Don’t Get Bamboozled By a Bad Dater

Name: David
State: NJ
Age: 40
Comment: Looking for an honest perspective, so even though I feel like I handled this well, I figured I’d pose the question.

I’ve been using eHarmony.  So far, not bad.  But eHarmony has this “guided communication process” that some people think is cumbersome, so when I tried to begin it with one woman, she e-mailed me back looking to skip the process.  Not just the process, but the whole e-mail thing.  She e-mailed me her phone number, right off the bat, and asked me to call.  So I did, and we had a nice convo.  We made plans to meet up after work yesterday in midtown Manhattan (she’s in Kew Gardens, Queens, I’m in NJ).

We said we’d firm up the meeting spot on the day of. We had already decided to meet near a particular stop on the subway she would normally take home.  So I found a cafe close to where we’d meet.  I figured we’d meet there, chill, and then, if we wanted, find someplace to eat and continue the date if we wanted.  Her reply was that, because of how cold it was, we should just meet at a restaurant right off the bat.  So I suggested a restaurant down the street from the cafe (I’d already found one).  She said that, since neither of us knew that spot, we should go to this one restaurant in the area that she had been to once and enjoyed.  She said she would find the name of it and text me.

At this point, I’m becoming skeptical of her, for reasons I’ll explain below.  An hour or so later, she texted that she had made reservations at this one restaurant.  I was driving at the time.  later, I googled the place, and I found that it was a nice, but pretty high priced restaurant.  The cheapest entree was $25, and most were over $30.  So she took us from a casual, low key cafe to an expensive restaurant.

While I was back on the road (between work-related meetings), I thought about it and decided that I really didn’t want to spend what would end up at about $110, after tip and drinks, on a pre-first-date meeting with a woman whom I really knew very little about.  And I took the further step of deciding that she probably was seeking the higher $$$ option on purpose.  So about two hours after her text, I texted her back, saying that something came up at work, and that I’d never make it nearly on time.  She did not text back.

I always assume I’m paying for dates, and I pretty much always do.  I’m not rich, but I’m not cheap when it comes to that.  However, I am quite firm in my approach to the first meeting with someone I met online.  A cafe, or a Barnes & Noble, or something like that; no expensive, sit down dinners at classy restaurants.  Especially in this case: eHarmony’s profiles are not detailed enough, so skipping the whole guided process meant knowing almost nothing about her.  We had one phone conversation that lasted maybe an hour.  Plus, for what it’s worth, her pictures are both face-only.  And we’re geographically inconvenient to one another.  Not a deal breaker for me, but a factor under the circumstances.

Having started out suggesting something low key and informal, my intuition was that she wanted to gauge my worthiness to date based on how willing I would be to shell out.  But in this circumstance, I think that’s unreasonable, and, in any event, reflective of a value system in conflict with mine.  Or, maybe I misread the whole thing and sabotaged myself out of a chance with my future one-and-only.  Thoughts?

 

I think you did the right thing. Even if she wasn’t angling for a free meal or sniff testing you, she was displaying horrible dating manners.

I know a lot of people will immediately accuse this woman of just looking for a free meal. That could totally be the case. However, people often assume that there was an intent to use or mislead when, more likely, the person is just a clueless Bad Dater. Sadly, many people don’t understand basic first date protocol or know what is and isn’t appropriate. Those are things you learn the more you date. But if this woman is exhibiting this kind of behavior frequently, she’s barely getting any first dates, let alone second or third.

You said that she circumvented the system and quickly wished to move to a phone call rather than exchange emails and she only had a couple of head shots on her profile. While I don’t know if it’s a bad idea to skip the emails, it’s certainly not  a good sign that she only had two headshots. This woman was in a rush. Not only that, but she wanted to call the shots. Two more bad signs. She wasn’t considering you. Probably because she has been alone for so long that she doesn’t know how to do that. Which is why she’s been alone for so long. See? It’s a vicious cycle.

Then she overrode your choice of meeting spots and chose a restaurant. That’s another bad sign, and also a hint at her possible lack of dating experience. You just don’t do that. You try to make the first meeting as simple as possible. No last minute changes or road blocks, as you then start off with strikes against you and now have to work harder to compensate. You also don’t choose an expensive restaurant for a first meeting. You don’t choose a restaurant, period. Again, anybody who’s dated enough knows that the only people who choose restaurants for a first meeting are either trying too hard, looking for a benefactor or rarely go on dates.

