7 months into a serious relationship, I’ve been having little epiphanies about my single life…perhaps I’ve gained some distance and wisdom on it, rather than reporting from the eye of the Dating Hurricane.
I believe a bad date happens because of at least one of 5 elements:
- BAD INTEL: You go out with someone and you find you missed important info or weren’t given it. For instance, my friend was set up with a guy with a missing arm – and no one thought to give that poor girl a heads up, “Hey, by the way, he’s missing a major appendage. FYI.” That’s a severe example, but it can also be when someone posts unusually flattering pictures of themselves or their pictures are blurry, far away, in dark bars, etc. and you hope for the best (I’m sure she’s hot and she’s just had terrible, terrible luck being photographed)…which brings me to….
- LACK OF DUE DILIGENCE: You didn’t vet this person enough before you agreed to a date. Maybe you didn’t talk to them on the phone and relied on your “text chemistry” or “e-mail banter” or how much you seemed to have in common (on paper). I had one of the worst dates with a girl who seemed perfect for me – quirky, young, into pop culture, but she had blurry / far away / sunglasses on / no smiling photos (see Rule #1 above) and we never talked before meeting. I could have caught her weird, socially awkward personality on the phone and wouldn’t have suffered through a painful, painful dinner I, of course, was on the hook for.
- DIDN’T TRUST YOUR GUT: An acquaintance of mine had a terrible date with a guy who was verbally abusive and mean the entire night. When I asked if she talked on the phone with him, she said she did and there were no red flags. None at all. When I pressed her, she finally admitted he was really sarcastic when they had talked. Perfect example of ignoring a red flag. I talked to dozens of girls who were boring (but nice) and hoped for some kind of personality miracle when we met for coffee and it never happened. People don’t make huge personality shifts between the phone and in-person.
- IGNORED STANDARD DATING PROCEDURES: Evan Marc Katz had a recent blog about the 10 worst dates people had and more than half could have been avoided by sticking to common sense stuff when meeting a stranger (especially a male stranger) – like always meet in a public place. Many of these people were coming over strange guys’ homes on date 1 or worse, inviting them over to their home (“So, if you don’t want to assault me on Date One, here’s where I live so you can do it at your convenience.”). One even robbed some lady in the middle of the night when he asked to sleep on the couch. In his blog, there were a lot of bad situations that wouldn’t have happened in Starbucks on a Saturday.
- BAD SURPRISE: These are cases of just bad luck – wrong place, wrong time — just couldn’t have seen it coming. Like when my validation ticket failed and I couldn’t get out of a mall parking garage and cars were backing up behind me honking and my date shut down (granted, she could have been nicer about it) or when a date took me to a party where the host attacked me with garlic baked squash or when I met a girl at a diner and her devastatingly handsome ex-boyfriend (or ex-or-current lover – I couldn’t tell) happened to be seated next to me at the counter when she walked up and then was rattled to the core for our entire date…while he ate his meal right around the corner from our booth. And then came over to say goodbye. And they kissed on the lips.