First date with the Good Message Unicorn

In case you are just joining us (in which case, welcome!/fasten your seat belt) this post is technically a Part 2. When we last left off, the Good Message Unicorn had apologized for his lame behavior and asked if I wanted to meet. And sweet baby Jesus, it was about time. In keeping with my Summer of YOLO affirmations, I decided to go for it. I gave GMU my phone number, sat back,  DudeWaiting …and waited for him to take the reigns, which he did. We made plans to meet for drinks, which in my mind was going to go one of two ways:

  1. We’d meet, hit it off immediately, and begin a hot mid-summer romance, thus validating the entire Summer of YOLO plan
  2. We’d meet and the date would be mediocre, in part because I set wildly unrealistic expectations of a complete stranger who sent me some half decent messages over a month ago

Hmmmm let’s see. Which of those options seems more likely in the world of LSD, and the world of online dating in general? fresh prince hmm The night of our date, I arrived at my old reliable (yes, he asked me where I wanted to meet and yes, I was annoyed about it). I didn’t see GMU at the bar, but he’d just texted me that he was there, so I headed up to the second floor and…. literally ran right into him on the stairs. Now, if you’ve ever online dated, you know that the first moment of a first date is almost always excruciatingly awkward because neither party knows how to appropriately greet the other person. Do you shake hands? Hug? Wait to see what your date does? Before I even had time to consider my greeting options, this happened:  GMU: Sorry, I don’t want to touch you because I’m really sick. Me (internally): wtf-mate-o Me: Oh. Sorry you’re sick. We could have rescheduled…? GMU: I know, but I was looking forward to meeting you, and I also felt like since I kind of disappeared for a bit, it would have seemed extra shady for me to cancel at the last minute. I didn’t want you to think I was blowing you off. Despite that fact that we were still having this awkward ass conversation ON THE STAIRS as waiters and customers brushed by us, GMU earned some points for that. Because he’s right: the fact that he fully disappeared once, coupled with the fact that more often than not, the ‘I’m sick” excuse turns out to be bullshit, (and maybe the fact that Stupid Cupid is the patron blog of pessimistic over thinkers) means that I probably wouldn’t have believed him. Well played, GMU… 10-points-to-gryffindor_gp_1622829 Source: memecdn.com …even though I was now at risk for contracting the “summer cold” he claimed to have come down with. Welp, that’s what they make Purell for, right? Finally we moved from our creepy perch and I got a chance to fully check my date out. He was:

  • shorter than he claimed to be, because duh, but still respectably tall
  • almost as cute as his pictures

All in all I was pleased. We sat down, ordered drinks, and GMU launched into telling me about his job. I don’t know why this seems to be a trend with me lately, but I’ve encountered some serious Chatty Cathys. Luckily GMU had a cool job that I was mildly interested in (small/independent film distributor–I’m sorry but no one can top Keith Mars in that department) so I peppered him with a lot of questions. Homeboy was smart and well spoken and unlike a previous Chatty Cathy, didn’t bore me to tears with tedious anecdotes that no one cares about but him. But, even though GMU was holding my interest, at the same time it all seemed very…official. And oddly business-like. We were chatting like two strangers exchanging platonic pleasantries, not two people on a date. Our messages had been filled with all the flirty, loquacious banter of some snappy Aaron Sorkin dialogue, but that just wasn’t translating in person. This is actually pretty common, I think mostly because it’s easy to sit in front of a laptop and type and re-type a message until it’s the perfect blend of sassy, witty, and hilarious, but when you’re sitting in front of a complete stranger yeah, that shit’s a little harder. Men appear to especially have a hard time with this… I can’t tell you how many have been literally PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR over messaging and then come off like a wet blanket in person. Midway through the date I went to the bathroom and thought about how it was going. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. Two things needed to happen for the night to tip the scales toward positive:

  1. We needed to stop talking to each other like two co-workers in a conference room at a Scottsdale Ramada and start flirting, ASAP.
  2. GMU needed to actually ask about me and my life, and then shut his mouth and let me speak. The talking thing seemed like a nervous habit, so I was trying not to take it personally, but at a certain point it’s hard not to feel like you could be replaced with a bag of rusty nails and your date might just keep going because he literally has zero interest in getting to know anything about you. If you think I’m exaggerating, read this article. More great news for single women!

