“Is that your husband?” the man standing outside the kayak store asks.
“No.” I reply, eyebrow raised.
“Boyfriend?” he probes.
“Third date.” Hmmm. Is this guy serious?
“Really? You two look so comfortable together. How’d ya meet?”
“He said hello to me in the park.”
“That’s it?! Hello? Just like that? Why can’t I meet anyone that easily?” he says, half-joking, sticking out his hand. “Well, then, hi there!”
At this point, Mr. Third Date’s animal instincts perk up and he immediately sidles up to Mr. Clueless and introduces himself. A bit of kayaking and surfing banter ensues, and territory thus marked, Mr. Third roams back into the life vest racks.
“Sooo… ya got a sister? I just can’t seem to find the right woman – she’s gotta be pretty, a hard core sailor and camper, be independent, have her own money…I don’t have much, y’know, it all goes into the boat…she needs a sense of humor, knows how to cook…blah, blah, blah…” He rattles on, listing all the things he wants, like I’m interviewing him for eHarmony, never once considering what he could do to prepare himself for when she shows up. Suddenly, my inner entrepreneur taps me on the shoulder. I should start a dating service! Write a how-to book! Help a poor guy out…
This is not the first time I’ve encountered the desperate and lonely up here in the Pine Tree State, or even this specific line of questioning. (What’s with men asking lately, in earshot of that evening’s companion, if I’m interested in them?) I think I’ll go home tonight and pen a man-ifesto: The Mainer’s Manual to Meeting Your Mate, and hang my matchmaker sign on the door. I’ll make a mill, I’m tellin’ ya. This is one lonely place – everyone here wants to connect, and no one seems to know how.
Then I realize there already IS a book – and I have it out on loan from my library: Permission Marketing by Seth Godin. (wondering how I was going to work him in here, weren’t you?) I’m immersing myself in wisdom from those living the life of which I dream, and since that method has worked for me before, I’m voraciously soaking up marketing pearls from Godin, Marie Forleo and other b-school geniuses with the intention of joining their ranks. Permission Marketing, while not his latest venture, nevertheless, is full of effective, 21st century steps to turn strangers into friends, and friends into customers.
See, Seth is my guru. And not just in the boardroom. As a budding creative, I am not content in just one arena, and neither is he. A bestselling author, marketer, consultant, entrepreneur, and overall finger-on-the-pulse idea man, he blazes a path for the firestarter in me: as a writer, collaborator, artist, entrepreneur, engaged citizen, and yes – lover. I cannot remain tightly furled in one area, while trying to blossom in another. Uncorking that bottle of Champagne means releasing all the bubbles…and my cup, dear readers, wants to runneth over. I am expanding into a realm near you.
Which means not only am I getting ready to launch new work projects, but yes, I’m also dating again, after a healthy hiatus. I took my demons & damsels-in-distress down to the river and banged stones on them until the waters ran clean and clear and now it’s sheet day, folks! See the bright whiteness hanging on the line, breeze fluttering, just waiting for someone to come along and make up the bed? Well, grab that bottle of Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé, a couple of glasses, and follow us as we turn strangers into friends and friends into lovers.
THE JOY OF SETH
(or How to Cross-Pollinate the Principles of Business & Pleasure)
1. Get Permission First.
Widen your lens. Just because we’re out together, doesn’t mean you’re in. My first passion is people – the whole spectrum. Strangers, acquaintances, friends, confidants, colleagues, associates, partners, even ex-boyfriends. I enjoy the company of them all. It’s only with another that we truly know ourselves – it’s a subjective world, after all. I’ll hold up my mirror, if you hold up yours. So, get permission from me first to pass from platonic to romantic. It’s not assumed nor automatic. Don’t move on to step 2 unless the coast is clear on step 1.
2. Create Anticipation.
Why, oh why, are we so obsessed with instant gratification? You know as well as I do that anticipation is the most powerful aphrodisiac – when you crave something so bad it’s all your mind can focus on. Rush through it? Nah – this is the fun part! Don’t pounce. Don’t whiz past the scenery. Don’t go in for the kiss, just to ‘get it out of the way’ (as someone once did – how unromantic is that?) Build up excitement. Generate every marketer’s dream: have the desire there before you even launch. Seduce me. Give me no option but to incessantly fantasize about getting my hands on you. Make me unable to think about work or sleep or food until I do.
3. Make It Personal
Red roses? Yawn. Chocolate? I know better than you where to get the really good stuff. Teddy bears? What am I? Twelve? (You’d be surprised what a 35 year old man will show up with.) Then there was the guy whose philosophy was to cast a wide net to increase his odds – he’d ask out every woman in the bar. I don’t want to be a stat in your probability experiment. Take time getting to know who I am, because I am the exception to your rules and expectations. Set yourself apart. Be original. Customize the experience, to us. Pinpoint a shared passion – so we may revel together. One size doesn’t fit all. And really, do you want the one that fits all, or who fits you – perfectly?
4. Be Relevant
Grab my attention. Give me yours. I don’t want to watch your football team on TV, I want to run on the field with you. I don’t want to hear about glory days, rather, let’s strap on the climbing gear and trek the Himalayas. Skip the coulda, shoulda, woulda’s; instead, taste, feel, and mold those dreams into sparkling reality. I want possibility & revelation. So go ahead and reveal…I won’t ask for what I’m not prepared to give, and neither should you.
Know what I’m really interested in? You. Your imagination. Your spark. Your essence.
Know what else I’m interested in? Showing you mine…
So, where do we go from here? According to our digital-age mastermind, once permission has been granted, and these steps have been climbed, three outcomes are likely: trust, loyalty, and frequency. What marketer, er…person, could ask for more? Try ’em & let me know how it works out… I’ll be waiting for you.
I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman. ~ Anais Nin
All she wants to do is dance. ~ Don Henley