I also met “Paul” through the website. He responded to my request for feedback in my post to be or not to be. He gave some of the best advice I received:

“…yes, you MUST be honest about everything. It is the foundation of your relationship. Honesty is strong and any relationship built on it will never collapse. So, tell the truth and if the guy can’t handle it, then he is not strong enough for you and your endeavors.”

I think that was some pretty good advice so of course, I wanted to meet this guy. After some exchanged texts, we decided to get dinner.

We planned to meet at a nice healthy macrobiotic restaurant in NYC called Souen. I was a little nervous about this one because I wasn’t meeting him at one of my local hangouts where I was comfortable. There would be no nice bartender to help out in case “Paul” turned out to be a little strange. I went into the date with a lot of nervous energy, assuming the worst, and because of that, a bad outcome is what I found.

Maybe “bad” is too harsh a word. But “good” isn’t the right word either. Let me explain.

In the beginning, we exchanged a couple of emails before “Paul” gave me his phone number and I sent him a text to give him mine. After this, he would send me a text each morning asking about my day and we’d chat a little bit and he’d always ask to talk rather than text. To quote him: “I find text messaging rather impersonal.” Isn’t “impersonal” what you do at the beginning when you’re getting to know someone? Meeting someone new, whether you’re hoping to become friends or partners, is a bit like an interview and it is very impersonal. I could be wrong but the everday texts and pushing to talk came off as too much too soon.

Now the date. When I first got to the restaurant, I saw “Paul” standing with a single rose, a nice gesture but again, it felt like a little too much for our first meeting. Giving a girl a rose to me implies an expectation of something which I was not ready to meet on the first date, whatever that expectation was. Then, after he gave me the rose, he hugged me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude and I don’t have anything against hugging. But I do have something against hugging strangers, especially those who’ve just given me a rose with some expectation potentially associated with it. Its just a thing.

Things didn’t get much better once we sat down to dinner. We talked about the menu for a little bit and once we ordered, we talked about…I can’t remember. It was that stimulating of a conversation. And if you think that came off a little harsh, remember that a conversation takes two people so I’m just as much commenting on my own ability to converse as his. Again, I think this goes back to getting off to a bad start. I had basically made up my mind at the outset that things were not going to go well and so they didn’t.

The good part is that I actually learned a lot from this date:

From now on, I’m going to keep first dates to drinks or some sort of activity and see what develops from there. Dinner is probably too big a commitment for a first meeting.
I need to be comfortable with a person before meeting up with them. This means more texts, emails, and/or phone conversations before an in-person meeting. If I’m not comfortable, no going out.

Last but certainly not least, I recognize that my impression of the texting, the rose and the hug clouded my thinking. In that moment, I was very judgmental and that really hurt my chances of being able to connect with “Paul” in a meaningful way. If I’m going to find a partner on this journey, I need to be able to put the judgments aside.

The date with “Paul” wasn’t great but it could have been a lot worse. I’m sure there are plenty of women who would have been very happy with a rose, a hug, and a free dinner (yes, he paid). I’m just not one of them. As we were parting, he hugged me again and said, “if you want to go out again, just let me know.” I think I’ll pass. “Paul” was a nice guy and he probably had good intentions but based on my intuition, I don’t think we would be a good fit.

Thanks for dinner “Paul” and I hope you enjoyed your introduction to macrobiotic food!

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I am a 30-something from Hoboken trying to find a guy and writing semi-funny stories along the journey.

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  1. I agree that dinner can be too much for a first date, though the expectation for dinner seems to have been stamped onto societal expectations. I do like brunch as a first date, though.

    Active dates can be a great way to break the ice, and those often extend to sitting down for a meal.

    Your point about wanting to get comfortable prior to the date got me wondering about the appropriate length of time for getting to know someone before agreeing to meet.

    Usually, for meeting people online, traded messages evolve to phone calls before meeting in person. Over the last few months, however, I’ve run into a couple of situations where the woman seemingly wanted to have really long periods of online exchanges without progressing further. I suspected one of them was “Married but Bored” but checked the “Single” box on her profile page.

    I usually give it a week, maybe 2 of online messaging before moving on. I don’t see how you could know if you have a spark — that potential for a real connection with someone — without meeting in person.

    I’m curious how women view this. How long is long enough to trade messages online before deciding to move ahead — either to phone / in-person exchanges or by moving ahead to the next online opportunity.

  2. This was such a great piece. I’ve been on both sides of this chemistry conundrum. Honestly there have been dates that I should have not gone because chemistry via text just wasn’t where it should have been. What the hell?

    But dinner is overmuch for most first dates. I actually like the idea of doing an activity and getting your sweat on with a hike or run, but I’ve found women are too self conscious for any of that. Just haven’t met the right one.

  3. On another note, is it weird that I’m secretly hoping for “Paul” to write a comment here?

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