Surprise date with a Mormon

Hi readers! How I’ve missed you! In case you don’t  know the intimate details of our lives or lack my amazing detective skills, let me go ahead and give you some answers to the clever riddle S used to explain our egregious negligence of this blog.

It was I who was in Puerto Rico, for “work.” And when I wasn’t working, I was just looking at this:

PR

Go ahead and hate me for a minute. You can even feel a little jealous of me. But that jealousy will be short-lived folks, because you’ll soon be comfortably laughing at my misfortune yet again, when I tell you it was also me who went out with a Mormon. A fact, friends, which was unbeknownst to me, until he disclosed it 30 minutes into our date.

Let me back up a bit and tell you how this union came to be. It was actually my doing, you see, because I messaged this Mormon.  I had just reluctantly ended things with another harmless, perfectly normal, tall, cute, guy, who, despite my best efforts (listening to “pump it up” music before dates, leaning a little too heavily on the bourbon, etc), I just didn’t feel anything for. So I decided, rather than wallowing in  self loathing and reflection about whether or not I’m sabotaging my opportunities for happiness, I’d get back in the saddle ASAP by messaging some dudes and getting some dates lined up.

hot mess

data1.whicdn.com

So I sent a few messages out into the OKC universe. I’ll admit, my strategy for messaging guys is pretty haphazard. I’ll just browse for guys that I think are cute, check for any red flag questions, and then if his profile is fairly interesting and doesn’t reek of overt sexism or serious mommy issues, I find something we have in common and shoot him a quick message.

In D’s case, what we had in common was a shared love for the best convenience store in the United States, or for that matter, the free world. (If you can’t guess from this description, I urge you to 1) click on the above link  and hear the angels sing 2) slap yourself in the face for not discovering Wawa sooner 3) punch yourself in the stomach if you actually think another convenience store is better than Wawa).

If you don’t find my Wawa passion charming and adorable, don’t worry. D did. He messaged me back right away and we agreed to meet for a drink a few days later.

As soon as I sat down on our date, I realized that a love for Wawa hoagies might be the ONLY thing D and I had in common. He preferred the suburbs to the city, fixed cars in his spare time, and, brace yourself S, liked DAVE MATTHEWS BAND. “That’s ok,” I thought to myself. “So what if we have nothing in common? I can make conversation with a brick wall! I can get seriously attached to an ex Domino’s pizza manager/recovering heroin addict. This could still work!”

Even though D seemed seriously focused on filling the date with awkward silences, I decided to make like the sport that I am and ask him about himself:

L: “So, you mentioned you like the Utah Jazz?” I asked. “Did you spend some time in Utah?” 

D: “Yes.”

L: “Cool! Were you born there or did you go there for school?”

D: “Both. Most of my family lives there. And, I went to BYU.”

Oh, hello there MITT ROMNEY!!! Didn’t know you were in the market for a half-Jewish girl and devout socialist. Anyone who watched the 2012 election coverage knows that socialists (like me and Barack Obama) and Mormons do not mix.

L: “Wait, are you a Mormon?” (Tact is not my strength, in case you couldn’t already tell).

D: “Yeah. I don’t follow all the rules though.” Motions to his drink.

L: “OH OK. COOL. COOL. Do you mind if people ask you about it?”

Readers, let’s stop and take a pause here, because it’s about to get a little politically incorrect.The normal person who is buried very deep inside me knows that it can get offensive fast when uninformed people ask other people about their religion or culture. But the thing is, I was 1) so shocked he hadn’t just noted the Mormon thing on his profile and saved both of us the trouble 2) really bored on the date and running out of things to talk about, that I couldn’t help but get a little inappropriate. (See JDate, I am an equal opportunity offender of religious groups.)

L: “So, have you met Tom Cruise or John Travolta or anything? Or, do you mostly practice with the local Mormon community here?”

D: “Why would I meet them?”

L: “Aren’t they like, devoted, Mormons? Don’t they travel around, trying to get people to convert? I mean, Tom almost got Katie Holmes. THANK GOD SHE GOT OUT. No offense or anything.”

D: “That’s Scientology. They are Scientologists. It’s different.”

L: “Oh god, you’re right! Sorry! I just was thinking of like, other religions based on books some man wrote.”

D: “Hmm.”

L: “So, why didn’t you put it on your profile? Or did I just not see it?”

D: “Would that have changed things?”

L: “Depends. Do you want to be with a Mormon girl?”

D: “Yeah, definitely.”