I got back to the table, these thoughts still on my mind. As if on cue GMU said, “Where was I…? Oh yeah!” and immediately launched into ANOTHER STORY. And I just sat there with my mouth agape, thinking: not done My eyes started to glaze over. But then, as if he could read my mind (or possibly my facial expression), GMU stopped mid-sentence and said: “I’m sorry, I can hear myself talking your ear off. I’m talking too much, aren’t I?” Well. That took me by surprise. I appreciated the self awareness, though it took a lot of self control not to shout “YES, YES YOU ARE TALKING WAY TOO MUCH AND IT’S REALLY OBNOXIOUS WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??” Instead I went with a much kinder: “Yup, maybe a little too much.” “I knew it. I’m sorry! I just want you to know it’s because I’m having a really nice time. Let me finish this thought and then I promise I will shut up and you can tell me more about you.” I had to physically bar myself from rolling my eyes at ‘it’s because I’m having a nice time’ because LOL, yeah. You’ve been listening to the sound of your own voice for the better part of an hour. I bet you’re having a nice time. narcissism To GMU’s credit, though, he did shut up and listen. Thank God. As the conversation became more of a back and forth, we started to banter a bit. GMU had obviously gotten more comfortable, and even managed to pull out some of the teasing and volleying he’d been so good at over messaging. Then it was revealed that he knew my alma mater, BU, very well because he dated a girl for three years who went there and visited frequently. The highlight of the entire date was when GMU started to talk shit on CGS, which is something that every BU student knows about. The College of General Studies is a school that freshmen are admitted into when they’re…not…ready?…for BU itself. CGS has an infamously bad rap at BU–it’s affectionately known as crayons, glue and scissors cgs So it totally tickled me that GMU knew about this and was in on the shit talking (PS, most of this shit talking stemmed from the fact that his college girlfriend cheated on him with a CGS student, which explains his surprising fervor on the subject). I know this all probably comes off as mean spirited and douchey, especially coming from a school that lives in the shadow of the capital of elitist doucheland. And yes, it kind of is, but it’s also a time honored BU tradition. Sidenote: I actually have a few friends who were in CGS (if you’re reading this, hi guys!/I’m sorry, I’m the worst xoxoxo), and who are smart, successful humans with good jobs, so clearly all this snide judgment is meaningless. Funny, but meaningless. ANYWAY, I was still LOLing from the BU/CGS tangent when my date surprised me again: GMU: I’m having a lot of fun. Would you like to do this again sometime? I mean, what single girl doesn’t like to hear that from a cute guy, even one who talks incessantly? I’ve just never heard literally it in the middle of the date in the middle of a conversation. A part of me was like, wait. Is he ending the night right now? Is GMU just going to get up and walk away after I answer him? Only one way to find out. Since the date had markedly improved during the second half of the evening, I decided the Good Message Unicorn was worth a second look. Me: I’m having fun, too. And sure, I’d love to. GMU: Awesome. Anyway, back to what we were talking about… So the date continued but started to wind down. 15 minutes later we got the check and left. We stood outside the bar, saying an awkward goodbye. GMU repeated that he’d love to see me again, and told me he’d be in touch soon. Then something…unprecedented happened. My date fist bumped me.

My date FIST. BUMPED. ME.

Yes, you’re thinking of the right fist bump. The GMU and I did this: fist bump 1 fist bump 2 fist bump 3 I have no words. And I had no words then. I think I actually blurted out, “wow, okay. That just happened. Well….goodnight!” and fled. So what happened next? A second date? A phone call? Some text flirting? Anything? Anything at all? Nothing. https://i2.wp.com/i.qkme.me/3rdom7.jpg After a months-long saga of messaging, taking a break from messaging, disappearing, YOLOing, reappearing, meeting, illnesses and hand moves made famous by bros, after all that, I never heard from the GMU again. That bastard had the gall to pull a fade away. the jerk store called I’m not even going to go into how maddening it is to be asked out again IN THE MIDDLE OF A DATE and then hear nothing from that person, because it’s well covered territory here at Stucu. Like I said at the beginning of this post, this is not an interesting or juicy ending to the GMU saga by any means, but it’s so incredibly true to life and to the dating world as I know it. A lot of BS, time and effort amounting to… this. I realize this post took a dark turn for a sunny Friday afternoon, but if you’ve been following our blog you should hardly be surprised. I do have two positive things to end on. 1. I’m still hella glad I YOLO’d, because at least now I know. I know that GMU is not the one that got away and that I didn’t let tired dating conventions and self consciousness get in the way of figuring that out. So…go me? I mean, still alone, of course, but alone and wiser. Yup, basically just alone. Positive thing #2… our wonderful co-blogger D celebrated a milestone birthday this week! Readers, join me in wishing her a Happy Birthday! D, you’re one of my favorite people in the world, even if you do have a ‘tude about Disney classics and our use of the term YOLO. Here’s a little belated Bday treat for you… Date rating: 6/10. The chemistry that I had with GMU over messaging never really materialized in person, and he talked my ear off, but the date did improve a fair amount towards the end. Until, of course, he FIST BUMPED ME and then pulled a fade away. Given the last two points, my grading might actually be too generous.

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4th date with K: We see a play about fishermen and S writes a dear john email

When we last left our heroine, me, she was being wined, dined, and made to watch a fantasy TV show. Now for the dramatic (actually not at all) conclusion to this dating trilogy:

K and I continued to chat for the next few weeks, but we were both busy and hadn’t been able to schedule a date. This is one tough thing about online dating, and I guess dating in general: It’s hard to keep the momentum going when there’s a lot of time between dates. You don’t want to be texting or emailing back and forth 24-7, because who has time for that, but you don’t want there to be complete silence between the two of you either. In case you were wondering, this is what 40% of my conversations with K revolved around:

kev convo

He could not have been more serious about that show. Do you like how he legitimately scolded me for watching the episodes out of order?

Anyway, I was still on the fence about K. He was great in a lot of ways, but I just wasn’t feeling any crazy connection with him or like we had a ton in common. I decided to give it one more shot because honestly, how many single 20 something dudes would come to your apartment to make you a gourmet dinner on your third date? I needed to be totally sure before I let this one go.

We finally found a free weekend. K surprised me by telling me we were going to see a play by a writer who I had mentioned I liked. I’ll give it to him, K was a thoughtful dude. I had actually wanted to see this play so I was excited, except two days later he texted me that it had sold out before he could get tickets. Womp womp.

Well, he tried. A for effort. I started to throw out other date ideas, but K had a plan:

K: I found another play for us to see.

Me: Awesome! What is it?

K: It’s about fishermen.

Me: O…kay?

