Ask LSD: How do you follow up after a date?

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about our bad dates. Why?

1) They are usually more hilarious.

2) It serves as therapy.

3) We want to make sure we are providing the ladies of the internet with some cautionary tales and advice. We can’t get those several hours of our life we spent hearing about movie theater etiquette back (and, btw, what do you think my A would have done if he encountered S’s D in the movie theater? National Guard? Court Marshall), but we can prevent sistas everywhere from falling for the same tricks.

That said, we’ve been fortunate to have some very good dates as well. And, in a way, the good dates are a lot more nerve-wracking than the bad ones. When you meet a guy you never want to see again, you walk away and it’s like, who cares? In fact, you’re often delighted because 1) The hellish experience is over 2) you’ve got a good story to tell your friends, or, our lucky case, our wonderful readers.

barney gif

But, when you meet a guy who you think, “Wow, I could actually like him,” that’s when the anxiety really kicks in. What to do next? Well, first, you call your friends on the walk home, and the conversation goes something like this:

S: How was your date?

L: It was actually prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetttttttttttttttyyyyyyyyy good. He was really nice, and he made some good jokes. And he laughed at my jokes. And he was a generous tipper.

S: Oh! Sounds fun! Get it girl!

L: I mean, he also had a small bald spot and he mispronounced Oregon, like, 3 times.

S: Hmm…

L: I mean, whatever, I’ll probably never hear from him again and that’s fine. I don’t care. Hey yo I’m still not a player but you still a hater.

S: What’s happening right now? Are you quoting Big Pun?

L: Yes. I’m drunk.

Second, after you appropriately debrief not only your friends, but your coworkers, your neighbors, your barista, and your hairdresser, you start to hear the inevitable question. “So, are you gonna go out again?” Or, “Did you say anything to him after the date?”

Good news, friends! We’re here to offer our (as always, unsolicited) thoughts on follow up after a great first date.

L: When I first started dating, I would spend the first couple days after the date hoping that the guy would follow up with me and trying to send him legit telegraphic messages to do so. Most of the time, they would, and that was great, but sometimes they wouldn’t, and I would use the absence of contact to reinforce my negative sense of self and just general feeling of hopelessness:

dying alone

Now, I’ve been dating for a full 6 months. And I’d like to think of myself as a bit wiser and thicker skinned (largely thanks to the wise counsel of my co-bloggers and our readers). I’ve realized a few things:

1) Contrary to my previous belief, even though I hold the longstanding title as “most insecure” among my friends, there are people out there who are just as insecure as me and just as afraid of rejection. Some of them are men. So, if I had a good time on the date, I provide a little positive reinforcement (i.e., “thanks for taking me out. I had a great time.”) I figure, at the very least, a thank you is in order. And maybe it’ll give them the nudge they need to ask me out.

2) “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” – My dad

Oh what? Michael Jordan said it first? Well, I’ve been listening to my father tell me that for 20 years. And I finally realize that he’s right. What’s the point of going out in pursuit of fun, dateable guys you want to see again if you don’t even try to see them again?

3) I can survive rejection. UGHHHHH. I know I just spewed all that sports-loving, all star style feel good bullshit about baskets and free throws, but I take it back for a minute. Losing sucks. Rejection sucks. But the weird thing about rejection is, the more it happens, the easier it gets. So seriously, every time I text a guy and say “thanks for taking me out,” and I never hear from him again, I actually care less and less. (How’s that for a growth mindset y’all?)

So, my new post-date strategy is to say thank you. Add an inside joke if necessary. I feel like if I do that, I’m giving the guy the window he needs to ask me out again. And if he doesn’t, I figure, he’s either just not that into me, or he has too much going on in his life, or he’s an even bigger wimp than I am. And I move on. And by move on, I mean, seek solace in a Netflix binge that involves a whole lotta Office reruns and the occasional smattering of a Law and Order SVU. Stabler +Jim Halpert= a cure all for emotional wounds.

S: Those were wise words, indeed, L. Especially from your dad (Hi, Mr. L!) who I’m pretty sure was quoting that advice to us back when we were ten and picking out our dream outfits in the JC Penney catalog (dead serious. L and I did that every time we hung out for a solid year. Obviously our cool factor was established early on).