L. Guzzles drink. (Please note that by this time I was on my third Jameson and ginger).

Welp, after that we made small talk about car parts and quickly finished our drinks. CAR PARTS FOLKS! Do you understand now why I had to get all Comedy Central in his face about the Mormon thing? I was trying to stay awake! 

How did things end with D? Let’s just say you’re not going to see me on this show anytime soon:

Date rating: 2/10 (I am giving D two points for refraining from giving me a deserved lecture on religious ignorance). D deposited me at my bus stop faster than you can say, special underwear. The thing is, I don’t get why he went out with me in the first place. My profile clearly indicates that I’m an agnostic, recovering Jew. So, while I acted like an intolerant ditz, I am not NOT saying he didn’t ask for it by misguidedly going out with me, and being so darn boring I couldn’t help but stir the pot a bit. 

*I guess I’m going to have to fine tune my messaging strategy.

**Stephanie Meyer if you’re reading this, I just want you to know I mean no ill will toward Mormons. And I love your books! Team Edward for life!

Addendum: My little brother just called me and gave me a lecture on how this post makes it sound like I don’t like Mormons and wouldn’t go out with a Mormon guy. For those of you who felt similarly after reading, let me clarify:

-I would have still gone out with him even if he had marked his religion as Mormon in his profile. I mean, if he had said he was a strict observer, didn’t drink, and only wanted a Mormon girl, I wouldn’t have messaged him in the first place, but that would have been because we didn’t share values/interests, not solely because of his religion. 

-On the flip side, what I was most shocked about is that he went out with ME. Yet, he wanted to marry a Mormon girl. Just like I probably wouldn’t date  anyone who was super religious, I wouldn’t expect them to date me, because I am not. That’s why this date was surprise/accidental. 

-The number one reason I never contacted him again was because the date was terrible. It was not because I found out he was a Mormon. I mean, if it went well this post would be titled: “My Mormon boyfriend: Why I will be the cool Ann Romney.” Which would have been more hilarious/uplifting than a story of another failed date.

-For the other member’s of little B’s PC police squad: This blog is meant to be funny, candid, and real. I never mean to offend someone I haven’t met yet (if we have met, then yes, I might mean to offend you), but sometimes I do. And for that I’m sorry. But, I will leave you with this Louie CK clip to remind you that sometimes, the best comedy makes us uncomfortable:

That’s right, I just compared myself to Louie CK. I’ve officially made it.

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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…

Breaking it off is hard to do…

There is a very firm difference between “breaking up” (i.e., ending a relationship) and “breaking it off,” (telling a guy you’re dating that you don’t want to see him again..)

Breaking up is a hideous business. It involves an in-person conversation/fight/world war during which one  or both of you explain your decision to no longer be together. It can, on occasion, involve crying, sobbing, name-calling, psycho-analyzing the other person, diving up your possessions, determining norms for future communication, and dividing up custody of mutual friends/favorite places to go out, etc.

The aftermath involves spending a lot of time in your car sobbing while listening an assortment of the following: Jewel’s “Pieces of You,” Mandy Moore’s “Wild Hope,”  and Taylor Swift’s “Red,” and basically any Kelly Clarkson song ever written.

There may or may not be instances where you find yourself on your couch, eating alternate handfuls of Kettlecorn and PopChips, waiting for your nightly dose of Benadryl to kick in so you can fall asleep in pool of your own tears and snot and grief. (Hypothetically, of course. Personally, I wouldn’t know anything about this.)

donut gif

Breaking it off is a slightly less hideous business. In fact, if a guy is breaking it off with you, it’s pretty easy to endure. One of two things happen:

1) They just disappear (Please see Fade Away for more info on how that looks)

Hmm..wait. That’s the only way I’ve ever personally experienced a guy breaking it off.  (CLASSY, BOYS!) But, in theory, I realize they could also do option 2.

2) Tell you, via text or a very short phone call, that they don’t want to see you anymore. (As I have learned from S, having this conversation IN PERSON is a real No.)

While I’ve definitely been momentarily bummed by the fade away, give me a few shots of Jameson, an episode of PLL, and a short pep talk from S, D, C, or one of my other lovely friends, and I’m over it. I mean, 1 or 2 dates is at max, 6 hours of my life and I’ll forget about that person soon enough.

That said, I don’t love being the one doing the “breaking it off.” I am actually a pretty nice person, despite my fervent hatred of cats and disdain for my peers who aren’t quite proficient in Shakespearean English. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, and hate to think of myself of the cause of even momentary disappointment.

