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

The Letdown

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I’m in a bit of a letdown mode right now after a much-anticipated first date that fizzled.

Have a slice of chocolate cake with me. Nutrition can be damned today since I need some chocodorphins (endorphins created by chocolate).

It’s not that the date was terrible but the meeting revealed a lack of truth in advertising.

I matched with Mr. J on Tinder. He had zero profile information but a nice face. In one of his pictures, he sat in front of a microphone. It appeared he was a newscaster or radio personality. This was one reason I didn’t feel it was essential to talk to him on the phone before meeting. I assumed he did not have a voice like Truman Capote though there are some annoying “radio voices” out there.

He started our conversation with “Hi.” I had little to go on so I asked him whether he was a radio newscaster or played one on TV. The texting took off from there and didn’t stop until we met 24 hours later. It turns out he is in radio though not in my hometown so I had not heard him on air.

We acquired a brief sense of each other: marital history, Pandora stations we listen to, and what we like to do in our free time. I also learned that this was his first day on Tinder. Many men say, “I just joined.” But I believed Mr. J. He’d been divorced awhile and done online dating but hadn’t joined what he thought was a hook-up APP. I assured him it didn’t have to be and when he asked, “What’s a nice girl like you doing on Tinder?” I pointed out that my profile specified I was not looking for a hookup.

We flirted, one of my favorite aspects of dating. And, there were no dick pix! Plus Mr. J was polite. After the first few texts, he said he was about to sit down to dinner with his son and asked if he could text me later. I almost fainted. Most men just stop mid-text with no warning and no (or a sorry) explanation if they resumed the chat.

After Mr. J’s dinner, he jumped back online and we texted and flirted until my fingers started to cramp up. The interlude ended with a plan to meet for a drink the next evening.

Before we said good night, Mr. J said he felt butterflies as a result of our virtual encounter. I acknowledged having them too. You know the kind of butterflies – good ones that mean you’re excited about someone.

The next day I was an energizer bunny. I decided to take advantage of that electrical buzz that comes from an anticipated first date and clean my house from top to bottom. That’s what awesome texting chemistry can do for you.

I didn’t have time to get a mani-pedi but I dressed carefully and — even though I’m a half-inch taller than Mr. J — decided to wear heels.

I got to the restaurant bar first. I only had a 10-minute drive; he had 60 minutes. I ordered a glass of wine, which did wonders for my first date nerves. There was a cute younger guy sitting at the bar alone but I deliberately did not make eye contact since I was waiting for someone.

Mr. J arrived. Oh. A quick once-over revealed a very unfit, overweight man. Nice face but not my physical type. Hopes dashed. This is a deal breaker for me. I’m fine with a little belly and I don’t seek perfection but when a man has truly let himself go, I just can’t be attracted.

I spend a considerable time working out at the gym, swimming, walking, and eating healthy (aside from the occasional chocolate cake lapse-see above) so I need someone who’s on that same page and whose appearance reflects that.

So, like so many of life’s disappointments, you just have to muddle through. We had a nice hour-long chat but there was no flirting. When I returned from a restroom break, Mr. J said he should probably head back home.

Later that evening, he texted me to say he arrived safely. Then he wrote, “I have this feeling you did not feel a spark.” “Sadly, that is true,” I replied. “I wish it were otherwise because I think you’re a great guy.” He thanked me and wished me luck. Polite to the end!

The next morning I was a used up energizer bunny – woefully in need of a charge. That’s what the rollercoaster dating life can do to you. I made a sign and put it on my desk:

Blog pix Ask for recent full body pix

 

 

It’s been a couple of days and I’m back to my upbeat self – helped by a couple of irons in the fire.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating. Or, as a new friend says, “happy solo honoring time.”

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

First Dates

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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about first dates. This is not unexpected because I have a lot of first dates. And I don’t mean I have a lot of dates… just a lot of FIRST dates. Obligatory sigh.

Do you get hungry after reading the lead paragraph of my posts? If you are a faithful reader, you have been conditioned to expect a mouth-watering recipe at this point. So, enjoy a bowl of tortellini with snap peas and pesto (with or without the mint) while we discuss first dates. And, if you’re not a faithful reader, sign up!

There’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in a first date and a lot of inner monologue that takes place.

I’ve had a few dreadful first dates, a number of boring/mediocre ones, and some good and great ones. The irony is that a great first date doesn’t necessarily lead to a great second encounter, let alone a dating relationship.

It’s always fun to review the bad first dates…even when they’re not #10 on the horrific scale.