My guess is she assumed that since you two yapped on the phone for an hour, you were now friends and she could therefore be a little more fussy. Side note: What the hell do you have to say on the phone to a total stranger that could take an hour? This might seem odd, but I’d consider that another red flag.  It’s just not normal and it’s overly familiar.

I don’t think this is a simple case of a woman looking for  a free meal. I actually think that this woman probably doesn’t date much and therefore has no idea how to behave appropriately. If I were to spitball, I’d say that this woman has had so many false starts that she’s trying to jump a few steps before she gets ditched.

How do you tell the difference between someone with bad intentions and a bad dater? That really doesn’t matter, as you don’t want to date either of those people. The bad dater will be like a puppy that needs to be trained. The person with bad intentions will seem too perfect. Either way, they’ll end up being too much work.

 

ALSO: Disagreements and debates are acceptable here. Just please refrain from hostility and personal attacks towards other posters. If I see it, I’ll moderate your future comments. And if it continues, I’ll simply never approve any of your future comments.  If your only argument is to call someone  insecure or a bitch or whatever, then you don’t have an actual argument. You just have  a grudge. Also, please try not to monopolize threads by repeating yourself or using conjecture. That is another case where I’ll moderate your comments and wait a few hours until I approve them just to avoid having the threads become difficult to read/navigate. Please stick to the topic. If you don’t know the definition of something, look it up. Don’t ask others to explain something to you. Finally, please don’t use up comment space to say some variation of “I agree.” Just vote them a thumbs up.

Thanks.

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43 Responses to “Don’t Get Bamboozled By a Bad Dater”

  1. Lalalatte Says:

    The OP did the right thing pulling the plug on the date. He agreed to meet in the neighborhood convienient to her subway station stop and he took time to do homework on the cafes/eateries in that neighborhood which shows he was considerate and willing to make meeting up easier for her. She either failed to see that or wanted to test his interest as related to his potential cash outlay. I agree with Moxie’s assessment that her eagerness to skip the emails and jump straight to phone calls, coupled with her changing the meeting place at the 9th hour, are signs that the OP’s date doesn’t have a lot of dating experience or on-line dating savvy.

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    • Dan Says:

      Totally agree. I had variations of these things happen to me, and most of them ended up with someone that was very awkward. Two examples:

      1) In one of my first online experiences years ago: face pic only, phone call, and then a meeting at coffee shop. She wouldn’t tell me how to identify her, only that we will recognize each other. I show up, and she is almost 300 pounds. Standing around with nothing to do and I being at a loss of words, she suggests going for dinner. We go to a nearby place, whereupon she proceeds to order the largest items on the menu. Every man has to experience something like this once to know how to react next time. Ahhh – the joys of my naive youth!

      2) Something didn’t sound right in our email exchanges: too much mention of work, some clingy indicators, and just generally awkward social protocol from her part. She shows up dressed in an old cocktail dress for what was supposed to be a casual first meeting. She shakes my hand when we first meet. [Aside: I have noticed that women who shake my hand in first meetings are all very awkward.] Then she pointed to an expensive wine bar. Being a good sport, I went with it, but she was nervous and boring. The date was a dud, and she finished by shaking my hand again!

      David, good thing you bailed on this, so you don’t have to finish the story like the above examples.

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  2. allanonmage Says:

    Wow, totally didn’t know that restaurants were a bad first date choice. I wonder if that’s regional. Round here, the cafe’s and such are as expensive as a cheap meal!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    • jaclyn Says:

      First dates in restaurants used to be quite common even in NYC. As online dating became more common, and men were going on more dates and paying for lots of dinners that didn’t lead to relationships, it became much more common in NYC for men to suggest meeting up for a drink, or another less expensive activity than dinner. Dinner is also a long time for some people to spend with a stranger (I was weird and liked meeting new people – even if I knew in the first 5 minutes a guy wasn’t right for me I enjoyed spending an hour or two at dinner learning about their life). But most daters want to be able to move on more quickly than that, and a drink offers you a quicker exit strategy if needed.