But I digress. I will tell you something that has totally surprised me about online dating. When I started this whole thing, I kind of assumed that most of the time, I’d at least sort of know where I stood at the end a first date. I figured if a guy really liked me, I’d be able to tell. If we both had a great time, it would be as abundantly clear as a match.com commercial. If neither of us were into it, it might make for an awkward date, but we’d probably both get the picture.

Ahhh to be young and naive. What I discovered through a painful, confusing and at times, straight up humiliating process, is that at least half the time you can’t tell what the hell is going to happen next! Real talk, half. Or worse, you’re sure you know what’s going to go down, but NOPE, you were dead wrong. Here are a few of the most common examples from my personal dating history:

  • I think a date was awful and it turns out the guy had a great time. Case in point: N the Brit. Had an excruciatingly awkward date with him with zero chemistry. He was literally silent for most of it while I over-compensated by babbling like a lunatic. Assumed it had been just as lame/awful for him since he barely spoke or cracked a smile, and that was that, UNTIL he texted me that he’d had a lovely time and asked me out again. WTF? This has happened a few times (ahem), and every time I literally say to myself, ‘Were we on the same date?’
  • I think we both had a great time and it turns out it was just me. Multiple examples of great dates with flirting, good conversation, laughter, all around fun. This was in no way one sided… the guys all acted like they were having a blast, no one hurried to get the check (one guy kept begging ‘one more drink’ to the point where I was sloshed). And yet: never heard from any of them again.
  • Guy tells me he had a great time and asks me out again. Turns out it was still. just. me. Again, multiple examples of guys who asked me out again, point blank. And then still disappeared.

So given these mishaps, it’s not surprising that those few days after a good first date have become the most anxiety inducing part of this process for me. Much more stressful than the first date itself. Especially when I inevitably (will I never learn?) blab to friends, family and PPA workers I pass along the street that I had a pretty good time. All of a sudden, the pressure is on. Everyone wants to know what’s going to happen next. And the answer, as I’ve clearly learned the hard way, is:

I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA.

So anyway, in the beginning I had all these rules (you know I love a good rule) about expecting the guy to reach out to me. And don’t get me wrong, I still have rules, but I’ve definitely relaxed them. Like L, the more dates I go on, the ballsier I get. In the very beginning, if I had a good first date but the guy never called or texted, that was it. I assumed he was dead, bitched to my friends about not hearing from him, watched Bridget Jones’s Diary and prayed to the romcom Gods that there was a real life Mark Darcy out there about to come into my life:

mark darcy

and moved on. Part of that I think was because I did fear rejection. These days, after being rejected PLENTY of times, I’m definitely more proactive. If I had a great time, and a few days go by and I don’t hear from the guy, now I say f*ck it and reach out to him. There are two exceptions to this:

1. If I messaged him first, and I asked him out first. You may all remember M, who I had a great first date with and who after exclaiming that he’d LOVE to go out with me again (and sending me texts referencing the next time we were allegedly going to hang out) pulled a full on fade away. I caught some flack for not just reaching out to him, but allow me to defend myself:

I saw M’s profile and was into him, so I sent him a message. Then, not wanting to waste time, after a few messages back and forth I asked him out for a drink. You see, men of the world who insist that women never ask dudes out? They do! But I’m sorry, at some point the other person needs to meet you halfway. I don’t think it’s ridiculous in a scenario where I’ve been the proactive one up to this point to expect him to take the lead for a bit. Also, to be perfectly honest and to touch on another point made by my brilliant co-blogger, mama’s ego can only take so much. I can’t be the one continuously putting myself out there and wondering if a dude even likes me or if he just has nothing better to do. I may be an independent woman:

but don’t tell me Beyonce was calling up Jay-Z to hang out every week with no reciprocity. You know it didn’t go down like that.

