Yesterday I went on a date with a man I’d met online. I use the term “man” here loosely; he was 26.
We’d been emailing back and forth and texting for a couple of weeks. When I told him he’d have to pay my sitter if he wanted to see me on the days when I have my children, he asked when they weren’t with me. I should have known better then. We talked for a few minutes the other night, and I didn’t find his voice particularly pleasant. I should have known better then. He asked if we could change the agreed-upon venue to someplace more convenient for him — and then chose a bland, American restaurant over something more adventurous. I should have known better then.
But he has his pilot’s license, is wrapping up an independent film that he co-wrote and produced, and is working while finishing an engineering degree, so I thought I’d give him some credit for having the maturity to achieve some goals. And the prevailing advice about how to meet men seems to suggest I should step out of my comfort zone. (Never mind that the prevailing advice about marriage suggests that I should lower my standards…)
As I was driving, probably half a mile from our intended meeting space and precisely one minute before we were to meet, he texted me, “Are you still coming?” I should have turned around then.
My misgivings proved true. He talked a pretty good game for a while but, in the end, he had come from the gym wearing workout attire — I mean the kind that looked sloppy, rather than the kind that highlighted a buff bod. Conversation was forced, until we got to the topic of flying. He seemed like a little boy in hoping to win the Sugar Mama lottery. He still had acne. He actually asked me how I wanted to handle the check at the restaurant. This baby was neither hot enough to coax out my inner cougar nor mature enough to hold his own with an intelligent, cultured woman. No wonder all of his photos were of him inside the cockpit of an airplane wearing a headset — he was insecure even about his looks.
Clearly, the perspective from which I write suggests that I have some expectations. Youngsters — aw, heck, men of all ages — if you want to conjure the inner wild cat (or even get a second date), take note of a few of them:
- Dress to impress. I may wear jeans on a first date to keep it casual, but my clothes will be clean and well-chosen (i.e. you’re likely to see a little cleavage), I will have showered and put on make-up, etc. At 26, this baby should have known to put on some flattering jeans and a nice shirt rather than show up in sweats.
- Come my way. If you’re asking me out and we’ve already agreed on a location or neighborhood, don’t change the venue with the express purpose of making it more convenient for yourself. Demonstrate that you want to spend time with me through your willingness to meet on my turf.
- Be accommodating. If I tell you sushi is my favorite food, either be willing to try something new to please or impress me, or offer an appealing alternative. I get that not everyone likes raw fish, but any urbanite who’s left their home in the past decade knows that sushi restaurants offer a lot more than fish, raw or otherwise — and rest assured, I can point out several options on a menu for carnivores. If that’s still scary, there’s a lot of ground to cover between Japanese and an American burger joint.
- If you asked me out, you’re picking up the tab. Duh!
So, after all this, what’s my takeaway? Well, there are two:
First, lesson learned: follow my gut and say no early and often. Date no one who I could not possibly imagine being my equal or an example to my children.
Second, re-examine and clear whatever energy I’m putting out there to attract men who are not in my league. This will take some real work (and may merit a post of its own).