If I’ve only been out with a guy three times or less, then I think it’s fair to break it off by text, especially if that’s how we have communicated previously. When they ask for a repeat date, and I’ve decided I don’t want to go on one, I just say, “No thanks.”

normal rejection

And, you see, they usually take it very graciously. I mean, like I said, most normal people don’t get that attached to one another after  2 interactions, during one of which they were probably drunk. Every once and awhile, though, you’ll get a bit of terrifying push back:

weird rejection

Ginnfer Goodwin? Is that you? HAVE SOME SELF RESPECT!

Anyway, so far,  I’ve been able to skate by, breaking it off by text. But a few weeks ago, I started dating a really nice guy, R. R was, in theory, kind of the perfect guy. Why?

1. He was smart AND hardworking. Intelligence has always been a turn-on for me. I love it when somebody can tell me something I don’t know already, and I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that a concise, wittily-worded email or text from a guy doesn’t cause a stomach flip. But I’ve usually been drawn to guys who are smart slackers. You know, unmotivated guys who spent most of high school and college smoking weed and cutting class, but got by with a little bit of Adderall and a whole lot of cramming. R was different. This was a guy who was not only naturally smart, but interested in getting smarter. He was good at his job, he cared about what he did, and he was interested in reading, studying, etc. to improve himself personally and professionally.

2. He was actually a nice guy. We all know many men who call themselves nice guys. Most of them aren’t, and I think actually just adopt the term, “Nice guy,” so they can complain about all the things that go wrong for them and make self-pitying comments about “finishing last.” R was a genuinely, nice, polite person. He was interested in making the world a better place, he cared about his friends and family, and he planned the nicest, most thoughtful dates for us.

3. He was an ideal planner and communicator. Dude, did R READ this blog? Did he eavesdrop on a brunch conversation that I had with my girlfriends? Because he did exactly what I wish every guy would do to plan and follow up on dates. He suggested a restaurant I’d been dying to try for our first date, and floated a few dates and times for me to choose from. He didn’t harass me with mindless texting, just to confirm the day before. After each subsequent date, he would follow up with a text to say what a great time he had, and then call to ask when he could see me again and suggest some some possible destinations for us. I cannot tell you how much of a draw this was for me. S and I frequently commiserate about men’s inability to plan ANYTHING. And, as a the bossy oldest child, the bossy colleague, the natural planner in my friend group, I am SO SICK of making decisions. I make decisions all day. I plan things all day. There is nothing that turns me on more than someone else making plans. I mean, if I could write, shoot, and film a porn for women, I would call it “Men Making Plans.” Srsly. And R did that. Flawlessly.

And yet, after 3 dates with R, I had no attraction to him. I tried booze, I tried different lighting, I tried giving myself a pep talk in the bathroom every time he was going to walk me home from the restaurant or bar. But I just didn’t want him to kiss me, and after openly dodging his kiss after date 3, I felt like it was only fair to break it off. So, when he, like clockwork, called the next day to ask me out again, I realized I had to call back and say no, for good.

I consulted several dating gurus before making the call. Here is the wisdom I gleaned, which I will now share with you, dear readers, should you ever have to dole out a lil rejection.

1. Keep it short. No one likes to be rejected. As soon as they hear the word no, they want to peace out, be pissed and a little bummed, and then move on. 

break up image 1

2. Don’t tell anyone your sob story. This advice came from my friend, I, who is the Professor Emeritus of dating in DC (I, please come guest blog for us!!). I wanted to tell this guy that I’d recently gotten out of a serious relationship, and that I just didn’t think I wasn’t ready to date anyone. Shes said, “Look, that sounds fake. And even though it isn’t fake, don’t burden him with your personal baggage. All he needs to know is that you don’t want to see him anymore. Don’t waste his time making excuses just cause it’ll make you feel better.

3. Do it in a timely way. R called me to ask me out again Wednesday. I called him back Thursday and delivered the news. This way, he can move on as soon as possible to someone better.

This wisdom worked. R was super gracious (of course, cause he’s a GREAT guy). I am sure he’s out right now, with some much more emotionally balanced woman, planning fabulous dates.

Real talk: Do I feel great? No. 

hannah girls

Rejecting a good guy definitely wakes up the little voice in my head that keeps telling me to freeze my eggs or look into adoption regulations in post-Soviet states, because I very well might die alone.

But, I’d rather die alone than settle. Right now, at least.

Got any other good wisdom about breaking it off with someone you’re casually dating? Leave it in the comments readers!

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.