Our first blog post as a part of Valentine’s Week examines America’s fifth sport…dating.
As a member of the “football media” while I was in college, I gained access to the NFL Media website.
The aforementioned site contains a calendar of events for the NFL outside of the games. For example, the scouting combine, free agency, training camp, and the beginning of the preseason are just a few of the listed items.
Believe it or not, such an itemized thing can be applied to dating. In fact, I consider dating a sport to be totally honest.
A portion of the female population is trying to reach their version of Super Bowl Sunday…their wedding day.
Conversely, men are fighting their own battle. Whether it is looking for marriage or just for a someone to spend meaningful time with, we can apply a relatively simple timetable on dating based off of human behavior.
Now, before we get to this breakdown, a few things should be kept in mind:
- This doesn’t apply to professional athletes.
- This doesn’t apply to high-profile entertainers.
Those two entities operate outside of a normal jurisdiction. Thus, the rules don’t and can’t apply to them due to their ability to offer game-changing dynamics (i.e. loads of money, the ability to have people do your bidding, being able to fly somewhere on a whim, large homes, etc.). Us mere mortals operate under a different code.
Alas, if I had to build a dating calendar, it would basically resemble a makeup similar to that of an actual sport.
Let’s start at the end of the year or in this case, the down period:
NOVEMBER 1 – FEBRUARY 14: THE OFFSEASON
What makes this the dating offseason?
Due to the holiday season and (depending on where you live) weather getting colder, people stay indoors far more.
Also, their mood changes and they become more sullen and depressed than usual.
Plus, the aftereffects of cuffing season take hold.
Cuffing season is when folks hunker down and find someone for the fall/holiday season. Thus, with options few and far between depending on your location, dating can become a bit more difficult at this point.
My interpretation of cuffing season is simple. People don’t want to be alone for the holidays. They want someone to spend time with during the holiday season, which of course means Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.
If those three holidays go well, you’re likely to make it to the fourth on the Mount Rushmore of relationship holidays, Valentine’s Day.
Let’s return to the cuffing season concept later on in this piece…
So, what can a single guy do during the dating offseason?
Do things to sharpen your game.
Since the NFL season is over, players are beginning to get ready for the 2013 season.
Colin Kaepernick? He has already decided to go right into training for next season.
Aaron Hernandez? He is taking up residence in Manhattan Beach so he can spend time working out with Tom Brady.
In a classic example of offseason training, LeBron James spent summer of 2011 with Hakeem Olajuwon developing a low post game.
In the months that followed, James won another league MVP, an NBA title, Finals MVP, and Olympic gold.
You think that offseason training helped?
Such tactics can be applied to your life. Find your greatest weaknesses and work like hell to fix them.
Is your home a mess? Clean it.
Are your teeth brown from drinking too much coffee? See the dentist to have your teeth cleaned and get them whitened.
Eat too much food over the holidays? Grab a gym membership or begin a workout plan at home.
THE PRESEASON: FEBRUARY 15 – MARCH 30
I learned something last week at work that I never knew. Apparently, February 15 is considered “International Break Up Day”.
This stems from a few angles:
- Couples season is over. As mentioned earlier, the Mount Rushmore of relationship holidays are Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day.
- Breakups are hard enough and people don’t want to be a jerk about it (or alone during the holidays). So, they’ll wait to put their significant other on the waiver wire soon after.
Alas, opportunity aplenty abounds soon after V-Day. The dating game will fill up again after Teddy spent $168 on a Valentine’s dinner with Charlotte only to realize that not only she wasn’t interested in him after all, but also considers him a good friend.
The dating preseason also brings a prime-time activity into focus…exercise.
When the calendar gets closer to April and spring in particular, (and further down the road summer) people go into a different gear as it relates to their appearance.
Gyms and exercise classes begin to fill up as people start thinking about making beach appearances and walking down the street while wearing a smaller amount of layers.
