How to Suck at Dating

I’m envious of those people who find their true love in high school or college for the simple reason they no longer have to date. My parents were lucky like that. They met when my father showed up at my mother’s door looking for somebody else. She was 16 then. 5 kids and 36 years of marriage later and they are still together.

Le Sigh. I keep opening my front door waiting to see if my true love is there but the most I find is a package from Amazon that usually contains a book about somebody else’s happily ever after. Until then, like millions of other singles I am forced to date.

I hate dating. HATE IT. Mostly because I’m a little socially awkward. The only things I can talk about in great detail is writing, romance novels or my job. I’m super good at random trivia and would kick butt on a game show but unless my date is going to give me a pop quiz that thread of conversation is going to end rather quickly.

I also hate dating because it is so nerve-racking. What to wear? How to do my hair? How much cleavage to show? And then there is the food thing. Can’t order linguine. Slurping pasta on a date is strictly not allow. Don’t order anything with garlic or onions. Sandwiches aren’t good because they have the potential to fall apart. (I know this for a fact because a pickle fell down my shirt on one horrifying occasion.)

Despite all my crazy neurotic worrying I usually manage to pull myself together and be a pretty good date. I show up on time, with a smile, looking great and I never order the most expensive thing on the menu. I’m sure men go through their own panicky process before going on a date but I wonder if it is at all the same for them as it is for us. I wonder if they use the same markers to determine whether a date was a good one.

I’ll give you an example from my own life. Last year I went on a blind date with a guy who asked me to meet him at the “entertainment district” in a nearby town. No problem. I was familiar with the place. But as I’m pulling in he calls me and tells me to park in the garage behind Barnes and Noble because that garage is free. No problem, except there are at least four different roads that lead into the center and depending on which way you take the either garage could be considered behind.

I get another call 5 minutes later. “Where are you?”

“On the first floor of the garage in the second spot.”

He sighs. “Just meet me in front of BN.”

I walk up to the store with a big smile on my face ready to charm the man I will be spending the next few hours with and do you know the first thing he says to me? Nope it’s not hello, or how are you, or that you are the most beautiful woman in the world, but you don’t follow directions.

Oh no he didn’t!

Now if he would have said this with a smile I might have laughed it off. But he didn’t smile and a IMHO I think a nice guy would have said something to the effect of, “I’m sorry, I should have been more clear.” Or “I should have given you the name of the garage.”

But he didn’t say that and I being me(who loves to be right) said,”Look at where we are standing. From this angle which way would you say is behind Barnes and Noble?”

He shut up and I was the tiniest bit annoyed. Later on in the date as we sat down for dinner he asked me how I take constructive criticism. I immediately get my back up. “What do you mean how do I take constructive criticism?”

“Like if I told you some thing you could improve on, things you might want to work on, how would you take that?”

“What do you mean things I could improve on? What do I need to improve on? Are you going to fill out a comment card at the end of our evening?”

He raised his hands in defense and laughed, “Well now I’m not going to say anything. You’ll probably bite my head off.”

Jackass. I tried to push away my extreme irritation and finish the night so I could get the hell out of there. Of course the neurotic nut job in me was wracking my brain thinking what it was I could improve on. All we did was go to a movie. There wasn’t even much of a chance to talk. I know I didn’t say anything offensive.

Of course the date doesn’t end quickly. He decides to order dessert and coffee! After we talk about him for another twenty minutes I get the grilling of my life. What political party do you affiliate yourself with? How’s your credit? How many kids do you want? Where do you see yourself living in the next ten years? What’s your attitude towards alcohol?

SERIOUSLY? I felt like I was on a job interview. Finally the date ends. He walks me back to my car and I high tail it out of there. An hour later I get a text message.

“So did you feel the chemistry?”

Not sure how I could politely say hell no I instead typed. “Did you?”

He responds, “Yes, I can definitely see a future with you.”

Oh boy. Apparently he saw that date in a totally different light.  Yes, I did go out with him again. I thought maybe I was being a bit harsh and wanted to give him another shot. But when he said this, “What did you tell your friends about me? Did you tell them I was intelligent and successful and have a great smile,” in a needy, please validate me sort of way, told me three times how much money he made and took me outside just so he could show off his brand new BMW, I knew we were not meant to be.

I probably should immortalize him in one of my books. He might the reason I switched to writing romantic comedies soon after we met. Now I can see the funny side of falling in love.

And just for the record neither parking garages were free and the one I parked in was closer. So I was right all along. Vindication!

Your turn! Ever had a bad date? Ever meet a person that just rubbed you the wrong way? Been on a date lately?  Like dating. Hate dating? Can you top my story? (I’ve got others.) Any and all comments are welcome. 

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10 thoughts on “How to Suck at Dating”

  1. I wonder if he’d recognize himself in any description. I bet he wouldn’t — he doesn’t me as the self-aware type.
    I’ve been going out on dates with the same guy for over 27 years–the worst I can claim is too much familiarity with his jokes. Oy, some of those jokes. . .

  2. Hubby and I have been together for 15 years…we currently try to get one date night in a month…no kids, just us. We seem to hit it about 50% of the time…And somehow we always seem to go to a movie…Snow White & the Huntsman anyone? Probably our next date, but I don’t know when we’ll fit it in this month…looking busy. We did go on a nice long date last August – to the casino. We talked about the kids & our day to day lives for the first couple of hours, but then over dinner, we found that we were talking about longer term stuff…like what we wanted out of life. Stuff like that. It took a while to get the other conversation out of the way…I think we need another longer date…hmmm.

  3. Dating is the closest thing to hell I can think of, Jamie. I feel your pain and am happily out of that scene, never to return. The best I can say is to be yourself, try to have fun, and know that when Mr. Right is on the other side of that table, you’re going to KNOW it. In the meantime, you’ll have plenty of fodder for those romantic comedies.

  4. Jamie,
    They don’t say “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the prince” for nothing! That guy was an ass. Glad you dumped him. He was so in love with himself, there would never be room in his heart for another. I would say, stop looking for Prince Charming. They usually show up when you’re not looking. In the meantime, keep writing.

  5. Jamie, I would have walked at the beginning, right there at Barnes and Noble. He, your impossible date, is narcissistic. But it does take some experience to know when to walk. What are your reactions to the date, like your gut feelings, your heart palpitations, your sweaty palms. With each one, you gain experience. It isn’t easy, but when you meet the right one, you will know. Just have fun. Even if the date turns out to be yuck. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Dating sucks. I have not done it for a very long time, TG, but I have watched my divorced sister go through this hell again. She lives in a very small town with virtually no prospects for datable guys within at least 50 miles, and I think she has pretty much quit looking after an ugly breakup with her last bo-friend (possibly the last datable guy around). You, my darling Jamie, have the advantage of youth, extreme hotness, gorgeous smile, fabulous personality, and a pool of frogs swimming laps around you begging for you to toss them a fly. Until the prince emerges, enjoy your singletonness, and use the frogs as inspiration for your writing 🙂

  7. I’m sitting here with my jaw on the tabletop. What a CREEP! I hope your handsome prince is at the door very soon.

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