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 Slow Dawning of the Realization that He’s Just Not That Into You

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I came rather late to reading the 2009 book He’s Just Not That Into You but then I came rather late to the dating life.

For the last month, I have been on a relationship advice book kick that began with Power Texting Men: The Best Texting Attraction Book to Get the Guy and Love is in the Mouse: Online Dating for Women: Crush your Rivals and Start Dating Extraordinary Men. I’ll offer my take on these resources another time.

About the same time my book kick began, I started going out with someone who would prove to be a conundrum. Mr. B’s behavior became particularly puzzling a couple of weeks ago. When I described the situation to a friend, she said, “Perhaps it’s a case of ‘He’s Just Not That Into You.’”

This was food for thought. Speaking of which, let’s focus on fall food: wild rice crusted halibut.

I saw the movie version of He’s Just Not That Into You awhile ago and though I can’t remember the details, I remember the premise – men treating women badly. I had never read the book, which was written by two Sex and the City writers. Since it was time to select another advice tome, I downloaded the kindle edition of He’s Just Not That Into You and started reading.

For the Cliff Notes version of the book, just read the table of contents. For example:

  • He’s Just Not That Into if He’s Not Asking You Out
  • He’s Just Not That Into if He’s Not Calling You
  • He’s Just Not That Into if He’s Disappeared on You

You get the idea. Author Greg Behrendt has a no-nonsense approach that advises women to immediately dump anyone who shows any of the “He’s Just Not That Into You” signs. His co-author Liz Tuccilo sometimes tempers or softens Greg’s hardline approach with the reality of a woman’s experience.

Women are often willing to put up with less than perfect in order to have some kind of…read “any” relationship in this world of more women than men. But more often than not, Liz agrees with Greg that it’s better to be alone than with someone who treats you poorly.

The book is really about self worth, empowerment, and getting what you as a totally awesome woman deserve.

So let’s go back to my conundrum. Here are the signs from Mr. B that gave me pause:

  • After initial frequent contact (mostly texting), there are now longer gaps in communication
  • Most common mode of communication: texting about inane daily activities or “his stress” from work etc.
  • Only a few phone calls
  • After 2nd date two weeks ago, still no plans for a 3rd date
  • Out of town every other weekend to care for elderly mother but no effort to see me during the week

The reason it was a conundrum and not a clear-cut get out of it ASAP situation:

  • We had two good dates and discovered some common interests
  • He is staying in touch however irregularly and always asks how I am
  • He listens
  • Obvious chemistry and attraction between the two of us
  • I wanted to see him again; there seemed to be potential worth exploring

There are other factors but I’m approaching this issue from a strictly behavioral analysis.

The more I read the book, the more I recognized Mr. B’s actions in the behaving badly category. And like many of the examples in the book, just when I thought he was really demonstrating non-interest, he would phone me. I started to think he was treating me like a yo yo – letting the line out and staying out of touch. Then, right before it hit the ground, he’d jerk (me) back with a phone call.

After pondering all of the examples of badly behaving men in the book and rolling my eyes at the women who kept trying to forgive their guys, I concluded that I was, in fact, in denial and living a case of He’s Just Not That Into You. I also concluded that women outnumber men in the decent and nice category.

What was the last straw with Mr. B? After not hearing from him all week, he phoned me Thursday evening. I was annoyed and didn’t answer. Later that night I sent him a text saying I’d be available Friday.

On Friday, he sent an afternoon text detailing his stressful week as an excuse for not being in touch. He ended the text by saying he plans to drive a friend to the airport in NY and will then spend the weekend in the city. There was no mention of getting together again — only that he’d be back Sunday.

I don’t know if his friend (man or woman) lives in NYC or in the DC area…but regardless, does this make any sense at all? Top that off with a lot of mundane detail. What I wanted him to write was “Really miss you and want to see you as soon as possible.”

I haven’t responded. I wrote a sayonara “breaking up” with you text but I may not send it. Sometimes ghosting seems like the right response.

To any reader who is in a murky mixed-message dating situation, read or re-read He’s Just Not That Into You. It will be a splash of cold water on your hot little love-starved head…. and sometimes you need that.

I don’t know about you but I feel so much better getting this off of my chest.

If you liked this post or any past one, please subscribe to this blog. I love subscribers!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Roller Coaster Not Dating Life: Men, learn some manners

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It’s time for some updates on my strange singles week. Let’s chat and enjoy an Arugula Greek Salad.

As you may recall, when we last connected I was riding the roller coaster world of dating – or not-dating — and had ended the week with a mixed message from one man and a rejection from the other.

Mr. A, a man I had spoken to by phone, ignored an email I sent after our first phone conversation. Then, several days later and against dating protocol, he called me on a Saturday night. I didn’t recognize the number and didn’t answer the call. Mr. A is the man whose real age, according to my sleuthing, is 5 years older than his profile indicates. Mr. B came into my life via a Facebook introduction from a mutual friend. However, he messaged me to say his life is too crazy busy to consider starting something.

