He was funny and intelligent during the 4 calls prior to our drink date. His pictures in his online profile were a bit fuzzy, but nothing odious. Our conversation assured me he wasn’t a sex maniac, egomaniac, nor a maniac of any kind. Although it did give me some pause that he was 57 and never married.
We decided to meet in the bar of a nice nearby hotel tonight. I felt I’d sufficiently vetted him to ensure we’d have an enjoyable time.
I didn’t recognize him at first, but he was the only lone man approximating his picture who seemed to be looking for someone. I said his name and he nodded yes.
I suggested he pick a place in the sparsely populated bar. He choose two comfortable chairs both facing out, with a small table in between. So we would be sitting facing the same direction, not each other. Odd choice, I thought, for wanting to get to know each other. I moved my chair 90 degrees to face him. He left his facing out.
He began scouring the single voluminous drink menu. The waitress asked if we were ready and we told her we had no idea. He spent a while examining the choices. The waitress came again. He ordered his drink, then passed the menu to me. Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but has “ladies first” gone out of style?
We chatted for a while, picking up some themes from our previous conversations. No flirting. It felt like I was passing time with a seat mate on an airplane or someone waiting in a hotel lobby. No seeming interest in exploring what we might have in common. The conversation wasn’t strained, but neither was it effortless. Some laughter punctuated our discussion of the news, investments, experiences being childless, and other inconsequential things. I tried to think of questions that would lead to more meaningful discussion, but my mind was blank.
After 90 minutes he made an excuse to go. Fine with me. He opened the bill folder to display our check. I said, “What’s our damage?” as I always offer to pay my share. Ninety-eight percent of the men have said, “I’ve got it.” He did not. I put in my money. I arose to don my coat. No help from him. He didn’t offer to walk me to my car in the underground parking lot. We muttered a “Nice to meet you,” and hugged briefly as we parted ways.
When people ask me about my dating life, they assume it is all fine dining, dancing, and scintillating conversation. More than half the men I have gone out with have been “one-date onlys.” The above describes why. There is no spark, no interest in really getting to spend more time together. And perhaps I’m overly scrutinizing, but things like manners count a lot to me on a first encounter.
Does that mean you shouldn’t go out with someone with whom you’ve had a good connection on the phone? You should go out with anyone you find interesting. But you need to know that this is a common experience. Having a great time with someone is not the norm. Ambivalence is the norm. Appreciate it when you have a great time but don’t be upset when you don’t. It’s all part of the process. Plus, you get a new acquaintance.