it seems like the way they breath can drive one to drink.

One gripe I tend to have about certain relationships and couples are those individuals who morph into a strange being when they are with someone else. Now I understand that most of us can be fairly different in a relationship as opposed to when it’s single season but I adamantly disagree, or should I say, I strenuously object to those whose personalities seem compromised in certain relationships. I, for one, will never alter my personality for someone…it’s my greatest gift and most prized possession! We should all be ourselves, not put on a long running act because most can only keep this going for so long before the façade crumbles or resentment sets in. Much the same about my first point – it should be easy. There are those who enable you to be you and maybe even become a true catalyst for a greater you, while others can hinder you and keep you stagnant and apathetic. I’m choosing the first type.

In the whole mad dating/single life world there is one motive that irks me more than people who wear blue-tooth headsets at a restaurant…it’s people who say they can’t wait to find someone that makes them happy. I don’t mean to get too Freudian, Wayne Dyerish or Dr. Big Phil but this kind of talk should be stricken from our vocabulary. I know that it’s probably not meant in a true literal sense but there are plenty of people that are depressed alone and always need to be in a relationship to be happy. However, those who were miserable before will probably become miserable soon into the relationship and will be miserable after. If you are not happy with who you are then nothing is going to make you happy long-term. They are all band-aids on a larger problem…the new pet, car, watch, job or city might bring you a stint of happiness (maybe it’s just the excitement of something new…the shine always wears off) but there is one thing that you will be stuck with afterwards that you’ll never be able to get rid of…YOU! So learn to love yourself and be secure…your partner will love and respect you more for it. Remember that the worst scents on someone are insecurity and desperation.

Finally, for all those individuals that are in a relationship and can presently relate to one of the aforementioned circumstances, I quote Andy Dufresne “get busy living or get busy dying.” We spend too much time trying to make a circle fit into a square and wasting not just our time, but those that we are involved with – they also deserve to have their time spared. Time is our most precious commodity…we can’t get it back, make it up and it’s worth more than any precious metal or any stock. Once someone is in a less than favorable situation, most become apathetic.  We then tend to base our decisions on a basic pain versus fear balance. When our pain outweighs our fear we finally make the tough decisions. Unfortunately, it’s all relative because it depends on what one’s pain threshold is in relation to their level of fear. So be brave and end the pain…The One is out there! Me personally, I just haven’t gotten to know her yet but the search continues and I sure plan on enjoying the voyage.

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