Here are the updates and a new dilemma. I never returned Mr. A’s Saturday night call but he messaged me the next day to say he was in Florida visiting his daughter. So I decided to reply and we had a good conversation. Mr. A said we obviously had phone chemistry and should meet after he returned from Florida. He suggested dinner on Saturday night and I said o.k., even though I don’t always agree to dinner on a first meeting – especially on a Saturday. I agreed since he would be driving quite a distance. (Note to inquiring minds: he planned to stay overnight with his sister who lives nearby).

By Saturday morning, I still had not heard from Mr. A to confirm our plans. Since I wasn’t feeling well, I texted him to say I wasn’t sure our date was solid and that regardless I was not feeling up to going out. No response. So, another “fade away” as I like to call the matches who disappear without a trace.

Now for an update on Mr. B, the Facebook friend. I had written Mr. B off after he messaged me to say he was too busy to consider starting something. My reply was “As you wish” and a comment that this is my favorite quote from The Princess Bride. Unexpectedly, the next day, Mr. B wrote back to suggest we meet for coffee when things calm down in a week.   My only thought is that my reference to The Princess Bride must have captured his imagination because he included a photo from the movie in his text. Hope sprang (yes, it’s a real word) eternal!

Then, yesterday, over a week later, I see a Facebook photo update of Mr. B taken by a woman on what is obviously a hike in the woods. So, perhaps Mr. B is already seeing someone. And given my luck lately (yes, an obnoxious reminder of the dating dry spell another one has likely bitten the dust.

Before I leave my update on the strange singles week, a new match possibility emerged that presents a problem related to Mr. A’s age contradiction.

The problem guy, Mr. C, is on OkCupid, a site that seems to be increasingly attractive to romance scammers. Mr. C’s profile says he is single, which can mean never married, divorced, widowed, or separated. However, when I ran a security check on him, I found mention of a possible former or current wife but no reference to a divorce (divorce records are often online and included in an identity service’s report).

In a phone conversation, I asked Mr. C if he was never married, separated, widowed or divorced (trying to sound neutral). He started to say, “sep….and then switched to “divorced.” Freudian slip? True indication of his status?

When I sleuthed some more, I found another dating profile of his – on Plenty of Fish (POF) — with no picture and his marital status listed as separated.

I contemplated creating a fake identity on POF – just like the scammers – so I could email Mr. C to verify his status. (Yes, you can call me determined if nothing else.) I signed up using this new identity but have not taken the time to find and load a photo.

So, while I pondered whether I had gone overboard in my sleuthing, Mr. C and I had another good phone conversation. He asked if I was ready to meet. I said yes, despite my questions about his marital status. Why? I liked him and hoped my findings could be explained – e.g., old free profile he never took down. I planned to politely ask him about his marital status in person. My thought was that, if nothing else, it would be good copy for Dating, Sex, and Life in your 60s.

Side note about an interesting phenomenon: the writing of this blog compels me to pursue various situations as a learning experience for my readers and me. I plan to write more about this – how writing a blog can empower you — in a future post.

Back to the update: The last phone call I had with Mr. C, the possibly divorced guy, was Monday night while he was driving. (Pet peeve: does anyone NOT multitask when talking on the phone?)

Five days later, on Friday night at 10:00 p.m., Mr. C sent me a text to see if I could meet for coffee the next morning. He acknowledged the last minute aspect. Ha! Plus he spelled my name wrong. And the kicker? When I checked his profile, his photo was down. The profile was still visible but no photo. I texted him back to say my dance card was filled and asked about the photo. He said he didn’t like the photo and would be putting up a new one. When? After his divorce? A profile without a photo is always suspicious.

This was too much. I don’t think I can meet him – even for the sake of good copy.   If I add up the lack of divorce confirmation in the identify report, the extra POF profile, the Freudian slip when I asked him his marital status, and the disappearing photo on OkCupid, I am left with too many negatives.

These recent interactions have prompted a big question: what do you do when you find out information about a prospect that doesn’t match his profile?

Do you ask the guy about the discrepancy before you meet and risk looking “creepy,” particularly when the information you unearthed may not be accurate? Or do you ask him about it during your first coffee date? Or do you just “fade away” like so many men do?

Has anyone experienced this situation? What did you do?

All of these interactions also illustrate the epic lack of manners that is pervasive in the dating world. It’s too easy to be rude. You can hide behind text messages, false profiles, and geography. You’re not likely to run into someone you’ve met online so you can just fade away without embarrassing in-person run-ins. I would love to hear examples of rude dating behavior. Send a comment or tweet to #rudedates.

I’m hoping scientific research can uncover ways to engage in mass brainwashing to instill good manners.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating! XXXOOO Nadia