I recall a date with Mr. A, a nice but unbelievably boring man, I met for a drink after work. As a naïve new divorcée, I agreed to meet Mr. A despite our rather lackluster phone call. I should have known that struggling for conversation on the phone is a likely predictor of a painful first date. And painful it was. We ended up in a conversation loop about our kids, his new retirement, my hoped for retirement. No chemistry. No pizazz to the conversation. Only the wine made the brief date tolerable.

At the 45-minute point, I realized I was starving. The smells of pesto were tempting me. Mr. A asked if I wanted to get some food. I couldn’t imagine sitting there for another second. So, despite my grumbling tummy, I said I needed to walk my daughter’s dog. In fact, my canine care services were not needed that day.   I hated resorting to a white lie but could not think of an alternative and kind excuse.

The next day I was surprised when Mr. A emailed me to ask me out again. Was he unaware of the awkwardness and poor connection? This time I was direct and said I didn’t think we were a match.

One other bad date sticks in my mind. I met a Mr. B (I can’t remember his name so B is for Bad) at Politics and Prose for a lunchtime date. When I arrived, Mr. B was at a table drinking a coffee. After I greeted him (oh, disappointment – he was much older and much shorter than his profile and photos indicated), I asked, “Have you eaten?” “Yes,” he said. “Well, I didn’t have lunch so I’m going to grab a light bite,” I replied.

He didn’t offer to get me something or even wait in line with me. Yes, on a first date, I like that (though I always offer to pay half of whatever the joint bill is). So, given his age, height, and lack of chivalry, I didn’t have much hope.

When I returned to the table, we chatted (cocktail party get-to-know-you conversation) but he kept checking out every woman who walked by. Not that I wanted to lock eyes with him but I found it annoying and disrespectful. When I learned during the conversation that he had 7 cars I was even more annoyed that he hadn’t offered to at least pay for my tea. You can call me old fashioned in this regard.

Mr. B and I had nothing in common and after a painful 35 minutes, I said I needed to leave to prepare for a dinner party (a half–truth since I had company coming for dinner but plenty of time to prep).

And then there are the good first dates. He looks good. He looks better than his pictures. He smiles and is engaged. There is obvious, easy chemistry and connection. Conversation flows. He hasn’t yet revealed himself to be a narcissist.

He knows how to kiss – discovered at the end, possibly the middle, and sometimes at the very beginning of the date. He might rub your feet (yes, this happened), you might go to a second venue just to extend the evening (at his request), or you might go for a drink and then a walk.

You might be asked for a second date at the end of date #1 or you might be asked the next day. The date might last 3 hours or it might last 6.

The first date might be the beginning of a relationship or just the beginning of a short dating interval until it is clear that he’s not the right one. Regardless, it’s a good or great first date.

So, dear readers, hope for the best when you’re putting on your high heel sneakers in advance of date #1. Yes, on a scale of 1 to 10, it could end up being a zero but it might be a 20.

Anything can happen.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romance and Music: A Memory Playbook

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Music is the shorthand of emotion, Leo Tolstoy

 

I was driving the other day when Michael Buble’s version of Feeling Good came on the radio. It only took a few notes for me to flashback to my first out-of-the-divorce-box relationship.

I would guess that most of you have collected a playbook of songs that are associated with a particular romance in your life. A song may have been playing on the radio at the time you were involved, or the lyrics captured the essence of your relationship, or perhaps you were stuck on that song during your love fest and it became forever associated with that time in your life.

Whatever the reason for the association, when that song is played, you time- travel back to that relationship and to your love interest. The length of time you need to travel and the quality of both the romance and the break-up will determine whether the song triggers feelings of melancholy, sadness, anger, or fondness.

Sit with me, have some grilled flatbread with mushrooms, ricotta, and herbs, and let’s run through my playbook.

Feeling Good is a classic starting over song. Just sample the lyrics:

It’s a new dawn

It’s a new day

It’s a new life

For me

And I’m feeling good.

No wonder this song was a perfect fit for my first post-divorce relationship with Mr. K, a widower. I even sent him a link to the YouTube video. Unfortunately, Mr. K wasn’t quite ready for a new day so the song reminds me of the dangers of getting involved with someone who has not moved on.

Come to Me, the Goo Goo Dolls

Love, starting over, marriage, eternity….all the classic themes for a relationship with Mr. M – or so I thought: 

Come to me my sweetest friend


Can you feel my heart again


I’ll take you back where you belong


And this will be our favorite song


Come to me with secrets bare


I’ll love you more so don’t be scared


And when we’re old and near the end


We’ll go home and start again 

Unfortunately, Mr. M and I weren’t compatible on an emotional or physical level. We both wanted a sweetest friend but not with each other.

