Joy’s SAM and MEG Dating Tips: My Valentine’s Gift for You!

 (Yours truly with Sam and Meg Hinson, a couple I accostedmet while volunteering with Operation Christmas Child)

When I was 10,  Valentine’s Day meant mylar balloons and everybody-in-the-class-gets-one Valentines in flimsy envelopes.  When I was a single woman in my 20’s, Valentine’s Day meant practically nothing because, well, mylar balloons weren’t the cool thing anymore (and no guy was bothering to send me a Valentine).  By my early 30’s,  I realized I had a serious problem on my hands.  I wanted to get married and start a family but I hadn’t had a date in years… Then my acronym addiction kicked in and I devised these dating tips to keep me on track when I was away from home and in the vicinity of a potential suitor.  Cue the miracles, including three different dates in one weekend, and my confidence in passing on these tips to you.

If your Valentine’s Day forecast is dim, memorize briefly review these tips then grab a girlfriend and go somewhere you’re sure to see people you’ve never met before.  A little courage is required to get started but you will become a natural if you don’t give up.  I promise!

SAM: Smile At Men.  This one is straightforward.  Go ahead and smile. You have nothing to be ashamed of because I’m sure you are a lovely, quality person.  While you’re at it,  just smile at everyone to get yourself in the habit.  Smile at grandpas in Target, kids at the mall, and all the nice folks working in toll booths and parking garages.  What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

MEG: Maintain Eye Gaze.  DO NOT LOOK AWAY.  I repeat, do not look away.  This will be the hardest thing to start but you can do it.  Early in my “post-dating drought” years, I realized I was always looking away when men looked at me.  Why?  I don’t know.  Something about thinking I wasn’t good enough or that I should feel embarrassed.  Hogwash.  Keep smiling and looking at him.  You are halfway there.

GUS: Greet UnasSumingly.   If your SAM and MEG moves don’t get a guy to strike up a conversation, fear not.  Go ahead and give a simple “Hi” or “How’s it goin’?” (all the while smiling and not looking away).  This is how you say, “I am open to the possibility of knowing you”.  You’d be surprised how much of our body language is actually saying, “I’m terrified and am going home tonight to watch TV alone.”  Take a risk, ladies!

RICK – Raise Innocuous Conversation Kick-off (in case you’re wondering, “innocuous” means harmless).  My friend’s wife RICK’d him and did you see how I just referred to her as his wife?  He was sitting at Starbucks filling in his March Madness brackets and she looked over from her table and said, “What are you working on?”  Did she say “I would like to jump your bones!”?  No, she didn’t.  Did he take it as “Geez, this girl wants to jump my bones!”?  No, he didn’t.  By asking a harmless question, she simply opened the door for conversation and, BAM!, they are now married with kids.

And, finally, we have the Golden Rule of Joy’s SAM and MEG dating tips:

DUMP the CLUMP: My friend Beth says this should be the first dating tip as it sets the stage for our friends, SAM, MEG, GUS and RICK to enter in.  She’s probably right.  Listen, ladies: it’s hard for a guy to approach you when you are standing in a group of your girlfriends.  Even two women together can intimidate a man and prevent him from RICKing you, so let’s cut him some slack.  Be brave and break away from your comfort zone.  Walk toward some art on the wall and admire it, or stand near a TV screen and watch WHATEVER IS ON IT.  The TV is not the attraction here; you are, my dear.  I have gotten dates from Dumping the Clump when I wasn’t even trying.  Once, at a reception, I lost my friends and stood by myself in a doorway so I could scan the entire room and find them.  A few minutes later, a man walked up to me.  A few weeks later, we were having lunch at a sidewalk cafe.  Thank you, kind sir, for confirming my method.

Here are a few more, important resources for when you’re ready to date:

1) Read How to Get a Date Worth Keeping: Be Dating In Six Months Or Your Money Back by Dr. Henry Cloud.  It changed my life.  I’ve already spoiled the ending.

2) Date smart.  Be careful and don’t be naïve with strangers. Read E-harmony’s Neil Clark Warren’s dating safety tips before you start this adventure.

Most importantly, have fun.  The Bible says, “It is not good for man to be alone” and I boldly believe God wants a lot of us to have these kinds of earthly companions.  The more we date (and demystify the experience), the less pressure we put on one, single date to yield “the one”.   As we step out and take risks in dating, we help each other grow, we learn what we have to offer and we discover who we are looking for in the process.

If you aren’t single but know someone who is,  I celebrate that burning desire in you to share this.  You’ll always be glad you did.

Steven Mast