Giving a Bad First Date a Second Chance

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Happy Thanksgiving week! I’m busy eating leftovers so please enjoy this guest post by Julie Weinberg.

I never give a bad first date a second chance. It’s a rule I established long ago in my eight years of post-divorce dating. It stemmed from a series of bad second dates following bad first dates. I asked myself, why bother? I thought my gut reaction during a first date was pretty accurate so I just went with that.

I recently had an experience, though, that has me wondering if my rule is perhaps too rigid. My shift in position is based on an interaction rather than a date but I think the principle applies. Here’s the scenario.

I arrive at a meetup.com happy hour–wait, stop the story. You’ve never heard of meetup.com?! Finish reading and commenting on this post and then immediately go to meetup.com where you will find a bonanza of like-minded people of all age groups who share your interests and plan events around them. Whatever your hobby or favorite weekend activity (comedy clubs, bird watching, hiking, canasta, you name it), you will find groups of people making plans to do it. Best yet, it is almost always FREE!

Back to my story. While spending three weeks visiting the San Francisco Bay Area on vacation, I go to a meetup.com happy hour at a yacht club. Last interruption. Note: I am not even from the Bay Area but I searched meetup.com and found what I thought would be a really nice way to spend an evening when I had nothing else planned. I swear I am not getting paid by meetup.com to promote their site; I just think it is a fabulous resource for singles looking for fun things to do. On to the story…

I walk into the restaurant and meander over to an organized looking group of about 20 people and confirm it is my meetup group. I plant myself at a table of seven or eight people and sit next to an attractive gentleman. After he exchanges pleasantries with everyone at the table for a few minutes, Mr. Attractive turns his attention to me and we dive into a more private conversation. I like him. He’s quite funny and captivating. I am thinking I would definitely like to go out with him.

During a lull in our conversation, another man at the table makes a comment about his experience on match.com and now everyone joins in the conversation because we all have online dating stories. We talk about profiles and I say, “I am brutally honest in mine” and Mr. Attractive says, “That’s a red flag for me. Someone who says she is ‘brutally honest’ really just means to me she’s a rude bitch.”

The table gets quiet. I burst out laughing because I can’t believe how rude Mr. Attractive is being to me, right there in front of everyone. I excuse myself to go to the bathroom and, in my head, rename Mr. Attractive to Mr. Rude. Another woman also excuses herself, and we bond when she says, “I can’t believe what a jerk that guy was.”  We spend the rest of the evening getting to know each other and, despite Mr. Rude (or really because of him), I now have a girlfriend in the Bay Area.

A week later, while still in the Bay Area, I attend a big singles mixer at an extremely posh hotel. Two hundred plus people are in attendance. About an hour into the event, guess who comes up to me? That’s right. Mr. Attractive/Rude. I couldn’t believe it. Why would a man who announces to the world that he thinks I am a “rude bitch” be so bold as to make a second attempt at getting to know me?

Being a direct and honest midwestern girl, I cut him off and say, “I am not sure what you are thinking here, but after how rude you were to me last week I really don’t want to chitchat with you now.” He is flabbergasted. He has no idea he was rude and he wants to know what he said that made me feel that way. We proceed to spend the next hour dissecting the conversation, me telling him how I took his comment and he explaining what he meant. During this evening’s conversation, he is again engaging, funny, and apologetic. I start liking him again. By the end of the evening, he asks me out.

I was leaving the next day so the date didn’t work out but we agree to stay in touch and see each other the following month when I am back in the Bay Area.

More importantly than a potential date with Mr. Attractive/Rude, this experience got me to think about my “no second date” rule. By limiting a guy to a single coffee date, am I missing out on getting to know a really great guy? Maybe I am being too harsh. I am not sure, but over the course of the next few months I may soften my stance to see what happens. Stay tuned.

*To learn more about Julie, visit her website julieweinbergbooks.com or purchase her book, I Wish There Were Baby Factories.  

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

2 thoughts on “Giving a Bad First Date a Second Chance

  1. I am very glad this topic came up. It is very encouraging to hear about how cool the meetups can be and it’s always nice to hear people deciding to rethink a policy. I’m also zooming in on the center part of the anecdote, where there’s a topic that needs more airing. Specifically the part where the whole table goes quiet, there is bonding with another woman, and instincts kick in. So far, everybody’s in agreement that this guy let loose a pretty awful lapse of civility. In theory, there is really nothing for him to say when he meets you again except “Anybody could see that I was really rude and I am working hard to improve my behavior.” If he found a clever way to make it sound like he didn’t do anything wrong, or if he hid behind “I didn’t know it was rude”, then run (do not walk) away from this charming narcissist. Aren’t instincts always right? And all those folks at the table going silent, they sound pretty spot-on. No need to second guess, the consensus was already there–just rude. Can’t wait to hear the updates.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess I felt at the time I wrote this blog that he genuinely didn’t realize how rude he was and he explained his position much better the second time we had a chance to talk. I’m absolutely sure that there must have been times in my own life when I’ve said rude things without realizing it. So part of my thinking in giving him another chance is I’d want to be given a second chance, too.

    Further, I’ve been told (repeatedly) that I jettison guys too early for petty reasons, like they only talk about themselves during a first date which just drives me crazy. But research has apparently shown that guys are apt to do this because of nerves rather than narcissism. My goal then, in a broader sense, is to at least cut back on the overall number of reason why I won’t give guys a couple of tries.

    All that said, in the case of Mr. Attractive/Rude, I did see him again at yet another meetup event and guess what? He bluntly asked me my age. Holy Cow. I swear my son knew by the age of three that you never ask a woman her age or weight. So I do believe that instincts in this particular case were right, as usual. However, it hasn’t discouraged me from being more open and cutting a guy a break on the first date so I can get to know him better. I think it’s a good change for me if for no other reason it works to squash some of my judgmental tendencies and opens me up to new possibilities.

    Like

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