Adventures in On-Line Dating: The First Date Diaries

Photo: Me outside the Tuileries Gardens, Paris, France people watching in 2011.

First dates are like an audition. An interview. An observation. An opportunity for him to show and tell me why I should pick him, and me to show and tell him the same. Generally, all those I chat with, I agree to meet. If the profile was interesting, and we have a conversation, I am always up to meeting in-person. “Chatting” interminably is just a waste of time. We need to meet, and I will decide if I want to see him again, and presumably, he will do the same. Somewhere in this, of course, I am hoping to meet the love of my life. Easy. I got this!

To that end, in the past two weeks, I have gone on 14 first dates. I have gone on two dates in one day on more than one occasion; one must be economic in one’s scheduling, after all. Go ahead, judge me. Whatever.

I think because I am particular in the first instance, I have had pretty good luck on the dates. One was only 5’8″ and I am not sure how that slipped through my radar. He also spit food when he talked, and did a terrible fake British accent. There is no need to do one at all. You can quote Monty Python without the accent and it will be just as awkward. One was mid-forties and sucked down a beer and a Jamieson on the rocks in about 90 seconds flat. He also repeatedly gripped on the edge of the bar as if he was holding on for dear life. I am not really someone who makes people uncomfortable. I am pretty affable and open and try to put people at ease, so him being nervous seems a bit of a stretch. One got a bit overly defensive of Michael Vick’s dog-fighting ring, (Vick was the QB when I was at VT; this guy was from Atlanta, where Vick played pro), and that sort of put me off.  Most of these dates have been tea or coffee. Some have been for a drink; I rarely have more than one. One took me to dinner, and I agreed to see him again, but I don’t think it was the meal that sealed the deal. One took me to see live music. The club was fun, the band was great and I enjoyed the night immensely (although I am not convinced I am that into him).

Before we go any further, I need to share a couple of misadventures with you:

  1. Misadventure one: The case of being caught out. I had a yoga class up in a particular area where one of the guys I was chatting with lived, so I suggested we meet after my class. He couldn’t. The next day, I was chatting with another one who worked in that area, so since I had that timeslot free, I asked him. We met as arranged, and had a couple drinks. The date was fine, but he was the one with whom I argued about the relative ethics of illegal dog fighting. We hugged, parted amicably, and I left. He then messaged to say the bartender knew me. Our bartender was a blonde woman that I didn’t know. He then described a guy that I guess was another staff member. I said, “Well maybe I went to school with him,” I had lived in this area as a kid. He then said, “You have a date with him on Sunday!” It was the one that I had originally asked! I found this amusing. I mean, we are on a dating site, after all. Am I supposed to only date one at a time??? (Do people do that?) I replied with an “LOL. Small world.” The bartender messaged me a couple days later to tell me what happened. I responded to him in much the same way as I had the other. (For the record I did not know where he worked or that he was a bartender, so how could I have known?) He then cancelled our Sunday date and said he would let me know when we could reschedule, but that was the last I heard from him. No big loss. I mean, really, was that so unforgivable of me? The guy I was with that night was one that I had hoped would also not be interested, but I had to send him my “no thank you” text message a week later.
  2. Misadventure two: The case of two dates with the same bartender. This one I sort of did to myself. I had a first date already with one (Bachelor A) that I really had reservations about. I had a second date the next day with one I was interested in (Bachelor B), but he messaged me that day to ask if I was free to go see live music with him that night. After confirming the times with both, I realized I could see one and then the other. I met Bachelor A for drinks at a place he suggested, which happened to be the same place I had met Bachelor B on our first date. (Bachelor A was the one I mentioned a bit ago who was sucking down booze like it was his lifeline.) Bachelor B was going to pick me up, so I told him just to fetch me from the restaurant. After a reasonable amount of time, I said goodnight to Bachelor A, and sent him on his way, but not before he implored me, “Pick me!” (For the record, that is never a turn on even though it worked for Meredith Grey. It sounded desperate when she said it to McDreamy, and it sounded desperate when this guy said it to me.) Anyway, I waited for Bachelor B (I had intentionally left a good chunk of time in between). I thought he would just call and I would run out in the rain and jump in his car. Nope. He came in and wanted to get  a drink. So we trot over to the bar with the very same bartender who had just watched me on my last date! I gave him a quick look, and he totally covered for me!  I then left with my very sexy Bachelor B to go see the show. Funny enough, we ran into the bartender the next day on our lunch date at a different place.

Enough of my side-stories. I am not at the next hard part: what to do after the first date. (The last time I attempted to on-line date, I had a series of pretty awful first dates. Most didn’t contact me and I didn’t contact them. That was easy. I made second dates with a few, but I cancelled all of them.)

So anyway, after the date, if I am not interested, I have been sending a cursory “Thanks for the tea. It was nice to meet you,” and I hope I don’t hear back. Twice I thought I was off the hook. I hadn’t heard anything and I wasn’t interested, but I guess they were abiding by some “one week rule,” and when they messaged to ask if I was free to meet again, I was forced to either 1.) ignore, which I feel is rude and immature; 2.) subject myself to a second date with someone I am not interested in or 3.) write a thanks, but no thanks message in response. After writing and re-writing and feeling like it sounded like I was writing a job rejection email, I settled with “It was nice to meet you, but I don’t think I am interested in taking this any further.” I copied and pasted that to both guys. Neither replied, which I suppose is the best response. I am now as I write this faced with doing the same to Bachelor A. I haven’t gotten up the courage yet. He was so earnest!

There are a number that I am not too sure about. I don’t really THINK I’m interested in them, but I did like spending time with them. My father tells me I write people off too quickly. I feel like you need to feel that spark, but since I have felt that spark with all of my exes that ended the most disastrously, perhaps I shouldn’t trust my gut on this. I have decided not to initiate any subsequent conversation, so as not to appear to lead them on, but I think if they ask, I would be willing to go out with them again because I enjoyed our first dates. Maybe I will discover I have an interest if I spend more time with them. Or maybe we can be friends. Or maybe I will do something like burp really loudly or dance really badly or be really rude to the bartender and try to get them to lose interest in me…

That leads me to the two that I have seen repeatedly. They both have potential. They are both tall, of a certain age, personable, attractive, have good jobs they love, travel. I feel one is the better choice, but I am going to see where it goes with both for now. I know, judge me again. Whatever!

So for those of you keeping score, I have one that I need to send the terrible message to. I have two that I am not sure about, but I have agreed to see again. I have two, that I am not sure about, but am hoping they don’t contact me, so I don’t have to make the decision. I have two I have seen three times and have plans to see again. I also have one that I haven’t met yet, and I am still one the site, so there could be more waiting in the wings…

What will happen next? I have no clue how this will end, but really, the last paragraph should tell you that it won’t be good.

Also, it is worth pointing out, that I am living extremely dangerously by putting this in a blog that is public and findable to anyone who knows my last name. I thought about starting a second, more clandestine blog, but didn’t want to leave my favorite readers in the dark. At this point, none of them know my last name, but his could end very terribly if any of them read this. I am trying to be respectful, and I am not identifying any of them, obviously. I don’t imagine what I am doing is much different from what anyone else is doing, and if any of them ask, I will be honest with them, but doing it and calling attention to it are very different things. If we don’t talk about it, it isn’t happening, right? If any of my bachelors are reading this, and realize it is about you, I truly hope you can find the humor in it, and realize that I am just a human trying to find love and happiness and trying to make people smile.  Perhaps one day we can tell everyone at our wedding about how we met…and I how blogged about it. Too awkward?

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