Ghostbusters theme, Ray Parker Jr.

This one is a cheat because my relationship with Mr. D didn’t have a song. But since he ghosted me and was possibly a cheat, I’m adding it to my playbook. 

If there’s something weird

and it don’t look good

Who ya gonna call?

GHOSTBUSTERS

The Man Who Can’t be Moved, The Script

I discovered this song when I first met Mr. L and sent it to him soon after we met…just because I loved the melody and, as a hopeful romantic, I’m a sucker for stories of yearning and lost love.

Going back to the corner where I first saw you,


Gonna camp in my sleeping bag I’m not gonna move,


Got some words on cardboard got your picture in my hand,


Saying if you see this girl can you tell her where I am,


Some try to hand me money they don’t understand,


I’m not broke I’m just a broken hearted man,


I know it makes no sense, but what else can I do,


How can I move on when I’m still in love with you

Mr. L was not ready for undying love – still separated; he had more wild oats to sow before he gave his heart to someone.

Our House, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

This song goes way back to my marriage. It was a song of the times – post Woodstock, still hippie, still sometimes high, organic, long hair, vegetarian, young and relatively free.

I’ll light the fire, you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today.

Staring at the fire for hours an hours while I listen to you

Play your love songs all night long for me, only for me.

This classic song endures but, as you know, the marriage did not.

Now, for something sarcastic and fun, here are some songs for a few of the one-date wonders in my life over the past few years.

For the seldom available narcissist:

You’re so Vain

For the guy who can’t stop talking about money

Bills, bills, bills

For the liar (profile, photo, etc.):

All Men are Liars

For the handsome one you know is trouble:

Cowboy Casanova

Four songs for all the single ladies:

Single

Single Ladies

Men in this Town

Independent Women

What songs are in your playbook?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

A Woman’s Inner Monologue During a First Date

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Having become thoroughly seasoned (battered and fried) in the art of the first date, I’d like to share with you a typical inner monologue that I – or you – might experience before and during an initial meeting.

This is a composite interior “speech” culled from my now unfortunately vast experience with first dates.

I have broken the monologue down into four parts (before the date, the greeting, the middle, and the end).

The Prep or Seasoning Prior to the Date (see a past blog entry for bonus reading on this process)

“I should wear red to meet Mr. C since men like red.

“Thank God I have been working out. Hopefully my jiggles are less wiggly.

“I wonder if the waiters will recognize me at the bar. They must be wondering why I am always with someone new. I need a new venue.

“I really thought Mr. C was going to revoke me. At least he appears legitimate.

“Why am I nervous? I guess that’s normal. I wonder if he’s nervous.

The Batter (The Early Minutes)

“There he is sitting in the waiting area. He looks like one of the pictures in his profile – but not the one I like the best.

“He’s standing up now to greet me. He is definitely not 6’2”. I wore heels because I thought I could. Oh well, we’re about the same height.

“Just a hi greeting – no handshake (thankfully). Hugs can be nice. I remember a few who kissed me at first greeting.

 

Fried (The Middle)

“I seem to be asking all the questions, bringing up conversation topics. Maybe I’ll mention that. Oh, he realized that. Bonus points.

“He seems nice but I’m not feeling an attraction. Perhaps it will come if we talk some more.

“I don’t think he exercises much – seems to be more into spectator sports.

“I find the timbre of his voice somewhat unpleasant. Sigh.

“It sounds like he’s a good dad to his children.

“I’m starving. I wonder if I should mention ordering something. Not dinner – too much of a commitment – perhaps an appetizer to share. Yes, I will suggest it.

“Did I really need to hear that story about someone he used to date?

“I think it’s time to call it a night. I’ll offer to help pay the bill.

“He shouldn’t have taken me up on my offer. It seems counter to my feminist ways to believe the man should pay for the first date. And yet, I do…though I’m at odds with myself on this.

Finished (The End)

Nice that he’s walking me to my car.
“Oh, he’s a good kisser. Needs a breath mint, however.

“WTF?! Did he really need to have a hands-on verification from me of his growing desire? Am I back in high school? Yes, I think I am.

Epi-mono-logue

“Even before that little move to place my hand on his crotch, I didn’t think there would be a date #2. No spark. I remember that spark and I need it.

“I wish he hadn’t texted to ask me out again.

“I don’t want to ignore it. I know how awful it is to be ghosted. I’ll just have to text him and let him know I’m not feeling a connection.

“Next.”

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Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia