I spent last week wondering if I’d decide to spend that weekend on a second date with the guy I saw last weekend. I didn’t make up my mind until the afternoon he texted me asking if we were still on. My mood at that moment? Go on the date! He chose a bottle of wine and an appetizer for us, and I skimmed the menu for the tastiest sounding dish. It happened to be one of the most expensive main courses, but seeing that he didn’t flinch when I mentioned it interested me, I figured it was safe to order. We started talking and I couldn’t help but wonder what had gotten me the second date in the first place. It seemed obvious to me that we were continuing to disagree on just about everything.
Again he seemed to try to slap a label on who I was entirely as a person. I couldn’t believe I was actually explaining that people were so much more complex than being given one label and how diverse personalities could be. I told him that most people weren’t one clean cut way or another and instead fell along some sort of spectrum of personality type and core being. He told me that some of my stories confused him and he was disappointed as he’d been under the impression he had already pegged me for exactly who I was. I’d shattered the image he’d already tried to set of me. He told me that he thought I was a hippy and I no longer fit into the box he’d categorized me into. But, this wasn’t Dharma & Greg and I wasn’t going to just be some novelty he’d hoped he could say he’d dated. For the record, no one else has ever considered me to be a hippy. We continued to discuss our differences, as it seemed there wasn’t any common ground to fall back on. At one point a radish flew out of his hand and landed on the seat next to us. I laughed and he tossed it onto our table. I told him it was still clean and he admitted he wanted to eat it, but wasn’t because he didn’t want me to judge him. I wondered why he even cared what I thought at that point.
A bit later it was discovered that my ex’s employer was actually his company’s main competitor. He asked me what I thought of that business, and I admitted I really had no interest in it. He told me that his job was very important to him and defined his life. He asked what I spoke to my ex about if I wasn’t interested in his company. “I don’t know, we just had fun instead. We talked about things we actually had in common,” I told him. I instantly realized this was, in other words, “I do not have fun with you and we don’t have anything in common.” We then debated a topic I’m passionate about that he’d mentioned he’d disagreed with, but was what he’d invited me to dinner to discuss. He quickly changed his stance and I lost some respect for him. If he hadn’t known enough or cared much for the topic, why had he taken such a strong stance in the first place? We continued to mismatch discussing our preferences and choices made in our lives, but this wasn’t one of those meals where you cautiously pick at a salad in order to not make a mess in front of someone you’re trying to impress. I enjoyed my darn dish. Again he swept up the check without even glancing to see if I’d reached for my purse. Guilt free about the meal with the date I’d had no interest in. The restaurant become crowded and the waiter asked if he could buy us a cocktail at the bar so we’d give up the table. I said yes and he said no. No surprise there. He walked me to the train and asked me to text him the title of a book that had come up in conversation. I gave him a half-assed hug goodnight, thanked him for dinner, and went on my way. When I got home, I did text him the title of the book. I think it was the first time in my life I was happy I didn’t get a reply text and have my fingers crossed it stays that way. My experiment with dating just for dinner wasn’t such a bad experience after all.
I basically went on a blind date tonight. A week or so ago a guy on a dating site asked me out after just a message or two were exchanged. I was in an odd and somewhat desperate mood, so with just one quick scroll over his profile, I’d agreed. I’d almost forgotten about it until he checked in today to see if we were still on. I guess I’d also been hoping someone better would have come along by now, but seeing as a date might be better than no date, I went. On the train there was a guy sitting across from me who I mentally labeled “movie star pretty.” He had gorgeous eyes I kept catching. I caught him watching me reapply my lipstick, but only wound up starring at the floor, laughing to myself at how bad I am at flirting and how impossible I find it to smile at a stranger. I thought about jotting down a quick compliment with my number and handing it to him as I’d step off the train. I’ve probably been dreaming about putting that plan into action for years, carrying a small scrap of paper and pen everywhere I’ve gone, but still have never had the guts to do it. I wonder what makes me so outgoing at some moments, yet shy away so quickly during others –alcohol excluded. We wound up getting off at the same stop and I unintentionally ended up following him for quite a while as we were headed in the same direction, which would have made for an awkward exit if I had gone the route of handing him a note. After convincing myself he had a girlfriend and would have blown me off or that he might have been gay, I pushed the image of him out of my mind to arrive at the bar I was meeting my date.
My date wasn’t unattractive, but he certainly wasn’t what I’d called “movie star pretty.” We ordered drinks and I pointed out oysters were on the happy hour menu, as if I hadn’t checked the menu before heading out. This wasn’t a date from hell or anything, but I was not impressed. I was almost bored and had this feeling that he was continuously putting me down, forcing me to defend myself. He just didn’t make me feel great about who I was, and seemed very concerned with social status. He constantly tried to stereotype me and fit me into a box to group me into the type of person I was as if everyone can be so easily labeled. At one point he actually said, “You’re not as weird as I thought you were going to be.” I asked if that was a good or a bad thing. He said he was a little disappointed. I was a little insulted. An hour in I wanted a second drink, but didn’t get to voice that because he instantly told the waitress that we’d just have the check and informed me he had dinner plans with a friend next. I assumed it was another date. To top it off as I gathered my belongings, he also let me know that he had differing views about something I’m very passionate about. We agreed there wasn’t enough time to discuss it and I headed home.
I figured I’d never hear from him again. Clearly we didn’t click. He didn’t leave me feeling very positively about myself, and I’d been turned off by quite a few things he’d said about himself. The train ride home I decided to think of it as nothing more than free oysters and a free drink. I texted my hook-up buddy after months of silence; Busy. Then I came home to a text from the date asking me out to dinner next week. I wanted to text back that we didn’t click, but I hesitated and first checked my dating site inbox. Empty. Or at least empty of anyone I saw as a potential date. Then I googled the restaurant he suggested. Another fancy place I probably couldn’t afford. I’d never really dated for the dinners and drinks. It’s really never been my thing. But considering how poorly things have been going in my dating life, I figure it’s something to consider in the new year. Back to something being better than nothing. If I meet someone more interesting, I can cancel. If I’m not in the mood or my conscience is bothering me, I can cancel. Or on Saturday night I can just look at the menu online and debate how hungry or in the mood I am for a fancy meal. Women do this all the time. This date barely let the check hit the table before scooping it up and announcing he’d pay. Why not give it a shot? I can end this after one meal, just two dates in, right? All of these questions are being triggered because I find something unsettling about this, but considering my current path hasn’t lead me anywhere great yet, perhaps some actions unlike myself couldn’t hurt? Don’t worry, I’m already picking out the slightly less expensive dishes from the menu so the side of guilt served is a little smaller.