Men behaving badly

I rarely talk about “bad” dates, because if a date doesn’t work out, it just wasn’t meant to be. No use lingering on what didn’t work or what an unpleasant experience it was.

When people hear I’ve written a book about midlife dating (now in my literary agent’s hands to sell), many immediately say, “I should write a book about all the bad dates I’ve had.” Generally, I don’t think people want to hear about bad dates, unless they are out of the dating scene. Then the stories can be funny, but are usually sad.

I think most of us want to hear about the good dates, which gives us hope that there are great singles out there, not mashers, players and cads. However, the reality is, there are some not-so-great people in the singles scene.

My friend Ken theorizes that part of the reason we come across some of these folks is because it’s so much easier for someone to enter the dating scene via online dating. You don’t even have to pay to post a profile on most sites. So people who would not date in the “real” world — meeting people in classes, at work, at shared hobbies, at friends’ houses, at bars — are in the dating pool because it’s easy. So the pool has gotten a tad polluted, and we encounter folks we might not have before.

In fact, I read that a third of those listed on online dating sites haven’t met anyone in person as a result of their online activities. So would those third be considered “dating” if they weren’t listed online? I don’t think so. Nearly half have met 1 to 5 others. What the report didn’t say was in what time period — a month, 6 months, year, more than a year?

Out of the 72 men I’ve gone out with I can think of only a few “bad” first dates. Compared to other stories I’ve heard about bad first dates, these are pretty tame, I know. So you know that most “bad” dates just aren’t a good fit, here are the recaps of the eight, and even some of them weren’t really “bad,” just not a fit:

  • Too-Much-Too-Fast Guy — We’d talked for a week on the phone and email. We decided to meet for a drink at a nearby karaoke bar. When I arrived at the darkened bar, he looked little like his picture, but he recognized me. As I slid into the booth, he leaned over and kissed me on the lips. A tad forward, but I let it slide. We talked. He reached over and took my hand. More talking. He asked if I wanted to dance. I did. He held me close. When we came back to the booth, he slid closer to me. He pulled me toward him for another kiss. Then another. Soon he was French kissing me. I said it was too much for a public place. He said, “You said you liked public displays of affection!” “Yes, but this is too soon.” I slid away from him and said I needed to be going.
  • The Masher. We’d flirted with daily emails for nearly a month since I was out of the country and we couldn’t meet before then. When we did meet in a pub, his greeting was a French kiss! I said that was a bit too much too soon, and he shrugged it off. We went to a nearby table where he sat next to me. He continued to kiss me while we sipped wine. Finally, I said I was hungry so we went next door to have dinner. As soon as we sat down, he said, “I live nearby. Let’s go to my house.” No, that won’t be happening.
  • 10-Minute Guy — We’d met mid-afternoon at a shopping mall. The plan was do a little shopping, then have dinner, then either a movie or dancing. Within 10 minutes he said, “I’m going to go.” I asked if he was feeling okay. He said, “Yes. I’m just not attracted.” My jaw dropped as he turned and left.
  • The Vexing Vietnam Vet — He had been a tad demanding on the phone, but I thought I’d give him a chance, so accepted a drink invitation. In an empty tavern we had soft drinks and an appetizer while he told me grisly story after story of his days in Vietnam. When I tried to change the subject, he came back with other stories of his heroism, always heavily laced with expletives. He reached across the table and took my hand. When he asked if we should do this again, I was taken aback, so stammered, “That would be interesting.” No, we won’t be doing it again.
  • The Obnoxious Ophthalmologist — Ironically, he’s the only man who I didn’t recognize from his photos, yet he complained about women posting 10-year old or 80-pounds ago pics. He said we’d meet at the restaurant, which I thought meant at the reception area. He was in the bar and I waited 10 minutes before checking to see if he might be there. He was barely cordial from the moment I sat down, and made no effort to get the waiter to take my drink order. His demeanor shouted that he was not at all interested in me and could we make this as short as possible. To add insult to injury, he sent a snotty email afterwards. Obviously this doctor had no bedside manner.
  • Mr. Aggressive — He was cuter than his picture. We chatted at the coffee shop, then he asked if I wanted to have dinner. I did. When we walked to find a restaurant, he turned and kissed me. A bit soon, but I was flattered at the same time taken aback. After dinner, I mentioned I liked CSI and it was on that night. He said, “I own a home nearby that is being renovated. Let’s go watch it there.” When I declined, he was insistent, not relenting in his nearly demanding we go there. No, I wouldn’t be going to this guy’s house on the first — nor any — date.
  • The Uneducated College Grad — I wrote about him in “Date turns out to be losing bet.” I should have known from his calls and emails that he wasn’t for me. But I let my self-interest overcome my instinct. His emails and conversation were laced with bad grammar, poor spelling, incorrect word usage, poor pronunciation. When he told me his alma mater, I thought, “If I were the Admissions Office, I’d ban him from telling anyone he’d graduated here.” I understood why he still lived with his mother at age 42.
  • The Overly “Cool” Dude — He was sweet, smart and complimentary on the daily calls and in flirty emails. He said he was very interested in me and hoped it worked out for us, as he could see a future together. When we met, he spent 80% of the time talking about himself, and when I tried to interject, he said, “I’m going to cut you off” and continued to talk about himself. At the white-tablecloth restaurant, he brought his own cheap wine so he wouldn’t have to pay $20 for the $5 bottle. He ate his lamb chops with his hands. Every fifth word was “cool.” He French kissed me within moments of our meeting. No, we will not be having a future together.

