Date Satisfaction Survey

Dear [Date]:

Hello and thank you for our wonderful [day / afternoon / evening / evening and breakfast] together! If you would be so kind, please help me make the next one even better by taking a few minutes to fill out this survey.

Thank you!

Sincerely,
A. Rascal

1. Age:

☐ 20-29
☐ 30-39
☐ 40-49
☐ 50-59
☐ 60-69

2. How often do you typically date?

☐ Once a year
☐ Daily
☐ Weekly
☐ Once a month
☐ Every 2-3 months
☐ 2-3 times a year or less often
☐ Never

3. How often do you date Latin men?

☐ First time
☐ Maybe once in high school or college
☐ No idea
☐ Rarely
☐ Often
☐ ¡Ay, papito!

4-9. How important to you are these qualities in a date?

Not Important Somewhat Important Rather Important Dealbreaker
Looks
Charm
Sense of humor
Maturity
Financial stability
Ability to keep it in his pants

10-15. Overall, how did your date perform?

Miserably Somewhat Satisfactory Very Satisfactory Delightfully
Punctuality
Appearance
Grooming
Light comedy
Napkin origami
Famous impressions

16-21. How often did your date:

Rarely Sometimes Often Quite a bit
Hold your hand
Share feelings
Compliment you
Wiggle his eyebrows
Use vulgarity
Attempt to dry hump your leg

22. Overall, I am very satisfied with the way my date behaved himself.

☐ Strongly Disagree
☐ Somewhat Disagree
☐ Neither Agree nor Disagree
☐ Somewhat Agree
☐ Strongly Agree

23. My date was knowledgeable, courteous, and respectful.

☐ Strongly Disagree
☐ Somewhat Disagree
☐ Neither Agree nor Disagree
☐ Somewhat Agree
☐ Strongly Agree

24. My date made me feel comfortable and at ease.

☐ Strongly Disagree
☐ Somewhat Disagree
☐ Neither Agree nor Disagree
☐ Somewhat Agree
☐ Strongly Agree

25. My date refrained from making eye contact with other women.

☐ Strongly Disagree
☐ Somewhat Disagree
☐ Neither Agree nor Disagree
☐ Somewhat Agree
☐ Strongly Agree

26. My date refrained from conversing with other women in a manner that could easily be construed as flirtatious.

☐ Strongly Disagree
☐ Somewhat Disagree
☐ Neither Agree nor Disagree
☐ Somewhat Agree
☐ Strongly Agree

27. My date refrained from using hand signals with other women to communicate phone numbers in my presence.

☐ Strongly Disagree
☐ Somewhat Disagree
☐ Neither Agree nor Disagree
☐ Somewhat Agree
☐ Strongly Agree

28. My date refrained from asking me how attractive I thought other women are.

☐ Strongly Disagree
☐ Somewhat Disagree
☐ Neither Agree nor Disagree
☐ Somewhat Agree
☐ Strongly Agree

29. I am down with threesomes.

☐ Strongly Disagree
☐ Somewhat Disagree
☐ Neither Agree nor Disagree
☐ Somewhat Agree
☐ Strongly Agree

30. How “handsy” was your date?

☐ Cold and distant
☐ Cordial
☐ Appropriate
☐ Casper the Friendly Ghost
☐ Casper the Very Friendly Ghost

31. If there was sex, it was (choose all that apply):

☐ Amazing
☐ Incredible
☐ Ecstatic
☐ A work of art
☐ I saw angels and they gently took my hand and walked me back to earth

32. Considering how much time, energy, and money you spent preparing for this date, would you call it:

☐ An exceptional value; more than worth it
☐ A good value, I got about what I expected
☐ A poor value, not even close to worth it

33. Compared to how you felt about your date before, what are his chances of having another one with you?

☐ Ha!
☐ Ok but we really have to have a talk about his behavior first
☐ Depends what I’m doing that day
☐ Fairly good
☐ My ovaries say yes

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A Funny Divorce Story (fiction)

Not too long before my wife and I separated, we sat down and had the talk. No, not about where the kids were going to live. Not about what school or what church they’d attend (we decided on 50-50 custody, the schools in my new town, and her church).

We talked about dating again.

Both of us knew the divorce could take forever, and neither of us wanted to wait until then to date again. So we kind of checked in with each other, to see where we were at with things.