      I would also agree that the OP did the right thing here. People are generally on their best behavior in the beginning of a relationship; if she is this difficult to please to set up a first date with, then she will be very high maintenance in a relationship.

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “the cafe’s and such are as expensive as a cheap meal!” From what I’ve gathered here, a “dinner” date in NYC is a much more expensive proposition than it is elsewhere, both because of women’s higher expectations (inexpensive chain restaurants just won’t do) and the cost of living being higher in general. Elsewhere, nobody but a gold-digger expects a $150+ dinner on the first date. (What that says about NYC women, I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader.)

      “totally didn’t know that restaurants were a bad first date choice.” Elsewhere, they’re not bad per se because the risk is much smaller, but enough men have been burned by misleading online dating profiles and serial daters that a pre-date is not unreasonable–which can be easily upgraded to dinner, as women we had already met in person would get straight away, if desired.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. offensivedan Says:

    I would never go out to diner the first time meeting an online date. I did it with the first date I ever got and she turned out to be a bad dater just like Moxie wrote above. Not suprisingly, she ate a lot. She had a few screws loose, too. Recently, I was going to go out on another online date and she wanted to go to a restaurant. I never called her back. Then, I find out she “jokingly referred to herself as not having a b/f b/c she was too expensive.

    Whether it is a dinner whore or a bad dater it’s not worth it. OP let this be a lesson and you passe dwith flying colors. The most you should do is go out for drinks and, even then, watch how much you spend.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  4. Dan Says:

    I have seen Moxie make use of the phrase “too much work” about three times now in various posts.

    The first time, I thought okay, that’s an insight I never had before. Maybe I should be more discriminating in how I view other daters and the hoops they are making me go through.

    But now, I see this excuse being used more often. I think it is possible that daters get to the point where a lot of things are “too much work” that we end up not doing enough and hoping that everything just falls into our laps.

    This is not meant to be a criticism, of the use of that phrase, but I do see a lot of daters that don’t make the effort on their end too. And when that happens, I don’t bother either.

    On the other hand, I have had experiences where the extra effort was well worth it, because no one else made the effort.

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    • Angeline Says:

      Too much work: Constantly feeling like you’re not meeting some invisible standard; like every other word is some kind of landmine; like you have to jump hurdles requiring money to be allowed the ‘privilege’ of dating them; feeling like your purpose is to be an audience rather than a date; feeling exhausted rather than up after being with them. They suck the life out of the room with entitlement, complaining, attitude. I hear it ascribed to women way more often than to men, but I’ve met a male princess or two.

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      • NoOneYouKnow Says:

        Well, but I get the impression Moxie’s using it speculatively. Moxie’s got a much better eye than mine for red flags, but I think there’s something to be said for giving someone who might be a good one the benefit of the doubt. Overpickiness is a path to loneliness.

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        • Howard Says:

          Yes there is the historical list of red flags, but lately the lists of red flags have gotten way too extensive. I really wish we would all start owning the fact that many items on our list of red flags are mostly our peculiarities and for the most part a reflection of our materialism rather than anything to do with the other person.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      I don’t like “the chase”, nor do I think most other men do, but I (we) have learned to accept it as a necessary part of dating. However, many times I get the sense the woman doesn’t want me to catch her, that nothing I do will be good enough. And that? Means she’s “too much work”. It’s not about laziness; it’s about spending my time and money wisely instead of just pissing them away.

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      • Dan Says:

        Crotch, I know what you mean. Every now and then, I see a woman’s online profile with an opening line that goes “catch me if you can.”

        I don’t think that is “too much work.” I’m willing to do the work if it will lead somewhere, but guys won’t get anywhere with women with a “catch me if you can” attitude.

        What that opening line suggests is entitlement or that the poster’s ego has been over-inflated. Someone like that will never settle. I have never responded to those “catch me if you can” profiles, but it wasn’t actually because of the opening line itself. Lots of additional things in the profile raised more flags, like their pictures, the tone of their profile, the list of what they are expecting from the guy, etc.

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  5. fuzzilla Says:

    I totally get why you’d want to make a first meeting simple – cost adds up when you’re dating around, you don’t know how invested you want to get in the person, etc.

