Dig Baton Rouge

The Bitter Lemon

By Holly A. Phillips

“Whether it’s the heat generated in our bodies because of an accelerated heart rate, or just the mental switch from ‘off’ to ‘on,’ something changes when you’re with someone special.”

I’ve been on several dates with men I’ve met through Ok Cupid, and I’m starting to notice a pattern. This is what usually happens: we go on the first “date,” which is also our first time meeting, and it’s not great, but also not terrible. Then, he asks me on a second date and I agree because I’m just not sure how I feel — I’m questionable over that spark.

That spark. It’s the feeling you’ve got to have in order for a relationship to even begin. Whether it’s the heat generated in our bodies because of an accelerated heart rate, or just the mental switch from “off” to “on,” something changes when you’re with someone special.

I read an article recently where the author listed things — some superficial, some intellectual — that guaranteed her to feel that spark.

I disagree. I don’t think a flame is ignited based off a series of events or certain traits. I don’t think it’s something we can define, which is why it’s so special when it happens.

A coworker told me it’s possible for a spark to form over time. But, I’m not sold on that idea either. I think it’s instant, and it’s either there or it’s not.

I’ve felt it before even talking to a guy I saw across a room, knowing that there’s something different about him.

It’s not necessarily looks. For me, personality definitely comes first, although looks aren’t disregarded. But it’s the heat, the chemistry between us that makes me want to get physical with a man.

I also find that once the flame is ignited, I care more about how I appear to that person — my looks, my timing, and my undoubted wittiness. I get nervous and excited all at once when I’m with someone and sparks are flying. If there’s a chill in the air, chances are I’m not going to care quite as much what the other person thinks.

The scary part is, a significant spark can make a person overlook bad qualities in a potential partner.

In college, I made it a point to kiss every guy I went on a date with. Sounds slutty, but I felt like a kiss was a surefire way to know if there was a spark.

Now, I know that’s not true. If I don’t want to kiss at the end of the date, any type of heat just isn’t there.

After going on dates recently and not feeling any chemistry, I started to wonder if something was wrong with me. But then I realized that chemistry is one big difference between online dating and well, offline dating.

If you meet someone at a coffee shop, you feel the spark, and then go on dates. If you “meet” someone online, you are going on dates to see if there is the possibility of chemistry (only in movies does a spark ignite over email).

Sometimes, I get really disappointed when I don’t feel the heat. The guy can be attractive, sweet, funny, and smart, but there’s just not that urge to throw him over the kitchen table in a sexual fury.

In high school, I had a list of things I thought would makeup my dream guy. It was mostly silly things — looks good in a baseball hat, reads the newspaper — but a teacher I had told me that I’d probably end up with someone completely opposite of the man on my list.

Perhaps she’s right. There are times when I think I know what kind of man I’m looking for, but maybe I’ll just know it when I find him.

I guess the only thing on my list, for certain, is that spark.

Read more about building a bonfire of love on Holly’s blog, TheBitterLemon.com. 


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