Tag Archives: second date

Rejection Done Right

24 Aug

Last night I experienced an exhibition of the rare, considerate date etiquette I’ve long prescribed from my soapbox—and I wouldn’t believe it had I not seen it with my own eyes. There we were having a great second date. The girl, whom I’d found in the OkCupid catalog, was cute, funny, and had great stories to tell. We meshed really well from the first moment and I was sure this was going somewhere. (This should have been my first warning—never trust a good feeling blindly.) We had some great drinks and food on our second rendezvous, a totally informal hangout at a really nice Belgian restaurant. There I was, getting all starry-eyed and thinking with tingling anticipation about making out with her before the night was over. There was the check arriving at our table. And there she was fidgeting at my standard offer to cover the charges.

“I have a confession to make.” Well, I knew which way the wind was blowing, but I let her proceed anyway.

“I’m not attracted to you…Does that change your mind about the check?”

Now, in my younger, more naïve days, I probably would have pussied out and paid anyway, awkwardly spouting non sequiturs and fingering dried French fry bits until we could part with a disingenuous hug and smile. But fuck that, I’m now 32 (yikes!) and I’ve had my time wasted enough that I don’t mind cutting my losses. So I was only too happy to accept 50% as a severance. And, after a few moments of contempt for this broad, we actually went back to our conversation with minimal awkwardness, both relieved of our very opposite pressures—hers to reject me in ma very direct manner, and me to clumsily insert my tongue into her mouth in front of an express bus driver. She bought off her guilt with money—the price of honesty—and I would not feel like a sucker afterward.

To her credit, this level of sincerity, while off-putting and somewhat insensitive, is exactly the kind of female dater behavior I’ve endorsed on the pages of this blog. Having been out with someone 2 or 3 times who was only too happy to have me foot the bill only to tell me, chicken-shit style over text, that she didn’t want to mislead me as to her intentions, I would much rather accept this knockout blow and get up before the count of 10 than be sucker-punched in the head and mugged. So, ego slightly frayed, but my wallet not ripped off, I’m still standing. On to the next one!

Why I Blogged

27 Jun

Everybody Hurts…Sometime

In January of 2012, I decided, mostly on a whim, to start a blog about online dating. This was no New Year’s Resolution or sudden epiphany that I was born to be a dating blogger. I wish I could say my hand was forced by destiny…that my mind was pregnant with blogorrheic nuggets of wisdom handed down to me by the gods of online dating themselves. No, dear reader. Alas, this electronic rag was first inspired by an experience most mundane—rejection.

The cute Jewish political operative and I had hooked up on OkCupid and exchanged some very bland and decidedly unbantery overtures to meet. Not only was she a Jew, but a Jew from Florida, which meant no escape from the late-December visit to the panhandle. Fresh off an ugly breakup and a string of fruitless first dates (yay, online dating!), I had no expectations when we met up at a South African wine bar in Hell’s Kitchen. She was even prettier than her pictures and I was immediately attracted to her. Over the next several hours and many glasses of Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, the chemistry was palpable and the night disappeared in front of our eyes as only those really great first dates can. Halfway through the bottle, we both had to pee, only to learn that the bathroom was overflowing. This led to a somewhat memorable experience of being ushered to their sister restaurant down the block by the bartender through pouring rain. With no umbrellas, it was a nice opportunity to take charge and wrap my arm around her in a most manly fashion.

When the night was finally over, we walked to the intersection of our parting and she congratulated me on being her longest date ever. Then, she punctuated it with a clear opening for a kiss. We made out in the rain, not quite Spiderman style, but pretty intensely, neither of us really wanting to go home. We both knew we’d see each other again.

We swapped texts and set up another date for the weekend. Lamely, I suggested we see a movie and get food later. (They can’t all be winners, whatareyagonnado?) On Saturday, screwed by Brooklyn’s ridiculous weekend subway changes, I rushed from the train to the train to the shuttle bus, back to the train, just to cut my lateness by a few minutes. I sent her texts and she was perfectly understanding when I met her just as the movie was starting. She looked great again and I counted the minutes until we could just let go again. After Young Adult (which was an OK date movie I suppose), a fabulously amazing and fabulously expensive tapas experience was followed by a perfectly divey bar. Not long after some beers, I volunteered to cab her home. We got into a car and started making out in the back. I didn’t expect her to invite me in, but she asked me to come up and “meet her cat.” (Oh, ladies, how I love your subtlety.)

Upstairs, after a quick tour of her charming Hell’s Kitchen apartment, we were back at it until we both started falling asleep in each other’s arms. She was sorry for not asking me to spend the night but she wasn’t quite ready, and I absolved her of any guilt. It was totally understandable. As I left, I texted that I really loved holding her. It was a totally uncensored but (I thought) fairly harmless expression of my feelings. I was feeling good again, all was right with the world, there was magic in the air. The Times Square fumes smelled better.

