My first date occurred in 1998. It happened, relevantly, at the local JCC. There was some sort of social thing for kids, and we must have hit it off. Of course, we must have hit it off in a very 14-year-old way. I must have been the guy wearing the silkiest of all the shirts. Of course, this was 1998. 1998 I looked like Ben Affleck,not Daredevil Ben Affleck, but School Ties Ben Affleck. I would have changed teams for School Ties Ben Affleck.
After the party, we talked several times on the telephone. We decided to meet, of course, at the JCC. First, we went to the snack bar, and then had an intense hugging session in the basement. For you purists who may claim that there are no basements in Texas, this is a very odd-shaped JCC and the bottom floor was semi-underground. I’m not crazy, this date actually happened.
Our second date was at the movies. Remember, this was the movies of 1998. There were none of the modern amenities that we often take for granted today. Namely, the armrests did not lift. We made the best of a bad situation and it made for a wonderful viewing of The Apostle starring Robert Duvall. Of course, once she got to actually know me, I was headed for a lifetime of loneliness. I did not know how to extend a conversation past “Here is the basement of the JCC.” I also did not know how to interact around her friends. I think we went to the science museum once. I also vaguely remember that the boys were into cars. I had no idea about either of these topics. Sadly, she broke up with me over the phone while I talked to her from my bedroom. One day I will have a car of my own. She’ll see! They’ll all see!
under Online Dating
So many men seeking online dating advice come to me with the same story…
They go out on a first date…
Everything seems to go absolutely perfect.
They have fun, enjoy good conversation, there is heavy flirting, some casual kisses, and even planning for a second first date that takes place..
And then NOTHING.
The girl disappears, never to be seen again.
So what on earth happened?
1. We may not be being honest with ourselves. But if the date resulted in kisses (Pending they weren’t over the top sexual) and plans for a second date were made, odds are that it probably is not that and the date did actually go well.
2. The female is just flaky, plain and simple. One of the problems that is inherit with online dating is that it creates a strive to find absolute perfection. Women just never ever stop getting new messages. They may have even received 20 new messages since the time your date ended, to when your first phone call was made. Some of these women just keep dating new people no matter how good their first date was because they are always looking for something better that may not be out there.
My advice, just go with the flow and don’t start building houses with white picket fences until you are sure you found one that is ready to commit! It may just not always be your fault!
Have you ever told a story on a date you thought was funny/interesting/unique/heartfelt/etc only to never hear from your date again? Yeah, don’t tell that story on 1st dates anymore. Live and learn. You know which stories I’m talking about, the one about your parents eating so many carrots that their palms turned orange (real line I heard from a guy), or the one about your family of sleep walkers who’ve all gone to the bathroom in rooms where there isn’t even a toilet (a friend who will remain unnamed), or the one about that date you went on where the guy had a long thick hair growing out of the tip of his nose (a date I went on). None of these stories need to be told on early dates. Don’t tell stories about how your family is odd just yet, don’t talk about dates you’ve been on and don’t talk about anything having to do with the bathroom. Talk about you. The best you. Leave the embarrassing stories for later… there will be plenty of time, believe me!
I think after you break up with someone you have been going out with for a while it is difficult to get back into the flow of dating again. After going out on first date after first date you finally met someone that you felt a connection with, only to have things end, putting you right back in the same spot you were before that relationship began.
To some people first dates are an exciting adventure where you are getting the chance to meet someone for the first time and see if they spark that fluttery feeling in the pit of your stomach that we are all hoping for; although if you have gone out on as many first dates as I have over the past year then perhaps you feel, as I now do, that the first date isn’t as fun as it used to be.
Since most of my first dates have ended in romantic disappointment I have now tempered my expectations back so far that it is difficult for me to even imagine one going well. Additionally, since so few of the first dates I’ve gone on have led to relationships, and the ones that did were spaced out, it is nearly impossible for me to believe that lightening could strike twice in a row and I might be able to immediately jump right back into another relationship.
However regardless of my skeptical and, to an extent, self-defeating attitude when it comes to first dates I don’t want to impose limitations on myself as to when I get back on the horse. Maybe it will be a week before I meet someone that I want to ask out, or even a month; however I know that I am going to go out on another first date at some point soon, and when that day arrives, just like every other first date I’ve been on, I’ll just have to see what happens.
How do I look past a bad first impression? I’m a divorced mom and I met a divorced dad on JDate. We’ve been dating 6 weeks, but I can’t forget what happened on our first date – while on our date at a restaurant, he touched me in an inappropriate way which made me feel very uncomfortable. I’ve continued to date him and even like him. He’s met my family and they thinks we’re a great match, but I still can’t forget the embarrassment nor can I understand why he would do such a thing as to be so awkwardly intimate with me so soon. He hasn’t done anything weird since and I really want to get over it but I can’t forget it. How can I move on so we can get more serious.?