2. If he asked me out again at the end of our date and explicitly told me he’d be in touch. This is a biggie for me. If you say you want to see me again, and I say I’d like that, and you tell me you’re going to be in touch about setting it up, then call me crazy but I’m going to expect that that’s what you actually plan to do. And to address L’s point that men are also shy and afraid of rejection, I totally agree, but I don’t buy that men who pull this move are. Asking someone out again at the end of a date, in person, is actually a really ballsy move, because the other person is right there front of you, and as I unfortunately know from first hand experience, rejection in person is infinitely worse than rejection over text/phone. I have yet to be asked out for a second time in person by someone that I don’t want to see again, but I dread the day it may actually happen. #awkward

The other thing is, if they asked me out again in person, they also received an answer in person. My response to M was happy, enthusiastic, and totally unambiguous: I think I smiled and said, “I’d love to.” Sooooo….. at that point the second date was pretty much a lock. Or so I thought.

In summary, if I have a good time on a first date, I’ll make sure the guy knows it, and thank him (enthusiastically) for taking me out. If he doesn’t take the lead on plan making after that, I’ll send a follow up text. If he’s still silent, I assume death by SEPTA bus, throw myself a small pity party, call L and D to scream about how I’m destined to be a third wheel for the rest of my life, slap myself/imagine Cher slapping me:

moonstruck-snap-out-of-it-o

watch some BRAVO, and eventually get back in the okc saddle.

But barring the above two exceptions, one thing I won’t do anymore if I had a good time is let it ride. If a year plus of online dating has taught me anything, it’s that meeting someone on the internet who you actually like in person is about as rare as:

NPH unicorn

And if you’re lucky enough to find it, you shouldn’t let it go so easily.

D: Well, as the most delinquent co-blogger, I was the last one of us to open up this post to add my two cents. And, as usual, L and S said pretty much everything I would have said if I was first, and they said it better. Generally speaking, at the end of every date I always thank the guy. And if I enjoyed the date, I thank him and add something along the lines of “I had a really great time!” and flash that smile my parents paid an orthodontist to perfect, only to have my wisdom teeth fuck up when they grew in. Add on a comment about something we did that night, or maybe even an “inside joke” as L does, and you’ve got yourself a patented D’s interested response. I try to also follow up with a text the next day. Leave little doubt about whether or not I’m interested. If I hear from him, great! If not, there’s some combination of movie watching and baking, depending on how into the guy I was. If it’s just sort of a “bummer, he was cute and fun, it would have been nice to hear from him again,” I pop in a Die Hard or a Fast and Furious number, sometimes Princess Bride, and slap 80% of some store-bought cookie dough on a sheet (and the other 20% directly into my tummy). Franchise action sequences are very soothing for me. And Bruce Willis doing an action sequence? instant-calm. If I really liked the guy and was really hoping for another date, then it’s Bruce Willis, and Bruce Willis only, typically in a marathon setting, with some sort of treat baked from scratch. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, fudge when I need to break out the big guns. Then, it’s back to the drawing board.

If I didn’t enjoy myself, I simply say thank you and goodnight (teaser: this has in the past given the impression that I was interested, and led to an extremely awkward attempted kiss – that story coming soon (I swear!)). I don’t initiate any contact after the date. If I don’t hear from him, we clearly both had the same thoughts and have both moved on. If I do hear from him, typically in a text, I simply respond that it was nice to meet him, but I’m not interested.

So there you have it! Zero words of wisdom from D, and a whole host of insightful wisdom from L and S. Standard…

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Ask LSD: Should a guy pay on a first date?

First dates are inherently awkward, but that magical moment when the check comes can be especially cringe-worthy. There are no rules. There’s no set protocol. Every guy and every situation is different. So before we regale you with our real life tales and experiences, here are our takes on this divisive issue (grab a drink and settle in, because this is a long one):

Should a guy pay on a first date?

S: I consider myself to be a modern, independent woman, but on a first date I think in general the guy should pick up the tab. I know that opinion doesn’t really scream ‘modern’ or ‘independent’, but hear me out. First and foremost, my date (presumably) asked me out, so I’m there on his invitation. And since he invited me, it’s a nice gesture, a show of generosity and courtesy, to pay for that initial round of drinks. If I do the asking in the future, I will 100% offer to throw down (and actually I always offer…I’ll get to this in a sec.)

