About the Experiment

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Date #4: General Rules for a (Bad) First Date

I was a bit nervous about writing this, because…I had a bad date.

I try to keep this blog pretty positive but there isn't a good way to sugar coat this, unless I just wrote, “We saw Guardians of the Galaxy and I enjoyed the movie.  The End.”  But that won’t do. 

So here we go.

Bachelor #6 was one of my cousin Emily’s picks in Week 3.  After I let him know he was part of the experiment, he sent me an email saying he was done with electronic communication and wanted to meet me.  At the end of the email in parentheses was his phone number and “Calling me is very cool.”  I’m not a big fan of calling people I don’t know, but part of my goal with this experiment is to push my comfort zone.  So I called him and left a voicemail, then he called me and left a voicemail.  We played phone tag for a few days (also texting back and forth trying to set a time to talk).  When we finally did talk, he let me know that he was going out of town for a few days and didn't know his work schedule for the next week.  He suggested coffee or drinks and I suggested seeing the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, because I hadn't seen it yet and had heard it was really good.  He said that sounded good, and he would let me know when he knew his work schedule.

More than a week went by, and I figured that he was blowing me off.  I mentally started writing a blog post about how both Bachelors that week had flaked. 

When he texted me (nine days after we’d talked on the phone) with a few days that week that would work for him, I was rather surprised.  

It was a good reminder that: 
a) I’m not a very patient person and/or 
b) my life moves at a rapid pace, and 
c) I need to be with someone who shares or at least understands that pace 
(which did not seem to be the case with Bachelor #6) 

I know that easy-going guys can be good for me, but there’s a difference between easy-going and “Where’d you go?”

But I put aside my doubts, we picked a day and a theater, and he said he would see if he could get free tickets from work.  A few days later he texted me to say that he couldn't get free tickets to that theater but had tickets to another theater nearby, could we meet there?  This struck me as a bit odd, but I said sure.  

A week and a half after our initial conversation and the day before our date, we set a time to meet.  He suggested getting a beer at a nearby deli before the movie. Again, it seemed odd to me to get a drink at a deli but I was trying to go with the flow so I agreed. 

The next evening, half an hour before we’re scheduled to meet, I get a text from B#6.  He says that the deli we were supposed to meet at is closed, so he’s going to a bar nearby.  I’d gotten caught up in work and was running 10 minutes late, and he’s already there 30 minutes early.  Oof.  Definitely a mismatch.  

When I got there he was sitting outside and we went into the bar to get a drink for me (he already had one) but then gave up and went back outside to wait for a server.  After a while I went back into the bar on my own to get a drink.  When I returned with a beverage, we talked for a bit and got to know each other.  I mentioned that I do standup comedy nearby, and he said, "Are you funny?" and told me about his roommate who tried standup and bombed.  When I told him that I lived in rural Montana for a bit he said, "Isn't all of Montana rural?"  I told him no, there are cities in Montana, and he replied, "Are you sure?  Or did people just tell you there are?"  At this point it was very clear to me that we don't have compatible senses of humor, because I think he was trying to make a joke but it came across as very rude to me. 

He complained about where he lives and where he works, but said he's hoping his current job will lead to better opportunities.  When we talked about where I live he said that he’s never been to my neighborhood or the surrounding neighborhoods (young, hip(ster) parts of LA) and doesn't even know where they are exactly.  This surprised me, because most 20-somethings in LA at least know those neighborhoods a bit.  I asked how long he’s been in LA and he said a year and a half; he moved out here for the opportunities in music and then adds, “and also to get away from an awful relationship.”  

This date helped me come up with a list of what I consider some General Rules for First Dates:
  1. Don’t talk about Exes (there can be exceptions, but if at all possible, just don’t). 
  2. Don’t talk about religion or politics (current events conversations are ok, but definitely avoid rants).
  3. Generally, avoid rants.
  4. Don’t talk about money (especially not about how much you do or don’t make).
  5. Don’t Be Greedy and Don’t Be Cheap: Don’t order the most expensive thing off the menu, and don’t seem like you’re unwilling to spend money on a date.  I usually offer to split the bill with a guy or buy my own drink, but I do see it as gentlemanly if a guy does pay. 
  6. Try to be nice, pleasant, and easy-going: try to put your best foot forward on a date.  You don’t have to pretend that everything is sunshine and roses, but don’t be the voice of Gloom & Doom.
Because on this date, Bachelor #6 broke all of the General Rules for First Dates:
  1. He talked about two different ex-girlfriends, or one ex-girlfriend twice, I didn’t clarify.
  2. We talked a bit about religion but it was rather innocuous, the politics part was actually more off-putting.  When talking about the Venice boardwalk, he said that he isn’t a fan of Capitalism (I’m not either, really) and that he likes walking around with all the weirdoes in Venice because he’s actually one of them but he “can hide it better.”  Eep.
  3. The rant…I’ll write a separate paragraph about the rant.
  4. Multiple references to being broke (I don’t have a lot of money either, but I don’t need to talk about it much).
  5. He referenced the free movie tickets before the date and during the date (he actually had to pay $4 total at the box office, and he did cover that). 
  6. He complained about where he lived, where he worked, and lots of other things.  He generally seemed rather negative.

I was relieved when it was time to head to the theater.  We watched the movie, and I thought it was a really fun movie.  It was definitely the best part of the date.  

As we were walking out of the movie theater, I was treated to a diatribe:
He started talking about a tv show he was watching lately, maybe Californication, that was talking about how movies are dying.  He realized that they were right, he barely goes to the movies anymore and usually just watches shows.  (Just as a reminder, I am a filmmaker, as in movies are my business and my passion.)  So as he is droning about the death of my industry, I’m wondering why anyone would talk about such a thing on a date, much less a classical musician.  I'm forcing a smile and trying to get through the end of this date.  When I tune back in he’s talking about how long Wagner’s works were and he wonders if we’re moving in the direction of seeing longer works like that in theaters.  It takes every ounce of my self-control to keep my eyes from rolling. 

As we part ways, he said that maybe he’ll call me or maybe I’ll call him. 

Spoiler alert: I did not call him.
(And luckily he didn't call me either.)

It is interesting though to think about General Rules for First Dates.  I sometimes get anxious and feel like I don’t know how to date, but clearly I have certain ideas about how one is supposed to behave on a first date.  Other people might have different rules, does anyone want to suggest other General Rules for First Dates?  Or think my rules are unfair?  When I write them out, it seems like a lot of topics not to talk about.  But those are generally the rules I adhere to for polite conversation with strangers, which is really what a first date is: spending some time with a stranger to figure out if you'd like to get to know each other better.  

Bachelor #6 would likely have different First Date Rules, but this date made it abundantly clear that we're incompatible in many ways!  I don't know if it was the worst date I've ever been on, but it's in the Top 5.  At least the movie was good!