Still recalling courtship memories on the way home after his proposal to Jenny, anxiety about their early relationship rattles Hank emotionally. It begins as he revisits the end of their first date. But now, explaining how he should have handled it differently to the steering wheel, discomfort again rocks his thoughts. Turmoil settles in his stomach as he recalls delivering Jenny to her door.
Looking to recover from a poor date with compliments and a nice kiss, he instead is devastated by the unexpected. She avoids the kiss with, “You have a lot of potential, but next time I hope you keep the subject of sex off the table. Good night!” which fades behind her as she enters.
Her directness shatters his confidence. What did I do wrong? What if I screw up again? Where do I go from here? Hell, sex is what life is all about. Will she possibly be more specific? What do I have to change? She seems to be saying I should shape up or ship out. What if I don’t want to ship out, so how do I shape up? Or maybe I should just dump her now! But he knows it’s not an option, just a quirky thought.
Later, his sleep habits duplicate the stomach disorder he experiences at thoughts of her. Anticipating next time with her is not an easy thing to handle. He doesn’t know what to do. What will work? What is right with her? What does she expect but I do wrong? He puts a sign on his bathroom mirror: How Do I Talk to Jenny? A day later he adds, Jenny, what does it take?
Forgetting his own signs, on second date he decides to go bold, to tough it out to his satisfaction. If not good enough for her, she may not be good enough for him except for sex. After hinting that they may not be all that good as a couple, she responds with, “Okay, as you wish. I have been kind of worried about us too.”
His bluff called, he works the date into a comfortable success. Probably too long-winded, but his descriptions of various successes lay groundwork about his potential and hints about her presence in his future. She likes to listen, and he interprets it as approval.
Several times he inquires about details of her life. Frustrated at her resistance to disclosing who she is or was in the past, he flirts with the subject of her history with men. No mention of sex but he flits around the periphery. Never directly but on the edge, indirectly.
Being an expert in indirectness, Jenny mistakes his speechifying for the skill that he normally doesn’t use. However, she recognizes his intentions, adroitly dodges his interest, and provides only the least revealing details. Almost undetectable, she shifts him back into the mainstream of their conversation. As she redirects his interests, he redirects his intentions. Thus, she teaches him the wisdom of seeing things her way, and he learns to please himself by pleasing her. It’s a subtle change in him, but he fails to recognize it.
He invests himself by impressing her. He fails to realize that she seeks much more information to help with her self-development as date and potential mate, with their relationship development as a couple, and with his suitability as potential mate. She worries about wasting time with the wrong guy; she has so little to waste.
She continually judges his character and potential for her future. Seeing sincerity, visualizing honesty, and imagining integrity, she decides to accept his invitation to a third date. He seems worth the risk, plus he’s fun to be with. He is moving toward her expectation that he’s good enough, but she restrains herself. Is he real? Steady? Dependable? Trustworthy? Capable of proving his worth to earn her devotion? Still so much to learn about what a future together would be like. Is he yet becoming devoted?
At the door when he for the second time goes for the much anticipated kiss, she turns her cheek to receive it. Then Jenny explains to Hank, “Men are never more handsome than when they treat a woman as a lady. Good night” and leaves him standing amid more confusion about his ability to woo this highly desirable woman.
He ponders more deeply. Was that a thank you? It must be. She agrees to next date. Handsome? Me? Naw! But it sounds classy coming from her. Her disposition is beginning to be mysterious and leaning toward fascination. She has an end-of-date style that sure slows me down, but it is charming except that sex—and even kisses—remain pushed to the sideline. We have fun dates, but what was that kiss on the cheek all about? I was ready to plant a big one on her, but she dodged it. Next time, it will be different. It calls for charm.
After third date, expecting some surprise like before, the good night kiss comes easily, as if he deserves it. She cooperates very little, however. Not dead but not too alive either. Having missed out on two goodnight kisses and being anxiety-ridden between dates, his passion stirs but hers isn’t detectable. Just a friendly good night kiss, except his hand moves too close to her breast. She politely breaks off and mumbles “Good night.” He wonders, how can women be so neutral about something with so much potential pleasure? Or is it me?
Women are passionate beings; why not her? Am I dating a cold fish? Not revealed to him, she thinks that as long as she controls the passion agenda, he wants more and has to return to find it. As she expects, more dates follow. Jenny has learned how to keep his interest up and sweeps him into her net as he invites her for date number four ….