Second, the vast majority of the time, I literally do all the work on these dates. And if you think it’s not work to keep a steady stream of conversation going with a strange dude, you obviously have not had the pleasure of experiencing online dating. I come up with most of the conversation topics, I ask follow up questions, I act interested when I couldn’t care less about NCAA brackets. Basically I keep the whole thing from being spectacularly boring. I can literally count on one hand the number of guys who contributed equally to the conversation and didn’t make me feel like I was working a part time job while being out with them. On a first date I’m gracious, friendly, funny, engaged, and interested, and I’m lucky to get three out of those fives things in return. So I’m thinking you can go ahead and spring for that Hoegaarden, sir. (Preach, S! Sometimes I literally feel like a working girl, minus the compliments from Richard Gere, given the immense effort I am making to not die of boredom.)

Finally, I am not one of those girls who never reaches for her wallet. After that first time, I expect to take turns paying for things 50/50, because we’re both adults and we’re both equals. You’re not setting some precedent by paying the first time around, you’re just showing that you have good manners.

L:  Not necessarily. I think the person who should offer to pay on the first date is the person who asked the other person out. In most cases, it’s the guy, but in some cases, it’s been me. And if I do the asking, I offer. That said, only one guy has ever taken me up on that offer. And then he offered to get the next round.

At the end of the day, I think whole routine of paying for the date is just about courtesy. If you picked the place and the activity, be a host and offer to treat. Please know I was on a horrific date last week (shameless teaser for future post) where we got frozen yogurt. The guy I was with actually told the cashier to ring us up separately. I was furious because 1) he ASKED me and 2) I think NOT offering is really rude. The objective of a date is to build some type of relationship with a person (even if it’s just for an evening), and I think part of that relationship involves taking care of them a little. And, anyone worth their salt, woman or man, will return the favor next time.

D:  So I don’t really have a lot to add here. I’ve been attending a document review for DAYS, and literally couldn’t bring myself to look at anything with words by the time I got home each night. I just made myself a sandwich and stared blankly at the tv for a few hours, then went to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. So by the time I got in on this action, L and S had already said pretty much everything I would have. To sum up: 1) I appreciate it when the guy picks up the tab, but 2) I think whoever initiated the date should, at the very least, offer to pay.

What do you do on a date when the check comes?

S: I’m going to sound like a loon after my above answer, but I always offer to split it. Am I going to judge you if you take me up on my offer? Yes. Is it, in a sick way, a bit of a test? Correct. But it’s mostly just because I cannot physically go out somewhere and not offer to throw cash down, even if I fully expect someone else to pay. The example I give for this is, think back to when a friend’s parents were visiting in college and took you out to dinner. You would offer to contribute when the bill came, but you’d never expect to actually pay. Why? Because you weren’t an asshole. And I’m not either. It’s the polite thing to do. So has anyone actually taken me up on this super polite offer? Stay tuned…

L: Yup-I also offer to split it. To date, no one has ever let me. And, I am not going to lie, even with all the waxing poetic I am doing about being full-on OK with paying for things, I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I appreciate the free drink/meal/movie ticket. (I keep myself on a lean, mean budget, and every penny counts). But honestly, I don’t think I’d be offended if they took me up on it. There are just so many other offensive things men can do on dates, and I have to pick my battles.

D:  Just like L and S, I always reach for my wallet. S’s college analogy is perfect. I don’t actually want to pay for myself, but the polite thing to do is offer. As soon as he says “no, I got this”, I say thank you and put the wallet away. I’m certainly not going to put up a fight.

Have you ever split the bill on a first date?

S: Yes. This happened to me for the first time recently. Before that, every dude insisted on paying on the first date and some who I went out with multiple times insisted on paying for everything, always (one guy literally wouldn’t let me buy the popcorn at the movies). In general though, taking turns paying has worked out great.

Anyway, I was on a first date with K and we had just finished dinner. Yes, dinner. When K asked me out, he went right into making dinner plans by asking me if I liked sushi. After some back and forth, I broke my anti-meal rule and agreed. The date was not bad overall; he was smart and nice, but I was (per usual) carrying the conversation. Since he didn’t live in the city I had picked the place… inexpensive and also a BYO (side note… he brought not a bottle of wine but sake. Sake. If you think I didn’t shout “SAKE IT TO ME, BABY” at one point, you would be wrong. I know… how am I still single?)

