Last night I went on my first date in 14 years. It may be another 14 years before I do it again. My best friend set me up with a doctor -- I think I should have started with a paper boy.
On my drive home from the date that night, I replayed in my mind every excruciating moment -- and I had a feeling I'd broken all the dating rules ever written. So when I arrived home, I Googled "dating don'ts." Sure enough, I had unwittingly trashed the top six:
- Do not talk about your ex on a first date. I practically told my ex's life story: his dreadful childhood, his resultant baggage, his brilliant mind, and the fact that, although he is my ex, we're still good friends and I love him. At this point, I'm sure my date was wondering how long it would be before my ex and I were back together ... unless he was too busy looking for the restaurant's emergency exit. Thankfully, I left out the part about my ex having intimacy issues and all that that implies. How I managed to contain this part of the story, I have no idea. I must have actually let my date speak.
- Do not mention sex. Technically, I didn't break this rule, as I believe you're not supposed to
ask for sex on the first date. When I told my date that I was working on an article about
teen trends, he asked me what the research shows. Now, I could have talked about
cyber-bullying or texting and driving, but I had the uncommon good sense to mention the
trend of girls giving boys oral sex as routinely as we used to French kiss. Only I didn't
say "oral sex." I said "blow jobs." Talk about polite dinner conversation! I think this is
grounds for an immediate end to any date, unless you're actually offering said blow job. I
didn't score any points in the lady-like department when I tried back-pedaling, "Don't get
me wrong, I'm all for oral sex."
- Do not bring up marriage. Actually, my date brought this up, asking me what I believe
makes a good marriage. I have always thought Katherine Hepburn's definition of what
works is dead-on: "Married people should live near each other and visit often." My date
was clearly not a Hepburn fan.
- Ladies don't drink beer. Not only did I drink beer, I explained that the restaurant we
were visiting used to carry a fabulous beer that is no longer available due to the fact
that the brewery, which had been owned by a woman, recently shut down and I was
disappointed because it was one of the best-tasting beers I had ever had and if I could,
I would buy that brewery. I said it all in one breath, just like it reads here. At which
point my date said, "Oh, you really know your beers." I don't think he meant it as a
- Do not reveal your shortcomings. Toward the end of the evening, it became
obvious that I am a geographical dimwit. In fact, I can sum up the entire date in a
single word: Okinawa. Turns out, my date was very well-traveled. When I asked
him what his favorite place was, the noise level suddenly rose and he said, "Nawa."
That's all I heard: "Nawa." I asked, "Where?" (If only I had said "what?") And he said,
dryly, "Okinawa. You know, Pearl Harbor?" Which I translated to mean: "You actually
graduated high school?" By now, the notion of excusing myself and climbing out the
ladies' room window was looking like my best bet.
- Do not kiss good night on the first date. Gotcha. You don't think I actually had the
opportunity to break this rule, do you? Instead, I did the awkward shaking hands with
my non-handshaking hand thing. It was like I was possessed by my grandmother.
Needless to say, there was no "I'd like to see you again." It wasn't until I got into my
mini-van (violation of rule #10) that I realized I hadn't taken a breath for the past three hours. Surely the lack of oxygen was responsible for my geeky behavior? If only I had
passed out, the evening would have gone much better.
When I called my folks the next day to give them a brief synopsis, I heard my father yell to
my mother, "Cancel the wedding planner, honey." I then explained that I would not be telling
them about any future dates since I never again wanted to make the day-after-the-date
phone call. For this, my mother has not spoken to me in a week, which is pretty much the
silver lining to this whole ordeal.
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