We Need To Have A Hard Talk

We Need To Have A Hard Talk

This is not going to be an easy talk, but it's a necessary one.

And despite there being more important things to discuss, we're still going to make time for this today. 

The issue is so personal that it's highly likely that if this did apply to you that it would never (and I mean never) be brought to your attention because it's a little embarrassing. 

Now, I'm not saying that any of this applies to you, but can we agree that good people occasionally get caught slippin'? If so, then suspend your disbelief for a moment that any of this is about you so we can pretend that it could be about you. That's the only way we're going to change lives here. We must examine ourselves and wonder if there's something we can do better. We have to solve this thing one person at a time.

Let's get back to basics. We're about to discuss first impressions and 3 of our 5 senses in dating: smell, sight, and sound. 


I've been around enough folks in my business life to guess that you and I have a shared experience. You too have probably attended a business meeting, networking event, or a number of socials where you ran into someone who failed to take proper care of their personal odors, particularly their breath.

Maybe their breath smelled like stale coffee, cigarettes, or worst. The conversation in your head probably went something like, "OH MY GOD!" as your nose instinctively activated its stop-breathing reflex until you quickly made an excuse to cross the room to find a pocket of fresh air.

According to the Bad Breath Paradox--a case in which people are unable to gauge the smell of their breath--we're all guilty as sin of unintentionally breathing fire. The authors of an article published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), as cited by therabreath.com, explained that "...our inability to smell our own oral odor stems from some evolutionary adaptation because certain scents don't need to be detected all the time."

Further, due to the linking of the nose and mouth, the system naturally ignores the presence of certain odors, which explains how things can go sour without our noticing. 

With so many existing products to prevent, mask, or altogether eliminate odors, we have everyday tools to stay vigilant. But when this breach of vigilance happens on a date, it's goes from being a natural human phenomenon to an egregious violation. And for that reason, I beg of you, for the sake of Pete, to take heed. Do not blow this off by saying, "My breath is always fresh." No. It's not. It's not always fresh. Occasionally it hums, so before you go out, make the choice to freshen up. Literally, brush and floss your teeth, then gargle with pepperminty mouthwash.

I know this sounds so basic that it comes across as condescending, but trust me on this one, it needs to be said. I'm a witness. Like, it really, really needs to be said. If someone can't imagine, for instance, kissing you or going out with you again because your breath is kickin' like karate, then that's the worst way to lose out on a second or third date. The worse.

And as an important aside, since we're talking about smells, don't be musty. That needs to be said, as well.

Look, here's how we make sure everything stays fresh:

Have a small care kit in your car, in your purse (or murse), or at work that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. Throw in a travel-sized pack of wet wipes and a mini deodorant. You can even slide in a small tester-size of cologne/perfume.

What can we do to make the world better? 



There's nothing more disheartening than putting in an effort to look nice only to show up to find your new date looking sloppy.

Since we're doing introspection here, let's act like it's you who's sloppy. Consider how your date might feel having put in effort while you haven't.

It's safe to assume that a person who has enough pride to make sure they present well for a first impression probably has discriminating-enough taste to take notice of the lack of care you put into the date. Out of respect, a little work needs to be put in. Both people should show up looking like they tried and looking appropriate for the occasion. I'm not even talking about going overboard. I'm talking about basic stuff, like making sure your clothes are ironed, hair attended to, face cleaned, teeth brushed, and shoes polished. What our grandparents would consider looking nice and neat. Not nice and fresh-to-death, just plain ole nice and neat.

ATiwolf via CC Flickr

ATiwolf via CC Flickr

Going off topic for one second to illustrate the importance of impressions. At a former job, someone we were partnering with on a project showed up to our second planning meeting wearing very casual capri pants, signaling bad judgement and a lack of respect for the business.

Our CEO never invited her back and the project moved forward without her. This is how precarious the matter of impressions is, that even on a second round, a bad one can get you sacked. 

You can never be sure if the other person will want a second date, but at least take pride in knowing that you came representing your better self. 

What can we do to show we care?



Who'd you rather date?

Person A: Hi! I'm a nature lover who likes reading, writing, adventures, everything 80's, travel, and football (excluding Dallas and New England). I love to laugh and I adore kindness, brilliance, and humor. 

Person B: If you ask me to go clubbing, the answer is no. It's kind of childish. I like football, but will drop you like a bad habit if you cheer for the Dallas Cowgirls or the Patriots. Please don't be an a-hole. You must make me laugh. And don't be stupid.

Amanda via CC Flickr

Amanda via CC Flickr

My guess is you chose Person A, who basically said the same thing as Person B. Only nicer and more positive.

Positivity goes a long way and negativity repels, but it seems like a lot of people don't understand the advantage of focusing on a target because there are more Person B profiles out there than imaginable. People speaking directly to what and who they don't want rather than targeting what and who they do want. People muddying their first impressions.

It's both strange and telling to read profiles directed outside of a person's target audience. For example, I see a version of this blurb quite a bit: "Swipe left if you bring drama." If the reader is paying attention, they may wonder why a person would waste characters speaking to someone they claim not to like. If the purpose of a profile is to attract an ideal friend, then the reader may wonder why a person would choose to willfully insert negativity into their profile. And if the reader brings drama, rest assured, if they like what they see, they're swiping right without regard for the disqualifier.

Avoid running the risk of sounding pessimistic, mistrusting, or like someone with a chip on their shoulder. Your profile is not a place to passive aggressively vent. It's a place to focus on what you want. Period. That makes you sound positive and hopeful. That's attractive. 

How do I make myself sound good?

Focus like a laser beam on what you want, not what you don't want.

None of these offenses will keep anyone from getting date after date, but they're reminders of simple things that can make a huge impact. Taking care to focus on your smell, sight, and sound can transition you into more interesting senses--touch and taste.


Header photo credit: Susy Morris via CC Flickr

Smell photo credits: Perfume - Maria Morri, Mouthwash - Linda Sellers, Toothbrush Set - Ian Turton, Deodorant - Joe Mud via CC Flickr