One of the cruelest ironies of dating is that you really can’t talk about the politics of dating with a person you’re on a date with—yet he is the one person who (theoretically) understands most closely what you’re feeling in that moment. But, ultimately, it would be like sharing your cards or detailing your “tells” with your opponents at a poker table. It simply isn’t done…by me, anyway.
But as a dater—someone who believes love is possible for me again—it’s a hazard of the practice. Dates are like interviews–as a recent date pointed out (and shouldn’t have.) We all know they’re interviews. It can literally go without saying. And should.
“I know immediately,” my date said about knowing if a date feels “right.” “I have a good feeling about this,” he continued smugly, talking about our date.
I had a feeling about it too. A dissimilar one. (Which, of course, I didn’t share.) We both knew something immediately. Unfortunately, we knew two very different things.
This date was extremely painful. The further we got into it, the more he told me how handsome I was. (Yes, everyone loves to hear it, but once does the trick. More than once is “awkweird”.) And the more I wanted to desperately figure out where the fire alarm was located so I could set it off on the way the bathroom and then sneak out during the chaos. (In his defense, who wouldn’t be attracted to such maturity?)
He kept finding and verbalizing our similarities. (I said I was introverted. He lied and said he was too. No one who talks as much as he did could possibly be introverted.) And saying how well we’d get along. I kept thinking, “We’d get along better if our burgers would arrive and this date could end.“
Oh. The high fives. Every time I said something funny or witty, he would toss his head back, burst into laughter, then hold his hand in the air for a high five. Funny and witty is my jam. So, there were a lot of high fives. A lot. (And I’ll admit many of them were not deserved.) More awkweirdness.
He’d already broached the subject of kissing at dinner after disclosing he was a “social smoker.” (Deal breaker on its own.) I asked if he needed to step outside to have a cigarette. (Fuel for a date-ending fire.) He replied something like “one has to weigh the options in case there is a kiss at the end of a first date.”
Ugh. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
When he offered me the breath strip, I almost didn’t take it. To send a message. But I took it, thinking he was accelerating exponentially and without regard for signs clearly lit on the side of the road straight into a brick wall of awkweirdness. And part of me wanted to watch it happen.
He insisted on giving me a ride home which meant the date was to continue for a potentially awkward 10 minutes more. It lasted a little longer when he missed a turn onto my street. Then upon finding my building, wide-eyed in the darkness, I wondered why he was backing into a parking spot. I mean, how could you NOT tell from the very quiet ride home that this date was already over? I’m not that good of an actor, I’ve been told (by one of my Second City improv instructors, no less.)
He unbuckled his seatbelt and turned to me.
What?! Are we on the same date?!
I smiled awkweirdly and said plainly, “there will be no kiss.” He, of course, understood with incredible unfettered eagerness.
“I’ll leave the ball in your court,” he said.
At dinner, I’d unintentionally revealed that I found it annoying that someone would contact you after a date to tell you they didn’t think you were a good match. (This has happened to me.) To me, not contacting the person after the date said the same thing with less effort or fuss.
He agreed wholeheartedly.