    However, I admit I feel a little insulted when someone suggests meeting for coffee; I feel it communicates “I don’t see much potential with you.” It’s kinda like dating multiple people – you both know you’re both doing it, but it would be impolite to be obvious about it. I prefer drinks as a lower-stakes alternative to dinner. I’m a sensible drinker, but I’d prefer to not be stone cold sober on a date. Plus it’s just a sexier environment; meeting at Starbuck’s under fluorescent lights would feel like a business meeting.

    Obviously mileage may vary (some people don’t drink, etc.). If you’re doing a coffee date, at least dress it up with “oh, this cute little coffee shop has the best desserts/was written up in the paper” or something. Yeah, I accept that my options have lots of options and I don’t need a sugar daddy/am willing to split the bill, but…I want at least a pretense that I’m special and worth fussing over and someone you’re excited to meet, okay?

    Also – yeah, agree with the advice given to OP. Although I don’t see why an hour long phone conversation is necessarily weird. I’d take that as a good sign. The OP didn’t mention feeling awkward or talked out or itching to get off the phone.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 8

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Tl;dr summary (or the point I didn’t quite get to): I get it, I understand, I don’t expect a dude I barely know to spend tons of money on me. BUT…do show enthusiasm and don’t be obvious about being cheap and cutting corners (which, I guess…is how I perceive a coffee date, right or wrong. Maybe that’s just me, though. Maybe other women think coffee = civilized and bar = just wants to get me drunk).

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      • uesider Says:

        It’s just you. It’s not a matter as not seeing YOU as much potential. It’s the reality of meeting lots of people and realizing that very few of them will pan out for more than one or two meetings. How can the man see you as “potential” if he doesn’t know you? And vice versa of course.

        Also, no offense but you (and many other women) need to let go of this idea that the more money we spend on you equals more interest. It makes women seem very cheap, very frankly. This fellow took the time (as I do) to find a classy spot to meet, one convenient to her transportation. It should be of no concern to her how much money it costs or whether it’s dinner or drinks.

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        • nathan Says:

          Fuzzilla, I think one of the problems what what you’re saying is that more often than not these days, we’re strangers meeting for the first time. A couple e-mail messages and a phone don’t really mean anything.

          When I go on first dates, I do my best to be respectful, share the conversation, and be genuinely interested in learning about her, even if I don’t feel like I want to see her again. Being respectful includes choosing a meeting place that’s easy enough for her to get to, and also somewhere where she comfortable with. (Which I think the OP tried to do above.)

          However, this whole expecting men to pony up to show you’re special thing is ridiculous.Until we get to know each other better, we’re just strangers together in the dating scene. Which means that the word “special” is meaningless.

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          • fuzzilla Says:

            Splitting the bill at a dive bar is totally fine with me. Free events are fine. It’s not that money spent = he’s interested/I’m special (which I thought I took pains to spell out). Just something about meeting at a coffee shop feels so generic and “you’re just a number” to me. (No, coffee shops don’t usually have cocktails out here, just standard stuff you’d find at a Starbuck’s). Usually when I take a guy’s coffee suggestion as a lack of interest I tend to be right. And…OK, yeah, I just plain want booze if I have to chat up a stranger. It just makes it easier.

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            • Crotch Rocket Says:

              “meeting at a coffee shop feels so generic and ‘you’re just a number’ to me.” For a first meeting? You are just numbers to each other. He doesn’t know if you’re a special and unique snowflake yet–or if you’re even remotely close to who you claimed to be in your profile. Finding that out is why you’re meeting up in the first place!

              “I just plain want booze if I have to chat up a stranger.” First of all, needing booze to deal with life is a sign you probably shouldn’t be drinking. Second, what if the other person doesn’t drink–or prefers to remain sober, eg. because they’re driving?

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

              • fuzzilla Says:

                If you deem someone’s worth meeting they should be at least somewhat intriguing to you and worth making an effort for.

                >First of all, needing booze to deal with life is a sign you probably shouldn’t be drinking.<

                Ha! I wondered when someone was gonna start bangin' that drum. Personal preference does not equal problem/something I can't live without.

