We can all look back on a relationship and pinpoint what I call the WOW Moment—the “Writing on the Wall” Moment. It’s that defining event or comment or look from him that makes you stop and wonder. I mean, really wonder.
Allow me to elucidate with examples based on two true stories.
You’re on a first date, working hard to keep the conversation scintillating and doing your best to be vivacious and fun (which isn’t hard because you are fabulous). But he’s not even making eye contact, barely answering your questions, and fingering his cell phone like it was his, er, you know. This is a classic WOW Moment. As in, WOW, I can’t believe I’m on a date with such a jerk.
Another example. He’s taken you to the cool new restaurant. You’re dressed in a tight red dress with black leather boots that reach suggestively up your thighs. In short, you look hot, you feel hot, damn it all, you are hot. And he agrees. The conversation sparkles, building to crescendos of laughter. All through dinner there is romantic hand touching and delicate knee knocking. The waitress comes to take your order and you both blurt out the same menu item, collapsing into to a heap of we’re-destined-for-each-other giggles. This couldn’t be going better, you think to yourself. And you know he feels the same. It’s as though it’s your restaurant. That’s your brilliant full moon up there, and the world spins around this perfect duo called you and him.
And then it comes. Just when you don’t expect it. The second double scotch on the rocks has now become the sixth one. You seriously doubt he can walk to the restroom, let alone drive you home later. Does he always drink this much? you wonder, the question flitting around your brain like an annoying fly on a buffet spread. You shoo it away with a big sip of the perfectly chosen wine. (Yes, he knows his wines, too.)
Yet again, another classic WOW moment. However, this one is a more difficult to pinpoint. It’s hard to read the writing on the wall when you can’t see the words for the champagne bubbles, so to speak. You’re blinded by lust and momentarily can’t read or write English. Damn it all, what is English? I only know one language. It’s called “Him.” In the name of learning from the mistakes of others, let me tell you what happened following these dates. Mr. Silent Finger, despite showing no interest, actually called a few days later. Believe it or not, she agreed to a second date. And he was still a jerk! It turned out to be lifesaving because the jerk-factor outranked the sexual chemistry-factor and she could walk away.
The second case was more difficult. By the end of the first date, he had her like a nail on a magnet. Within a month, they were living together. Within two months, she was going to Al-Anon meetings, secretly believing she was the problem, not his binge drinking. It took her an entire year to fully accept that he’s not charming and clever. He’s a drunk.
Ah, how to heed the WOW when your heart is a flutter? I have found there is only one effective strategy and it is not for the feint of heart. It is simply time. No matter how exciting, fun, or mysterious a guy may appear, if you get the WOW feeling in the pit of your stomach, put at least three dates, each in different settings, between you and the first sexual encounter. If those dates prove WOW-free, then WOW-we—you’re good to go.