The play was as terrible as it sounds. It’s literally about English fishermen dying at sea. For two hours. It was some depressing shit for a Friday night, let me tell you, although K claimed he loved it (wtf). The upside was there was a free wine tasting beforehand in the lobby of the theater, so mama got her buzz on before the show started. Also worth noting: we were the only people there who were ineligible for a senior discount on our tickets.

Afterwards we grabbed dinner, and the conversation was notttt flowing so easily… we had essentially run out of things to talk about in three dates. We went back to my place and yadda yadda yadda, only this time I knew I didn’t want him to sleep over. I was all “sooooo my mom’s coming into the city super early so it would be best if you didn’t stay.” Which was true, but the real reason was, “You snore like a grizzly bear and I’m kind of over you. Please leave.”

I had officially made my mind up about K. He was a nice guy, really thoughtful and sweet, but that wasn’t enough. I just didn’t feel a real connection with him and the fact that he lived so far away was an added pain that I didn’t like him enough to deal with. Also, I could definitely tell he was into me, which should have thrilled me. I’ve wanted lots of guys to like me as much as K did, but the fact that it just made me uncomfortable I think was very telling.

Now I had to end it. And I know I acted all high and mighty in a certain recent post, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider pulling a fade away for a hot second. It is tempting. But once I decided that a guy who BYO’d a broiling pan to my apartment deserved better, the next question was, how to do it? And what do I say? Full disclosure: my longest run with a guy on okcupid, a guy named J who I was seeing last summer, ended when he broke it off with me in a crowded bar. Frankly I am still getting over that trauma; beyond the fact that it was humiliating, it was so unnecessary. To me, you need to be in an exclusive  relationship for a measurable period of time (which we weren’t) to warrant breaking it off with someone in person like that. A seven date run (or in this case, four) does not call for such theatrics.

So I decided to send K a good old fashioned Dear John email. Luckily I already had his email address from when he sent me a certain document that referenced cooking things to ‘tender perfection’. I crafted my email with L’s help, wanting to be brief, honest, and sensitive at the same time. I hit send thinking I would never hear from K again because honestly, would you reply to a creepy Dear John email from someone you went out with four times?

Well, he did. He sent me the nicest response ever, thanking me for my honesty and saying he’d “remember our time together fondly”. It was so nice that 5% of me regretted kicking him to the curb. Then I remembered the awkward conversation from our last date and quickly came to my senses. I will say this, though: K was a class act, especially for a self proclaimed ex-hippie who was once way into shrooms. He was a genuinely nice guy, and I wish him the best.

Also, after mocking poor K for his obsession with a certain TV show (which literally resulted in backlash from readers in our comments section), I need to get something off my chest:

kev convo game of thrones

You were right, K. You were right all along. And I can only assume that you were the mastermind behind this.

Dating Phenomenon: The Fade Away

Rejection. Is it a dish best served straight up, or in a more subtle form? This debate has been on my mind lately because my last two first dates have followed the exact same pattern:

Go on date —> have great time on date —> have date ask me out again —> silence/crickets/tumbleweeds

liz lemon man

You lose some, you lose some. The funny thing is, for a while it was just the opposite: I’d have a mediocre or in a few cases REALLY BAD date, and the guy would basically propose marriage afterwards. Because apparently awkward silence, stilted conversation and overcompensating nervous laughter are like catnip to men! (Don’t forget shifting eyes and stammering. Also signs that the guy will ask you out again so he can repeat the uncomfortable situation.) But of course, I finally have a string of fun, decent dates and the guys disappear into thin air. Oh, life. What a delightful conundrum you are.

So what is the protocol after a first date when you don’t want to see the other person again? Do you formally tell them that, or do you do the classic fade away, loved by men and non-confrontational women the world over?

fade away

And which would you rather have done to you? Six months ago I would have said I preferred the fade away. And don’t get me wrong, if it’s reasonably clear that the other person wasn’t super into me, or they ended the date with something universally neutral like ‘it was nice meeting you’, then yes, the fade away is totally acceptable, thank you very much. Message received. 

But what about when the signals say otherwise? What about when your date 1. leads you to believe that they’re super into you, 2. acts like they had the time of their life and that they’d like to do a partners’ dance routine with you complete with a LIFT to convey their joy and excitement:

and most importantly 3. says, actually says, that they want to go out again? Well then yes, if you change your mind, or you meet someone else, or you have multiple personalities and the one who showed up to our date feels differently than the one who’s currently inhabiting your body, I believe I’m entitled to a small memo letting me know. All it takes is a short text: ‘Hey there, so nice meeting you but I’m not interested in going out again. Thanks and good luck’. A simple courtesy which absolves me of this song and dance of waiting for you to call or text since you know, you said you would, and saves you from earning the title of ‘douchebag’ on my dating blog (see: N; Dwight Schrute). (Editor’s Note: Please know that I went out with a guy who literally hugged me goodbye at the metro shouting, “I WILL MISS YOU SO MUCH WHILE YOU ARE ON VACATION. I AM PUTTING IN MY CALENDAR THE DATE YOU RETURN SO I CAN CALL YOU IMMEDIATELY.” Direct. quote. I mean, I was a little terrified by his theatrics, albeit still flattered. And I am sure you can infer from the post’s UPBEAT tone that I returned from vacation two months ago, and I still have yet to hear from this clown.)

