The First Date – Part 3 (Who’s Your Daddy?)
Ok. Here we go. I promise this is the last one (for now) on this subject.
So when I left, you were just settling into your date. You had done your homework, made a choice, picked an activity and a place. You had polished your shoes and your smile. You were positive and genuine and awesome. With all this going for you, it should go just fine. And I truly hope it does.
But just in case……A few more hints
We Came, We Ate…..Oh Wait – The Bill
In all my years of having first dates, I have ALWAYS done the same thing when it came to the check. And recently I discovered that apparently I have always been wrong. I offer to pay for my portion of the bill. Not split the bill; just my part. Not because of social norm or feminist view. But simply because unless I know that someone enjoyed my company and is actually interested in me, I do not believe they are obligated to fork over any cash on my behalf. It is my opinion that going dutch on the first date is only fair.
Now I don’t insist on it. I just throw it out there. I have had guys wave away my offer and willingly take care of the bill. And I have always been very grateful. What I didn’t understand, and still not sure I do understand, is that it seems my offer does not sit well with the ‘average’ guy. I have learned through a recent conversation amongst friends of mine that many guys consider it an insult if the girl decides to pay. Well NOW you tell me! I have been ticking off guys for years and had no idea!! I have blamed everything from my eye color to my view on Star Wars for the lack of those coveted second dates. I never thought it was linked to just simply trying to be FAIR! Who knew?? Just think of all the money I could have saved! In reality, since it is something I always do, I typically pick an inexpensive item from the menu. It has been said of me that I am a cheap first date. (I choose to believe the reference is tied to my menu choice.)
I actually do have personal evidence to support this theory, even though at the time I thought he was kidding. I was on a first date with a guy at a local pizza place. Outside on the patio. Everything going quite nicely. Typically I will mention my idea before the actual check arrives so there is no confusion or irritation for the server. On this evening it snuck up on me. When the waitress asked if we were ready for the check I just smiled nicely and said, “Yes, and please make them separate.” As she walked away, my date raised an eyebrow and gave a slight objection. I countered with my reasoning. He said, “Well, since we split a pizza, why don’t you just pay for all of it. I will pick up the next one.” Hmmm, a wrinkle. Can’t say I’ve had it put to me like that before. I had backed myself into a corner somewhat. So I agreed. I jokingly said, “Ok, I’ll be the gentleman this time and pay.” His immediate response …. “Well, you know, if I were a gentleman, I wouldn’t really let you.” What’s funny is that he in fact DID let me. Yet I still did not pick up on what he was telling me. Turns out he really wasn’t that nice of a guy and he offered this information willingly right from the start. It should be of no surprise to you (or me actually) that this one was not a keeper.
Finally….When All Else Fails…..The Exit Strategy
Unfortunately there are just times when despite all your good intentions, precautions and plans, things just do not go well. Sometimes they go so un-well that you need to take immediate action. You always have the option to just bite the bullet, admit it is not working for you, get up and walk away. (Another benefit of arriving separately.) But most of us just do not have the courage to be so blunt. So we turn up our creativity and become the victim of some unfortunate circumstance. You can remember you left the curling iron on or the dog is still outside. You can develop a sudden gastrointestinal issue. (Just hope your Karma debt is paid, or this will haunt you later.) Or my favorite, discovering you have a new severe allergic reaction to corn. (In order to pull this one off, you actually have had to order corn.) I had a friend who would get her sister to call exactly one hour after the date started. She would pretend to be the security company for her home calling to say the alarm just went off. You just have to figure out what works for you. Most people are actually pretty wise to these tactics and take them for what they are; a brush off. I actually only had one instance where a restraining order was required to get my point across.
As I get ready to close out this post I have one other story. It is the tale of the one guy who managed to render me speechless at the end of our first date. This is not accomplished easily, so I thought it worthy to share.
Let’s call him…. Danny. Now Danny was another one who had just recently moved to the area. (He actually did make it all the way here.) His reason for moving was to help his father with the care of his mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s. Now I have to tell you that scored massive brownie points. I am a softie for a man who loves his momma. We talked on the phone a couple of times and then agreed to meet on a Friday evening around six at a local restaurant.
Five o’clock rolls around on that Friday and I’m heading out the door to go home and change. He sends me a text message to tell me he is already at the restaurant. I thought this was a little odd. To be an hour early. Guess he was super excited to meet me! But I still wanted to go home first, so I told him I would hurry but he would just need to wait a little bit. He was fine with that.
I got there around 5:45. He had a table and was having a drink. He was nice enough. We talked a little, ordered dinner. I got the sense about halfway through the date that he probably wasn’t going to be the one. But it wasn’t horrible, so we just kept talking. About thirty minutes into dinner his phone went off. It was laying on the table face up. It read “Dad”. Of course, I was concerned that something was wrong with his mom. I asked if he needed to take it. He said no, he would call back soon. It worried me a little, but I trusted his judgment. About ten minutes later the phone lit up again; again it was his dad. This time I insisted he answer it. Which he did. Apparently there wasn’t anything amiss at home. His father just had some questions. Where were we? How was it going? Were we close to being finished? It was an odd one sided conversation from my perspective. I have been drilled before about the details of a date, but never during the date and in front of them.
So the conversation went on for a few minutes. I would smile up at him with that ‘go ahead, I am being patient’ look. He ended the call with something along the lines of yes we would be finished in about twenty minutes, then he said good bye. He looked over at me and said, “I’m sorry about that. He just wanted to know how it was going. Plus he wanted to know when he could come back and pick me up to take me home………………………………………..**Crickets**……………………………………………
I literally had nothing to say. Could not come up with anything. Made my head hurt to think about it. I had just been on a date with a guy who had to have his elderly father drop him off and pick him up. Who does that? Of course that was why he was early; he explained while I sat there unable to speak. His dad was already in town and didn’t want to get back out at 6. I’m a fairly understanding girl. I know that things happen or bad decisions cause consequences. But tell me upfront. Call a cab. Hitchhike. Walk. But if you are over the age of fifteen do NOT ask your dad to drive you to your date.
I got up from the table, said I had to go and walked outside. (I even forgot my offer of payment.) He followed and asked if he could walk me to my car. In what probably sounded snarky at the time I told him no that he better stay put so he wouldn’t miss his ride home. The last thing I wanted was to have to take him anywhere! I never heard from him again. (Even though oddly enough he pops up in my ‘people you might know’ on Facebook. Nah, not interested. Go figure.
So there you have it. The good, the bad, the ‘what was I thinking’. But you know what?? Despite all of it, I still enjoy The First Date! It’s like a Do Over every time. You get another shot to make an impression or be impressed. Try something different. Go somewhere new. The possibilities are wide open. And listen, the person on the other side of the table or park bench is most likely just as nervous too. They went through the same processes as you to get there. Cut them some slack if they aren’t perfect. (Just make sure they didn’t bring a parent.)
We all have our own reasons for putting ourselves out there and deciding to try this one more time. Could be you just want to get of the house. Polish up your people skills. Or looking for someone to truly connect with. The reasons are just the catalyst. The experience, now that’s where the adventure starts!
So take a deep breath and dive right in. Have fun. Laugh. Solve the world’s problems together. Go dancing. Go walk a dog. Stare up at the stars. Whether you end up with a long lasting love or a funny story to put on a blog, you will never get a second chance at a first date. So put on your cutest shoes. Spritz on your best smell good. Smile your brightest smile and GO!