From this, you may have gathered that tonight's date was of the "bad" variety.
It wasn't a dating horror story, and no one was seriously injured, but as dates go, this one was a definite fail.
The lead-up to the actual date was a bit like the Jaws theme song. Subtle, but the observant ones see the signs. The smart ones listen to the signs. The lonely single ones willfully ignore them.
It started, as it usually does, with a (Match.com) wink. I winked because he seemed sensitive (he writes music, he's in a band) and like he could be cute. As we emailed back and forth, there emerged some slight, shall we say, idiosyncrasies.
It started with some odd phrasing, some metaphors that seemed out of place in casual email conversation. We set a date to meet and started discussing where to go. Neither of us was especially talented at decision-making. What came next, I have to quote because sometimes nothing is funnier than the truth:
Late afternoon/early evening on Sunday works. Shall we do drinks? Dinner? Both? Neither? Should I just pick a place and hope for the best?His email:
That sounds sweet. Options abound like northbound subway trains bashing about in the most controlled fashion on the most uncontrollable tracks known to humankind....what?
At this point, the date can go one of two ways:
- He's smart, ironic and self-aware, and funny, and we'll get along great.
- He's a pretentious elitist who I won't like but who might nonetheless give me some hilarious lines for the blog.
Dating site: Match.comFake name: Alex
Job: Computer programmer; worked in retail for 11 years.
Appearance: Tall with dark, curly hair; looked his age. Looked older and less cute than his picture. Fail.
Date Location: Irish pub
Time: Last weekend
I never come down on people for being late, because I'm perpetually late. I'm one of those people you should tell to come 15 minutes earlier than you actually want them there. HOWEVER, I make it a point to be on time for first dates. I like to hide my flaws at first. Hence, I was on time for this date that was 30 minutes from my home. He, who lives 10 minutes from the date location, was approximately 5 minutes late. If you're not good at math, that means he left 5 minutes before the start time.
Not the greatest start, but I forgive.
He comes into the restaurant and says hi rather awkwardly, and the host leads us to our table.
I start the pleasantries. Hi, how are you? So how far away do you live from this place? Have you ever been here before? Haha I'm so delightfully chatty!
Monosyllabic answers, and then silence.
To fill the awkward silence, I nervously make dumb comments about how there appear to be a lot of mango-themed dishes on the menu. HahAHHahhAHahHAHA OMG pleasesaysomething.
It's not that he's COMPLETELY silent, he just responds with a phrase, maybe a sentence, and an awkward nod. And no follow-up questions.
Where were the clever turns-of-phrase? The extended colorful analogies about options and subways? I understand that coming up with interesting things to say is easier in writing (I do blog, after all), but there was just nothing to indicate that this was the same guy who I'd been corresponding with over the last week.
As I resign myself to giving a bad interview instead of enjoying a date, I ask more questions, share stories about myself until I feel like I'm word-vomiting, and then stop speaking. And listen to the silence.
What might be worse than the silence is that, as I talked, he looked everywhere but at me. At the walls, the other patrons, the TV above my head. Occasionally he would glance at me as though he remembered I was talking.
The conclusion that most people would draw is that he either has ADHD or doesn't care what I have to say. My father pointed out, however, that some people just can't make eye contact. They don't know where to look, or they're too shy to meet your gaze. Still, not conducive to a date.
Finally I gave up and stopped asking questions. The extended silences must have jolted his brain slightly, and he began asking me questions. I happily answered them. He nodded. Then silence again. Usually I would then prompt him with, "And how about you?"
He didn't seem to understand the idea of conversation. Person A asks questions, or makes comments, and Person B responds, and then Person A builds off of what Person B had to say, and shares a relevant comment or story, which triggers Person B to then speak again.
At the end of dinner, he asks if I want to get a drink at the bar. I politely decline.
That evening, I receive an email from Alex saying that he had a fun time and wanted to know what I thought.
I couldn't believe that there could be such a disconnect between two peoples' experiences. My immediate reaction was, of course not. Why would I waste my time and his money? My dad thought I should give him another chance. But I was not going there.
I don't want you to think I'm mean. Or a bad person. I'm sure he was nervous. And maybe drugged. But his lack of conversation skill plus my lack of attraction, his age, and other factors about his likes/dislikes contributed to my lack of desire to see him again.
Date Night: Fail.
**Disclaimer: Do not bring a laptop into the ocean. Especially not if it is a shark-infested ocean. On a side note, Roy Scheider graduated from my alma-mater.