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What do you bring to the table?

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More and more these days a decision to become a couple is starting to feel like a corporate merger. Although it is very wise to conduct due diligence over the course of dating and getting to know someone a lot of people these days are looking to cut to the chase. It's not unheard of for one person to ask another who is interested in them the following question: What do you bring to the table?

Chest pounding

Generally speaking prior to asking the would be suitor "the table question" it is usually preceded by the questioner bragging about her or his own achievements in life. This may include the college they attended, the number/type of degrees they hold, the position/title they hold at their company, home ownership, their ballpark salary figure, along with the type of car they drive as well as vacation destinations they're fond of frequenting and any other hobbies or activities they feel separates them from the pack. Believe it or not very often it is successful women who choose to "set the table" with this type of discussion when men show interest in them. They're looking for a guy who either matches them in accomplishments or preferably has surpassed them. Not to be outdone there are many men who use this same approach with women. I once overheard one such guy state: "I'm tired of playing (Captain Save A-Ho). We're truly living in a "material world" these days. Back in the 70s people use to start off conversations with "What's your sign?" Today it's not a shock to hear someone ask, "What's your credit score?"

Gender differences

By and large men and women have a different list of requirements or desires they find attractive in a mate. It's not uncommon for people to forget there are basic differences between what a man looks for in a woman and what a woman looks for in a man. For instance a woman who runs down her list as aforementioned fails to realize she is using the wrong bait for attracting most men. All of the things she mentioned are things (women) tend to look for in men! As any hunter will tell you if you go hunting you want to make sure you bring the right bait!

Most men will not approach a woman unless they are physically attracted to her. If in his eyes he considers her to be a "Plain Jane" he could care less about what is in her bank account. There will probably never be a female version of Hugh Hefner (rich and successful 86 year old woman marrying a handsome young man who is age 26). Financial security is not the top quality men look for in women. They would rather date a "hot looking" cocktail waitress or department store sales rep. If a man is attracted to a woman and later discovers all those other accomplishments then that is "icing on the cake".

The key things men look for in women initially are physical attractiveness; (beauty is in the eye of the beholder), easy going personality, and a great sense of humor. Most women also want to date men they find attractive as well. They also want him to have a pleasing personality and a similar sense of humor. However gender differences come into play when men and women consider someone to be serious relationship or "marriage material". While many men are content or dare I say happy to have a mate remain as she was when they met (loving, affectionate, and supportive); women on the other hand even in today's society still want a husband who is driven to be a material provider for his wife and family. "Stay at home dads" are not yet in demand in America. Women that have a religious upbringing believe a man should ultimately be the head of the household. Therefore it is important for him to have the ability to provide security for the family. Nevertheless it is borderline rude to have financial discussions with someone you just met in the eyes of many people.

Lack of baggage

Sometimes it's more important to know what a person does not bring to the table. Being able to say, "I'm debt free, drug free, and disease free" are all pluses. In addition to being able to say, "I don't have any baby momma or baby daddy drama, no wacko psycho exes hovering around or twisted criminal family members, no toxic parents who stick their nose in all of my business, no child support garnished from my payroll check, no pending lawsuits, no felonies, still having the ability to be able to name every person you have had sex with! Very often these things are far rarer than finding someone who has a six figure income!

Pump your brakes!

Dating is supposed to be fun! Trying to fast forward to exchanging credit reports and health records before agreeing to go out to dinner, see a movie, attend a concert, a play, take a stroll along the beach, or have a picnic in the park is non-sense! Learn to enjoy the moment. Gradually get to know someone. Building relationships is a marathon and not a sprint! You are not on a life and death mission.

No one is asking you to decide on whether to cut the red wire or blue wire! It's just a date!

Instead of adopting the philosophy of having someone prove they are worth your time by asking them what they bring to the table, which will in all likelihood put them in defensive mode, learn to encourage them to relax and be themselves. Odds are they will reveal more about themselves once they feel comfortable around you. Truth be told most people bend over backwards to impress one another the first few months they begin dating. It's not until later that they reveal their "authentic selves". If you should identify any "red flags" it's never too late for you to walk away from the table.

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