After realizing both of us were not just ready but kind of eager to move on, we agreed we’d both start soon. We also agreed that we didn’t have to tell one another when or who we were dating, but that we’d talk to each other before introducing the kids to a new romantic partner.

About a month later, well established in my new home, I met someone. We were kind of taking it slow, both agreeing to wait and see how things progressed before introducing her to my kids. But my kids and ex knew that I was dating, and they even knew her name.

Now I hadn’t heard if my ex had started dating yet. I assumed she had, but didn’t want to pry. And I certainly didn’t want to ask the girls, as I didn’t want to put them in the position of informing on their mom.

Anyway, I’ll never forget one day when my girls came home from their mom’s. They were unusually silent in the car; when we got in the door, I immediately asked them what was up. My 12-year-old looked at my 10-year-old. My 10-year-old looked back at her sister. “You tell him,” she said. “No,” her sister replied. “You tell him.”

I thought this was my moment to jump in. “Girls, is this about your mommy dating again?” They both nodded, somewhat relieved. “Look, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact it’s wonderful. Your mommy and I spoke all about it a long time ago, and we both agreed we’d start seeing other people.”

“That’s not it,” piped my youngest.

“So what is it?” Immediately my mind imagined the worst. He was a gangster. A drug dealer. Someone wanted in several states for armed robbery. In short, someone horrible and menacing, who was scaring my kids at a distance.

I could hear myself screaming in my mind. How could she do this? What the F was she thinking? Right away, I wanted to call her and give her a piece of my mind.

Then my mind raced in another direction. What if the new boyfriend was a girlfriend? I knew from clinical experience that a number of straight folks discover new or underlying sexualities after years of therapy, and wondered if my ex was one of them. If so, I couldn’t wait to get on the phone and congratulate her.

It was neither. “Daddy, we saw a picture of David.”

“Is that your mom’s new boyfriend?”

“Yes,” they said, almost in unison.

“So?” I waited. “And?”

They looked at each other again. My oldest one spoke up. “Daddy. He looks exactly like you.”

“Yeah,” her sister added. “Just a lot older, like with white hair and everything.”

I smiled, knelt, and hugged both my girls. “That’s fine, kiddos. Hey, why don’t you all go upstairs and do your homework while I get started on dinner?”

“Sure thing, Daddy.” They ran up the stairs. Once I was sure they were out of earshot, I dialed my ex.

“Hey it’s me.”

“Hi,” she said. “Is everything ok?”

“Yes, everything’s fine. The girls are here with me, and we’re about to have spaghetti and meatballs in a bit.”

“Oh good, their favorite.”

“Yes. I was calling just to let you know that they told me they saw a picture of David.”

“Oh. Hope that’s ok. They were curious, so I showed them his official portrait.”

“It’s fine. They told me he’s amazingly good-looking.”

“Well he is. And that’s sweet of them to say.”

“Well, you deserve the best.”

“Aw thanks. How are things going with your girlfriend?” She never could bring herself to say her name.

“Great. Anyway, I was just calling to congratulate you.”

“Thanks. I’m sure that if he and I ever get serious, the girls are really going to like him.”

“Of that I am certain.”

My First Date Rules (guest post by A. Rascal)

As many of you know, I started dating again several months ago. Time and again, however, I found myself having the same conversations with women, over and over.

After a while, I decided to just print up a set of rules to hand out before or during the date. Believe me, it’s really helped clear the air so we can move on to other things like enjoying the movie, art gallery, concert, or even getting to know one another.

I’ll update the list as needed. But for now:

Rule 1. No kissing on the first date.
Absolutely not. I wish I had a nickel for each time a woman either closed her eyes and puckered up, as if expecting me to plant one, or tried to surreptitiously graze her lips on mine while coming out of a hug. No.

Rule 2. No incidental touching.
Women are wily creatures. On dates, I’ve noticed they begin by lightly touching your arm with a finger, ostensibly while trying to make a point. However, their nefarious purpose becomes clear as soon as they then place a hand, as if to see how far they can go. Before you know it, they’re rubbing your back and (this is embarrassing to say) sometimes even more.

No. I am not middle-aged male candy.

Rule 3. No Staring.
Ladies, my eyes are up here. I’m sad I even have to say that. Just no, plus ew. Gross.

