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On a date… with life

Are you well behaved only when on a date?

india Updated: Jul 04, 2010 03:26 IST
Sonal Kalra
Sonal Kalra
Hindustan Times

There’s a girl in my office who I admire and abhor alternately, for the way she looks. On certain days, she’s so unkempt and straight-out-of-bed-to-work that she may as well come wrapped in a sleeping bag. And on some other days, she’s well turned-out, quite like a true fashionista on a mission. One day, I asked her what the motivation behind the ‘well dressed days’ was. After I got the look typically reserved for those who are imbecile enough not to get the most obvious things in life — she told me that those were the days when she had a date in the evening. Oh, how obvious, I thought.

But that didn’t stop me from asking her if she felt as good about herself on days when she’s not dressed up as she does when she looks her best. ‘Now, that you’ve asked me, I feel quite awful on the days I don’t pay attention to my appearance, especially compared to the feeling of being complimented on days that I do,’ she replied. Her answer reminded me of a beautiful piece I had read several months ago, by motivational writer Dustin Wax, where he wrote about how we are differently behaved when we are on a date, as compared to our routine day-to-day behaviour. And, also how life would be so much better if we started living each day as if we were on a date. May sound like typical self-help trash, but come to look at it, there’s a lot of basic, common sense in the logic.

When on a date with someone we admire or love, we try to look our best and act in a way to put our best foot forward. Have you given a thought to the hidden advantages of doing it every moment of your life? An ad professional friend of mine used to say, ‘If I paid as much attention to my work as I do to selecting the best lingerie when going out with my boyfriend, I would be the CEO of my agency today.’ Today I wanna tell her then that the boyfriend may or may not stay in her life, but an underwear with holes on days that she doesn’t have a date wouldn’t do her much good if she found herself in an accident someday and taken to the hospital… and worse, if the doctor operating on her turns out to be a Tom Cruise look-alike. And it’s not just about appearance. Remember how, on a date, we are at our politest best — we say our sorrys and thank yous to the waiters, when otherwise we abuse them for being late in serving us by 30 seconds; we tuck our stomachs in and hold our breath when all that our body wants to do to survive is let out the gas; we listen to what our date is saying rather than trying to dominate the conversation as we do with friends and family… and most importantly, we reach out for the wallet when otherwise with friends, we look for excuses to go to the washroom just as the bill arrives.

In simple words, we are just fabulous people when we are on a date. And I feel it is gross injustice to all others (and this includes the poor spouses, too) who are not our boyfriends/girlfriends, who don’t get to see this side of us because we take them for granted. More importantly, by not being at our best most times, we too miss out on a whole lot of opportunities to create an impression — opportunities we may not even know about. So the tip for the week is simple — be on a date with life and behave in a way that your best is seen at any point by everyone — even if it is the colony watchman. You never know who may fall in love with you. And what’s best, if there happens to be an impromptu date, all you need to do is to show up, not be stressed about looking for a way to wax your armpit.

Sonal Kalra decided that she’ll be well dressed at all times of the day, no matter what. Just that the man who comes to collect the garbage at 6 am gives her strange looks now. Send your calmness tricks to her at