About six years ago, my dad set me up with a lawyer who was a few years older than I. We met for drinks at Martini Ranch (311 W. Chicago Ave.); he paid. Since we were having such a good time, I suggested we grab dinner. I drove us to Kamehachi on Wells Street and valet parked my car. We chatted more over sushi and were hitting it off – especially for a blind date – and, when the bill came, I offered to contribute my portion of the check, as I always do. He didn’t hesitate to accept my money. After dinner, I gave the valet my ticket, and, before my car even arrived, my date said goodbye, jumped in a cab, and zoomed off – leaving me standing solo on the corner at midnight.
When I retold the story, my brother said I shouldn’t have beensurprised by my date taking my money: "Why would you have offered it inthe first place?" he asked. He had a point. Although both he and my dadthought the guy lacked some manners, we chalked his behavior up tofirst-date jitters, and I decided to give him another shot. When heasked me out again, we agreed to meet at Fulton Lounge with our respective groups of friends. He was good-looking and smart,so I thought, What the hell? Once we were at the bar, he asked me whatI wanted to drink and ordered a cocktail for me from the waitress, butwhen my drink came, he made no attempt to pay for it. That’s when hisfriend reached into his own pocket and bought the drink for me. I neverspoke to the lawyer again after that night.
It had nothing to do with the money and everything to do with hismanners – or lack thereof. As progressive as I am, when it comes todating, I still believe in chivalry and courtship. Even if thatcourtship happens over e-mail or IM – which I’m OK with, generally – Ithink the guy should pursue the girl, at least initially. He should askher out; he should arrange the date; and he should even open a dooronce in a while. And, yes, shoot me for saying this, but I think he should pay for the first couple of dates. Call me old-fashioned.
Whether you share my opinion or not, we all have them: dates that make you think someone mustbe Punk’ing you – because, after all, there’s no possible way he could beshowing you his ripped abs at dinner and bragging about how much timehe spends working out at the East Bank Club on your very first date. Orwhat about the doctor who faked getting a page when he realized hisdate was 15 years younger than he would have liked, leaving within 15minutes of being seated at NoMi?
As bad as they sound, neither of those scenarios compares to whathappened to one particular friend of mine. "My best friend from highschool set me up on a double date with a guy who supposedly looked likeMichael Jordan," she recounts. "I was excited to meet this ‘tall, dark,and handsome’ hunk, as she had described him. Yes, he was tall, likeMike, and bald, like Mike, but he was missing a few front teeth and hadbad hygiene. She begged me to stay because she liked his friend.Somehow I made it through the night – with the help of a few tequilashots."
No one ever said dating was easy. For me, maintaining my love lifehas proven to be a lot more difficult than managing my career. WhileI’ve never used an online-dating service, a recently-endedlong-distance e-affair was better than any in-person relationship I’vehad lately – one of the most exciting flings of my adult life. I’m notthe only one who has been wooed electronically, then disappointed.
"Several years ago, I met a guy online," another friend tells me."We completely hit it off, and we both thought we were destined to betogether. After several months of correspondence via phone and e-mail,he flew in from New York for a long weekend. He was super-attractive,really sweet, and all that I had imagined. The first night of hisvisit, we met up with a bunch of friends for dinner. We were in themiddle of a lively conversation and delicious oysters when – splat – hishead hit the table, and he was fast asleep." Something similar happenedagain the next night, and when my friend confronted Mr. Narcolepticabout his problem, he was so offended he took off early. She nevertalked to him again. The bottom line: A perfect 10 on paper (or viae-mail, as it were) does not a perfect man make.
Other dating disasters I’ve heard of lately are of a much creepiervariety, like what happened to a friend who uses match.com: "Afterdinner we went back to his place," she says. "He showed me his bedroom.I about died when I saw a bookshelf full of Kama Sutra booksand a twin-sized bed! He later gave me a coloring book and asked me tocolor a picture, and then proceeded to show me pictures of himself,[taken] when he used to be a body builder. When he tried to kiss me, Itold him I had issues with intimacy and had to go home."
That’s almost as skin-crawling as this story from my friend who usesjdate.com: "I went out with a guy who spent the entire date telling mehow much he loves dirty massages," she says, horrified. "He went intoexplicit detail. When we left Matilda, he peed in the alley while I was standing there next to him."
Talk about not having any manners.
Want to share your own dating disasters? Post them below; consider it free therapy.