I used to think that being too nervous on a date was bad. She’s obviously going to pick up on the fact that you’re sweating so profusely from your forehead that you haven’t been able to open your eyes for the past 30 minutes, and that is probably why when reaching for the fork you accidentally picked up her left hand, and have been using it to shovel your food into your fat face and have been wondering for the past five minutes why the restaurant hadn’t been able to wash the blood from its previously-used fork. Being nervous sucks, but I’m now learning that being too relaxed can be just as bad.

When you’re nervous, you’re very deliberate with everything you say. You are always making sure that you’re not saying anything that can be taken the wrong way. Though starting a story with, “So I was drunk and ran across my school naked and was only woken up the next day by a stray dog curiously sniffing my genitalia” is always great when talking to a friend, when on a date you have to modify it slightly by saying, “So I was on my third bottle of water whilst strolling across campus when I found a starving dog and nursed it back to health using my expertise in canine nutrition I learned while serving in the Peace Corps in Myanmar.” Once you go on enough dates and have been rejected enough times that you no longer fear rejection, you start to loosen up a bit. This can be equally harmful. When relaxed, you’re not censoring things that you say or do, and you end up getting in trouble.

When nervous, you would never tell a date about things you would be too embarrassed to tell your best friend. When relaxed, you would tell her almost anything. Remember, that story about how you drove to Mexico with friends in college and did unspeakable things is not acceptable to tell anybody, even the friends that you went on the trip with? Actually, when we drove to Mexico, we went to lunch at Jack in the Box and then went home, but I don’t have any stories crazy enough to use as an example here. You also should never tell her anything that’s ever on your mind. You have a dirty, dirty mind, and you need to keep all of your thoughts to yourself. Pretend that you have regular thoughts, and tell her about those. You have fake opinions about the capital gains tax, and she needs to know them!

So now you know the rules: don’t be nervous and don’t be relaxed. Actually, don’t even be there. Stay at home. Rejection is a terrible feeling.

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