The worst part about getting the fade away after a good date is that it makes you totally question your instincts and your judgment. It makes you feel like you’re the stupid one who somehow misunderstood/misread the situation. Real life example: the first of my two last dates was a lot of fun… M and I hit it off, had great conversation, good chemistry, and made each other laugh. Our date lasted over three hours and there was never a dull or an awkward moment. When we parted ways M said he had an awesome time and asked if I’d like to go out again. I said I had a great time too and that I definitely would. I received this text when I got home:

okc mcg

Ahahaha inside joke from our date. God, M, you are so funny.

Turns out M is also an asshole, because he then totally disappeared. Right after he said “the next time I see you”. So I’m assuming he meant “see you” in, like, an existential way…? 

I recently lamented this phenomenon to L on gchat:

gchat with lela

Preach, L. The “death scenario” is easily the most comforting thought process to go through when you’re on the receiving end of a fade away. Just simply imagine that the person died or at the very least is laying in a hospital bed in a coma somewhere. And who knows? Maybe it’s actually true:

Except the problem with online dating is you can see when people are signed on. And literally every time I get on OKC, there’s M, alive and well, presumably cruising for more girls to fake being infatuated with. He clearly needs to put a hundo in this baby:

dbagjar

That all happened over a month ago. The more recent fade away happened about two weeks ago with a different guy, also an S. Again, we had (or at least I had) a great time… good conversation, lots in common, joking, laughing, little to no awkwardness. Again, the date lasted over three hours. Finally we parted ways. Again, S said that “he had a great time” and then something to the tune of: ‘So I’ll call you/text you later this week about getting together again?’

You can guess where this is going: absolutely nowhere. I got another unsolicited late night text saying ‘had a great time, so nice to finally meet in person’ and then nada. I mean. Gentlemen. If you don’t want to go out again, how hard is it to just say NICE TO MEET YOU at the end of a date and then disappear forever? ‘Nice to meet you’ with nothing else attached is the universal ‘thanks but no thanks’ of dating. If you’re going to pull a fade away, at least do it correctly! 

I originally touched on this subject a few months ago when I wrote about my first fade away after a promising date, and I posted the following clip from the seminal film He’s Just Not That Into You:

I enjoyed this movie as a senseless romcom that allowed me to stare at Ben Affleck for two hours, but the way it portrayed women also pissed me off. Ginnifer Goodwin’s character is such a clueless halfwit in the beginning, and while I sympathized with her single gal plight she also made me cringe. I watched that above scene and just thought, no intelligent, normal adult woman is that naive. No one hears ‘nice meeting you’ and thinks they’re going to marry a guy. No one goes a week without hearing from someone and still thinks they’re going to call.

But what about the M’s and S’s of the world? Why didn’t the movie cover that scenario? Am I a Gigi if I actually expect “Would you like to go out again?” to mean we’re going to go out again? I don’t think so. I don’t think single women are these insane, pathetic creatures who don’t understand how men “operate” if those men are just straight up lying.

Beyond that, if you’ve been following StuCu, you’ve glimpsed who is currently on the market. This guy. And this guy. And this guy. It is tough. times. out here in Singleland. And while I’m certainly not lying awake at night pining away for either of these guys who I met once, I will admit that when a non serial murderer who can actually formulate a sentence comes along, and he doesn’t immediately try to share a troubling sexual fetish on me or insult me to my face, it’s kind of a big deal. So giving me false hope is frankly just cruel and unusual.

We all know dating is hella awkward. Especially because in the beginning, one party is usually more into it than the other. I’ve been on the other side of the coin multiple times, so I know from experience that it’s not fun or easy to tell a nice person that you don’t want to see them again, even if it’s through something as impersonal as a text. Full disclosure: I recently put off rejecting a guy who I’d been seeing on and off just because he was super nice and I felt bad. But I do believe in the golden dating rule, and that’s:

Reject others as you would want to be rejected.

It’s basic human decency and at the end of the day, good dating karma. Although, if my recent dates are any indication, that’s apparently something I don’t have in spades. Which is surprising seeing as I did spend half an hour of my life helping a certain someone find his automobile. Doesn’t that count for something, universe?

 

UPDATE: Our dear friend and loyal reader E shared this in the comment section:

Here I was smugly thinking my post was so original and that I basically coined a new phrase that would quickly take the internet and urban dictionary by storm, when I come to find out it already exists! Good to know. I swear I’ve never heard this song before, Garfunkel and Oates. Please don’t sue me. xoxo

Except in their version, the ladies are the ones being assholes and pulling the fade away. Interesting. As E said in her comment, apparently this practice is so ubiquitous that both sexes have (allegedly) experienced it equally. I’m kind of baffled that these gals have never been on the receiving end, but I totally appreciate their lyrics, which still ring true:

Cause there’s the right thing to do
Then there’s what I’m gonna do
There’s so much I should say
But instead… I do the fade away

The fade away: dating pandemic.

 

 

Happy One Year Anniversary (of still being single) to me!

That’s right, folks. It’s the one year anniversary of my infamous first okcupid date. A lot has happened in a year; some good, some bad, some laughable, and mercifully, plenty that’s blogworthy. And while it’s tempting to focus on this fact:

mindy single

there are plenty of other things to discuss. For instance, I thought you’d all like to know that G, or as my friends and I fondly refer to him, “the guy who couldn’t find his car”, reappeared a few weeks ago! After our terribly awkward first date he asked me out again and I politely declined, and that was that. For a year. Until I received this message:

g message

I swear, I have awkwardness PTSD from my date with G, and this message sent me into a full on Nam flashback. Initially I was so confused by the bizarre subject that I didn’t even process the improper grammar, the emoticon, the spelling of ‘hiccup’ and ‘recurrence’ (I’m going to give him a pass on ‘therefore’ and assume it’s a typo. Please, let it be a typo).  God, this is embarrassing to share with you all because frankly I can’t believe I went out with this person.

