As per your expert instructions I sought out the perfect first date restaurant. It’s named after an Italian opera, has a nice quiet atmosphere, is close, and is walking distance to drinking places, a huge wine list, and best of all the menu looks like the first page of a three page menu–all appetizers and salads disguised as entrees. Most expensive thing on there is $7.50. The place is such a gem that after a couple of weeks I got to know a bartender there very well as he saw me show up with different ladies. In fact he texts me sometimes afterwards to see how things went.
Look at that. My readers are all growns up! Finding a first date spot with reasonable prices, good location, and the appearance of specialness is no small feat. I still haven’t accomplished it here in LA. This email was making me feel like a proud papa, watching his baby take his first steps toward cheap intoxication and possible lovemaking. It was the sort of thing Rockwell used to paint. Max continued…
The following story is 50% a confession, 40% to shine a favorable light on you and anyone else who has merely split the check, and 10% because it’s actually a good idea and I can’t promise it won’t happen again.
Uh oh. 50% confession? That doesn’t sound good. You realize if you murdered someone I have to alert the authorities, right, Max?
I recently set up a promising date with a girl who while only had face pictures, did list her body type as ‘athletic’, and mentioned something about running marathons. I thought it would check out, but when she got to the date 10 minutes early and texted me “I’m here.”, I decided to text the bartender to take a covert picture for me. What a professional, right? Unfortunately she was not a moon, she was a space station. Before you judge, honestly tell me what you would have done? Clearly I stood her up.
Noooooo! I’ve created a monster! Taking covert pictures of your date? Calling her a space station? Standing her up because she’s overweight? Is this what my efforts have wrought?! I was disappointed and a little upset. Turns out my baby was actually taking his first steps in the direction of a frat house where he and his buddies promptly made fun of all the fatties.
But then I thought it over. It’s easy to attack Max. Seriously, it is. Go for it, you totally have my blessing. But there are some real issues here too. What would I have done in that situation? I can’t deny that larger-sized women describing themselves as “Athletic and Toned” is a genuine online dating phenomenon. I’ve encountered it numerous times, and honestly, I don’t really get it. Why would you possibly lie about something that is so obviously going to be discovered? I mean, I work out six days a week, but I would never dream of casting myself as “Athletic and Toned” – because I’m not skinny. Athletic, yes? Toned, not on your life. I fit snugly in “About Average”, and am totally cool with that. But I would never dream of overselling my physical appearance, because in the end, it just makes you like so…well…lame. But perhaps there’s confusion over terminology. How about we change “Athletic and Toned” to “The Very Possibility of Seeing My Naked Body Will Turn You On Entirely On Its Own.” Then we’ll all know what we’re talking about, right?
So is it acceptable to stand this woman up, who may have mislead you about her appearance, if you somehow knew in advance? No. ABSOLUTELY NOT. I’ve been stood up before, and honestly, it hurts. You feel like a loser, not being significant enough to the person to warrant even a quick text saying “Sorry, can’t make it tonight.” And that’s what I told Max. You are allowed to not want to go out with somebody, but you’re not allowed to waste their time and make them feel bad about themselves. Send a text and bail out gracefully – or honestly, gracelessly – just so they can get on with their evening. It costs you nothing to send the next, and very likely could save them from having and all-time shitshow of a day, so just be a pal and help a fellow human out. Here was his response…
Yeah, a text may have been a little bit of a tourniquet in this case but by the time I actually had the photo evidence our rendezvous time was minutes away so pretty much anything I would have said seemed in poor taste. I figured it would be easier to make up an emergency story afterwards but she must have gotten the hint because she never asked for an explanation.
She didn’t get the hint, Max, she was fucking embarrassed. And angry. And after the fact, she couldn’t have cared less what your explanation was because she knew you were a dick. Or at least, in this situation, acted like one. While it may have been easier for you to make up a story after the date passed, it’s really not about what’s easier for you. You’re sitting at home on your couch, while she’s standing on a street corner waiting for a guy to walk smiling up to her side. You’ve already got it pretty easy, so how about thinking about her for at least thirty seconds?
That’s what I thought, and that’s what I think. But here’s the thing: Max seems like a relatively normal guy. His emails are well written, he seems serious about meeting someone to date, and obviously he has excellent taste in reading material, so maybe there’s something to learn here. It’s easy to dismiss someone who stands up their date, but it happens all the time. People blow off their dates on a daily basis, believe me, I’ve got the emails to prove it. Why? How do you do that to someone else? We can write these people off as assholes, or we can try to figure out what’s going on. So I asked Max why he did it, and came up with something juicy.
I knew that I’m shallow enough that the date would have been a waste of time.
Hmmm. Interesting. If you know your own limitations, are you doing your date a favor by not making her endure a pointless hour or two? Maybe. Possibly. Is this woman honestly better off never meeting Max, not spending time with a guy who didn’t want her and couldn’t be convinced otherwise? It’s plausible. Was ditching her, in a way, the noble thing for Max to do, as that way he knew she could write him off as a jerk and never wonder if he was gonna call, if perhaps they could’ve been a good match? It’s an intriguing possibility.
Maybe Max wasn’t so bad after all. Maybe he was just a shallow guy out for something that he wasn’t gonna find, and so he decided to move on. I mean, this bartender guy seems to like him. And the date did mislead him about her appearance, that must’ve pissed him off, right?
I felt a little deceived but I’d say it didn’t factor in, honestly. Athletic is pretty subjective especially when talking about women and for all I know she’s waddled a marathon. The bartender’s already pegged me as a serial dater and is aware of the psych-ops I routinely employ to cultivate first night hook-ups, so to him this incident probably just follows the behavior pattern of a person who’s already earned a corner office in hell.
Oh. No, he’s definitely just an asshole.
Sorry, buddy. Thanks for reading, but you’re on your own on this one.