When I go on dates and the man ends up a complete whack job, I always wonder how many guys I’ve been out with who count me as a horror story. In all honesty, I can think of exactly two men out there who can legitimately think of me as an absolute weirdo.
In one case, were I ever to run into him again and get a fearful glance, I’ll merely have to bring up that he was a 35-year-old man trying to sleep with a 22-year-old girl, and that he deserved every ounce of crazy that I threw at him.
In the other case, the man got a good look at my insanity, excused himself politely, and has thankfully never brought it up again. We peacefully coexist on various social networking sites, ‘like’-ing each other’s statuses and whatnot. I think he knows he just pushed a few too many wrong buttons. Combine that with me not getting my way on where that relationship was going, and it’s insta-crazy.
Outside these two instances, I’m solidly not crazy. As proof of my sanity, I keep going on dates. Maybe you think that doing the same thing over and over again (going on dates) is the definition of insanity, but I see it as perseverance. That, and a test of patience. After all, I’ve not killed any of these fuckers.
Long ago I wrote an entry about the worst date I’d ever been on. Since that time, I’ve learned a bit about him that might explain our different outlooks on the night. For instance, cultural differences in dating lead some new-to-the-country guys to display consistent peculiarities. Also, having lived near the man for about a year, I learned that he is a raging alcoholic.
On Saturday night I found myself in the company of a man who lives more than a thousand miles away. He was polite, kept up in conversation, and gave me no reason to say no when he invited me to lunch the following day. Geography makes this a no-go on an actual relationship, but lunch with a handsome man never hurt anyone. If nothing else, I figured it’ll give me good practice for future dating opportunities. And, really, who doesn’t enjoy an ahi salad for lunch?
This entry now segues into a pseudo article that offers dating tips for men. After all, I’ve previously written an article that regularly gets hits on how to increase your chances of getting a response off a dating site.
Now, instead of employing my suggestions to prosper in the virtual world, it’s time to focus on what not to do on a date.
First and foremost, Put the Goddamn Cell Phone Down. I know that he is in town for business and fielding a ton of emails for sales interviews, but it wouldn’t have killed him to put the cell phone away for the two hours we were together. Not only did he stay glued to the incoming emails, but he also stopped twice to check voicemail.
His constant checking said that he didn’t care about my company, and I essentially stopped talking (as not to disrupt his work). I enjoyed my ahi and arugula by the beeps of his phone pad while he responded emails.
However, during the time that we did share conversation, I was reminded to Keep Your Baggage to Yourself. I should know nothing of this sort:
That your dad died when you were little. That you would have had another sister, had she not died of SIDs. That your mom went to jail when you were 11 because she and her friend beat a three-year-old to death while they were high. That you met your eldest son for the first time a few weeks ago. That you’ve had three colonoscopies in the past year.
There are friends I’ve had for years yet don’t know this much about. And frankly, unless we are best friends to the end or I’m siring your children after a few years of marital bliss, I don’t need to know any of this.
When you’re not going on and on about the badness you’ve encountered during your three or four decades on this green and blue rock, it’s also a good idea to Avoid being a Jerk.
We all know there are certain topics to avoid. Both politics and religion are potentially polarizing or offensive, and that’s really not what you’re going for on a first date. Keep it light, keep it airy, and don’t ask if I date black guys and then stare at me judgingly as I exclaim that I love all men who are polite, well-spoken, and clean.
At this point, the date doesn’t seem to be going well. After all, he’s asked several times if I was bored, interpreting my silence as he tip-taps on that tiny keyboard as such. Then he was met with an emphatically negative head shake when he laid all of his business out and stated, “That’s all my baggage. What about you?” And then there’s silly ol’ me with my insistence that I’d happily smash Taye Diggs, Ludacris, Lenny Kravitz, Shemar Moore, and Will Smith.
After all this, I will say that when it came down to the typical acts, he did indeed Maintain the Chivalry. He pulled back my chair. He provided assistance with putting on my jacket. He held doors — both to the restaurant and to the car.
Because of the chivalry-related items above, I really want to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. I’d like to think that this is an instance of a girlfriend in the past wanting to be taken care of in a nontraditional way, and his compliance was his way to trying that out. However, this certain act caught me completely off guard and makes me have to spell out to Don’t be Weird.
Homeboy opened the car door, assisted me in, and then… buckled my seat belt for me.
He did it so quickly, I didn’t have a chance to react. Because, really, who in the frig buckles a seatbelt for anyone over the age of five? The valet and I exchanged WTF expressions, validating that my surprise was indeed warranted.
As he helped me into the car post-lunch, he started to reach for the belt, and I stopped him:
Me: That’s okay! I’ve got it!
Him: What? Don’t you like being treated like a lady?
Me: Like a lady, yes. Like a baby, no.
Well guys, my two hours at lunch netted you five tips on how not to screw up a date. Check back again, as I’m sure I’ll have more dates with plenty more tips on what not to do.