I actually went out with this person.

tumblr_m84h3tJkBC1qmxcc6o6_250

Please note that it was sent at 2:59 am. He was drunk, right? He had to be drunk. That would make me feel better so I’m going to go ahead and believe it.

As for the subject, it took me a few minutes to process what he was talking about, but then a light bulb went off in my head. I’d forgotten this detail of the date completely until G INEXPLICABLY brought it up again. Besides the fact that he was a nervous, stammering mess who lost his car on the mean streets of Old City Philadelphia, at one point in the evening G took a sip of his drink, tried to say something, went into an insane coughing fit and semi started to choke. Then, when he finally stopped coughing, he proceeded to get the hiccups (badly) but rather than just ignore them and try to move on, he repeatedly brought attention to the whole thing by exclaiming how weird it was, how it’s never happened to him before, etc etc. Oh God, the awkwardness. I can’t even. But the absurdity of the rest of the date actually eclipsed the coughing incident so completely that I totally forgot to mention it in my original post! Until now.

And as for ‘my overwhelming beauty’…it’s technically a nice thing to say, but it’s also wildly exaggerated and disingenuous. Most importantly, G, we went out a year ago and I said I didn’t want to see you again, so if I may: 

Luckily, I’ve come a long way since that date, and I definitely don’t feel like such a hapless amateur roaming the streets searching for a stranger’s Chevy. Here are some of the biggest things I’ve learned in my year of online dating:

  • People lie about what they look like.
  • A good profile does not necessarily = a good date. This may be the biggest revelation I’ve had since starting this thing. Men were presenting themselves as these awesome, fun, witty, gregarious people online, and I’d meet them and they’d be dull as bricks. And yes, I’m sure men experience this with women as well (possibly even with me). I think the takeaway from these two points is that online dating requires you to basically sell yourself, and more often than not, people sell who they want or perceive themselves to be rather than who they actually are. So it’s tough to “meet” someone online, form expectations based on your messages and their profile, and then almost inevitably be disappointed when you meet in person. Therefore…
  • The less time you spend messaging online with someone, the better. No matter how awesome someone’s profile is or how great they seem over messages, texts, or emails, you’re never going to know how you really feel about them until they’re sitting in front of you. Even if you know you like them, you don’t know if you’ll have chemistry. So if a guy has messaged me but is taking his sweet time asking me out (and trust me, many do), a year ago I would have been irritated and confused, but I probably would have waited it out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still irritated:

meryl

But now rather than just stew about it, mama gets down to business…

  • Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Do not fear rejection. I’ve been both the rejector and the rejectee, and while being on the receiving end may have caused me to do a bit of this:

gretchen weiners                                                                                          

I totally survived, and I definitely don’t take it as personally when it happens now. Everyone is on the site for the same reason (correction: most people are on the site for the same reason. I was once propositioned for a threesome by a couple with a joint profile. So admittedly not everyone has the same end game) and as a friend of mine likes to say, there’s no way you can become more single, so you have nothing to lose by putting yourself out there.

  • Screen, screen, screen. Before you say yes to a date or ask someone out, go immediately to the ‘unacceptable answers’ section of their okcupid questions. This conveniently lists all of the questions that are important to you which the person answered “incorrectly”. You may discover, for instance, that your potential date has rape fantasies, believes homosexuality is a sin or (LSD’s personal favorite) thinks THE EARTH IS BIGGER THAN THE SUN. Better to know these things up front than to waste your Wednesday night discovering these horrors over craft beers when you could be on your couch watching Nashville. AS YOU CAN SEE, I did not screen my first date properly. In fact I shudder to think of the time I wasted in the beginning by not doing this immediately, but boy have I learned my lesson since. 
  • Despite the annoyances, dating can be fun. Talking about it can be even more fun. I’ve met some pretty cool people this year, had interesting conversations, discovered new bars and restaurants, played quizzo, seen movies and plays, and even done a few things that I can’t mention on this blog (hi, mom!). Even with the rejection and confusion that online dating often brings, I don’t regret doing it for a second. Especially since I now have an incredibly fun and satisfying way to chat about my experiences and vent my frustration when I inevitably encounter an asshole or two. So thanks, dear readers. Here’s to you!

leo gif

(God, how does Leo still look so good?)

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:

Dos and Donts: Giving good date

So, after 6 or 7 first dates, I’ve noticed a couple of patterns.  There are several things a guy can do or say that will make or break his chances of me saying yes to another date or not. There are also several things I’ve learned to do on dates, that, I believe, lead the guys I’ve gone out with to have a good time and ask me out again. (Actually, who knows why they ask me out again? Maybe it’s because i’m also gifted at silent, motionless hypnosis.)

DO

1. Show up looking like the person in your picture (or better). The experience with George Constanza has left me rather traumatized. Please please please, show up resembling the image you posted online. There is nothing more distracting than when you’re trying to determine whether or not a date has had recent plastic surgery or was vain enough to generously airbrush his profile photo. This also helps me recognize you, so I am not awkwardly lurking at the bar, smiling at every 20 and 30 something gentleman that sits down alone. In return, I promise to brush my hair, wear makeup, and put on clean clothes that fit, just like I have in all my carefully chosen OKC pictures.

