Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Grand Gesture

Ironically, I get many of my dating terms from television shows, although the idea may be universal. The Grand Gesture stems from doing something unusual or showy to demonstrate how much you like someone. Despite the term, which I borrowed from The Middle, it doesn’t have to be huge.

 A co-worker, friend, or associate you’ve been crushing on for a while mentions a love of Girl Scout cookies. Ah-ha! You might think to buy her or him a box, but that might be too much, especially if the feeling isn’t reciprocated. Instead, buy a box and offer some to the object of your affection. Most likely, he or she will take the cookies and then will develop a pleasant association with you. The association will be at a deep level of the subconscious where you represent something good. This opens the door for bigger steps such as a coffee date.

The cookie ploy might not work. What if he or she refuses the cookies? Right now, it could because of Lent or a diet. It could also be part of the Dobler/Dahlmer theory best explained by Ted from How I Met Your Mother. John Cussack made the character Lloyd Dobler legendary by holding up his boom box outside his ex-girlfriend’s house as it blasted their song. For those who never saw Say Anything, it regained him the affections of his ex. This scene earned its place among cinematic grand gestures. Right up there with Rhett scooping Scarlett up in his arms and carrying her up the staircase.
Several men have probably parked themselves outside of a former girlfriends’ house blasting Foreigner or REO SpeedWagon songs. Half of these lovelorn individuals had the police called on them or the family dog chased them away. The other ones reunited with their love, if only briefly. 

The difference lay in how the serenaded felt about it. She could have wanted to get back together. The gesture could have even charmed her long enough to forget why they broke up to begin with.

Those who didn’t fare as well had the Dahlmer effect named after serial killer, Jeffrey Dahlmer. Any grand gesture big or small icked the individual out because there was no interest of ever being involved. Everyone remembers someone from their past trying to flirt, maybe giving them an unwanted gift. The initial reaction could have been surprise that somehow this undesirable individual thought he or she stood a chance. They were undesirable simply because the feeling wasn’t returned. 
If they continued the behavior, then it became weird and stalker-ish.

Of course, it would have to be at a noticeable level. This noticing factor can be difficult, though. Beautiful women expect men to do things for them. After all, they do. Men open doors for them, volunteer to carry packages, compliment them, even buy them drinks. Most men would think these are gestures, but to some women it’s what men do. They also stop and change flat tires when a hot chick is stuck on the side of the road. They roam the hardware store to find that doo-hickey needed for the ceiling fan to work. It may be super hard to get the office beauty to realize you’re gesturing at all.

However, a person who is already interested in you is aware of everything you do. Even to the point of giving it connotations it may not have. If your grand gesture isn’t remarked on, there’s a good chance it wasn’t welcomed. You’ll want to cool it then to avoid becoming the creepy guy or gal.

Men often buy advice online from men who bill themselves as pickup masters only to find themselves slapped or a drink thrown in their face. The easy answer would be the girl wasn’t into the guy. How could she be when she’d never met the guy before? The more likely answer is those techniques seldom work. Even if the female did have some interest, using those tired scams would kill it.

Often we’ll hear someone wax fondly about what her beloved did to gain attention. We might think the gesture was cheesy, silly, or contrived. Not too surprising since we are not interested in their beloved. Whatever the action, it will make the person a Lloyd Dobler in their eyes. Lloyd’s actions were fitting for a teenage in love. I suspect it wouldn’t work as well for a fifty-ish man.

Once you suspect your grand gesture has icked out your intended, stop immediately. One more word of advice, never ever put your grand gesture on social media. Besides thousands of people witnessing a fail, it will never ever go away. Rather like the guy proposing on the kiss cam only to be rejected. He’s probably rethought that action a few hundred times by now.