who’s on first?

I had a second date with a fellow who called it our first date. Really this is all semantics and I don’t want to belabor the point but, having agreed to meet in person after virtually meeting (online), our first meeting over coffee would generally be considered our first date. Agree? And especially since he brought me a gift and bought my coffee.

He then asked me out on a date date. And it was like a throw back to the fifties or something:  He insisted upon picking me up, he brought flowers (a dozen red roses, more on that later), he took me to dinner, then to the theatre and dropped me at home as would a proper teenage boy right out of “Leave It To Beaver.” Besides the flowers, he arrived bearing other gifts — a book and a small trinket.

Let’s rehash this event with a discerning eye:

  • I’ve already made it clear that I appreciate a man with manners — and it’s definitely okay if he’s a little old-fashioned in some ways, too. So I’m fine with his considering this our first proper date and some of those 1950-ish behaviors that went with it. In fact, it was really nice to be taken out — on what might be considered a special dinner and theatre date.
  • A gentleman also attends to a woman’s comfort — and, not gonna lie, it was a little weird for me to let him know where I live so soon. I almost let him know I’d meet him at the restaurant, but it’s kind of easy to believe this one’s not harmful in any way. At any rate, a guy might want to consider this in his planning.
  • A dozen red roses? Really? I can’t help but feel that a) they’re too much of a “love / valentine’s” statement for a first — or second — date and b) they are just sooo unoriginal. I like to think I’m unique, one-of-a-kind, especially in the eyes of a potential romantic interest…so, ideally, he’d go into a shop and say, “I’m meeting a beautiful woman, and I’d like to find something as beautiful and unique as she is…” I suppose that, to some men, this may be akin to asking for directions. Even a few tulips or lilies that could be carelessly dropped into a glass of water would give that effortless impression of confidence and class in a case like this.
  • Gifts:  I am a complete sucker for gifts. I love giving and receiving gifts. For whatever inexplicable reason, this matters to me. And I’ve finally gotten over the need to pretend that it doesn’t. And, no, I don’t think that means I’m materialistic. So I like it that he’s thinking of things to give me to put a smile on my face. I am not put off by this. As a matter of fact, I know a woman who was given a sporty little convertible (the expensive sort, of German make) for her “Trick or Treat” on Halloween by her husband. Over the top? Not at all, as far as I’m concerned. However, rather than point out how difficult it was to find the bauble (by which I was baffled), I’d recommend a man pretend it was easy. I know he was trying to convey that he thought about me and spent actual effort toward that end, but he was kinda trying too hard for such an insignificant trinket.
  • It was also nice to be told that I looked very pretty — and I positively looked my best. I had a good hair night, my skin was aglow with the sun’s kiss, and I wore a lovely, if conservative, black sheath dress that crept a little short for comfort as we sat next to one another in the theatre. As always, the key is confidence and balance — if one goes on too much about how beautiful / sexy / attractive a woman is, it’s almost as though he’s acknowledging that he thinks she’s way too hot for him. (At least that’s kind of the way it seemed, as though he thought I was out of his league, at least in looks — and that doesn’t reflect well on him.)
  • At dinner, he used improper fork / knife technique while cutting his entrée. (And, wow!, does that ever make me sound priggish! Please discuss. I would like to know if anyone else is put off by this sort of thing.)
  • Throughout the entire show, as we sat side-by-side, I caught him looking at my hands, hoping for an opening so that he could take one of them. I would prefer a man feels comfortable enough in himself to reach out naturally and break the touch barrier.
  • In the end (for reasons unrelated to our date), I was completely exhausted and asked him to take me home immediately following the performance we’d seen. He obliged and walked me to my front door before giving me a sterile good night kiss.
  • Aside from some of this awkwardness, he has some wonderful qualities, including intelligence, wit, humor and a certain amount of ambition. He is clearly thoughtful and the type who plans ahead.

Will I see him again? Probably, based on what I already acknowledged in my last post. After all, few of the complaints I’ve listed here — and I’m sure I must sound like a complete bitch or princess or something — really matter in the course of a relationship. And that’s what I’m looking for, a relationship (and not a perfect understanding of how I might perceive one’s “second date technique.”) In other words, I won’t judge a book by its cover.

However, I will suggest something more casual for next time, so that I can discern whether there’s some potential while we’re both at ease.

second dates suck

First dates are pretty easy; I feel confident in my ability to keep the small talk going with just about anyone. I went on two dates last weekend and I’ve concluded that second dates suck!

Here’s why:

  • You’ve covered the basics of conversation and may have to work harder to keep the dialogue flowing smoothly.
  • I find that men who really want to impress a woman end up feeling more nervous and awkward, and either go completely overboard trying to impress or try to play it cool and come off like an ass.
  • Breaking the physical touch barrier can be awkward. It’s so easy to think back about how natural it felt to be physically close to my last boyfriend, for example…and it’s easy to forget that there was a time, as we were getting to know one another, during which it didn’t feel natural and we had to invest time building a level of physical comfort. So I’m trying to be my relaxed, friendly, flirtatious self …but…if I don’t feel chemistry with a guy, I’m not going to give off the kind of cues that encourage or welcome his touch. Sometimes it takes time for that sort of ease and desire to grow. Other men take just a little too much charge and aim for the epiglottis with the tongue.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. In fact, one of my close friends told me about starting to date her husband:  After the first date, she had felt such a connection and promise that she really looked forward to seeing him again. The second date was awkward and uncomfortable (because he was so nervous). She wondered if she’d only imagined all the great potential she’d felt during the first date. Luckily for her, she gave it another chance and, starting with their third date, they really started to get their footing. Now they’ve been married for three years, bought a home together and have a child.

So here’s what it all comes down to:  Basically everyone gets a free pass on the second date — at least if the first meeting went well — because you’ve got to get past the weirdness of it and give it a chance. At least that’s my take.

Trust me when I say there’s plenty of weirdness…like the guy I met for coffee and a walk who then asked me out for our “first date” (really our second)…more on that next.

p.s. Don’t you just love the word epiglottis?!