What do you do when you’re asked for first date feedback?
Before we jump into the substance of today’s post – I thought this photo was a perfect one for this series. Me walking swiftly away from all the bad dates. A girl has to laugh at least, doesn’t she?
A Somewhat Promising Beginning
A couple of weeks ago, I went on a first date with a guy we’ll call A. I met A on one of the popular dating apps and we exchanged a few texts. He seemed normal and it appeared we had a few things in common. As anyone who has online dated knows, these text exchanges can be completely tedious at times. They go on forever. It seems as if we’ll be asking each other “how was your day” in perpetuity. Luckily, we exchanged just enough texts to ascertain whether or not one of us were likely to be crazy and set up a date to meet.
As an aside, even when all goes well via text, I do not have high expectations. Usually, I’m not even looking forward to the date. This one was no exception. Depressing, I know, but when you’ve been dating in NYC for as long as I have, you know not to walk in with too much excitement. A great exchange over text message may end up being a lackluster in-person meeting for any number of reasons.
The day before the date, A texted me with the time and the place. He picked a cocktail bar I hadn’t tried yet in the East Village. We agreed to meet at 8pm.
That seemed promising at least. I always like trying new places. If the date goes badly, I at least tried a bar or restaurant (silver linings, right). At the risk of seeming high maintenance, one of my biggest pet peeves is when a guy picks a terrible place for a first date.
Pre-Date Travel Woes
Fast forward to the date. I ordered an Uber near my office and made my way to the East Village. I was about two minutes away from our date spot and I received a text from A. He indicated that he changed his mind about the place and wanted to go somewhere else. He told me to wait by a coffee shop next door to the cocktail bar. Then, we would walk to the other place.
*Queue eye roll and heavy sigh whilst trying to keep an open mind*
We met in front of the coffee shop and made our way to the new location. While the walk wasn’t thatlong, I was wearing heels, one of the taller pairs I own. I wasn’t anticipating a strolling portion of the date. Additionally, I had come straight from work and the gym and was carrying a heavy bag. It’s surprisingly difficult to keep up on ten-minute walk while teetering on heels, carrying a 15 lb purse, and making awkward small talk with a stranger.
High Maintenance or High Standards?
Again, at the risk of sounding like a spoiled brat, I think first date plans should be made so that they are easy and seamless. Whoever did the inviting should aim at impressing the other person. Whether it’s right or wrong, first impressions count so much in these situations, why start off on the wrong foot. While this attitude may be perceived as entitled, I’m simply holding someone to the same high standard I apply to myself. When I’m the one making the plans and inviting someone out, I try to make everything go as smoothly as possible. Things don’t always go perfectly, but I would text my date with any change of plans well before two minutes prior to the meeting time.
We arrived at the new date location and it was like a hybrid coffee shop/wine and beer bar. Although it would not have been my choice for a first date spot, it was a cool, somewhat different place. Again, I was still keeping an open mind. We walked in and he stated “so I think we’ll get a coffee, first.”
For some reason, I couldn’t contain myself and the following flew out of my mouth – “coffee? at 830?” To myself, I thought (a) I don’t drink coffee at 8:30 pm; and (b) “coffee first” – I don’t have all night. I quickly caught myself and added that he should feel free to get coffee and I’ll just getting sparkling water or a tea.
However, I killed off the coffee idea apparently. He suggested we go in the back where the wine bar was and grab a glass of wine.
Thank Goodness For Pinot Noir
We ordered our wine and began chatting. The conversation was fine and while we did have a few things in common, I really wasn’t feeling it. He wasn’t my cup of tea. Additionally, he kept trying to put his arm around me when I was leaning away and crossing my arms. Clearly, clueless at reading my body language that stated “keep your hands off the merchandise.”
The date continued to drag on even after we finished our wine. For some reason, I always have trouble extricating myself from sub-par dates within a reasonable time politely. It always feels so rude to cut people off at an hour or so when it’s clear they want to continue on. Finally, I made a little white lie and stated I needed to check the time on my phone because I had an early work meeting. It turned out that it was almost 11. I really wanted to go. I said that due to the meeting, I really needed to get going. Luckily, this excuse worked its magic. I thanked A for the drinks and was on my way home.
It was at least 11:30 pm by the time I got home (girl, needs her beauty rest). Prior to beginning my nightly skin care regimen, I set my morning alarms and checked my phone. I noticed A texted me saying he had a nice night and hoped I got home ok.
Of course, that was very nice of him; however, I was a bit tired and wanted to get to bed so I tossed my phone aside and proceeded with my routine without a second thought about the text.
Post Date Follow Up
Honestly, by the next morning, I had forgotten about that message completely. I’m not proud of this (even the most manners obsessed make mistakes), but it’s funny how easy it is to be blasé when you’re not into someone. I had a busy Friday at work and a busier weekend. While I would never intend to ghost anyone, I didn’t end up responding to A’s text. I truly forgot about it. No one is perfect all of the time.
The weekend flew by and on Sunday night, I received another text from A – “hey, you never responded and just wanted to make sure you got home okay.” Again, this was very nice. Of course, I wrote back to this message. At the very least, this person deserved a response indicating that I was okay and not lying in a ditch somewhere.
I apologized that I missed the initial message, that I got home just fine, and thanked him for checking in. One would think he might have gotten the hint by this polite but short message, but no. Another message pinged in. This time A asked “do you want to go out again or not really.” I responded that I was sorry, but I didn’t want to go out again and wished him the best of luck. While it never feels good to reject someone, I think it’s more courteous to give an honest response rather than kicking the can down the road with some vague answer. Surely, this would be the end of the conversation. I was wrong.
…And More Post Date Follow Up
Another message chimed, this time he asked me to provide him with some “feedback” on what he did “wrong” during the date. In my 10+ years of dating in this city, this was truly a *first.* At this point, I’m sure most people in my position would go radio silent. However, I decided I was going to do a good deed and press on with this conversation. Perhaps, I’m a glutton for punishment.
I explained that I didn’t think he did anything “wrong” per se; I just didn’t feel a “spark” as the saying goes. I did indicate that it seemed he had an inability to read body language correctly. For the record, I noted this in a polite and less blunt way than phrased here.
To be fair, the guy didn’t really do anything egregious, but he just wasn’t just my cup of tea. Bringing up my complaints about the change of venue would have been petty so I didn’t note that. After all, if I really did like this guy, that would’ve been an easily dismissed misstep.
So, Is This Like, My Punishment For Being A Decent Person?
With my feedback given, I thought this would be the end of the exchange. Shortly after I sent my last message, a long dissertation-like text message came in. The message droned on about not knowing how online dating works and wanting to be better at it (spoiler alert: it works the way any other dating does). Additionally, this time I was asked if anything in his profile was not “congruent with [how he] presented himself in person.” Yes, he actually used the word “congruent.” Lastly, he kindly informed me that he was “happy to answer any questions I may have.”
At this point, I was unsure of whether I went on a first date or had a bad customer service experience with Amazon. I replied to his first message and then answered his “feedback” question as honestly as I felt I could without being mean. What more could this person I barely know want from me, I wondered. The road to hell is truly paved with good intentions and this experience gave me some insight as to why some people “ghost” (aside from outright cowardice) in the first place.
As I was recounting this story to one of my close girlfriends, Elycia, I couldn’t help but end this tale with the question, “so, is this, like, my punishment for being a halfway decent person and addressing his questions.” Neither of us had an answer and we both laughed.
Have you ever experienced anything like this? Leave me a comment with your story.