                Anyway, yeah, maybe I should get over my bugaboo about coffee shops. As I explained below, I think it was really that Coffee Shop Dude from last month pulled a bait and switch on me (the thing that made everyone tell the OP his date was bad news/too much work). We initially agreed on dinner and then at the last minute he suggested "how about coffee insted?" Upon reflection, I think it was really the last minute downgrade that turned me off.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

                • Crotch Rocket Says:

                  “I think it was really the last minute downgrade that turned me off.” That’s reasonable. If he suggested a coffee shop first, though, that also seems reasonable–and there’s nothing wrong with hoping he upgrade the date after he met you, which is what your guy should have planned in the first place.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

                  • fuzzilla Says:

                    I think the plan-changing was where he “showed his hand” that he wasn’t that interested (I think when I said “feel special” I just meant – at least don’t insult me through obvious signs of disinterest before even meeting. Anyway, we had a so-so date, I moved on and partially forgot about it, I met someone else, etc.).

                    Hmm. It’s good that I wasn’t dwelling/partially forgot, but bad if I filed the experience away as “ugh! Last time someone suggested coffee he was totally self-absorbed and tuned out and I had a terrible time. Therefore, coffee dates are always lame!”

                    I know another guy prior to him said “let’s meet at XYZ coffee shop and see where the night takes us” and I didn’t have a problem with that at all, we had a great date (yes, we did move onto other locations).

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

          • DrivingMeNutes Says:

            I don’t think it’s about men ponying up to show SHE’s special. It’s about BOTH parties showing they have a genuine interest in meeting and having an enjoyable date and not wasting each other’s time. To me, this is accomplished by investing (ie shelling out for a few drinks in a casual but nice setting) and by requiring my date to get dressed, leave her apartment, show up, drink and talk to me for an evening – not just a quick coffee. I think it benefits the man as much as the woman to make this investment. At a minimum. I will have a few drinks and a nice time.

            When I get an inkling that a woman is not fully invested in the date – either because she’s flaky, or double books, or insists on speaking on the phone first, the date is cancelled unceremoniously by me just like the OP. I’m willing to make the effort and she has to do the same.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

            • nathan Says:

              I understand your approach DMN. It’s reasonable. I just don’t treat dating as an “investment.” That language is just too “business-like” for my taste. There are plenty of ways to show genuine interest. I don’t think it matter that much if someone dresses up or not. Or whether we get coffee or a drink. It’s all about spending some time together. The way I see it, as long as a date puts in the effort to show up, listen, ask questions, share something about his/her’s life – that should be enough. And as far as location goes, it’s more important in my opinion that whatever place we go to, we can talk to each other easily. A neighborhood bar or low key coffee shop might not be sexy, but odds are we’ll have a better chance of actually having a conversation with each other.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

              • DrivingMeNutes Says:

                The irony is that when you date for fun, and put in effort so that you actually have fun, you get taken more seriously, which leads to more substantive relationships. Investment is not about business, it’s about caring about the impression you make on a first date.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      • Manfred Says:

        Sounds like a pretty reasonable middle way to me. Blatant gold-diggers (haven’t heard the term “dinner whore” before but I guess that’s a sub-species) are a turn off, but I’m sure that cheap dudes are a turn off to most women. If I’m interested enough in a woman to ask her out I’m taking her out to a nice place for a couple of drinks so we can get to know each other. Heck if it goes well enough maybe the date can even morph into dinner at a fancy restaurant. if not, it’s probably not been too terrible a time and you’re only out the price of a few cocktails. I agree that a coffee shop is pretty unsexy unless maybe you’re in college (nothing wrong with that!) YMMV

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

    • LaLa Says:

      I was the same way when dating. I did not want a coffee date as a first date. Cocktails are always better. Coffee just seems boring and stuffy and cheap to me. I know a lot of people do it, but it’s not for me. I don’t need to go somewhere that has expensive cocktails, a small neighborhood bar will do just fine ;)

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    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      However, I admit I feel a little insulted when someone suggests meeting for coffee; I feel it communicates “I don’t see much potential with you.”

      A cafe, at least around here, *is* a place where people can get cocktails. As for what you read in to it, as the OP states, that was just an initial meeting place. If he felt there was a mutual interest he was going to suggest going to another place.

