A big thanks, dear readers, for sending comments and following me on social media: datingtipsforboomers and @60sdating. A few days ago, a reader asked me to address several issues she found puzzling. I’d like to honor that request today.
When faced with puzzling issues, I like to eat comfort food. What could be better than Jamie Oliver’s cornbread served with a nice green salad?
Question #1: How do you end a date gracefully when you know you don’t want to see the man again?
Who has not been 10 minutes – or even 5 minutes – into a first date and had the thought, “No way – not seeing him again” or “He’s 10 years older, 5 inches shorter than his profile says and I feel zero chemistry. How can I leave?”
Unless there is a serious issue with carrying on a basic get-acquainted conversation with my date, I try to stay for an hour. I can usually make enough small talk to last 60 minutes. At that point, I might say, “Sorry, I’ve got an appointment and need to leave” or “My daughter/son/neighbor is away and I need to walk his/her dog.” I used the dog-walking ruse at the end of a not so happy hour date – even though I was starving and wanted to order food.
At one late afternoon coffee date in a bookstore I met a judgmental, older, shorter, roving eye, cheap rich guy. After about 45 minutes, I said I had to leave in order to prep for a dinner party I was giving that night. The guy appeared to believe it. I was having company that evening but had plenty of time to prep and would have stayed if I liked this man.
So I am advocating the use of white lies to avoid hurt feelings or awkward, difficult moments.
In the bookstore case, and in some others, there is a mutual lack of chemistry so there is no awkward situation where Mr. 1 Date Wonder asks to see you again.
However, let’s say you’re out with a guy you don’t care for but he likes you and asks you out at the end of date #1. Here are some possible responses:
- “Sure, call, text, or email me and we can make plans.” Then, the next morning or afternoon, send a kind “break up” email. See: my post on breaking up for specifics.
Here’s a recent email I sent after one date:
Thanks for your invitation and for a nice evening last night. I enjoyed the conversation but I did not feel the connection I was hoping to feel. I think we just have different energies. As you know, finding that connection is such an unpredictable and elusive thing. And it is always disappointing not to feel this when someone is a great and interesting person. One can list the qualities in an ideal mate but the connection factor can’t really be defined – other than you know it when you find it.
Good luck with everything and I hope you find a wonderful woman.
The man appreciated my note and said that receiving such a nice “blow off” helped ease the pain.
- “I’ll have to think about it…give me a call.”
- “Sorry – I don’t think we’re a good fit.” Full disclosure: I have not said this in person but it’s a good option if you’re feeling BOLD.
- What would Amy Schumer say?
“Thanks for the invite but I should tell you that I’m seeing someone and I only went on this date seeking a 2nd guy for a threesome. I like you but Burt prefers taller guys so I’m going to have to say a big NO. Best of luck though!!”
(Note: hypothetical example does not imply Amy likes threesomes – but I imagine her dreaming up a wild ploy if she was in this situation.)
Before we leave this issue, I’d like to point out that sometimes it takes until the end of a date to realize that you do in fact like someone. The guy may be nervous at the beginning (as you may be) and that can interfere with the flow. So it might be worth sticking it out for a full hour unless it’s just unbearable (see bookstore coffee date example above).
Question #2: How do you deal with unwanted displays of affection, like handholding in the movies, etc.?
Well, handholding is pretty mild in my book…I’ve had to contend with guys placing my hand on their crotch at the end of a first date as well as fingers walking up my thigh at a second date movie. I’m not going to address wanted displays of affection, which are wonderful when feelings are mutual.
So, my first suggestion is to physically undo whatever the guy is trying to do. If you don’t want to hold his hand, gently take away your hand to look through your purse or fiddle with your hair…or distract him…. or use your hand to point at something. If you do that a couple of times, it should work. I kept grabbing the thigh wanderer’s hand and holding it, which was o.k. with me (he gave a great hand massage), in order to avoid his digital trek up my leg. And it was quite easy to take my hand off of Mr. Hot-to-Trot’s pants.
If physical moves don’t work, you might have to say, for example, “I don’t feel like holding hands right now.” That’s sending a pretty big ‘I don’t like you message’ … so make sure that’s your intent before uttering those words.
Question #3: How do you remind someone they owe you an email?
I think the easiest thing to do in this case is to say by phone, text or e-mail, “Weren’t you going to get in touch with me about X, Y, or Z?”
Or, you could just send an unrelated email with a link to a song you like or a funny You Tube video and see if that provides a memory trigger.
Keep those cards and letters coming…and send me questions. I’m also interested in answers – especially to the mysteries of life and dating.
Until next week, happy dating or not dating!