Dave mentions the seven-second rule and, though I have known it by other descriptors, I promptly agree that it is true.
"What is the seven second rule?" Nikki asks us.
"Within seven seconds," Dave informs her, "a guy is supposed to know ifhe would ever sleep with a girl." I had always assumed that it wasn'tgender based, that women were just as apt to make these flashjudgments, but I am not so secure that I refuse the correction from ourresident psychology professor.
She expresses disbelief, so I demonstrate how picky I am by mentallyrejecting a girl who enters the Muddy Cup in New Paltz. She is wearingboots that make it look as though her toes end in a sharp point,something I can't tolerate, though I renege a moment later when sheturns and is wearing a shirt with built in studded gloves and lovely,long fingers that rapidly turn a concert flier into an origami crane.The girl and I lock eyes and exchange smiles, and I feel slightlyabashed for having discounted her so soon, though she will never know.She is redeemable, but not so much that I am going to give her thatchance in person. But she is a lesson in taking that eighth second.
"You are going to be a hard man to shop for," Nikki pronounces. Sheconsidered that she would fix me up with her friends, though relentedby stating that she is the strangest of all her friends. Strangenesswas apparently an unspoken requirement of my future partner, and I washardly offended at this. I am not made for all markets, though would bepriceless in the right one. "Besides, that girl has a flat butt and nochest, though great hair."
"Well, she is Asian. And I don't really care a lot about things likechest size. My first two serious girlfriends could comfortably walkaround without bras." I recall, in fact, rather liking that benefit ofhaving a small chested girlfriend. Bras can be a pain for allconcerned. I do have physical preferences, though hardly any set instone. What I consider attractive tends to digress rapidly from therest of society, which suits me just fine. The rest of humanity cansalivate over Victoria's Secret models, I will flirt with the slightlydisheveled girl in Salvation Army buying scarves and skirts.
Finally, Nikki and I work out a bipartite solution when I chime in thatI would enjoy going dancing, both in itself and as a means meetingwomen. She was delighted at the idea of taking me with her and helpingme pick up women, since I will clearly be desirable given thecomeliness of my dancing buddy. I, in turn, will stand with crossedarms and keep other men from harassing Nikki and her friends by virtueof the fact that I am male and could hypothetically belong to any oneof them.
"Cockblocker and Wingman... Wingwoman," I muse. "We could be superheroes."
Later, over dinner conversation, the topic returns to my datingpredicament. I tell them both that I really want to be in arelationship that could feasibly result in marriage.
"Wow," Nikki says between bites of filet mignon, "tell a girl that on the first date and I guarantee that you'll get laid."
I laugh, since this is exactly contrary to the reason I would mentionit. I honestly think I would terrify a good many girls with such talk,but I am seeking long term commitment and not simply a strangebedfellow for the night. Though, granted, I will have to confrontcompletely noncommittal dating for a while before either the formersets in (followed by the latter).
Sadly, the seven second rule is not applicable on the internet, to mychagrin my default social network at the moment. Meeting people on theweb feels inorganic. Prior to this, everyone I considered kissing I hadactually managed to see in three dimensions and (shockingly) touch. InWe Shadows, my protagonist Shane rants about how she can't stomach theinternet as an information source because there was nothing about it,nothing sensual, to connect ideas with anything real. I feel the sameway toward my digital lovelies. I try my best to tempt them intoaccepting a phone call, so I can at least have their voices in my earfor a few minutes. So much of our memory is composed of sights andscents. I never forget how Kate's head smelled, though those connections to my initial Jen only come as the rare flicker. I won't speak of Emily, since there are still things in my apartment that have retained her perfume.
Kate may, in fact, be the best example of this. I casually knew her forsomething like a year before actually meeting. She was only ever Tina'sbest friend, or the girl who sent me strange news stories. We had arelationship that consisted solely of bantering about how funny andscary the world was becoming. I assumed a lot of things about her, mosterroneously that she was Asian because her last name contained an "ng,"second only to the fact that she wouldn't be stunningly beautiful to meas a 17 year old. True, she was getting over some adolescent acne and Iwas dating Jen, but I found her ravishing. The cold medicine with whichI liberally dosed myself to be functional for the meeting may havecontributed to my immediate interest in her, but some part of meirrevocably loved her on sight after so long of superficially knowingher. This half second mattered so much more than thousands of exchangedwords, though they informed and justified my interest after Jen left mefor my best friend.
Currently, I exchange at least fond words with a half dozen women Ihave not physically met, words that had until now been the soleprovidence of just one. And I know, no matter which way theseflirtations seem to go, they can be dashed to pieces on either side themoment we genuinely meet. Or I can meet some curious creature tomorrowwho will induce something in me that not even my most literatecyber-darling has yet. At least these women have the arguable privilegeof reading up on exactly what is going on in my life the way that somesweet stranger on the street would not; they are informed parties,which tends to make them friends should the necessary attraction simplynot materialize.
And honestly, I am a little scared of what should happen if I genuinelyfeel the requisite pull to one of these women, seven second that couldturn into seven years or (I hope) more. They will have the benefit ofknowing my history already, of having read my best stories (and quite alot of my worse ones). It starts the relationship out on a decideddisadvantage, a relationship for which I would not yet be ready.