Friday, July 20, 2012

I'd rather fight a man than go on a first date.

I realized that tonight.

My best friend gets a recap of all my jiu jitsu comings and goings. Considering her educational background and our shared experience in the inexplicable world of salsa, she's one of the few people who can understand some of the things I talk about...tonight's revelation was especially true since I'm pretty sure there's no one else on this planet who could get my varied, infrequent, maddeningly subtle and downright weird dating life. After telling her about some recent dealings, I took a step back from the situation and said "ya know...I'd rather spar with a guy than go on a first date with him."

This picture has little to do with this post, but I love the guy's face. 

Training has changed a lot about my communication with men. Between a close relationship with my brother and father, lots of male cousins and friends, I've had no issues communicating with men, but still, spending time around guys predictably makes one even more comfortable talking to them, both on and off the mats. Well, I'm beginning to think that comfort doesn't translate very well to the realm of dating.

Initial interactions in the dating process are generally strange and uncomfortable for both parties. It's starts as a level playing field in most cases...but I think training has given me a "leg up" of sorts that most men don't find welcoming. Comfort is power and power imbalance (in relation to desired gender roles) is always a problem on a date. Crazy, because in situations where romance isn't implied, that comfort and familiarity results in more openness and clarity. When I meet someone who is comfortable around Blacks in general (or not uncomfortable around minorities), the interaction is smoother. When I talk to a Japanese person and they realize I have exposure to their country and language, the conversation opens up on a different level...but in those situations, the exchange is usually founded on achieving some sort of balance or equality. I'd be willing to bet that's not the case in most dating situations, from either party involved.

Well, considering my recent dealings with dating--rather disappointing after having my enthusiasm over the man in question training BJJ dashed by his not so subtle hints that I train for contact with men--I've decided that rolling with a guy is a much better way to break the ice than conversation. Not very romantic, but much more honest, I'm sure. 


SavageKitsune said...

rather disappointing after having my enthusiasm over the man in question training BJJ dashed by his not so subtle hints that I train for contact with men--I've decided that rolling with a guy is a much better way to break the ice than conversation.
Wait a sec... guys who train BJJ are hinting that?

Are you responding with "Is that why *you* do it?" ((innocent blink))

Trudy said...

Brilliant. The barriers of unfamiliarity (on dates) versus how men associate touch (they usually choose it as one of their top 2 or the top 1 of the five love langauges) with emotion (in the martial art or elsewhere) explains a lot about your preference.

I hate dates Megan. LOL.

Anonymous said...

"Comfort is power and power imbalance is always a problem on a date."
Wow, I can relate to everything in this post, but never really identified this as the problem. Jiu jitsu has ruined my dating life. Still love it though....

Megan said...

@Savage. Yep. That spoke VOLUMES. If someone has been training more than 3 months and still thinks that, there are bigger issues. I TOTALLY wanted to ask that, but based on the context of the conversation, it wouldn't have worked. know how I am about dates. I'll never understand how people have fun in the process. If I like someone, then yeah, hanging out is fun. But just eating food across from random dudes? Nope. You nailed it with the love languages though.

@Anonymous...yeah, it changes...things. I brought up the dating-issues-for-women deal with one of the brown belts and he wasn't in the least bit surprised at the reactions of discomfort or jealousy.

SavageKitsune said...

Yep. That spoke VOLUMES. If someone has been training more than 3 months and still thinks that, there are bigger issues.
Uh-huh. "Next." ;)

But better to know early, so as not to waste any more time on a twit.

Aparna said...

Maybe I'm biased because I met my first and only boyfriend through BJJ, I agree. I know some people don't like to "mix business with pleasure," so to speak, but I thought it was great. We never had those jealousy issues with spending too much time training or me getting mauled by guys. And I like that it kept us honest. With this guy I didn't worry about it but some guys can be assholes about dating. Going out with a guy from BJJ, knowing that we would have to keep seeing each other and training together regardless of what happened, made me feel like I had a security net against him just screwing me over because he could.

Plus, I just feel weird about dating in general. I would rather get to know someone as friends first, then consider them as a date, over meeting them as a date and knowing there was that expectation.

slideyfoot said...

I value people who are blunt and don't mind me being blunt in return, so I'm glad I never had to really do the whole awkward dating thing. I've basically had two relationships which could be called 'long-term' (I strongly suspect the first one only lasted as long as it did because we didn't see each other for about two months due to the university holidays ;D), and both times they approached me. As an introvert, I'm not very good at the whole courting thing.

Of course, I like going out for meals etc with my gf now, but then we've been together 12 years, so that's a bit different. Communication obviously stops being awkward after that long together.

Megan said...


That's funny. Don't know you IRL but never would peg you as "blunt".

I gotta ask though, are you into MBTI
? Do you know yours?

slideyfoot said...

Heh - I think we may have the Myers-Briggs conversation before. I generally come out as INTJ.

I always try to be diplomatic online (mainly because anything you say online is pretty much there forever, given the ease of cache, archiving etc), but I also appreciate directness, particularly when speaking in person. I've always found small talk annoying, and euphemism soon gets irritating too.

Maybe blunt isn't the right word: direct but polite, perhaps? :)

Shark Girl said...

I'm not in the dating realm and haven't been for a long time, but I totally understand and think I would feel the same way. In dating, esp. first dates, the motivations and expectations of each person are unclear and both parties usually want to keep it that way.

Sparring is really very simple. We wrestle until the buzzer rings or someone taps. At the end of the night, everyone goes back to their own homes and sleeps in their own beds. No one agonizes over whether they should kiss or possibly more. (Well, in theory.) We don't obsess over whether so-and-so will want to spar with us again or whether we had spinach in our teeth during our omaplata. And sometimes that smell from our gi gives us a bonus tap out. Oh my god, sparring is SO much easier than dating!

Megan said...

Lol at theory!

You're so right...I never really thought about the simplicity part, but that's so true. I'm ready to start just inviting guys to the gym. Well...maybe that's not the best idea.

Anonymous said...

I had this epiphany on New Years eve.... I took it a bit farther then a date however...I've been (extremely, happily) dating a jiu jitsu guy ever since :D

Easiest dating EVER! No self esteem issues because the guy has seen me at my worst (sweaty, messy hair, choke face...).

It beats that awkward date conversation when the guy realizes "oh, so you're serious about this jiu jitsu stuff"...

Go date some jits dude!