Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First Dates and "Going All Out"

After a slew of horror dating stories, I feel obliged to actually blog about a good date – no, not a good date, actually a dream date.  Do they exist anymore?  I thought no, but my friend proves they have not gone extinct.

This one’s for all you romantics out there…

My friend (we’ll call her “A” since she asked to remain anonymous) lives in Savannah. She’s had a string of bad luck with men. Poor thing no wonder she enjoyed reading my book.  She’s not a pessimist when it comes to love, she’s just realistic… cautiously optimistic on a good day.

Anyway, she’s known this guy – we’ll call him “G” – for over a year. Apparently, he’s liked her for awhile but didn’t ask her out for various reasons all related to the complexities of life.  (I’ll let your wild imaginations fill in those blanks. She asked for anonymity so I am trying to respect that.)

G finally asked her out on a date – a first date. A “first” in anything must always be taken in with the right amount of symbolism. At the end of my first trial, my co-counsel (a veteran trial attorney) told me immediately after the jury returned its guilty verdict:

“Take it in. You’ll never have a ‘first’ again. After this it won’t feel quite the same.”

He was right. Lesson learned: a first is an experience in and of itself so don’t let it go without the right amount of reflection which is why I am posting this blog for A since she can’t do it herself.  I am hoping she will remember this.  A first is a first, period.

So back to the date… It was on Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday.  Here’s what G did right, according to her, and I’ve got to admit – I agree!

He arrived at 7:20 PM on the dot.  He did not arrive alone however – he arrived with a huge Easter basket.  Score!  Why?  Well, from a gal pal’s perspective, we all get to share in the spoils.  I plan to munch on her Easter basket for the rest of the month since one little girl can’t possibly eat THAT much chocolate.  Seriously though, the Easter basket shows a profound thoughtfulness which can be rare in this day and age.

After depositing the Easter basket on her kitchen counter, he took her to the Melting Pot.  They ate fondue which is a unique dinner choice.  It’s not pretentious like some of the ultra hip places he could have chosen.  Instead it’s fun and adventurous.  Two people cooking a meal together.  It can speak volumes for the future.  I mean, if the guy lets the girl do all the fondue-ing, well that’s not a good sign.  Vice versa is bad, too.  Hopefully, the meal is a collaborative effort which is really what life should be, right? 

At 9:15 PM, the dessert portion of the fondue was wrapped “to go” because a horse drawn carriage picked them up in front of the restaurant to take them on an hour-long tour of the city.  Can you say “romantic”?  Those good old-fashioned values we women dream about may not be so out-dated after all… And well, even though I may not know from personal experience, I can imagine that a horse drawn carriage through the cobble-stone streets of Savannah would be about as charming as it gets.  I just may have to take myself on one this Friday!

The carriage dropped A and G off in front of the newest bar in town.  I can’t remember the name of this place but it had an outside patio and that’s a good thing in my book!  They drank whiskey.  I’m not a whiskey fan myself, but A tells me that a common love of fine whiskey is as good a sign as sharing the same favorite movie to us film buffs. 

After a few more cocktails and great conversation, A and G went to some more bars, ran into mutual friends, etc. and so forth.  The rest of the night was a blur – yes, she was having that good a time.  Around 2 AM, they agreed to call it a night.  His car was parked blocks away so… and here’s the sweetest part in my opinion… instead of making her walk, he picked her up and piggy-backed her all the way so she wouldn’t have to walk in her high heels.

No kiss at her front door either, he was a gentleman.  A hug would suffice for a first date.

She called me at 8 AM Sunday morning with all of the details (as all good girlfriends should do).  I almost wish I’d gone on this date myself!

Later that night I got to thinking… why was I was so surprised about A’s date?   Why did I feel the need to call my mother and tell her about it, stunned that it had actually happened to someone I know?  What does that say about first dates?  Have we women lowered our expectations to such an extent that a first date like I just described above would seem unreal… out of a fairy tale even?  I mean, isn’t this how a first date is supposed to go? 


But we’ve gotten so accustomed to “playing it cool.”  We’ve gotten used to first dates being about “grabbing a quick drink” or “having a cup of joe” or “meeting up somewhere” that we’ve completely overlooked (and forgotten) just how important a first date can be.  It sets the entire ball in motion.  I “guess” I “get” if you want to “feel it out” before you “go all out” but honestly why?  Life is fleeting and unpredictable.  It can pass us by in a moment, and even when someone tells us that life is short we forget in a short time.

So from here I say:  forget about “playing it safe.”  If you like a girl, then hire a horse drawn carriage.  Pick her up and carry her when her feet hurt.  Buy her an Easter basket.  If it doesn’t work out, at least you can say you gave it your best shot.  And if it does work out, well you’ll have a great story to tell your kids.  Either way, you’ve only got one chance to make a first impression, and it could just end up being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  You never know, and wonders… well… they never cease. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Annie's First - AND ONLY - Date from Hell

So, my friend “Annie” who lives in Charlotte met this guy from Chicago who was visiting a friend (in Charlotte).  He was a friend of a friend.  (Note to reader:  Already way too many “friends” involved in this potential relationship which, if it implodes, will be most uncomfortable for all involved parties.)  There was an instant chemical connection so she agreed to go out on a breakfast date with him.  They ate eggs and bacon, and then she went to work.  He returned to Chicago. 

(First red flag - geographically undesirable)

The moment he returned to his home base, he purchased a plane ticket to visit her the Monday and Tuesday of the following week.

(Second red flag - too eager)

Due to bad weather, his flight was delayed.  He arrived in Charlotte (from Chicago) nine hours late last Monday – so much for an evening out on the town to get to know each other a little better, oh well.  Second day, Tuesday, Annie had to go to work all day.  So, the boy hung out in her apartment with her cat.  At noon, when she was supposed to be meeting him for lunch at some cute restaurant somewhere in town, he sent her a text message that read: "Hey! I just noticed this frozen lasagna in your freezer. So, I put it in the oven. Why don't we just eat at your place?"

(Third red flag - cheap and lazy)

After she got off from work at 5 PM, she met him (and a bunch of their mutual friends) at a local bar.  He was already wasted drunk since he had been there since 3 PM.

(Fourth red flag – potential alcoholic)

They ended up staying at the bar until 8 PM (the original plan was to actually have an evening together to get to know each other).  Then, they ate dinner with all of his friends.

(Fifth red flag - he's a groupie)

They finally got back to Annie’s place at 10 PM, and by this time she was highly annoyed so she said: "Listen, I'm tired, I'm going to bed. Are you staying here on my couch or at a friend's tonight?"  Well... and here's where he really face planted (because he had already crashed and burned by this point)... he wanted to TALK.  And by talk, he said this:

"Annie. I think we should get married. I think you're the One. I knew it the moment we met. When can you move to Chicago?"

(Sixth red flag - he's delusional and emotionally needy)

Annie told him that there was no way he could know anything about her, that he was wrong, and that she was tired and going to sleep.  At this point he got annoyed at her and said:

“You really have issues.  You are tainted when it comes to love which is why you're not willing to give into this fully.  Why are all girls these days so jaded?"

The conversation – and any hope for a second date – was over.

Annie immediately called me and relayed her horror story.  The moment she got to the ending, all I could think about was:

The lasagna.  And was it expensive?

What does that say about me?  Does that mean I’m jaded when it comes to love and that I rate a gourmet item from Whole Foods higher than a possible relationship?  Good God, I hope not.