Sometimes it’s tough to come up with a lesson learned from a life experience. In a recent dating encounter, I thought I had a lesson in the “pros” of a woman being proactive, but alas there was no prize.
Join me in some Octoberish one pot creamy pumpkin penne while I present the facts. Perhaps some of the behaviors described will seem familiar to you online daters, whether you’re male or female. In a new feature of this blog, dating tips will be asterisked.
Last June, I matched with Mr. M on both Zoosk and Tinder. Mr. M wanted to chat with me on Zoosk so I sent him an opener. He responded and we volleyed briefly until he walked away from the game. My last message to him hung in the cloud and I wondered if my comment was lacking.
After a couple of days with no exchange, I unmatched Mr. M on Tinder and assumed our encounter was destined for the dating waste bin.
Then, unexpectedly in September, Mr. M “super liked” me on Tinder, signifying our third match.
Here’s what he wrote:
“Hi there! What a fantastic and charming smile. For a moment you look so familiar.”
Snide thought (in my head only): Of course I look familiar, this is the third time we have matched. I had documented our previous exchanges via screen shots* but I played it cool.
Hi, I wrote, I think we matched on another site.
“Well,” he responded, “we need to meet, have coffee or tea for a wonderful conversation soon.”
It’s always my goal to meet soon, I responded. Ignoring my archival screen shots, I asked him to refresh my memory and provide a brief profile. (Sometimes I ask guys with no profile for their elevator speech.*)
Two days later, I still had not gotten a response to my question. Feeling fed up with this guy’s behavior, I decided to give him a piece of my mind.
Twenty minutes later, Mr. M wrote back to say that work had gotten in the way and asked if we could speak by phone.
I suggested he send me his number and said I would text him that evening to see if it was a good time to talk. This is my preferred method* of initiating a first phone call. My goal here is primarily to use a guy’s number to search for him online and to verify his identity. Searching a phone number* on Facebook or LinkedIn can often lead to a profile even if that number is not visible to the public.
Bingo. I found Mr. M on both social media outlets and his profile, resume, and photos were in sync with the earlier dating profiles he had created. He was an interesting man of many talents and interests and I felt he was worth pursuing despite our shaky communication start.
We had a good phone call and some follow-up texting using my *Google voice number. Two days later he invited me for a Friday night happy hour. He let me know the evening would be his treat. I appreciated that – no need to fumble over splitting/not splitting the cost.
Of course, Mr. M was late to our meeting/date but he both phoned and sent text updates from the stalled beltway. When he walked in, I was impressed with his height (6’3”) but since he was wearing a suit, I couldn’t assess whether his broad shouldered body type was fit, a factor that’s important to me.
We stayed at the bar for 3 hours, a long first date by most standards. Mr. M talked more than me (a general pattern with guys) but I liked that he showed his vulnerability and love of family. His body language (lots of arm touching and eye contact) conveyed that he was into me and I liked him too.
Although I was disappointed that the conversation was more about him, I anticipated a second date would show whether there could be a greater balance in our interaction. A second date would also help me decide about some potential red flags (a brief Vegas-stye second marriage that was annulled, some X-file type comments that intrigued me but had me wondering).
At one point, he asked if I was seeing someone. I said no and he said the same when I inquired about him. Later I wondered if I should have qualified that with “I’m in contact with several matches but not in an exclusive situation.”
Overall date score: B+. I felt chemistry and connection.
After Mr. M paid the bill, he said he didn’t want to leave and we ended up sitting for a bit by the jazz combo that was playing before he walked me to my car.
Surprisingly, he tried to shake my hand goodbye but I cut him off at the non-pass and went in for a kiss and hug. Quite nice. He walked away and came back for a repeat.
I had a short commute home but during that time Mr. M called me twice, which I took as a strong sign of his interest.
All good, right? I anticipated a second date with Mr. M so I was surprised when the next evening, he sent a text:
“Had a wonderful time last night am little afraid to start cause I don’t want to have another failed relationship…will call u later
Hope you are having a great day”
My first thought: WTF??? For the second time, I was compelled to give him a piece of my mind.
I focused on the fact that after one date, it was way too early to talk about a relationship or exclusivity, let alone the possibility of failure. I wrote him my heart is open to finding the right person despite the risks of it not working out. I ended the text by letting him know that I liked him.
A day later he responded with a typo-filled text. The gist was that he liked me but didn’t want to disappoint me and let me down if it didn’t work out.
I texted him that was still a lot to take in after one date and asked what he wanted to do. Later that night Mr. M wrote that he looked forward to seeing me again and “we will talk tomorrow.”
He phoned the next day. I asked him to explain his concerns. He said there were many issues –including not wanting to introduce someone to his daughters and then have it not work out. He wanted to know about getting together but I reminded him I had relatives in town. Then work interrupted him and we never finished the call.
He texted a couple of times after that but did not phone again. I was starting to mentally write him off but decided to do one last bold thing and invite him for a drink on Sunday afternoon. He said he had a work deadline for a project due the next day and suggested instead that we try for during the week.
I stayed cool and replied Okay, sounds good.
A week passed and no word. I decided he was a Mr. Hot ‘n Cold type, unmatched him on Tinder, and moved on mentally. Then 9 days after our last correspondence he sent a text (typos and missing words included):
This was disturbing. There was no explanation for the 9-day lapse. He wanted help with finding an apartment in MY TOWN. He mentioned hanging out FULL TIME. No, no, and no.
Remember, this is all after one date.
I didn’t know what Mr. M’s deal was but I wanted no part of it and blocked his number.
So did I learn the value of being bold and proactive? During my first exchange with Mr. M about his letting communication drop I worried that my behavior would backfire and turn him off. But it didn’t. He told me on our date that he liked my bold message. In a later communication, I didn’t care about being “too bold.” I was more interested in letting him know it was too early to talk about a relationship.
The whole bizarre encounter shows me (once again) of the crash and burn dating phenomenon: When guys are too gung ho in the very beginning, it’s often followed by a withdrawal. This burn part might play out for different reasons and for different lengths of time but the result is the same – an ending. Ladies, be wary* if a first date is “head over heels.” Watch for signs that he’s about to crash and burn.
Farewell Mr. M. Next!
Until next week, happy dating or not dating.