As a single young professional living in the city, I've gone on my fair share of first dates. Most of them turn out well, but not every date is successful.
Last month, I met up on a Thursday night with a 30-something year old finance guy named Jeff* who I met on the online dating site OKCupid. It was our second date and we had reservations at a trendy restaurant in San Francisco. I wore a sweater dress with a vibrant green scarf and crystal cocktail ring -- casual yet polished. I was feeling feminine and pretty in my new outfit, and the restaurant was bustling with energy by the time we arrived at 8:30 p.m.
To be honest, my first date with Jeff wasn't magical. He was scragglier in person than he was online, but also humble and easy-going despite having a successful career, so I decided to give him another chance. Of course, something had to happen to make me regret this decision.
It was toward the end of dinner and the waitress had just cleared the table. We were waiting for dessert when Jeff pulled his chair from across the table to sit right next to me because he wanted to "people watch" on my side, which was facing the room. I immediately got nervous and hoped that he wasn't thinking of doing what I thought he wanted to do. I started sipping water nonstop, hoping my right arm would cause space between us.
And then the worst thing happened: as I turned around to make small talk, he pulled my face toward him and kissed me. Open-mouthed. Against my closed-mouth.
He eventually let go, and I sat there, stunned. I felt surprised, anxious, confused -- then angry and violated. We had been sitting silently for a few minutes when he said, "You seem nervous."
Normally I would have put on a smile to be a pleasant date. But I had been reading about being more aware of my feelings, and expressing them in a controlled way. So I mustered up courage, turned to him, and said, "You know, I do feel uncomfortable. I'm more traditional when it comes to dating and I feel like we're moving really fast." Jeff looked surprised for a minute, then apologized and moved back to his original seat across the table. The conversation thankfully resumed and things went back to normal.
At the end of the night, Jeff drove me home and parked in front of my apartment. "Well thank you so much, I had a great time," I said, and leaned in to give him a hug. But what happened next was completely unexpected. He leaned forward too... and kissed me again. Open-mouthed. Against my closed-mouth.
I pulled back abruptly, completely in shock. What part of I-feel-uncomfortable-moving-so-fast did he not understand? I quickly got out of the car, grabbed the lilies that he had brought for me earlier in the night, and muttered goodbye.
I knew there was no way I was going to see him again because clearly we misunderstood each other. As I rushed into my apartment to wash my lips, I made a resolution: I'm going to be completely honest about my feelings, and I'm not going to stand for being put in a position where I feel uncomfortable. Jeff called later that week but I missed his call. And if I had picked up in time, I would have told him exactly how I felt.