      While I wouldn’t meet someone at a Starbucks because it’s just too loud, hard to find a seat and impersonal, I’ve gone to small coffee houses with outdoor seating and it’s been nice.

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    • TheOP Says:

      I appreciate Moxie’s reply to me — on point as usual. But I admit, I was a little surprised at her comment about the hour long convo also. But the convo was actually pretty cool. I didn’t have a problem. It was a pretty enjoyable conversation. I was looking forward to meeting her before this fiasco happened.

      OMG! I just checked my cell phone and found that the phone call lasted a whopping 81 minutes. Clearly, we enjoyed each other’s conversation. That’s probably why a small part of me wondered if I made a mistake in canceling with her. But only a very small part…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    “I prefer drinks as a lower-stakes alternative to dinner. I’m a sensible drinker, but I’d prefer to not be stone cold sober on a date. Plus it’s just a sexier environment; meeting at Starbuck’s under fluorescent lights would feel like a business meeting.”

    I agree completely. For almost identical reasons, I don’t ever talk on the phone, even for five minutes. The setting and the effort are important.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  7. Mark Says:

    It sounds like you did the right thing. Not only that, but you did it in the right way and the right time. Your reasoning and intuition seem well adjusted.

    It’s one thing to be gracious and generous, unfortunately there are a few out there who see that trait as something to take advantage of for their own pecuniary gain with little to offer in return.

    Hopefully, this was an isolated incident.

    Best of luck in the future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  8. Sarah Says:

    Why not just say something like, “A sit-down meal seems too formal for a first date,” and see how she responds?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  9. kemji Says:

    Moxie stated what i consider a big problem in dating in the US- “..but she wanted to call the shots”.i live in boston and i feel this is a huge dating issue.not.that women cant call the shots,but when u look at whose doing it,how.they are doing it,and how a man should react to it,i can easily see why this got complex.i think this guy handled everything quite efficiently.

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    • nathan Says:

      I have to say that I have experienced a lot of mixed messages around “calling the shots” and/or taking the lead on dating.Like otherwise quite assertive women suddenly stepping completely back and expecting me to make every move, phone call, and plan every last thing. And on the flip side, women who have specifically expressed interest in me, but then act ambivalent to an increase in attention from me. Obviously, a lot of this has to do with individual differences, but I can’t help but think that the muddy evolving away from fixed gender roles we’re experiencing is playing a role in all of this.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  10. joe-f Says:

    I think the lying about work may not be the best approach. Just call her. Since you spoke to her for an hour, there is a connection, so what is another 10 minutes. Explain how you prefer a more casual setting for a first date instead of a fancy restaurant. If she likes you for you, then she wouldn’t mind. Texting rather than telling her something came up at work at the last minute makes you seem flaky and that isn’t who you are.

    With that said, I would probably let this one go. She gave you her number and told you to call. When you suggested a place, she changed the location (because it is cold? It is winter, it is suppose to be cold) and offered to send you the address. It looks like she is doing the driving not compromising. Maybe it is a male thing but I like to be in charge sometimes. I like woman who can lead and follow depending on the situation. If she needs to be driving all the time, it doesn’t sound like a good relationship to me.

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  11. tina Says:

    I believe that the first time you meet someone in person from an online dating site it is essentially a “chemistry check.” I’ve had coffee which lead to drinks or dinner or a movie or a walk or some combination of the afore-mentioned, and I’ve also sat in a coffee shop with a guy for 45 minutes and politely wrapped it up. I used to prefer a drink over coffee but bars aren’t always comfortable for everyone…such as the recovering alcoholic I am now dating.

    I think David’s instincts were spot on and this woman was way too pushy. She may not be dating-savvy or she may just be a rude person. A little graciousness goes along way when meeting someone new.

    Also, anytime anyone wants to skip over the whole guided communication on eharmony, it gives me pause. It’s just some multiple choice questions, then a check off of must haves/cant stands and then 3 more brief questions. I paid eharmony, I want you to play along!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  12. icara Says:

    I always prefer dinners as a first date, when given the choice. Coffee isn’t usually long enough for me to do a “chemistry check” – and as someone else pointed out, it’s usually too public and/or loud.