Anyway, the bill came, K grabbed it, and I did my little ‘would you like to split it?’ song and dance. Except he looked up and said, ‘Sure’. My poker face is non-existent, especially three sakes deep, so I think I must have looked horrified. But what could I do? I offered, and I shouldn’t have offered if I wasn’t prepared for him to take me up on it. So I paid, silently judging K, said goodnight, and promptly called L for a gut check. Was I being completely ridiculous for being annoyed with this guy? I know I offered, but he was the one who asked me out and then basically insisted that we have dinner. Yes he brought booze (albeit really weird booze) but I was 100% the life of the party, per usual, and then I had to throw down for my rainbow roll. L said that if I liked him I should definitely still see him again , but other friends of mine were all:

tumblr_lvq2enRpBq1qc67tzo1_500

The more I thought about it though, the more I realized I’d be a real asshole if I ditched this guy on a technicality. K was an otherwise nice, smart dude who drove into the city at rush hour to meet me. Also, to be fair to him, it’s not like he took the bill and obnoxiously said “You owe 24 bucks”. I actually think he would have just paid if I hadn’t offered (damn it). So I went out with him again. And the next time around, not only was the conversation much better, but he insisted on paying. I don’t know if his mom got wind that he let his date pay and slapped him, or if he just went along with my offer because he wasn’t sure what to do in that admittedly awkward moment. Either way, K actually turned out to be a really thoughtful, generous guy: on our third date he brought me flowers and cooked me an elaborate meal. So yes, in hindsight I feel stupid about having made the sushi incident a “thing”. PS I’m still seeing K… stay tuned. (I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that I was right. You’re welcome, S!) (You’re wise beyond your years, L.)

L: Only with one guy.  I bought round one of drinks and he bought round 2. (This is technically different from splitting, but since I still paid first, I’m still counting it.) And on our second date, he let me leave the tip. And this is the one guy I’m still seeing. (Please don’t get too excited by the term “seeing”, readers. It means we’ve gone out since then and I’m spending a lot of time analyzing his frequent text messages.)

But my point is, my interest in this guy has nothing to do with if he’s paid for things or not. I’m interested in him because he’s smart, funny, and has used many opportunities, besides picking up the bill, to demonstrate he’s a nice, courteous person. I’m also just grateful to have a date whose conversation isn’t 1) dull or 2) evidence of a severe social disability. If my date sucks, then I am furious that I invested time in the first place, and would be more furious if I invested money. So gentleman, show me a good time! That’s my bottom line.

D:  No. I have, thankfully, been out with gentlemen who always picked up the tab on the first date. Which is something I really appreciate – it’s nice to be treated like a lady on the first date. But unlike my quick “thank you” at the end of the first date, once we hit a second date I’m usually a little more insistent on splitting things, or at least picking up some portion of the tab. I am a grown ass woman with a job after all, I don’t expect every date to be a free meal or movie ticket. Like S said, we’re equals.

And lastly, I can’t help get all Leslie Knope on you guys and talk a little bit about the issue behind this issue, which in my mind, is gender equity and the male/female wage gap. Full time female workers make 77 cents on the dollar that every man makes. (Nerd out more on gender pay gaps here if you don’t believe me). This is a dating blog, so I am going to refrain from writing a white paper about how wrong this is. But I am going to say that I really hope, when I have a daughter, and she starts dating (Yikes!), that the guy expects her to pay on the first date. Because men will making 77 cents to women’s dollars. And we’ll be running the world. It will look something like this:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her PDA upon her departure in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli,  Libya

**I’d like to thank L for that beautiful, intelligent, thoughtful end to our discussion, especially after I posted a 3 minute Youtube clip featuring a character named Alotta Fagina.

Reader poll:

Ask LSD

In honor of Valentine’s Day we’re covering a topic that has the potential to be both super romantic and super awkward. And to all the singletons out there, please enjoy this lovely little ditty and allow it to brighten your day. Today’s question is:

How do you feel about kissing on a first date?

S:

For me it totally depends on the situation (and obviously the dude). Even if it was a really good date, I don’t necessarily want or expect a kiss at the end. Lord knows I’ve had some decent dates end with a not so awesome kiss: one where we’d both just shared garlicky mussels and had terrible breath (I know, gross), and another where the guy literally just opened his mouth and ate my face, earning him the illustrious nickname of trouty mouth.