Rule 4. No Whispering In Ears.
It took me several dates to catch on to this, but I finally got wise around the twelfth time. Especially in crowded bars, women motion to you to come closer, as if they have a secret to share. You take the bait, and bend your head towards theirs. Then, while whispering in your ear, they plant a kiss. Sometimes tongue. Again, ew and gross.

Rule 5. No Sharing Park Benches.
It begins innocently enough, with a request to go for a walk that almost invariably ends close to a secluded park bench. “I’m tired, do you want to sit down,” they ask, and, wanting to be a gentleman, I always say yes.

That’s when the trouble starts. Sometimes I’ve been quick enough to notice the fingers walking along my back to alight on my shoulders. Sometimes I don’t even see it coming, as when women yawn, stretch out their arms, and suddenly one of them lands on my back. No.

Rule 6. No Dancing.
This is a hard one for me, as I love to dance. However, time and again, I have found myself surrounded by women, forming a circle, clapping, whistling, and saying disgusting things like, “woah hoah, Rascal! Shake it! Shake what your momma gave you!”

Honestly, I have no idea what my poor mother has to do with any of this. Except to say, of course, that she would be appalled to see how poorly I get treated on the dance floor sometimes. Shame on you ladies and no. Anyway, this brings me to:

Rule 7. No Stuffing Dollar Bills In My Pants.
Again, it pains me to have to even say that. I don’t care that they’re neatly folded. I don’t care that you lightly perfumed them. I don’t care if you wrote your phone number on them in red lipstick.

And I don’t care that I need the money. No, just no, full stop.

And yes, that goes double for all your friends.

Rule 8. Hot Sex.
Hot monkey sex on a first date is fine, just ask first.

Pillow Talk

“Hey. You awake?”

“I am now. What’s up, Mister?”

“I have a weird question.”

“Ooh, I don’t know. Is it kinky?”

“No.”

“No? Well that’s a damn shame! Just kidding, my dear. What’s your question? Fire away.”

“Ok. It’s a bit embarrassing. It’s about them.”

“Uh oh. What’s up?”

“Yeah. Well. Hadn’t thought of them in a while, you see.”

“Right.”

“Well let me back up, and begin by saying that, despite everything that happened the last 20 years, despite all the crap, there were plenty of good times too.”

“Ok so you miss her. Wait. Oh God, I don’t even know which one. Oh my God, both of them?”

“Yes. Holy shit, how do you do that?”

“Wait, I’m not done yet. And now you’re about to ask me if I miss him. He Who Shall Not Be Named.”

“Ok, either I’m really transparent or you’re really good.”

“Well I learn from the best.”

“Thanks. Look, I want to know—”

“Of course, darling.”

“Most of all because I want to know all about you.”

“Aw. Thanks, sweetheart.”

“You’re welcome. But part of me also wants to know what might be in store for me down the road.”

“Of course love. Ok, so let me tell you. I’ll preface this by saying your mileage may vary. But I don’t think it will, and if it does at least not too much.”

“How so?”

“I’ll explain later.”

“Oh!”

“Anyway. The answer to your question is yes, but very rarely.”

“Aha. Why?”

“Well, if I have to talk to him for some reason, I feel pangs, because we did spend ten years together. That’s a lot of time, plus a lot of common language and shared references. But here’s the thing, love: that man is dead and gone.”

“When? You never told me he—”

“Relax. He’s still alive, of course, but the man I married is dead and gone. And to be perfectly honest, so is the woman I was. As a result, the pangs are pretty brief.”

“I see.”

“He broke my heart. That’ll kill a lot of things in a person.”

“I’m sorry, honey.”

“Thank you. Ok. Now. Are you ready for the punch line?”

“There’s a punch line? God, I love you.”

“There’s always a punch line. Come on, sit up with me for this.”

“Ok.”

“Now give me your hands.”

“They’re yours. All right. What’s the punch line?”

“That man made me who I am today. What I’m saying is, if my marriage hadn’t fallen apart as horribly as it did, if I hadn’t spent years walking around this house, looking for all the tiny little pieces of my heart to glue back together into something stronger, I wouldn’t be this current version of myself. Which, to be frank, is really the first version of myself I’ve ever truly liked.”

“Really.”

“Oh yeah. Ok, love. Now it’s your turn.”

“Aha. Well. Ok. Before them, I suppose I was at best a partial person in relationships.”