    That said, I think she sounds like a control freak. Run. In fact, anytime you’re having your first argument before your first date, that’s probably a bad sign.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  13. mari Says:

    Maybe it is a test but if a potential date and I can’t come up with a reasonable place, time to meet for a first date without drama I take this as a bad sign and bail. If we are essentially arguing before ever meeting or I end up feeling stressed after a brief email exchange it is really not worth it….might be missing out on “the one” but sort of doubt it..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  14. fuzzilla Says:

    The whole debate about “is a coffee date too cheap/but you’re strangers” made me curious how many dates people on this site typically go on. If it’s 4-5 a week, every week, then sure, buying dinner every time is gonna drain you dry, and I’d probably be pushin’ for a low key coffee thing, too, especially if I were a guy.

    I typically try to screen people pretty well and talk to them for at least a week or so before meeting. When I’m active on the dating site I’d say I go on…3-4 dates a month..? Sure, we’re still strangers, but I try to do a “chemistry check” before meeting, as much as that’s possible, asking pointed questions to weed out undesirables, etc. I almost always have a pleasant time if not a love connection.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

    • Howard Says:

      I can smell a bait and switch a mile away. It’s just a new NYC thing. And guess what, this woman is really not the minority like we want to imagine. Privilege does that to people. People like to demand more than they should and when they don’t get it, then the next person has to be made out to be bad. and we see this with both genders. With men, it’s typically about a woman putting out, and with women it’s typically pampering at the guy’s expense.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

      • fuzzilla Says:

        What’s up with the four dislikes? I just asked a question to try to understand other people’s points of view better (OK, I guess I implied that maybe if people screened better before meeting they wouldn’t feel so resentful and quibbling about the details of the date).

        Speaking of “bait and switch”…I’d forgotten but just now remembered that with the guy who suggested the coffee date a month ago or so, our original plan was dinner, and then HE bait and switched and suggested “downgrading” the evening to coffee (he said “I can’t eat, I’m so nervous about my job interview Monday.” I said “well, I’ll want something to drink” and we wound up getting a reasonably priced dinner anyway).

        So maybe the bait and switch was really what bothered me/made me think he wasn’t interested more than the setting (Moxie had a good point that it’s just an initial meeting place and you can always head somewhere else if things are going well).

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  15. Chester Says:

    Well, I gained a lot of insight from above: Who calls the shots. The key here is that a women is calling the shots with the guys money. Quality women are keenly aware of this and very repectful of the man regarding this. I’ve gotten fooled by this a few times… accomodating to a woman calling the shots. Men (esp. me) need to realize this. The best analogy would be…if your boss offers to take you out for a drink, you don’t say why don’t we have an expensive dinner instead? I think this underscores how glaring rude and manipulative this is.

    The second point I learned is from this, you can still be firm in your offer rather than cancel. “A dinner is too formal” is good, but you can easily say: “I’d prefer to meet at the cafe” or “the plan is to meet at the cafe, lets not have any last minute changes” then see how she responds. Nobody said you have to follow her suggestion. Just say “No.” If she responds with a cancel, she wasn’t worth it. You maintain integrity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  16. morgan Says:

    Two things–yes, the reader was being played. An associate of mine is a dinner whore, but she is very beautiful and uses different men, but keeps the meals spaced weeks apart so they do not confuse it for a relationship. They may, she doesn’t.

    I’ve done coffee dates, but none progressed to the second date. My husband suggested drinks and appetizers on our first date at a medium price range chain restaurant, which worked out well. I did not call and upgrade to a more expensive place even though there were some available within a block radius, I would have considered such behavior rude. If he accepted such rude behavior, then he would be an absolute doormat. I realize some women do want this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  17. James Says:

    This is why I stopped dating now and for the forseeable future.

    When I ask a woman out for a first date I assume I will be paying. And if I will be paying then we go where I choose. Anyone who attempts to change or “upsell” my choice gets a text saying I can’t make it good luck.
    I NEVER meet anyone for a first date in a restaurant. First dates for me will always be over a drink, coffee or a park, etc. I am not shelling out money for a date that will probably not go anywhere.

    Actually I am much more happy without a woman than with one. I like being able to do what I want when I please. I have had enough of flakey women and their antics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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