Southern Man isn't a very experienced dater.
He counted up the other day and realized that, up to a couple of years ago, he'd been on ten first dates in his entire life.
Well, before you write Southern Man off as a complete loser, we note that eight of those led to long-term relationships. With one first date that was not followed by a second (this was the girl that Southern Mother had picked out for him) and Southern Man's one-and-only one-night stand. Well, we went out a few more times, but there was only one night. So Southern Man has been in relationships pretty much continually from high school until a few years ago when the most recent LTR fell apart. Or collapsed into fiery ruin. Whatever. Which means that these last two years have been...different.
In that last two years Southern Man's been on about a dozen more first dates. And one second date.
So, Southern Man has to learn to date again. But the marketplace is different. He's different. For one thing, he's not all that keen on dating anyway. But he does actually has some idea of what he wants in a relationship. So, here are the Six Rules for Dating Southern Man.
To get the first date, you must be slender and attractive.
Not slender? If Southern Man can haul his tired carcass to the gym three times a week, so can you. Also, see this diet post. Not attractive? There's a seventy-billion-dollar-a-year industry eager to help you out. Avail yourself of it. And if you're offended by that, too bad: girls screen (and reject) guys by attractiveness and physique far more vigorously than we do. You reap what you sow.
To earn a second date, you must on that first date present yourself as feminine and sweet.
And that right there is why Southern Man hasn't been on many second dates. The girls in his target demographic take great care and pride in assuring him how independent and self-reliant they are and that they have a house and a car and a job and don't need anything from him and that this is all about having a friend and going out and having fun. Well, at least at first. There's always that tease of "if things work out..."
Well, God programmed male DNA to (among other things) seek out a woman and care for her and protect her. Don't need a man to take care of you? Southern Man wonders why you are on this date. Trying to show off how tough you are? Don't you realize that men seek feminine characteristics in their partners, not masculine ones? Sadly, professional divorced women that have been on their own for a while have little choice but to adopt masculine traits or perish by the wayside. It really shows, sometimes. Southern Man sees lots women presenting themselves on dates with the (masculine) characteristics that they themselves seek in their partner, blissfully unaware that we could hardly care less about their income or job or car or number of square feet in their rent house. And they often project their "I'm a strong 21st-century woman" vibe with sarcasm (lots and lots and lots of sarcasm) and snarling and sneering and outright criticism. Do they have any idea how powerfully unattractive that is? Unattractive enough that Southern Man never called for a second date, anyway.
And, yes, "sweet and feminine" is more important than "slender and attractive."
So the last two steps are hypothetical, as no one has yet gotten past the middle pair. And if no one ever does, that's just fine; better to do without than to settle for less. But to be in a relationship with Southern Man (with the expectation that he will one day endow thee with all his worldly goods, et cetera) you must provide the two things that men seek most in their partners: emotional comfort and physical pleasure.
Men need someone to lean on, a little bit, at the end of the day, and let them know that they're respected and loved and wanted and needed and didn't screw up too badly that day and here's a hot meal and a beer just for you. And physical pleasure includes sex but there's a lot more to it than that. The mother of Southern Man's children gave the best footrubs ever. Southern Man made it through many a long day at work anticipating that particular treat. What do you have to offer your hard-working boyfriend at the end of the day?
And, yes, the promises of emotional comfort and physical pleasure are the most important of the six.
As the song says, how can Southern Man find a woman like that? And what does he have to offer that she wants in a relationship? Only time will tell. In the meantime he will continue to diet and work out and improve his live as best he can and (as an early commenter has already reminded him) seek out God's will and walk on the path He lights for me and not worry too much about dating for the time being.