“Yes, I agree. But explain.”

“Well that I spent so much of my time trying to figure out what they wanted, and trying to give them that, that I lost sight of who I was and what I wanted.”

“Right. And what happened when you did finally speak up for who you are, for what you wanted or needed?”

“Can we skip that part?”

“Sorry. But ok, right; now would you be who you are now, had it not been for them?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Exactly. You know who you are and what you want, and you’re a lot less afraid to say so than you were before, from the looks of it.”

“Yes.”

“Plus you have me, so life is perfect!”

“Ha! Yes.”

“Ok. Now it’s my turn to ask a really awkward and embarrassing question.”

“Sure, go for it.”

“Can we go to sleep?”

“Of course. Love you. Night night.”

“Love you. Good night.”

Till Death Do Us Part

I think everyone who goes through a divorce remembers and struggles with one of the most familiar parts of the marriage ceremony. It echoes in our heads throughout and sometimes even long after our marriages, right alongside such goodies as for richer or poorer or in sickness and in health.

For us it’s the infamous Till death do us part.

Weren’t we supposed to stay together until one of us dies? You can imagine how those words can make divorcing people feel, even if they don’t believe in God.

We said all that in front of our friends and family. Did we not mean it? Did we just not understand?

I think these interpretations take death too literally. That is to say, of course bodies can die during a marriage. But a whole lot else can as well.

Love, for example, can die. Sometimes to be born again with the same person. Sometimes with another.

Sometimes love takes a vacation, then comes home. Other times, it leaves and never comes back.

But when love dies (especially erotic love), a basic warmth and affection can still remain. I think we all know couples like this who stay married forever.

Bodies are important, but they alone don’t constitute a marriage. And while love is important in marriage — perhaps even essential — the heart of a marriage is not love.

It’s respect. Respect is the retaining wall that holds back the worst of ourselves from one another. It’s what lets us be furiously angry at another without that anger in any way threatening our deepest love. And it’s what keeps us from inflicting the deadliest part of our pain upon those we’re closest to.

Sadly, it’s all too often the case that we don’t realize the role that respect plays in a marriage until it starts to fail.

When we feel disrespected, in or outside of marriage, we might say, “hey, you’re not treating me with respect.”

Sometimes such words come just in time for respect to be restored. “Oh my God, you’re right; that was wrong of me, and I’m so sorry I hurt you like that.”

Sometimes they come too late. “Respect isn’t given, it’s earned! If you want respect, start acting like you deserve it!”

When we have trouble treating one another respectfully, it might be because we were never treated respectfully, as children, or when we were most broken. Treating someone close to us disrespectfully can also be a way of restoring a sense of power and control, precisely during those moments when we feel most frail and vulnerable.

When respect falters, when we see it struggling, we might try to give it medicine. In the worst cases, we might even give it CPR. I think this is what marriage counselors and couples therapists do.

In an ideal world, respect comes roaring back to life. Spouses start once again expressing themselves fully while treating each other fairly, and without injuring one another. This is critical when spouses disagree fiercely about something important.

Disappoint, irritate, frustrate, even hurt one another, yes.  But never injure. Hurt heals when there’s respect. Injury only gets worse.

Sometimes, though, respect expires. Here’s where death gets the final word: the barriers to anger dissolve. Intimacies and secrets, which once bonded, now become weaponized. Spouses begin using one another as scratching posts or punching bags.

Things get said that can’t be taken back, and permanent damage is done to persons and relationships. Apologies cease to be made, and when they are, it’s more or less sincerely, more or less genuinely. When they come, they’re too late, and can’t even begin to heal the pain.

Time takes over that role, the role that was once fulfilled by the person hurting us.

The soul of a marriage dies when respect is lost. And that’s when marriage changes from a partnership into a prison.

Once a certain basic respect for someone is gone, there’s no bringing it back. And when you stay in a relationship where respect has died, your soul dies too, right alongside that of the relationship.

Sometimes that happens slowly and imperceptibly. Sometimes it happens rather suddenly.

Here’s the crucial point: the death that parts us is not our physical death. And love can long outlast the physical bodies that prompted it.

It’s not the death of love that parts us. Many marriages survive the death of love. Some even depend on it.

No, the death that parts us is the death of respect. It does so by announcing, more or less clearly, that we have to leave the relationship: for the sake of our soul, for the sake of our survival.