2. Make eye contact. I know you’re nervous. I’m nervous. Before walking out the door, I spent 5-10 minutes doing something resembling this, ok?:

But I urge you to put those nerves aside, and look at me. It makes me feel like 1) you find me attractive 2) you’re listening and 3) you’re not actively checking out other girls. 

3. Ask INTERESTING questions: All we know about each other so far is that we both love pancakes and Netflix, and that we have a difference of opinion on the Hot Pocket. There is a lot of potential for making new connections, jokes, etc, if only you’d just ask some questions to get to know me better. Ask me about my family, friends, hobbies, job, pets. Follow-up when I provide short answers (i.e., So you grew up in Alaska, what was that like? See any Eskimos?). On a first date, I would say I spend 60% of my time just asking the guy questions. The goal is not to make them feel like they’re a chief murder suspect, but to learn more about them. And, in turn, I hope these guys want to learn more about me. Sadly, I have gone through first dates where the guy has not asked me a single question aside from my drink order. Those first dates were also last dates.

4. Read up on your current events: Say we’ve run out of appropriate personal information to share with one another. This is when I feel really lucky that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are still together and that Congress hasn’t accomplished anything since 1965. Gives us something to talk about, right? Well, not if I say something like, “so, do you think Oscar Pistorius is guilty?”, and he says, “who?” And then I say, “you know, the guy from the Olympics with a prosthetic limb,” and he says, “never heard of the Olympics.” DUDE–throw me a bone here!! On the other hand, you score major points with me if you can tell me something I don’t know. For example, did you know that most Groundhogs are born in April or May? Neither did I, till I went out with a pretty cool guy on Groundhog day.

DON’T

1. Give one word answers: I went out with a guy a month or so ago and the conversation went something like this:

Me: So do you like living in DC?

Him: Yes.

Me: Me too! It’s a great city because there are a ton of fun cultural places to go, but also it has some quiet spots to walk and escape into nature. What do you like about it?

Him: Everything.

Me: Well, where is your favorite place you ever lived?

Him: I’ve only lived in DC.

Me: So, is your family here?

Him: No.

Me: Neither is mine. Well, my aunts live here, but my parents are a couple hours away in Philly. And my brother lives in California. I wish I got to see him more. Do you have siblings??

Him: Yes. One brother.

I’ll stop here, so you don’t fall asleep reading this post like I did on my date. I mean, this guy acted like I was really putting him out by each conversation topic. I felt like Beth in Wet Hot American Summer when she asks Andy to clean up:

And that ain’t sexy.

2. Obsessively ask about my online dating history: Yes, I want you to ask questions and make conversation. There are a few topics I want you to steer clear of though, and one of them is my dating history. It’s our first date buddy, and we met on the ebay for relationships. It’s going to take more than an Amstel Light to get me to open up to you about my dating past, and it’s going to take several tequila shots before I tell you about every single other person I’ve met online. So please don’t ask. And, please know I’m fine without you telling me things like, “This is only the third time I’ve gotten someone from OKC to go out with me. And the other girls were pretty crazy.” Thanks for the compliment, son.

3. Criticize what I am eating or drinking: I mean, you can tease me for ordering a Miller Light at a cocktail bar. But don’t say, “I really like mussels too, but I’d never order them on a date,” while I’m extracting the lil mollusk from its shell. You will make me insecure, and worse, you might ruin my appetite.

There’s a lot more to say on this topic, so this post will be one of many. Got a good first date conversation topic? Email us at stucublog@gmail.com Happy Friday everyone!

 

When a stranger sexts

About 1 month into joining OKC, J messaged me.  After just one or two back and forths to establish neither one of us were serial killers or hunchbacks, he asked me out. I appreciated his straightforwardness (I HATE prolonged messaging).  And, his profile was very promising. Why, you ask? Two things stood out to me:

1) He was legitimately good looking and tall.  Like over 6 feet tall. (Unless of course, he was using fake pictures.). There were multiple pictures of him, all looking tall and handsome and even one of him playing sports *cavewoman sigh.* And tallness gives you major points in my book. The average height listed by men on their OKC profile is probably 5’8. But, most men add 2 inches to their height (and when they are caught, they say things like, “Oh, I thought they meant when I was wearing huge shoes???Or when I’m standing on several stairs?”). So I think in real life, it’s more like 5’6. Which is only 3 inches taller than me. (Editor’s note: Boo fucking hoo, L. Some of us are 5’9 and struggle to even find a dude their height, let alone someone who’s 3 inches taller. xoxo – your tall, militant co-blogger) Point is, tall men are rare. Tall, attractive men, even rarer (Editor’s note: preach). Score! I marveled at my good fortune.

2) His profile was actually interesting. S and D and I will definitely get around to doing a full analysis of good vs bad profile content, but here is a little teaser. Most guys’ profiles are really boring.  They feature statements like, “I love to eat delicious food and travel and watch sports,” and “I’m looking for a sweet, cute girl who is high energy enough to go to bars with me but also low key enough to spend a laid back weekend at home.” Newsflash gentleman–you’ve just described 75% of the male population and like, actually 60% of the female population. But J was different. For example, he listed “gmail, snarky liberal blogs, and whiskey and ginger ale,” as things he couldn’t live without. Creative, and, all things I love.

So, armed with these two pieces of info, I gave him my number. He texted me the next day and we scheduled the date.

sexter 3

All good so far. This guy has a life, but he’s not a flake, and he’s capable of scheduling something. (I’ve learned that scheduling is a surprisingly rare skill for men to possess.) Our conversation continued briefly…

sexter 2

Perfectly normal stuff to talk about to a stranger. And he sounds like fun. Maybe this will be a great date.