Dear First Impressions Last,
Unfortunately for your date, you can only make a first impression once but, fortunately for him, (and unbeknownst to him) you’ve conceded by seeing him for the past 6 weeks. My advice is to tell him, in a joking tone, that he should never do said act again and let him know in a teasing way that he should know how lucky he is that you gave him a second chance. Allow him to respond and then drop the topic, forget about it and start making new memories to replace that one awful one. If you really want something with this guy you need to confront the situation head-on.
Remember that people are often extremely nervous on first dates, want desperately to make a good impression and therefore can make complete fools out of themselves instead. If you want to make this work then chalk his behavior up to first date jitters and excuse the act. When you’re not the nervous one it’s easy to forget that the other person might be. Ultimately you have to weigh your pros and cons when deciding if you’re going to continue seeing the other person – is the awkward act bad enough to stop seeing the guy? Aren’t people allowed to make mistakes?
In your case, it wasn’t bad enough behavior to stop accepting his dates, so what are you afraid of? Do you think he’s going to continue doing whatever it was he did or possibly do something else that embarrasses you in public? Are you thinking that he has tried this on other first dates? Are you afraid that was his true self? Or are you just looking for some kind of fault in him so you can put up your guard and stop yourself from possibly getting hurt? None of these questions can be answered without first casually confronting him and then next looking towards yourself to see why you might be intentionally ruining a good thing.
When you find yourself in doubt wondering if there is a fault you can overlook there are two things you can do. First, listen to your instincts and second, try to look at your situation from a different perspective and see if it’s really as awful as it is from the inside because it’s probably not.
My friend Julie recently a met a guy I’ll call “Darren” on JDate. It turns out they have a mutual friend who endorsed the match and the two were on their merry way to a first date. They met for drinks and Julie says it was a great time — there was constant and natural conversation, there were plenty of commonalities and there was mutual interest in seeing each other again.
Darren texted Julie the following Thursday morning and then called and asked her to go to dinner and a play on Saturday night — Prime Date Night! Julie was excited, needless to say.
Saturday night Darren picked up and then asked her where she wanted to eat. She was taken aback by the fact that he didn’t have any plans in mind, but she quickly rebounded and suggested a new place nearby. Dinner conversation didn’t flow quite as well as it did the week before and when the bill came Julie made a move towards her wallet, offered her credit card and Darren accepted. And as they were leaving the restaurant, entering and exiting the theatre, Darren not only failed to hold the door open for Julie, but let it fall shut behind him as he kept walking. The combination of all these faux pas was crushing as Julie was really excited about the prospect of Darren.
Julie was bummed but I convinced her to give Darren another chance if he were to ask her out again. A few days later she received a text from Darren saying that it was nice to meet her but they would be better off just as friends. Julie wasn’t so crushed because of the last date letdown, but still she was perplexed. I reminded her of the multiple faux pas he committed and pointed out that at least he was nice enough to not leave her hanging. We’ll never know what went wrong between date one and date two, nor why Darren wouldn’t give it one more shot, but he probably had a list with a few of his own grievances against Julie, faux pas that she committed unknowingly.
So how does something so promising fail so quickly and how can you keep these little disappointments from getting the best of you? Rollercoaster dating is unfortunately a normal part of dating and only hindsight will help you to see that the rollercoaster is actually weeding out the losers. And by losers I simply mean losing those that are not right for you. It’s better that the second date was such a doozy for both Julie and Darren because they didn’t waste any more time on something that ultimately wasn’t going to work out. Luckily, both of them saw the signs and neither was overly disappointed it didn’t work out. Maybe it’s realism, maybe it’s pessimism, but rather than getting your hopes up super high for each new date, try to just get your hopes up, say, medium high with a dash of sensibility.
under Date Night
I went on my first JDate date a few years ago. It was the easiest date I ever got. All I had to do was look up girls of my age in my area, and then contact them. This is something that would have not been possible if the only tools at my disposal were myself and the world around me. I had lived 20 years with myself and the world around me, and the world was not enough. The world has these barriers that are often close to impossible to break down. For example, how do you walk up to a girl you do not know and not only talk to her, but maintain a conversation that is interesting enough to sustain her interest without having to pay her?
I was still on my high from joining JDate, and figured that since it was so easy to get a date, the date itself would be equally simple. Therefore, I sort of half-assed it. I didn’t dress up very nicely. I only brushed my teeth twice. I didn’t wear cologne (although I never wear cologne). As a side note, sometimes girls don’t like dudes in cologne. Is that a correct assumption, or have I been making a horrible mistake my entire adult life? Anyway, I didn’t put much into preparedness. What I didn’t realize was that I was about to meet a person with all of the complexities and intricacies of any carbon-based life form.
