Sunday, March 23, 2008

First dates should not have a great deal of time or money invested in them

Someone just asked me out on a first date to go play golf. Golf. At a country club, no less. You could know me for five minutes and know that I do not, nor desire to learn to, play golf. When I told him golf didn't really interest me, he offered squash instead. Golf and squash. Wow.

Why oh why does everyone feel they have to be creative with their first dates? Ice-skating outings, fancy theaters, athletics, the most chi chi new restaurant -- whatever happened to meeting for drinks?

Wake-up call to everyone: first dates should not have a great deal of time or money invested in them. They should be low-key to put everyone at ease. They should be short -- a couple hours -- you can have the marathon dates later when you know you really like each other. They should include an escape plan in case the whole thing is a disaster. And most of all they should not involve seeing me sweaty with my athletic goggles on.

Pardon me for a moment, but I'm on something of a diatribe here. But you would be too -- these are the kinds of first dates I've been invited out to recently:
– sailing (talk about being trapped)
– a whole weekend (!!) in New York City
– dinner at Hooters ("The food's pretty good," he said. Whatever.)
– a trip to an arcade to play ski ball (well, actually that was kind of cool)
– signing up for swing lessons together (It's bad enough my gym conned me into committing to six months before I'd tried the facilities even once, I don't need this from men.)

Great date ideas, one and all. But simply not first date material

First dates are not about wowing each other, ok? Creativity comes later. Creativity is what you need for anniversaries, birthdays, marriage proposals. But the first time? Forget it.

For example, I had a blind date show up with a flower between his teeth. Yes, if we'd fallen for each other at first sight we might someday be telling our grandchildren the romantic story -- as it was I was prevented from first-sight-love because all I could think was, "Oh my god, he has a flower between his teeth." And, I've got to tell you, if we had hit it off I just don't think the kids would have been any less happy hearing the story of Grandpoppy showing up with the tango look on the second date.

Yes, a nice simple happy hour drink is what a first date calls for. Perhaps dinner. No movies. There is some myth that movies are good first date material because they give you something to talk about, a little conversation fodder. Don't believe it. The sum total of your opinion on the flick is going to be: "Movie? Who had time to watch the movie? I was too busy praying you'd -- choose one: try to hold my hand/let go of my hand/stop saying ‘Hubba hubba' every time Meg Ryan came on screen."

Once I thought someone had come up with a nice first date compromise: we picked up sandwiches at a deli and had a picnic. It wasn't bad, the deli made the whole thing seem casual, but the picnic added a nice spark. Then he took me out for a picnic on our second date too and I didn't think it was all that exciting anymore.

So I am back where I started. I don't want any sparks on that first date. I want drinks and that's all. If it's going really well, I guess he can just "happen" to know of a great place for dinner down the street. But frankly, it's better if everyone holds back. Leave me wanting more and I'll want more.

But no. Instead I get golf and squash.

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