Over the next few days, I was really excited. I texted, I even called. But all I got in return were delayed and tentative replies, with lame and well-worn excuses about having a “crazy week.” It’s not that I hadn’t been rejected before, but not like this. Not after two awesome dates where two souls, as different as any other two, seemed so perfectly in-sync. Not after we kissed the way we did. Not after I’d met her cat, for chrissake! What the fuck did I do wrong? Was I a bad kisser? Was I merely kiss-raping a very timid girl the entire time? Was she seeing someone else who was just a tad more special? It didn’t matter. Her steely response (or lack thereof) was pretty clear. She blew me off without an explanation; I was no better than some loser contacting her online for the first time. I thought of confronting her for answers, but what would that do? So she could fire off some template sandwiching a firm rejection between telling me how awesome I am and that I would find someone great? For the first time in a long time, I was hurt. Truly hurt. Start-a-blog hurt.


Timing Your Affection

22 Feb

Does, he, doesn't he?

The following is inspired by a “girl” question: “When is it right to sleep with someone you’re dating?” I say girl question because few guys ever really ask this question, or pose it this way. At a younger age, guys might show their interest in a friend’s love life by asking, “Did you pork her yet?” An affirmative response will net you a high-5 (do kids still do that, or is it a high-4 or low-3 these days?)  while a negative response would earn you a look of pity or snorting disdain. But it wouldn’t get to that because you’d probably lie and say you had, even if privately you told the girl how much you love her and that you’re willing to wait for the right time.

But guy clichés aside, this question becomes more important to both genders as we grow older and remain single. Thus questions like “Is it right to sleep on a first date?” and “How many dates should I wait before banging so he doesn’t think I’m a slut?” occur with some frequency among daters. The desire for objective protocol to distill the confusing smog of romance is universal. If you’re not religiously orthodox and observant of sexual purity before marriage, you still need some sort of anchor. But as we all know, it’s hard to know when to drop one in the choppy waters of personal relationships.

Let’s start with the obvious: in most cases, the woman is the driver. Unless you’re an Antonio Banderas type (or a rapist) you will make your case, but the final decision will rest with the fairer gender. Thus I assume the vast majority of us, if we’re meeting a total stranger for the first time, don’t expect to go from banal questions over awkwardly sipped cocktails to hot monkey sex, or even gentle canoodling in the space of 2-3 hours. What we’re looking for is some sort of connection, hints of something greater, excitement for a second interview. But there is that rare occasion (rare for many of us, anyway), where the timing is so right, the conversation so good, the jokes so rip-roaringly funny, and the booze so potent, that you’ll end up doing something biblical by night’s end.

Personally, when it comes to formal “dating,” I have not experienced first-date sex. More tangible than love at first sight, it’s still very elusive. At no time during a first date was there a point where I’d dare say, “How about we move this to your/my place.” If there’s good body language and the signs are there, a great date is one that ends in some quality, tipsy tongue-twisting. If you’re lucky enough, as has happened to me, it might take place in the rain. If you’re not Spider Man like me, a simple kiss on the lips can mean the difference between an iffy/confusing “Do I see him/her again?” and a “Wow.” That’s because first dates are inherently awkward and confusing.

For me, if I have a great time on a first date that ends without any preview of physical affection for next time, it makes the second date kind of tense (though sometimes more exciting). Of course, obsessing with getting action can be harmful and disconcerting. At least the first two dates, I’m more concerned about that first kiss than the unrealistic jackpot of bedding someone. From there, the story will unfold as it will. But the first kiss is crucial–it’s like passing that first level on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? where your money, paltry sum though it may be, is guaranteed. The second date is pesky, undefined, and often guided by the rhythm of the first date. If you made out at the end of that first night under the romantic glow of the F train in Brooklyn while a bum lubricates the tracks with his urine, your expectations for date #2 go up. I’ll be more relaxed knowing the next date can start with a kiss, but I have no idea how it will end. The stakes are higher. You must build on and exceed the success of the first. If it ends without a kiss, you will wonder if there’ll be a second date, even if your companion “had a wonderful time and would love to do it again anytime, really, call me.”

In short, there is no rule, but a great sequence over 3 dates might be kissing>more intense kissing>play/sex. Then again, I’ve had relationships where I’ve waited weeks/months, and others where it took 2 dates. Nowadays, 5 can seem like a long time if I’m really into the girl. On the other hand, it’s crazy that a month is “too long.” It’s all about chemistry, timing, and effort, in that order. (The pickup artists among you might disagree, but this is just my POV.) If you sleep together on the first date, it mind be mind-blowing, or it might be a little anticlimactic (no pun intended). It could also defuse the excitement and mystery that come with sexual tension. A guy might not care about his reputation or how he will be perceived in social terms as much as a girl, but that doesn’t mean that every guy wants to immediately shag the girl with whom he just had a great night and might have a future.

Ultimately, it’s all about what feels right and when. I’m willing to bet that for every time an aggressive guy makes his move too quickly, there are us tentative guys who don’t make the move fast enough. I’ve had the experience of “overthinking” the timing of sex. Later, I laughed about it because I realized that waiting for 4 dates was completely arbitrary and only confused a girl (who was clearly into me on the first date) as to my intentions. I was driving myself into the “Friend Zone” one wonderful date at a time. My best advice is: don’t overthink it. Go with your gut and make your feelings known to the extent possible. But pay attention to the other party. Getting to she show a few minutes late is much better than missing it altogether.