The stories are plentiful. The misery has company. Yes, we’ve all been there, the bad first date. How exactly does it happen?
Maryanne told us about how on her bad first date, the guy said he was considering having a medical procedure done in Mexico. We don’t know what kind of procedure, but really, is there an acceptable one?
Peaches’ bad first date kept strategically placing his wallet so she could see all the large bills, and kept putting his BMW keys on the table where she could identify what kind of car he drove. Beemer people are tools. Duh.
John’s bad first date turned bad early on, when she announced, “You need to know something: I have four sisters, all of them are married, and none of them have a diamond ring that’s less than three carats.”
And Yvonne shared that “the only blind date I went on involved a guy (knowing I was a sexologist) telling me that his ex-girlfriend of three years never enjoyed sex because he had such a big package—and wanted me to weigh in on the topic.”
That last story actually came from Astroglide’s Sexual Wellness and Relationship Ambassador, Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright. We spoke to her as well as two other relationship experts, Tina B. Tessina, PhD (aka “Dr. Romance”), psychotherapist and author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again, and April Masini, author of four books, including Think & Date Like a Man and the April behind the “Ask April” advice column (askapril.com). We wanted to get to the bottom of what makes a bad date and how to survive if you’re on one. And, how to know whether you’re actually the cause.
First off, how are people meeting these days? April said there has been a “leveling off” in the popularity of online dating sites and that “the workplace is a big singles scene without the advertisement of such.” She probably hasn’t been to the Jp offices. All experts agreed, though, that work is indeed one of the hot spots.
What should people be doing on first dates these days? “If you met online and discussed a love of snowboarding and off-roading, then snowboarding or off-roading would be a great date,” April said. “But if you discussed at length that she’s dyslexic, don’t invite her for dinner and a game of Scrabble.” Dr. Tessina suggested, “Just have coffee a couple of times until you’re sure you can spend some time with this person without being miserable.” Dr. Fulbright’s two cents? “See if you can become acquainted through a group activity first. Choose activities that allow you to interact with other people, like a cooking class.”
Now, how about that whole chemistry thing? Some people think they know in fewer than five seconds whether it’s a match, and that’s not just because she saw you pull up in that beater of a Jeep and is making a run for it. April explained chemistry as “the pull that attracts you to someone. It can be instant attraction—or it can be the attraction that builds as you get to know someone.” Dr. Fulbright said chemistry “...can also be a person’s aura/energy that you sense, especially if the person is smiling.” Not to mention chemistry is a hormonal response, Dr. Tessina pointed out.
Hey, look, five seconds in and you’re not repulsed by each other! Now, don’t screw this up. Oh, too late, you did. How? April’s list? Having the bads: bad grooming, breath, and manners. Dr. Fulbright’s list includes that you talk about yourself too much or about downer topics. Dr. Tessina said anxiety about the date could also make you reveal too much personal info, like about your last breakup or dysfunctional family. And don’t pry about your date’s background.
Hey, look, six seconds in and the date is going bad! How can you tell? Let’s see…you’re not interested in the person. You have nothing in common. Closed-off body language. She’s making out with the waiter. Dr. Fulbright revealed to also look for whether “the person isn’t attempting to give you light touches. If there’s a lack of laugher or rapport. There’s little eye contact.” Sounds just like the Jp office after one of our required sexual harassment trainings.
Hey, look, seven seconds in and the date is going bad! Now what? Maryanne “drank a lot of alcohol” to survive. You can always fake being sick, or simply try to push through and stay away from controversial topics (like: “Were you just making out with the waiter?”). Dr. Tessina suggested that it’s OK to say, “You know what? I’m not very comfortable. Why don’t we just call it a night.” If you’re really miserable, the other person may be, too.” But a buddy, Craig, told us, “What seems like a bad date can also be good. I actually went on a first date to a shooting range—her suggestion!—which seemed weird at the time and a possible disaster. However, when you think about it we were both armed, so it was hard to go wrong!”
It’s always recommended to have an emergency kit for disasters. So, what about an emergency kit to carry in the event of a disaster bad date? What should be in it? Well, money for a cab ride home (why didn’t you take separate cars?). Also, your cell phone (how are you supposed to have a friend call with a fake problem that requires you to leave immediately if you leave it at home?).
But maybe the best thing to carry in that kit is yourself—being true to yourself and listening to your gut can help you survive nearly any situation, including a bad date. Or worse case, at least make sure the bathroom has an escape window….
What’s your bad first date story? Have one that involves your Jeep? Come on over to Jp’s Facebook page (facebook.com/jpmag) and share!