I felt like we had ended the conversation on a good note.   Focused on the busy weekend ahead of me, I temporarily forgot about him. The next night (Saturday), I was enjoying some G rated fun at a friend’s house–hanging out in PJs and opening her bridal shower gifts. Around midnight, my phone beeped. It was J. 

sexter 1

What? I read it three times to make sure I was not hallucinating. I.was.not.  When I had come to grips with the fact that this was a real text, I imagined one of three things had happened. (Listed in order of most acceptable/least plausible to least acceptable/most plausible).

1. His friends stole his phone and were having some good, old fashioned fun with him at my expense. Immature, sure, but, this is the risk you take when you are dating 20-something guys.

2. He meant to text someone else. Who knows how many numbers this guy has in his phone or how many girls he is messaging on OKC? It’s possible he had a great date last night, and is just following up with some (hopefully liquor induced) banter. It’s not particularly flattering or uplifting to know he is seeing and sexting multiple girls, but it’s not like we are in a relationship or anything.

3) Unfortunately,and most likely: he actually meant to sent me the text. Why do I find this horrifying?

– First of all buddy, what do you mean “can’t lie?” No one asked you to tell the truth! It’s not like someone was cross examining you and they said, do you want this woman? Please remember you are under oath and committing perjury could result in jail time!” In fact, no one even asked you a question. At all.

– Second of all, why do you want me? We haven’t met yet. You’ve seen a couple of IPhone camera pics of me online, that may or may not be real or recent. And you’ve never even heard my voice. I’m basically the equivalent of a picture in a magazine at this point. This text made me feel one step below a Craiglist personal.

As you can see, I did text back the next day and give the dude one chance to explain himself. I was desperately hoping he’d say “I am so sorry and so embarrassed.” Or, even, “got too drunk last night. Hope you won’t hold the creepiness against me.”

But no, he’s just gonna say “my bad.” Which is what my 4th grade students used to say when they were caught breaking a rule or using the scissors to “tatoo” someone’s arm. Not good enough J.

So I decided to cancel the date. I feel like I’m already out on a limb online dating, and if I get ANY evidence of a potential weirdo, I should take it seriously. The sad thing is, if we had gone out ONCE, just ONCE, I would have been totally fine with, even flattered by a sext. But having never him, it just conjured up a sad, gross image of him sitting in front of his computer on a Saturday night and… and further more, how do you start a conversation with someone whose already said that to you? “Hi, I’m L, the one you can’t lie to?” or, “Hello, are you J, the one who wants me?” Too weird. So I texted him and called it off. He didn’t seemed too broken about it. (Though perhaps, in other cultures “K” actually means, “I’m so disappointed and can’t believe I blew this chance with an amazing woman. One can hope.)

I think I made the right call, but through consulting everyone in my social circle on this experience, I learned that people have different reactions to sexting strangers. What do you think readers? Was I justified in cancelling the date? Or is stranger sexting the romantic currency of the new millenium?

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.

The downfall of N

Where we last left off, N and I had been on a successful first date . But texting in moderation seemed to befuddle him. He either texted for hours, or not at all. He seemed to get the hang of it a few days after our date, because midweek we exchanged a few texts about Rafael Soriano leaving the Yankees (yes, I’m a Yankees fan living deep in Red Sox territory, my life is hard yo). This is the kind of texting I’m open to! Then, Thursday morning he asked if I was busy Friday night. It was a little last minute, but my only plans revolved around streaming The Wonder Years, so I said I was free and asked what he had in mind. This is the exchange that followed:

N: I was thinking a movie.

D: Sure. That sounds good.

N: Cool.

Then five hours went by. FIVE HOURS. No suggestion of a movie, a theater, a time. Nothing. Just “cool”.

I would be lying if I said this didn’t infuriate me a little. Even just the shell of a plan shouldn’t be too much to ask for. I don’t think it should be too much to ask ever, but especially by the time you’ve reached your late 20s you should be able to plan a basic movie date. It had been like pulling teeth the last time, and I had been the one making location and time suggestions. This one was on him, he asked me out so he was going to have to do the work this time. So I waited. I’m stubborn like that. Finally, late that afternoon, he asked if there was any movie in particular that I was dying to see. I said no, but prompted him to look up what was playing at the theater in our shared neighborhood. I was hoping he would check out the options and make a few suggestions. It was nice that he was offering to let me pick the movie, but do some legwork dude. Nope. He just sent me a list of what was playing.

I was rapidly losing interest in N. I’m not looking for extravagance, or even creativity at this point, it’s only the 2nd date. And I don’t mind making the plans sometimes. But I want more than this. I want some semblance of Dating with a capital D. This lackadaisical crap that seems to pass for dating these days is not ok with me. I want more initiative.

I suggested two options from what was playing, and since he had already seen one of them our choice was finally made – Gangster Squad. I got to the theater Friday night, and he was waiting with tickets in hand. A good start. I sprung for the popcorn. We were there about 15 minutes early, so we chatted, mostly about sports and our taste in movies. Again, conversation was pretty easy (and free of anything law related this time!), but I still wasn’t really feeling anything more. I was pretty sure this would be our last date.

