The Door Test – A Bronx Tale

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Sometimes, in the midst of infatuation with someone, we become lost in fantasy and lose perspective.  It’s in these times that we forget the basics and choose to overlook the obvious staring right at us.  Times like these, a little reminder from Sunny helps.  But we’ll get back to that later.

One of the basic fundamental revered traits is that of Contribution.  It comes in various forms and any person worth having as a friend or more ought to have the desire to contribute.  Sometimes, people tend to think of contribution in financial terms but that’s really a myopic scope of looking at things.

It’s no different in dating.  When you start dating someone, you can tell within the first date or two, if they have the type of personality/character that is willing to contribute or not.  It goes both ways, male and female.  As guys, we tend to forget that sometimes; and it’s usually because the girl is physically attractive.  I’ve been guilty of it in the past, and I think most guys I know, have too.  Everyone goes through his fair share of mistakes.

Some where, there is a divorced guy (or woman) looking at the door test scene and thinking to him/herself, “Should have seen that shit coming.”   The mistake we make is that we think that, “It’ll get better.”  It doesn’t.  Selfishness only compounds over time, it does not improve.  If someone is self-absorbed when they first meet you, it’s only going to become worse as they become more comfortable with you.  It applies to relationships and friendships alike.

Which brings me to the movie, “A Bronx Tale.“  It’s one of those fantastic movies that if you have not seen yet, you really should make it a point to do so.  It’d be actually difficult to watch this entire film and NOT like it.  Upon researching it more, I learned that it’s based on Chazz Palminteri’s personal childhood and reflects his times growing up in the Bronx.

The Kid in the movie essentially has two fathers: His Biological father whom he lives with and his adopted father whom he is infatuated with.  His real father, played by Robert De Niro, is a city bus driver.  His adopted father, whom he looks up to, is a local Mafia boss, Sonny, played by Chazz Palminteri.

In this scene, the kid in the vehicle has a crush on a “Colored girl.”  White guy dating a black girl in the 1950s Bronx was apparently not too acceptable and the kid turns to “Sonny” for advice.  The Wiseguy teaches him the door test.

(The relevant part starts at 1:21 into the clip.  If you watch the real movie, there is no irrelevant crappy music playing in this scene.)

Obviously  with the advent of automatic door locks, the door test has been rendered obsolete.  Nevertheless, the principle remains the same!  Moving beyond the scope of just meeting people, we have to look at dating (as well as friendship) from a balanced perspective:  Is that person willing to contribute in whatever way she can/he?

Do not take this literally.  Hey, you may have a 65 Mustang that has the old-school door locks.  You may open the door for her and she doesn’t reach over.  It does not mean she is damaged goods.

People who want to contribute are easy to spot. They have that air aobut them, and you can generally feel the vibe pretty quickly.  As I wrote, it does not have to be financial . Let’s say you’re a guy who makes over a 100,000 dollars a year and you date a girl fresh out of college who makes 30K per year.  During the course of your dating, you may take her to a nice restaurant but she may not be able to do the same for you.  It’s understandable given the economic disparity.  That wouldn’t stop her from doing something else, cooking for ya, treating you to coffee and ice cream, whatver….

Heck, it could be something completely non-financial.  It could just be something thoughtful.  There are lots of little things someone can do to show they are willing to contribute to the relationship.  Here is an example: I remember several years back, I was dating the girl from the Midwest.  We had had conversations about our favorite foods, desserts and such, so naturally I mentioned to her about how much I love Gelato.

A week later, while having a conversation on the phone, she tells me, “I was just thinking about you.  I was reading an article in a magazine about the best Gelato places in Los Angeles, and it reminded me of you.  I saved the article.  I’ll give it to you next time….”

That’s sweet, you have to admit.  It’s thoughtful.  It’s considerate and it didn’t cost a damn penny.  That stuff used to shock me.  You have to understand, I’ve been in L.A since high school  My dating life has been in L.A and the aforementioned actions are not things you’re accustomed to seeing as the norm.

Wow, Such women exist??  They clip out articles and offer you a ride to the airport, and offer to pick you up upon returning?   Where do they build them?” is one’s immediate reaction.

Of course, then you talk to your friends in the Midwest or European friends and they have a laugh at your expense.  “Dude, THAT is how normal girls act.  You’re just in L.A!”     So then, you learn something interesting.  You start thinking, “Well, I want more of these ones!”  You learn that you’ve been settling when it comes to having a standard for character.

This is where a lot of guys become bitter and angry.  They start going into a tirade about how  “women are bitches” and they just want to use you for your money.  Truth of the matter is, some women are that way, just as are some men.  (And really, when I’ve bee ripped off financially in the past, it’s usually been by men.)

In some ways, you have to learn to be able to press delete.   I think that’s one of the growing processes.  When you meet incredible people, you start thinking naturally, “Well, I much prefer to be around these people than the other ones.”  You start thinking that when such great women exist, why waste your time dating ones that are just a pain in the ass. You come across someone who is obviously self-absorbed, you learn to say “OK,” and just walk away.  Sometimes, even responding to them is a waste of time.

You start realizing that the time you’re wasting with someone you don’t really like, is the time you could have been spending with someone that you do like.  When you meet great women, you become more in tuned with your own personal boundaries and standards.  “Why would I expect anything less now?” becomes the new standard.

That’s been my experience anyway.   That brings us back to Sonny, and the Door test.  Make it a date night!  Invite a girl over and watch this film with her.  It’s a great story.  Get some popcorn and enjoy……

The Door Test Kid, that’s what Counts.

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