Can you avoid bad first dates? I think you can reduce the possibility considerably by having some email and phone conversations for a few days to a week. If the conversation turns to sex before you’ve even met, then don’t meet him. If he shows he has opposite values than you, don’t bother. There are a number of men I’ve had phone or email conversations with that I then didn’t meet. Not enough interest to invest the hour for coffee, plus time to get ready and drive to and from the coffee shop.

So don’t be afraid of bad first dates. They happen. My experience is about 10% of the dates fall into this category. Not bad, really. So expect there will be some misses, but don’t linger on them. And don’t share them with your next date, as he’ll wonder what kind of story you’ll tell about him afterwards!

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8 responses to “Men behaving badly”

  1. Gatti Avatar

    Back in the days before the Internet (about 1985, I think!) I answered a personal ad in New York Magazine. We met for coffee, the guy was not Robert Redford and the first words out of his mouth were, accusingly, “You don’t look like your picture!”. He then proceeded to diss everything I and everyone else might be interested in. Date lasted a rather long half an hour. Next!!!

  2. Bruce Daley Avatar

    If I had to summarize I would say that your bad dates seemed to involve a lot of French kissing. Have you tried Freedom kisses instead?

  3. Gatti Avatar

    Say what you want about British guys being repressed, but none of mine have tried more than a friendly peck at the end of a date. I can deal with that…

  4. Dan Avatar

    instead of getting in to the pants of the ladis like gropeing her and trying to kiss her , you should try to be an gentleman and open doors for her and pull chairs for her . the way i was brought up , u have to civilized and not say anything to put her down or critisize her
    if i donse ot work out there is always next time
    if i like the lady i will pay for it even if she insist , i will say next time u pay , that way u can have a 2nd date

  5. […] I was chatting with a male friend about why the majority of the “bad” dates listed in “Men behaving badly” involved men moving too fast. We discussed if these guys were just horn dogs or if I was sending off subtle signals that were being misinterpreted. He: How do you behave in pre-meeting phone calls and emails? […]

  6. Aggressively Single Avatar
    Aggressively Single

    French Kissing on a first date? Yuck! That’s nearly as intimate as sex! Just say no – turn your head and back away! Asks you to his apartment? Thank him for the evening and leave immediately! Dan, don’t be so cheap! Sorry, but the guy has to pay for the first 2 dates at least!!! If the cutest guy in the world said you pay next time so you can have a 2nd date – No Thanks! Maybe I’ll offer on the 3rd, but I would hope he would refuse. That’s because one of my Boyfriend requirements is the similar to the Goddess- “he must plan outings, initiate plans for events and purchase tickets…. and be generous. Ladies, I think we need to set our standards a bit higher here?

  7. Gatti Avatar

    I think you’re right, AS. I’ve been going slowly broke financing dates: the traveling, “Dutch treat” meals, etc. With one exception for lunch, I’ve paid my way the whole time.

    Anyway, it’s been a weird (and not wonderful) dating week and I’m re-thinking the whole thing.

  8. Mitsy Avatar

    I posted about this on another thread, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. The only thing worse than a guy who doesn’t make enough effort with you is a guy who makes TOO much effort and lets his emotions overtake him.

    I had been talking to two different guys from Yahoopersonals. One guy I’ve had one date with and we’ve talked almost daily since then. He says we will see each other again after the first of the year, but we will not be together for New Year’s due to him being on call and living 2 hours away from me. Although we seemed to hit it off really well in person, his calls now sound only semi-interested and almost like we’ve been together for a long time and it’s no big deal to talk to me. I am going to wait to see if date #2 happens and how that goes. If it doesn’t happen within the next few weeks, I’ll be ready to move on.

    Guy #2 was a mechanic and I’m somewhat of a car buff. We exchanged some e-mails and talked on the phone a couple times. He lives closer to where I live and shops at least once a week at the store I work part-time at. He came in to meet me right before Christmas. He drove down with his buddies and seemed like a nice enough guy. He did not look as much like his photo as I imagined. He also was more overweight than I thought he was. He had a very unsightly gut that was hard to overlook. I could only imagine what he looked like without any clothes on. Gives me shivers….:0

    Mechanic guy is clearly smitten with me. I get a couple more e-mails from him where he talks about thinking about me a lot and wanting to call but knowing that I’m busy with family and holiday stuff (this was over the x-mas holiday). He makes 2 more unexpected appearances at the store. The next visit was 2 days before x-mas and I was very busy and could not visit with him much. The last visit was 2 days ago. I realized when I was NOT happy to see him again so soon that this was probably not going to work out. He calls me that same evening and we have a pretty good conversation, but there was no mention of a date, so I didn’t give it much more thought. Then I get an e-mail the next day which says that he enjoys talking to me, wants to know if we can go out, and that he’s kind of “crazy” about me. The e-mail is the final nail in the coffin for this guy. How could he be crazy about me when he’s hardly known me a week? And that has been through a couple phone calls and the short visits I’ve had with him at the store.

    I could only imagine him wanting to french kiss by date #2 if I had gone out with him. He was wanting a LOT more than I could deliver and he was much too needy right off the bat. I debated about going out with him “just once” but I decided to nip this before it got out of hand or before I hurt the guy’s feelings any worse than I was going to.

    I wrote him back that I thought he was a nice guy and that I did enjoy talking to him but that I thought he was wanting more in the way of romance than I could give back right now. I also told him that I was not interested in getting into anything too serious too quickly with anyone due to some past failed relationship issues, which was also the truth.

    However, if he had played his cards differently, I probably would have gone out with him and possibly gotten over his unappealing physical appearance. Looks are not everything, but when the guy is wanting too much too soon, that is a complete turnoff for most women. It certainly was for me. At least I was not rude or cruel in my e-mail to him. As they say, “next”.