Five minutes into the date, I had nothing. I actually tried to see how much time I could take up by laughing for no reason. Then, I decided that she would be the perfect guinea pig to hear material I was planning on using for my amateur stand-up comedy debut. After I had exhausted my five minute routine, I figured that I would use the date as an opportunity for a free psychiatric session. I told her all of my insecurities and fears. After the date, which involved a little bit of drinking, I figured that I had just conducted a perfect rehearsal of male to female interaction. What I didn’t realize was that in the previous scenario, the male would be akin to a crazy homeless person, and the female would most closely resemble a woman sitting at a broken traffic light after having given the man a dollar without realizing she’d be sitting there for a long time. She had given me the dollar, but I insisted on annoying her until the traffic light was finally fixed.
I recently accepted a Sunday brunch as a first date from a widower. He mentioned that a year had passed since he’s become a widower and he was seriously seeking a partner to share his life with. He also made remark about an upcoming dinner date where a woman was going to meet some of his friends. Aside from this awkward comment, the date was lovely and as we parted he suggested a second date.
Another weekend passed, phone calls and emails when finally a date was proposed by email but not for another two and a half weeks, again on a Sunday but this time for dinner. He seemed like a relatively normal guy, so accepting the date wouldn’t have been out of the question except clearly I’m not at all on this man’s dating radar with a month between dates selected on Sundays.
Should I just say I’m unavailable, not answer, or acknowledge that he find me if and when his dating schedule opens up? I certainly understand dating a number of people simultaneously as you attempt to find the one, I do likewise. But he’s asking me to make an hour long trip back and forth on a work night when I’m obviously not a priority. It seems incongruent.
Dear Inconsistently Interested,
I think you already know the answer to your question, otherwise you wouldn’t bother asking, right? It sounds like you just want reassurance that rejecting the date is the right thing to do. But, and this is a big BUT, it is possible that he was dating someone, it got serious but didn’t work out, and now he’s getting back in touch with you because he felt a connection. You could accept the date but go on it knowing not to expect much and hopefully be happily surprised. It sounds like this guy caught your fancy so if you’re still unsure just ask him what’s going on. He may be surprised by the question and you may not like the answer, but if it’s going to continue to bother you then why not ask? Good luck!
under Date Night
I wake up at eight o’clock in the morning on a Saturday. My first date with this new girl will be happening in twelve hours. I spend the first hour lying in bed sweating. Hour two is spent trying to fall back to sleep whilst concurrently batting away thoughts and feelings of inadequacy and a poorly conceived tattoo that I have to remember to cover. Hour three is spent shaving my arms so my tattoo will be visible as an ice-breaker when awkward silence will inevitably come within the first two minutes of inception. Hour four is spent ruminating over the fact that the activity spent during hour two and the activity spent during hour three are completely contradictory.
Hour five is spent finding a way to eat something without spending any money, as I must conserve all currency for tonight’s rendezvous. The first three minutes of hour six are spent trying to go run for the first time in a year. The next fifty five minutes are spent crying to myself while trying to walk. Hour seven is spent playing Tetris®, as it is the one activity in my life where all of the pieces fall perfectly into place. I can’t find where to fit a piece and inevitably leave a hole. I stop playing Tetris. I start playing Tetris again because I still cannot stand up fully due to activities completed in hour six. Hour eight is spent panicking as I try to remember my date’s first name.
Hour nine is spent showering, washing myself obsessively until I either run out of soap or my hands start bleeding. Hour ten is spent trying to stop the bleeding. Hour eleven is all about cologne. Hour twelve is spent yelling at my car’s GPS as I get completely lost within one mile of leaving my house. Hour thirteen is our date. How do you prepare for a date?
Sometimes I have to remind myself that dating, and meeting someone is, in its most basic form, a process of trial and error. You never know whether or not the person you’ve decided was attractive or interesting based on an initial interaction at a bar, or from reading his or her online profile, is actually going to be someone who will elicit a spark.
You see, when you think about it, most of dating comes down to reading people and looking for subtle clues that give us little insights into the other person. Often times on a date I can tell within minutes of our meeting whether or not we have a spark. Perhaps you think this is silly or trite, but I always try to trust my instincts, and when it comes to judging whether I am interested in someone romantically I am rarely wrong.
I believe this is due to the fact that I approach every date with an open mind and clear perspective. Because really, when you think about it, the idea of a first date leading to a second date, and one day even developing into a relationship, is an awful lot to have weighing on your mind heading into every first date. So try to take the pressure off yourself, and know that things may work out, and things may not, but in the end what matters is that you are trying to meet someone because, without trial, there cannot be error… but there also can’t be success.