A young person I know was telling me about her upcoming evening out this evening with a young man she has recently met. She was stuck for ideas as to what to do, but when I suggested eating somewhere she recoiled in horror, stating that she "wasn't ready to eat in front of him yet".
Although ridiculous, I have come across this concept before. It is just one of many rules that we humans impose on ourselves when it comes to starting a new relationship. For the first few weeks, or dates (whichever takes longer) we are all on our best behaviour, and take great pride in looking our best. In fact, we often look better when we start dating someone than on the night we actually met that person. If you met whilst out with your mates, there's no doubt you looked nice - but if you are getting ready to go out on a date, you take things up a notch.
Nowadays, both sexes take an age getting ready. Every individual hair on the head is put into place. Eyebrows, legs, armpits, backs, bikini lines, speedo lines and anything else that needs it is waxed. Enough make-up is applied to re-paint the Cistine chapel, and at the same time enough volume of aftershave to make a corpse smell nice is applied to all areas of the body. We brush our teeth at 7:30pm, and gargle mouthwash like there is no tomorrow. Any blemish that may exist is disguised or made to look like part of an exquisite tattoo.
The transformation is not just a physical one. We also transform ourselves into perfect ladies and gentlemen. We say "please" and "thankyou", and laugh at each others jokes. The first kiss of greeting is always on the cheek because you are both chewing 8 - 10 fresh mints or chewing gum that would choke the other person to death if you snogged.
And you fight yourself for control of your own bodily functions. How many times have you sat somewhere with terrible stomach cramps from holding in a fart for too long? And eventually when the pain is too much and you have to excuse yourself, you have to try to do that awful, weird walk whilst keeping your sphincter and buttocks clenched tight for fear of letting anything out. And god help you if you have to go downstairs, cos you can't clench and walk downstairs at the same time. No matter how hard you try, you fart your way down those stairs as if every stair was a whoopee cushion.
How many times have you had to stifle a burp with your mouth closed behind a napkin. Of course, we don't fool anyone, because our cheeks puff out when we burp secretly - like the explosion that happens in cartoons when someone swallows a stick of ACME dynamite.
So we put ourselves through all this discomfort and effort in order to impress the other person with the hope of having sex with them. Make no mistake; this is a primal thing.
The ironic thing is, that once we have got to have sex with a person in a relationship, we stop trying. Somewhere in our subconscious is the rational thought that once we have been seen at our fleshy, pimply worst, there is no need to pretend. We fart, belch, scratch ourselves, pick our feet, noses and scabs, cough, wheeze, pick our teeth, pull wax from our ears and then examine it - or eat it even. And all in front of our other half.
It's as if we are saying "I have nothing to fear - this person has seen me naked; they can sink no lower"
It is true what they say - Familiarity breeds contempt. So perhaps we should try the dating process in reverse. Maybe we should try to meet people when we are at our worst; dirty clothes, greasy hair, bad breath, bad teeth, farting and burping all over the place. If you can hit it off with someone looking like that at least you can say:
"Sure, I look bad now - but things can only get better!"