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

Dating and Friendships: Compare and Contrast

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If you’re divorced or widowed and looking to expand your social life, you may find yourself simultaneously dating and seeking new friends. It struck me recently that there are some interesting similarities and differences between these two activities.

Let’s compare and contrast dating and friendships. Some friendship bread is in order. Note: We’re ignoring healthy during the holidays.

Compare and Contrast  

  • Finding Friends and Dates: Although friends can be found online (see http://bit.ly/1kEYQc0), it is much more common to meet friends in the wild – through other friends, Meetups, work, activities. It is harder to meet men in the wild. I have no problem talking to a female stranger at the gym, in the grocery store line, even a parking lot. But starting up a conversation with a male stranger I’m attracted to requires more balls than I usually have. And none of my women friends know any single men I could date (insert sad face). Rating: Different
  • Meeting/Connecting: Pheromones aside, connecting with a new friend and a new date can each bring a rush. It’s great to connect with someone who has compatible energies, interests, and philosophies. Rating: Similar
  • Sharing Innermost Thoughts: Hands down, getting to know a woman friend is easier and faster because she will usually share important and confidential life stories right away. A four-minute chat with a friend in a rest room can reveal more substance than what you would typically get from a man you have been dating for four months. Rating: Different
  • Presence of Conversational Narcissism (See http://bit.ly/1USqC10): Both women and men can be self absorbed in their conversations. It’s annoying whether you’re dating someone or trying out a new friend. I’ve met some wonderful listeners (both men and women) but I have also encountered a fair number of self-focused folks. Rating: More Similar than Different
  • Meeting Family and Friends: This may happen pretty quickly with a friend. It’s another story with a date. You can’t introduce a “match” to friends or family too early in the game. Meeting the family is a big deal when you’re dating someone. It’s less of a biggie to introduce a date to friends but could be awkward if you’re bringing over a new guy every few weeks. Rating: Different
  • Taking Care of You: If you need a referral to a medical specialist, a ride to the doctor, a home cooked meal that you don’t have to make, or reassurance about a personal problem, chances are you are going to get the best support from a good female friend. Not that men can’t help with all these things but women friends seem to instinctively know how to best take care of you. Just saying. Rating: Mostly different
  • Ghosting: Both women friends (new and long-standing) and men you are dating can ghost you (disappear suddenly without explanation). I think it is more commonly a dating than a friend issue since – sweeping generalization here — women like to talk things out. Rating: Primarily different
  • Texting: When you text a friend, you don’t have to worry about timing the way you do with a date. You’re just not thinking, “Will she wonder if I am too available and don’t have a life?”   Rating: Different
  • Sexting: Not an issue unless you’re bi. Rating: Irrelevant
  • Catfishing: Not an issue unless you’re lucky enough to have befriended a criminal. Rating: Mostly Irrelevant
  • Revoking (cancelling a first meeting — see http://bit.ly/1mhoG6G ). It would be rare for a new friend to cancel a first meeting but it happens in the online dating world. Rating: Different
  • Acceptance of Compliments: It’s pretty easy to accept a compliment from a man you’re dating. If he tells you, “You look hot,” you’re going to smile and bat your lashes. You’re not going to say, “I’m fatter than I should be and it took me 15 minutes to get into my Spanx.” In contrast, it’s hard for many women to accept a compliment from a woman friend. Watch Amy Schumer’s brilliant skit on this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzlvDV3mpZw  Rating: Different.

I’d love to hear what you think about this. Write!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

An Inconvenienced Woman Preps for a To Be Cancelled Date

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It was a beautiful sunny fall day and as I approached Panera, the coffee/shop restaurant where I was meeting Mr. E., my first Tinder date, I decided to sit outside.

I sent Mr. E a text to let him know my location. A few minutes later, my phone rang. It was Mr. E calling about a logistics snafu. His ex- forgot to pick up his son from school to take him to the doctor. Mr. E. needed to reschedule.

“Why don’t I take you to dinner?” he suggested. Although I have broken this rule many times, I don’t usually want to have dinner on a first date-meeting. Who wants to be stuck in a restaurant with someone if there’s no chemistry, connection, or conversation? I prefer going for a drink or coffee. So we agreed to meet a few hours later at a wine bar.

As I was getting ready for our date once again, Mr. E. texted me to say he was tied up and wouldn’t be able to make it. He apologized and said that he and his ex’s co-parenting duties sometimes got switched at the last minute.

So, for the second time that day I changed out of “nice leggings” and a dressy top and put on sweats and a long-sleeved t-shirt. I kicked off my heels, put on beach shoes, and placed my necklace back in the jewelry box. I hung up my small “date” purse and collapsed on my bed.

I got out my iPad, clicked on iTunes, and selected Colbie Caillat’s song Try. Given my day, it was a good song to listen to. I started thinking about what a woman does to prepare for a first date and what a man might do as well.

Too bad an inconvenienced woman can’t send a bill to her cancelled date for her lost time and mental anguish. Why are doctors the only ones who get to do this?

Let me share with you my typical get-ready-for-a-date scenario and ladies, you can let me know if this sounds familiar. My guy readers can comment as well. Let’s multi-task and also have some veggie-heavy frittata.

T minus 48 hours (if the date is planned that far in advance):

  • Get hair touch-up at salon if suffering from excessive root visibility
  • Get manicure (a do-it-yourself manicure should be done the same day as the date)
  • Do laundry if the most likely date outfit is dirty
  • There’s no way to lose 10 pounds but at least get to the gym

T minus 24 hours

  • Print out my date’s profile so I can review before the date. Make list of things to ask about. Highlight potential negatives to be aware of (did he mean to imply he’s been divorced more than twice?)
  • Get to the gym once again
  • Try on a couple of date possibility outfits remembering that guys like red and pink. Resolve to buy more red and pink clothes.

T minus 6 hours

  • Switch purse essentials from everyday bag to date bag
  • Add “extras” to date bag: breath mints, toothpicks, date makeup.
  • Tweeze eyebrows, shave legs, etc.
  • Try on same outfits as yesterday plus another couple of possibilities
  • Put makeup on with extra care
  • Style hair with extra care
  • Hydrate skin with excessive application of pricey perfumed lotion
  • Hydrate lips with super expensive lip balm
  • Review date’s profile and notes from phone calls

T minus 2 hours

  • Touch up makeup
  • Touch up hair
  • Brush teeth, use mouthwash
  • Re-hydrate skin with excessive lotion application
  • Re-hydrate lips with super expensive lip balm
  • Put on fresh underwear (just because)
  • Get dressed
  • Fret about outfit
  • Get undressed
  • Get dressed with 2nd outfit
  • Check date bag to see what I’ve forgotten. Check! Retrieve driver’s license, credit card, and cash and put in date bag
  • Quick look at date’s profile so as not to confuse with other guys “in the running.” Oh God, why do I have CRS?
  • Last minute mirror check
  • Out the door

My date’s imagined first date prep:

T minus 2 hours:

  • Shave
  • Comb hair
  • Brush teeth
  • Put on last pair of clean pants and shirt
  • Quick look at date’s profile
  • Pet the dog; say, “Let’s do this!”
  • Out the door

O.K., my routine might be slightly exaggerated for effect (writer’s prerogative) and not all steps happen every time…but it’s close enough to an essential truth: Women spend a lot of time putting their best face and body forward for men. If only it could be worth it more than 25 percent of the time.

Do you agree?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia