Like most things in life, this awkward dance we call dating involves some pretty complicated rules. Some well-known (i.e. The “wait three days before calling rule”) and others not so common.
When it comes to how much alcohol it is appropriate to consume before showing up for a first date I feel that there are no hard fast rules. For example, if you are meeting at 8 or 9 on a weekend night I don’t think there is anything wrong with showing showing up slightly tipsy. However, if the date you are scheduled to attend is occuring at 5pm on a Sunday evening at a coffee shop it is probably not the best idea to show up completely hammered. This is a rule I broke yesterday.
It started innocently enough at brunch, however this brunch was not your run of the mill freegan vegan pancakes and orange juice brunch it somehow became a marathon drinking session. The thing about brunch turned marathon drinking session is generally one is sitting down for the duration. You don’t really have the opportunity to realize how drunk you are until you get up to depart for your 5pm Sunday evening coffee date.
At 4:30pm I stood up to bid my farewell to my friends, who were deeply involved in a game of Settler’s of Catan (my friends new past time of choice), and hop on my bike to The Burg where I was to meet yet another random internet dater. Only, upon standing I realized that I was going to have a difficult time executing my plan as the entire room was spinning AND tilting. Clearly, at such a level of intoxication I was not able to reason enough to realize that the best thing would be to cancel the date. No readers, I preserved. I somehow managed to get myself and my bicycle to the appointed coffee shop all in one piece. (I would never condone such dangerous behavior! Do as I say readers not as I do!) I was of course late (I went to the wrong coffee shop first) and so my date (an architect) was sitting, waiting and reading the Village Voice.
The rest of the date is pretty fuzzy, I mostly just remember an internal dialogue where I debated with myself whether he could tell that my eyes were unfocused, whether I smelled like the alcohol I’d just over-consumed, whether I was slurring my speech. I also remember lots of laughing from both parties, so at least we found each other mutually funny.
I am almost certain he couldn’t tell how intoxicated I was. But I don’t know if I’ve know created this bar of expectation. Maybe drunk Ginger was a level of fun that sober Ginger just can’t maintain? I guess we’ll find out if he ever calls me again. And if he doesn’t, I am just going to assume it was because he thinks I am an alcoholic (maybe I am? I mean, I was drunk at 5pm on a Sunday) and not because he thinks I am a bore, or ugly, or my nose is too big or one of the other million random insecurities that runs through my head whenever I don’t hear from someone again.
P.S. Fred, in response to your last two posts:
1. Can I get Bikram Bro’s number? If you’re all just looking for sex anyway I can at least date a guy who is into hot sweaty yoga.
2. Thanks for your kind comments in your post in response to “Stood Up”. You’re right! No-Show it is your loss and you should consider yourself lucky I didn’t send you that picture of Fred and me on the whale carcass!
No-Show and Ginger. Ginger and No-Show. I don’t know whom to reprimand first in this parade of ridiculousness. I suppose I will start with No-Show, as he probably does not read this blog, and therefore I need not tread as lightly as I must with Ginger, whose veganism has made her skin so thin and bones so brittle that the scruff of a hipster’s beard once resulted in make-out wounds deep enough to force Ginger to spend a week in Brooklyn’s Hipster Wound Cooperative, which is actually just a guy named Jake who gives you a Band-Aid and then talks about how klezmer music is basically all anyone is listening to in Bushwick right now.
So Mr. No-Show, I’ll start with an admission. I once used the sleeping excuse. I was 19. I used it on my first real girlfriend (“FRG”). She wanted to spend a day at the zoo, and I did not. It was going to be hot, I’d been to the zoo a bunch of times that summer, it wasn’t even mating season for the otters yet, I wasn’t really that into the relationship at the moment, etc. etc. I ignored FRG’s calls all morning. I finally picked up the phone around 3 p.m., when zoo-day had been safely ruined, and told FRG that I had been sleeping when she called that morning. Needless to say, FRG was not happy. We weren’t exactly a yelling couple, but she yelled a lot. I deserved this rebuke — my cowardice wasted her entire day.
Additonally, my excuse sucked. Sleeping? I expected her to believe that I was in such a deep sleep at 11 a.m. on a weekday that I couldn’t pick up the phone? Even for a 19-year-old frat boy with a penchant for marijuana and late night internet masturbation sessions (always, always at the same time), this was an implausible excuse.
Which brings me to Mr. No-Show. Just to recap, No-Show sent Ginger a text message 45 minutes before the date that he would see Ginger at the bar, Ginger then arrives at bar, Ginger texts No-Show, No-Show does not show, No-Show texts her later that night that he fell asleep. What in the world happened No-Show? In 45 minutes, how could you possibly have fallen into a sleep so deep that you didn’t hear your phone buzz when Ginger sent you a text message from the bar? Are you narcoleptic Mr. No-Show? (if you are, please accept my apologies. Visit http://www.narcolepsynetwork.org/ for more information about narcolepsy.) Did the stress of pirating whaling ships finally get to you? Hunger strikes have been known to cause people to feint. Were you on one of those? Were you listening to a Beach House album? Unless you are a narcolept, Mr. No-Show, your excuse sucks. You will wear the four-leaf clover of shame at the next bro-meeting and all subsequent bro-meetings until someone else earns the four-leaf clover of shame, which, if history is any indicator, will almost definitely be the next bro-meeting.
You are an enigma Mr. No-Show. You texted with Ginger for several days about topics such as veganism and community gardens and then stood her up. No man has ever typed the words “community garden” into a cell phone without some expectation that it will earn him sex. (My apologies to my community garden meet up group. The truth is, I want to bed one of you.) Maybe it was Ginger’s views about the propriety of forsythias in community gardens that turned you off? Maybe Ginger’s seitan-based recipes weren’t what you were looking for? Unless you are 19 and had just finished a multi-hour, marijuana-aided masturbatory marathon to otter porn, I just don’t understand you No-Show.
As for you Ginger, I think all the yoga and lack of animal blood has finally gotten to you. You are way too nice to No-Show. No-Show did not deserve a civil response. The only response this narcoleptic Beach House fan deserved was an Instagram of you and I sixty-nining on a dead whale carcass (it always has been my favorite picture of us). I really hope that your comment that “I don’t imagine that I’ll be hearing from No-Show again” was merely a nice way of saying that the emaciated Greenpeace leaflet distributor, and any of his kind, should definitely not call you again.
I have a suggestion Mr. No-Show. I think you should just call it quits on the dating front. Please clear the way for guys better suited for attractive, intelligent women like my esteemed co-blogger.
In “A Response to The Silent Dancer,” Ginger accuses me (me!) of being overly concerned with bedding the Silent Dancer. She attacks the fact that at one point on the date I may have considered whether I could get the Silent Dancer to have sex with me in the bathroom (I had to do something during the long pauses). In turn, she suspects that males want only one thing from a date (sex, in case you’re not following).
At first I was not going to deign such slander with a response. “That’s ridiculous,” I thought to myself over my morning beer. “How dare she,” I wondered as I began to draft my formal demand for an apology. But then I remembered that Ginger is a lawyer and knows a lot of things, and that maybe, maybe there is some nugget of truth to what she said. So, I consulted my bros.
“Bros,” I typed into gmail, “What do most bros want out of a first date?” And send. I then rose from my desk, made the office mid-morning coffee, attended to some office-related duties, and then, five minutes later, checked my gmail account. The responses were overwhelming.
“Sex,” read the first reply.
“Hey man. It was great to see you at Bikram last night. I mostly want sex from a first date. Namaste,” read the second reply.
“I think about sex a lot. Oh, and I scored Nickleback tickets, you in? Leader of Men, bro. Leader. Of. Men.,” read another.
“A nice dinner at a vegan restaurant, and maybe a foreign film afterwards,” wrote Ginger, whose name is right next to my bro-bro Gangly Pete’s on my contact list (sorry to leave you off that email Gangly!).
I spent the rest of my work day reading the remainder of the replies. During my late-afternoon muffin and/or cupcake run, I considered these responses as well as my own immediate reaction to Ginger’s accusation. I then ate my standard two half-backed cupcakes from Crumbs, sipped on my coffee with the cool lid that Crumbs, and only Crumbs, provides, checked a few websites, and then came to a conclusion – sex is not the only thing I want out of a first date. It’s probably not even in the top five. I obviously consider whether I want to have sex with her, and may consider what she’d be like in bed, but it’s not what I expect out of a first date. In fact, it sounds like Ginger and I are on the same page in terms of what we want out of a first date. I want to have fun and make some preliminary determinations about whether I want to be in a relationship with the other person.
But if the girl wanted to do it in the bathroom, would I? Of course! Leader of Men, bro. Leader. Of. Men.
It finally happened. For the first time in my 10+ years of actively dating I was completely and utterly stood up. Ever since I signed up to internet date I have been anticipating this happening and now it has. Notably, I was not stood up by an internet dater but by a gentleman I met in a bar.
I met No-Show on my birthday at one of my most-frequented Williamsburg bars. I wasn’t overly attracted to him but he was willing to listen to my sermon on why everyone should be vegan, and even did so enthusiastically. We parted ways after he made me promise to provide him with materials on why he too should become vegan. After three days of not hearing from him I decided to text him, more so for the cause than for any desire to date him, and tell him I had some articles for him if he was interested. He responded enthusiastically with many apologies for not having texted me sooner. Thus, we began an extended text conversation. For the next 4 days we texted back and forth about a myriad of topics: community gardens (and my desire to start one), Greenpeace (which is where he works), where we grew up, favorite bars, etc. We finally made plans to meet at a bar in Bushwick late on Tuesday night.
Before leaving work to head to the appointed bar I sent No-Show a text telling him I’d be there in about 45 minutes to which he responded, “Great, I’ll see you then.” I showed up to the bar late, of course, — I am incapable of being anywhere on time — and realized that some sort of open mic night was occurring. On stage was a singer/songwriter earnestly playing his acoustic guitar and pouring out his soul to the seemingly disinterested audience. I scanned the crowd didn’t see No-Show and so took a seat at an empty table. After ten minutes had passed I sent a text that said, “I’m here.” No response. An hour later No-Show hadn’t texted, called or showed up. The open mic night was winding down so I headed home.
The next morning I woke up to find a text from No-Show claiming he’d fallen asleep and profusely apologizing. At first I was not sure whether to even respond. I didn’t entirely believe that he’d fallen asleep and even if he had it didn’t seem bode well for his level of interest in actually dating me. Later in the evening I sent a text indicating I didn’t really believe that he’d fallen asleep and telling him he’d missed a good time. He responded apologizing again. . . and that was it.
As my one being stood up experience, I have to say it isn’t quite as devastating as I’d always imagined it would be. I didn’t feel embarrassed or disappointed. And I ended up really enjoying the open mic night by myself. I don’t imagine that I’ll be hearing from No-Show again. I do feel that if he was really interested in seeing me he would have offered to make it up to me somehow instead he just apologized and never really followed-up. That’s fine, like I said I wasn’t that attracted to him so I suppose, all’s well that ends well.
First off, I’d like to take my hat off to Typewriter Boy (I put a hat on especially for this blog post). When I first read about Ginger’s encounter with Typewriter Boy, I scoffed. “This guy cannot be serious,” I thought to myself. Were his tight jeans affecting his ability to contrive a decent pick-up line? Maybe it was his scarf or ascot? Maybe he fell off his single-speed bicycle the day before?
But then I realized that Typewriter Boy is brilliant. Typewriters are interesting and say a lot about the owner. I can’t think of the last time I used a typewriter. If I was at the dance party, and Typewriter Boy asked me to come back and type out a few lines, I might have joined him. From Ginger’s description, she didn’t seem to be particularly attracted to Typewriter Boy. But because he had this artifact in his apartment, he got to spend a little more time with Ginger and even got a pity make-out session out of it.
So, cheers Typewriter Boy. You earned every bit of that make-out session. You give hope to all of us late (umm, very-late) twenty-somethings who think that luring girls back to our apartments with the promise of drugs and a Dave Matthews bootleg is extraordinarily creepy and best left to the fine residents of the crack den/rape pits that we like to call frat houses (oh how I miss my frat house).
But enough with the Typewriter Boy lovefest, and on to Ginger’s questions. Ginger asks “Is it odd to want to go back to a stranger’s apartment just to not have to go home alone? Is that only something women do? Does every invitation from a male to spend the night include the hope of orgasm?”
Well, yes and no. I agree that sometimes it sucks to go home alone. For several glorious months not that long ago, I lived with my then-significant other, and that was probably the best part – I never had to go home alone. Even if she was asleep when I got home, it was nice to have her there. Now I just come home to my bikes. And while they’re great and can carry me around Central Park at great speeds, they lack the charisma, warmth and breastiness that my then-significant other possessed. And also, it’s really cold outside right now, cabs are expensive, and it seems like the subways basically stop running after midnight. So I can completely sympathize with Ginger’s desire to find a place to crash.
But for me, at least, if the girl I invite back to my apartment is someone I just met, then there is some hope of sex. If not sex, at least some sort of canoodling. But it’s just that — a hope. If it doesn’t happen, then it doesn’t happen, and I don’t hold it against the girl if it doesn’t happen (I usually chalk it up to my own non-smoothness (see “The Silent Dancer”)). If it’s not going to happen, I take it like a late-late twenty-something, kindly turn down the Dave Matthews, grab another beer or two, and buckle in for a night of Wii Frisbee Dog. Typewriter boy should have asked for Ginger’s number, and, once again, I’ll chalk up his failure to ask for her number to his skinny jeans, scarf, ascot, and/or single-speed bike accident.
To be honest what struck me most about your experience with the Silent Dancer was not the awkward silences, though that is notable and will be addressed below, but how eager you seemed to bed her. Your post was littered with references to taking off your pants and going back to her place. Is this what goes through the minds of men on first dates? Is everything that is said and done all part of a calculation to figure out the quickest route to get in my pants? I am going to assume, that your references to “love-making” were for comedic value more than an honest evaluation of your thought process and continue with my, possibly naive, assumption that guys go on dates in hopes of meeting an awesome girl to hang out with, not merely a girl who is willing to “just do it in the bathroom.”
As for awkward silences, my reaction to them tends to be similar to yours Fred. When I am confronted with an awkward silence I panic and sit there, probably with a deer in headlights look on my face, thinking over and over, “Ohmygod, an awkward silence, ohmygod an awkward silence.” Usually, I either find something weird and random to say, similar to your approach Fred, or the guy finds something weird and random to say. Either way I cling to the new topic and find a way to say as much about it as possible about it — even when it is something I know nothing about, like zombie movies or who won the Superbowl — in order to avoid another awkward silence. It seems that the Silent Dancer is just one of those awkward silence type people, which is great for her but doesn’t seem like the type for you Fred. It is probably better if you skip the third date with her and find someone not so silent.
Is it strange to go home with a boy if you have no intention of having sex with him? Is it stranger still to tell him you have no intention of sleeping with him before you agree to go home with him? If it is, well then I am strange. Last night I met a boy at a dance party. After spending hours dancing together the topic of our post dance party plans came up. At one point we had taken a break from dancing to get some fresh air during which we had the “what do you do?” discussion. It turned out that we are both budding writers. I can only assume that this is why he used his typewriter as the bait to get me back to his apartment:
“Now that I know you’re a writer I really want to get you in front of my typewriter.”
I laughed; I couldn’t believe that was his line. Was this real? I had to look around to make sure that the dance party wasn’t happening in a warehouse in Williamsburg attended solely by skinny-jean-clad youths. (It wasn’t.) Honestly, a typewriter? I mean guys have attempted to lure me to their homes with promises of all sorts of goodies: booze, pot, ice cream, unreleased bootleg records, but a typewriter? What did Dance Boy think we were going to do, go back to his apartment and write poetry on his typewriter?
Turns out that is exactly what we did. Despite the seeming absurdity of his offer to take me back to his place for a writing session, I agreed to go with him. Mostly because the thought of riding my bike back to Brooklyn at 2:30am seemed daunting. Upon our arrival at his rent-controlled two-bedroom apartment that he shares with his grandmother, who has lived there since the 50s (she apparently spends six months of the year in Virginia and thankfully February is one of those six months), we took turns sitting at his typewriter and free writing. We shared our respective pieces; mine mostly about how hard it is to write on a typewriter (three in the morning is not really the time when my creative juices are flowing), his a reflection on the best types of late night drunk food (apparently three in the morning is also not his creative time). Then he showed me his poetry, which wasn’t half bad. Next was the discussion on existentialism, at which point I wondered how much more cliche the night could get.
Finally, it was time for bed. That’s when things got weird. I just really wanted to sleep, he just really wanted to do the kinds of things people who met at dance parties and go home with each other do. We briefly made out and then I fell asleep, his disappointment practically tangible.
In the morning we did the awkward goodbye dance, if you will. He didn’t ask me for my number. As I descended the steps of his apartment building I pondered the previous evening. He clearly invited me home hoping for some kind of sexual gratification and at least a part of me knew this. Which led me to wonder what really possessed me to go home with him. Is it odd to want to go back to a stranger’s apartment just to not have to go home alone? Is that only something women do? Does every invitation from a male to spend the night include the hope of orgasm? I have no idea (maybe this is something Fred can shed some light on) but I am really glad I did not have sex with Dance Boy. I am still coming off the heels of a break-up and I am pretty sure if I’d had sex with him it would have been ill-advised. That said, I also don’t regret going home with him. Despite my teasing, I did enjoy the writing/poetry/existentialist-discussion portion of the evening. It was an adventure of sorts, and probably the best one night stand I’ve ever had.
My most recent dates were with a girl who was quiet. Very quiet. She took long pauses before she said anything and never went out of her way to move the conversation along. She wasn’t dumb or boring. She had graduated from a certain Ivy League school in Morningside Heights that I have become all too familiar with (a story I may elaborate upon in future posts), she had traveled extensively (which, I’m learning more and more, does not make a person interesting), and is currently in grad school. She just appeared to be perfectly comfortable with long, silent moments.
I, however, am not comfortable with silence. This is true especially during dinner dates, and especially on first or second dates.
During my most recent real relationship, I had a move for these moments. With an intentionally goofy intonation, I would say “So, tell me something new.” She knew what I was doing and usually responded to it. I’m not saying it was a smooth move. It could be part of the reason why that relationship ended. I’m not really sure. But it was my move, and it tended to keep the conversation going, so I stuck by it.
But I don’t use this move on the first few dates because, frankly, I don’t want the date to think that I am special. The problem is that instead of that move, I usually blurt out something even more special. I often regret these special blurts before I finish saying them. But I still say them, Awkward Dancers. I still say them.
Case in point is my most recent first date with Silent Dancer. We met on a Saturday afternoon at a bar on the Upper West Side. I had met her on an internet dating site, so we had only spoken on the phone once prior to the date. I didn’t really know what to expect personality-wise, although I gleaned from her profile that she wasn’t particularly vivacious. But that is fine. I’m not particularly vivacious either.
We were having a nice chat about typical first date stuff – where we were from, what we do for a living, what we like to do for fun, our travels, interests, blah, blah, blah. But there were these pauses, sometimes short, sometimes long, and they drove me f’n crazy! I had to fill them with chatter. I couldn’t patiently wait and think of something intelligent to say. Instead, I said things such as “So, [internet dating site we both belonged to] is weird, right?” What exactly did I expect her to say to that? Maybe she would say “We should probably just do it in the restroom right now.” Or, “We should probably get those pants off you ASAP.”
She didn’t say either of those things though. She didn’t even respond. She just patiently observed the train as it derailed. After a few more silent moments, I said “Yeah, I go back and forth about [internet dating site].” “It’s ok, but I don’t know.” That really got her. We were back at her place within minutes.
Or, not. I did eventually recover and the date ended on a somewhat positive note. But we did not go back to her place, and she definitely went back and told her friends what a fool she had just been out with. Or did she?
Despite the pauses and my blunders, I decided to call her again. She was cute and kind of looked like Pam from The Office. There was a second date, the details of which I will leave for a future post.
But my question is about the inept, silence-filling utterances that came out of my mouth during my date with the Silent Dancer. Ginger, do girls pick-up on this type of thing? Am I just over-analyzing things?
First, I’d like to thank my co-blogger Fred for that charming introduction. I’d also liked to clarify that my rejection of his advances has nothing to do with Fred’s general date-ability it was mostly out of a desire to preserve the status quo in our sitcom-esque group of friends. Fred and I did not just happen to meet in a bar where I was drowning my sorrows after my latest failed “relationship-thingy”; we are actually good friends and hang out quite often.
It is funny that Fred mentioned his text message fiasco because it was precisely his account of that situation that prompted me to agree to co-write this dating blog. You see, what Fred saw as crazy I saw as a fairly normal reaction to his behavior toward text message girl. Like most of the females who heard Fred’s text message story, I reacted by expressing sympathy for the text messager. I am excited to be able to represent the female perspective to Fred’s adventures and I am equally excited to hear his male perspective to mine, all while hopefully entertaining and amusing you, our readers.
To that end, come back regularly, forward our blog to all your friends, family and co-workers and please share your thoughts in our comments section!
For about a year , my co-blogger, Ginger, has documented her dating experiences in New York City at Plenty o’ Fish in the City. She’s thrilled you with tales of Comic Book Boy, the Teamster, and the Corporate Lawyer (or several corporate lawyers?). She has speed-dated, internet-dated, and blind-dated. She’s been picked-up on the subway, at bars, at yoga, and at her biweekly vegan-freegan-anarchist-bike messenger-beards and soul-food collective meetings in Bed-Stuy (What you haven’t seen her there? Then you’re probably at the 6:00 p.m. meeting. She usually opts for the 9:00 p.m.).
But Plenty of Fish provided only the female perspective on the intricacies of dating here in the Big Apple. As I read Plenty of Fish, one thing was glaringly obvious – this blog needs more dude.
The Awkward Dance started where all good things start, in a bar. Ginger had ended her most recent relationship-thingy, and I was fresh off a night in which I received a barrage of increasingly crazy text messages that culminated in a break-up text message. After a few lagers and some Skee Ball, we lamented about our failed dating experiences. We talked about the various dating protocols. Who pays on the first date? How quickly do you need to respond to text messages? When is it safe to bring up ex-girlfriends? Does it matter what your friends think?
I then asked her if she wanted to make-out. She responded with an unequivocal “No.” I said fine, then let’s blog about what we were just talking about. She responded with a “Maybe.” And with that, the Awkward Dance was born.
So enjoy, comment, provide your prospective, and help us figure out the awkward dance that is dating.