It’s around this time the world hears the words “Zumba”, “Insanity”, or whatever the latest fitness craze is in an effort to get physically fit for spring and summer.
When the guys and gals start shedding layers, typically they attempt to cover up the flaws by putting in some extra exercise time.
Besides exercising, it’s also a time to hone your skills for the regular season by becoming more socially active.
Go to a swap meet, into the city, or something that allows you to get away from social media and talk to real life humans.
If you entered a bout of depression during the holidays, that should be well into the rearview mirror by this point.
REGULAR SEASON: APRIL 1 – AUGUST 31
America is ready to take off its collective thermal undergarments, sweatshirts, sweaters, and turtlenecks.
The regular season of dating is officially underway at this point. It’s time to take all of the work and preparation put into the offseason and preseason.
Nowadays, there really isn’t a viable excuse for not trying to date for an elongated period of time unless you’re in the middle of nowhere and abhor online dating.
There are three approaches to the regular season:
- The 2007 Patriots Theory – Throw caution to the wind and just rack up numbers (in this case, trying to date too many women at once) and go 16-0 in the regular season, only to eventually wear out in the playoffs.
- The 1990 Giants Theory – Relatively slow and steady wins the race with appropriate-timed risks thrown in to lead to long-term success.
- The Don Draper Theory – This is dangerous but doable. Bottom out after a divorce and end up marrying your secretary on a whim.
Be very careful with the ’07 Patriots approach if you believe in bombs away approach to dating.
The Draper concept is extremely risky and not prescribed because it involves heavy boozing and highly questionable decision-making. However, Don’s performance in season four of Mad Men is a classic example of a guy finding himself during the regular season in an attempt to come out on the other side.
The ’90 Giants approach might be best though and the best preventive measure of obtaining a stalker.
PLAYOFFS: SEPTEMBER 1 – OCTOBER 20
Ah yes, let’s re-visit the cuffing season theory. People are trying to get settled in for the fall’s stretch drive.
After the regular season is over and the spring/summer flings slow down, the playoffs arrive, complete with a chill in the weather returning.
Now, a couple of things to get straight before moving forward:
- Much like the NFL, the playoffs of dating season is strictly for those looking to get into a relationship or for some companionship during cuffing season.
- If you’re a stat compiler as a guy or girl (football translation: Drew Brees or Tony Romo), this is not for you. Just skip straight past the playoffs and Super Bowl. Just head into the offseason and do whatever it is you do.
The postseason is a time to dig in and get serious about pursuing a long-term companionship if that is the angle you really want to pursue.
What if it doesn’t work out?
What if you get rejected?
It happens to best of us. Everyone loses in the playoffs at some point in their lives. The key is responding to the loss and keep it moving.
SUPER BOWL: OCTOBER 24 – OCTOBER 31
Well, we’re arrived to the dating season Super Bowl…Halloween weekend.
There are tons of Halloween parties during the weekend. Everyone is decked out in costumes and it’s as easy of an excuse to talk to women as any guy can have.
However, remember this heading into the Super Bowl of dating season:
- Have a game plan. Did John Harbaugh go into Super Bowl XLVII against his brother without a game plan? No. Neither should you. Plan out an attention-grabbing costume, which can be achieved without breaking the bank. A good Halloween costume is a layup for conversation.
- Don’t give up. Invariably, someone might ask, “what do I do if my friends don’t have Halloween parties?” Simple. Don’t become a prisoner to your environment. Most areas stage Halloween parties for single people when all else fails. Google it.
If you participate in Super Bowl weekend and come away without a cuffing partner (in this case, the substitute for the Vince Lombardi Trophy), go back to the drawing board.
As Vince Lombardi once said, quitting makes cowards of us all…wait, he never said that. He meant fatigue makes cowards of us all.
You get the point though. Quitting is not the way to go in this sport.
Now, get out there and handle your business like an MVP.
Categories: Random Nonsense