Assuming I like the guy, one of the things that matters most to me (besides minty fresh breath) is location… where will this potential kiss be going down? In a car? On a quiet street? On a busy street? On public transportation? Call me old fashioned but I’m not a fan of playing tonsil hockey with a near stranger in public. One of the most awkward post-date kisses I’ve ever had was on a busy street at the top of the stairs to the subway with two cops and a biker ten feet away from us. Also, it was summer and we’d only met for happy hour, so it was still light out! This was no quick kiss, either; the guy really went for it. And it was juuuuust as awkward as you’re imagining.

But if we have a bit of privacy and it’s obvious that we’re both into it then sure, you can make a move. Just please set it up  slowly enough that if I’m horrified by the idea, I can politely block your advance without embarrassing the hell out of both of us. So far, I’ve only had one guy attempt a kiss when it was totally unwelcome, and I think that’s partially because if the date is bad, I usually run like hell at the end of it before there’s even a chance. I’m classy like that.

D:

I’m not opposed to it entirely, but I generally lean towards no.

I’m open to the idea if I already know the guy before our first date. As for a guy I met through online dating, while I can’t say I would never want to kiss on the first date, 99% of the time it would be an unwelcome advance (even if I like the guy). Despite my long history of developing instant crushes on people, it usually takes me more than just a few hours to warm up to a guy enough to warrant that kind of physical contact. Most of it is that I’m shy about that kind of thing. But also, I just don’t know you enough. Sure we’ve exchanged a few messages online and maybe a few texts (hopefully just a few), and we’ve now spent some time together, but I still really don’t know that much about you. You were on your best behavior during our date, which I appreciate don’t get me wrong. And not that you’re going to be totally yourself by the 2nd date, but I’ll have a better idea about how I feel by then. So I’d rather wait.

And if we do make it to the 2nd date, like S says, do it slowly. Not only because it still affords me an opportunity to block, but also because it’s just nicer that way.  

L:

I’m pretty open to it. Then again, I’m also open to whitewater rafting and binge drinking, but that doesn’t mean I say yes at every opportunity. For me, it boils down to a few key factors:

1) How attracted am I to the guy? If the guy is hot and I’m super attracted to him, I’m into it. Even if he was a total jerk all night, at least I can add him to the list of “hot guys I kissed.” (This list is mental, not actually written on my fridge, so please don’t worry.) Also, I figure that if he’s super hot, there is an 80% chance he won’t call me again, and in that case, I might as well take this hot piece of @$$ while the opportunity presents itself. (I’m only half kidding). And gentlemen, don’t judge me, I bet most of you would take the same approach.

2) What’s the breath situation? Did we just chow down on Indian food? Or chug Miller Lites? (Chugging beer… that’s my idea of a great date! ) Do I have access to a mint? Does he have access to a mint? I have a strong bad breath phobia, and I fear if the first time is stinky, it’ll be hard for me and him to get past that.

3) Where are we? I agree with S, place matters a ton. This is where having a car, provided you can find it, works strongly to a guy’s advantage. I think it’s the safest place for a first date kiss

4) What’s his strategy for initiating the kiss? Real talk–first kisses make me nervous. So the faster you go, actually, the better chance you have at catching me before I’ve had a chance to over-think it and panic and step away. One of my guy friends used to call it the “shock and awe” method, and usually, it works. (Editor’s note: not always)

5) How much have we had to drink? Ya’ll, it’s called liquid courage for a reason. And alcohol impairs judgement and slows movement. Please reflect on the people you made out with in college. See what I mean?

6) Do I want to see this guy again? Weirdly, this matters less to me. I mean, clearly, if I don’t want to see him again, I won’t kiss him. Instead, I copy S’s “run like hell” strategy. But, if I like the guy enough to see him again, I am open to a kiss. Might as well get it over with. And, if he judges me for being “too easy,” he’s not my kind of guy. This is the 21st century people, and you can’t get any diseases from kissing.

Reader poll! Tell us:

 

Got a question for LSD? Email us at stucublog@gmail.com, or leave one in the comments section.