About 20 minutes into the movie, we had polished off the popcorn. I leaned down to put the empty bag on the floor. When I sat back, his arm was there. I was startled, and actually said “Ohh!” I also got a sinking feeling in my stomach. He clearly felt differently than I did – he was interested. And he was also fumbling. Since he reached across while I was leaning forward, his arm was too low. Instead of resting on my shoulders, his arm was down across my shoulder blades. I didn’t really want it there, but I also didn’t want to make the next 90 minutes unbearably awkward for us both. So I tried shifting, in an attempt to get him to at least move his arm up into the right place. This did not work. So we sat that like for 10 minutes or so, with his arm serving as my backrest. It could not have been comfortable for him, because eventually he whispered “this isn’t working” and pulled his arm away. And went to hold my hand. My hands were clasped together in my lap, so I just pretended like I didn’t see him offer his hand. So he opted to rest his hand on my knee instead. This was getting more awkward by the second.

He tried again a little while later to take my hand, but my hands were still clasped together. At this point, my right arm had fallen asleep, but I was too afraid to unclasp my hands. I didn’t want to give him the chance to snatch one up. I felt bad, but I also didn’t want to encourage him or give him any sort of false hope. He settled for my knee again. I was so uncomfortable. There we sat, watching Sean Penn swear a lot (what happened to his face by the way, he used to be attractive), with N rubbing my knee and me trying not to cry because my arm was doing the pins and needles thing.

He eventually stopped, so I thought he had gotten the hint (I still didn’t free up my hands though). But as we were leaving the theater, he asked if I wanted to grab some food. I politely declined, and we walked to my car. Conversation wasn’t so easy this time, so I took to pointing out some of my favorite local spots (he hasn’t lived in the area long), and then went on a rant about how awful Citizen Kane is (a diner named Rosebud was the catalyst). I was SMOOTH. When we got to the side street my car was on, we said goodnight, and he started to go in for either a kiss or a hug. I didn’t wait long enough to see which, I made sure it was just a hug, thanked him for the movie and for walking me to my car, and said goodnight.

-D

P.S. N is a movie talker. I hate that.

Date rating: 3/10. 1 point because N is truly a nice guy, and 2 points because Ryan Gosling is just delightful. Staring at him for 2 hours is never an unwanted or unpleasant activity. This was definitely our last date.

Lesson Learned: Going to the movies with a guy you’re not sure you’re interested in yet provides too many opportunities for physical contact for my liking.

First date ever

I have  never been on a real live “grownup” date. Up to a few months ago, I had been in a six- year relationship which started when I was 21. I’ve done my fair share of hanging out with guys, but it usually wasn’t over drinks and a nice dinner. (Those things came well after the relationships had started). Like a typical overachiever, I decided that newly single me had to get good at dating, and to get good at dating, I needed to practice it. So three weeks ago, along with thousands of other people who made New Year’s resolutions to get in the game, I joined OKC.

G messaged me shortly after I joined the site, with a nice, witty message that praised my taste in comfort food like grilled cheese and pancakes. It was the best message I received on the site so far (no body parts mentioned, no generic, “hi”) and he looked cute, so I messaged him back and he quickly asked me out. We agreed to meet at a bar in the burbs for an early evening drink/dinner.

When I got to the bar, I was relieved to see G looked very much like his picture (except for the couple inches he added to his height online). He was super nervous, and I realized that thing about online dating is that people can be much more confident and smooth behind a computer screen than in person. (Or, they could be like me, and just never be smooth, regardless of the mode of communication.) Despite the nervousness, he was a sweet date: he told me he picked the bar because they were rumored to have great grilled cheese, he never gave one word answers, and he attempted the occasional joke. But it became clear to me pretty quickly that we didn’t have a lot in common, and finding things to talk about seemed a bit like work. So, after 1.5 hours of conversation, he asked if I wanted to go for a walk, and I told him I had plans to meet a friend (I did!).

He walked me to the metro, where I thanked him for a good time and told him to have a good weekend. To which he replied, “Oh, I’m not leaving, I am getting on the metro too.” Let the awkwardness begin. As soon as the train started moving, he turns to me, and says, “um, do you care if I do thissssss…” while putting his arm around me. For those of you not familiar with the DC metro, let me set the mood here: We are sitting side by side in some seriously bright and unflattering lighting, surrounded by a combination of tourists in fanny packs, noisy tweens, and uptight 20 and 30s somethings on their way home from a late evening of work. There is a 75% chance this train will stop working and go out of service before we reach our destination. There are all sorts of smells floating in the air, among them strong BO, old cheese, and old lady perfume (thanks tourists!). I can’t think of a worse place for someone to make a romantic overture, especially someone who you aren’t interested in. But at this point, I’m trapped on the moving train, and I figure if I say no then we have to sit in 10 awkward minutes of silence, or I have to get off the train, which, as DCers know, is a terrible idea cause the transit here’s not exactly regular. So, I say…”ehhh…ok?” in a high pitched voice and proceed to focus the conversation on nice, neutral topics like the weather and the traffic. And, then he’s like….”Ummm, I had a great time, I really would like to see you again.” And I’m like “ehhh…why don’t you text me next week and we’ll figure it out then.” I wanted to be up front with him but AGAIN, I am trapped on the train with him and I’m not really into seeing his reaction to rejection live. But I’m hoping he’ll get the hint. He does not. As the train arrives at his stop, he leans toward me for a kiss. My eyes see him leaning in, and before my brain has fully processed what’s happening, my adrenaline kicks in and I turn my head sharply to the right, giving him my cheek. I feel bad, but I just can’t do it. 

Overall grade: 5/10-points to G for being so thoughtful, picking a great place and being  a decent conversationalist who didn’t take himself to0 seriously. I really could have done without the advances on public transit, though. 

Lesson learned: Arrange separate transportation home!