Category: first date ettiquette


When Raunch Replaces Romance

September 16th, 2013 — 8:54pm

Like many so singles, I have a love-hate relationship with online dating. Though it can introduce you to a variety of people, it also seems to have a higher volume of inappropriate behavior than the offline world.

In a virtual universe where anything goes, you can find yourself on the receiving end of these bizarre antics quite regularly.

OkCupid is a magnet for bachelors who don’t appreciate that less is more when you’re getting to know someone. One recent Okc member followed up a fun first date with an invitation to have lunch with him and his sister. I politely declined. He followed up with an explicit late night text message, blaming it on being “drunk, haha!”

Then there was the psychologist I chatted with on the phone. I asked him how his weekend was. He responded with a lengthy description of his father’s enlarged prostate. And a wistful lament for the days when he trolled nightclubs picking up women on the dance floor.

It is one of my single relatives, though, who can claim the most off putting initial conversation with an online bachelor. He had a very specific proposition for her–

“Would you like to Skype in the nude?”

Seriously? Whatever happened to good old fashioned dating etiquette? I know we live in a modern era of sexting and so on, but why is there such a mad rush to replace romance with raunch?

As you might expect from the above, I’m more a fan of taking things slowly. Or at the very least, having the courage to make your x-rated requests in person.

| dating dos and don'ts, first date ettiquette, online dating

Two First Date Disasters

August 4th, 2013 — 8:25pm

12186025-a-cartoon-man-and-woman-fail-to-connect-on-a-first-date

It’s often said that a first date either goes well or makes for a good story. Two recent dates with bachelors I met via Coffee Meets Bagel ended up in the latter category.

My evening with financial trader Sean began with a rather offputting admission from him.

“I look at dates like job interviews,” he declared. “I love knowing the other person is more nervous than I am.”

“Well, I’m not nervous,” I said with a pointed smile, suspecting that additional revelations weren’t likely to put Sean in a flattering light.

Sure enough, he proceeded to talk about how he’s just so busy that he could never make time to have children, and it’s really his married friends who are more concerned about him meeting someone than he is. Needless to say, the night went downhill rapidly from there.

My discomfort around Sean was nothing, though, compared to what I experienced with school teacher Robert. In his profile, Robert said he likes a date who “talks as well as listens.” Which is why I found it particularly interesting that he spent the majority of our time together not only talking about himself but failing to ask me much of anything.

When I mentioned that my job is in hospitality, Robert proceeded to spend a good ten minutes revealing in florid detail how much he hated his past experience working for a hotel. An aside about my affinity for Broadway shows inspired him to mock several celebrity-driven musicals. And when I shared that I took a few months off to travel three years ago, he smirked.

“Did you read Eat, Pray, Love?” he asked condescendingly. “It seems like it had that effect on a lot of women.”

During our one hour drinks date (that felt more like four), Robert also treated me to a laundry list of reasons why he hates teaching and doesn’t want to do it anymore.

Call me unreasonable, but shouldn’t a first date be about putting your best foot forward? Assaulting your date with a barrage of complaints and negativity, and being dismissive about what she shares isn’t exactly appealing.

Interestingly, in our pre-date phone conversations, both Sean and Robert were inquisitive and full of positive energy. That they were neither in person reminded me how online dating is such a crapshoot. And, of course, how important it is not to be a Debbie Downer when you’re meeting someone for the first time.

| first date ettiquette, first dates, online dating

Barstalk.com & Nominate A Date #5

March 11th, 2012 — 6:12pm

As someone who is bone tired of online dating, I’m a big fan of websites that make it easier to connect offline. So I was excited to hear about Barstalk.com, a site created by veteran bartender Teresa Rivera that connects members and suggests ideal bars based on a variety of variables.

Each bar has a profile highlighting hook-up potential, guy-to-girl ratio, vibe, etc. The website’s team also stalks the City’s top bars, so that members can see the hottest venues for a particular evening. During the registration process,  Barstalk.com asks you to fill out a brief profile with info including favorite spots in the city, neighborhood, and what qualities you’re looking for in a match, etc. One of my favorite features — an “Anonymous Check Out” button that enables members to view matches while remaining discreet.

When my date for this weekend fell through, Barstalk.com founder Teresa graciously and quickly came up with an alternate candidate – 34-year-old J, a good-looking, soft-spoken personal trainer and Connecticut native.

Del Frisco's Grille in Rockefeller Center has a much cozier vibe than its sister restaurant on Sixth Ave nearby

J trekked in from the Bronx for our drinks date, which got off to a good start with him guessing that I’m closer to 30 than not. We met up at Del Frisco’s Grille in Rockefeller Center, which has a fantastic cocktail menu and ideal low-key ambience for conversation. J filled me in on his upcoming trip to South Beach, why nothing and no one comes between him and an Oakland Raiders game and what he doesn’t like when it comes to food.

He also mentioned a seven-year relationship. His ex-girlfriend actually came up a handful of times. Even though it happened organically, it got me to thinking about mentioning old flames on dates in general. It’s a topic that has surfaced a few times since I started Nominate A Date about a month ago. One guy did it only in passing as we were comparing notes about online dating disasters. Another bachelor, the only one I’ve gone out with multiple times, spent the last part of our third date telling me about his month-long stint on OkCupid.

Admittedly, these stories can be amusing at times (after all if they weren’t, dating blogs wouldn’t exist). I’m just not so sure the first few dates with someone should be a forum for them. Because, frankly, it’s a buzzkill.

| first date ettiquette, first dates, Nominate A Date, OKCupid, online dating, Rockefeller Center

Nominate A Date #2

February 21st, 2012 — 8:18pm

There are some nights that remind you why you stay in the journey that is dating — and should remain open to wherever it takes you. Saturday night was one of them.

Introduced for Nominate A Date through a mutual friend, 36-year-old Long Island native M and I first connected a few weeks ago. After talking on the phone, we exchanged a series of texts that revealed M’s playful sense of humor and more than a few common interests. Among them – an affinity for Scrabble, live music and beachside getaways.

Seven Bar & Grill provided the perfect setting for a perfect first date

The conversation continued effortlessly when we met up at Seven Bar & Grill in Midtown West. M greeted me with a kiss on the cheek and gallantly took my coat, as I found myself thinking he was even cuter in person than his Facebook profile picture.

Over a delicious dinner (tuna tartar, lobster bisque soup, pan roasted snapper with lobster crushed potatoes), we bonded over our appreciation for good food and of course dessert (we shared tiramisu and coconut rice pudding). I also learned more about M’s work as a contractor, his longstanding love of guitar playing and why seeing an 80’s cover band – my suggested post-meal activity – wasn’t his first choice.

I happily said yes to his proposed alternative, going to see the Channing Tatum-Rachel McAdams romance, “The Vow.” During the previews, M leaned over a few times to make small talk. I could feel the kind of click that happens when you’re genuinely having a good time with someone.

We both enjoyed the movie – as far as on-screen love stories go, this one managed to be sweet without being too cloying – and, much to my delight, M didn’t let his hour-long journey home cut our evening short.  Our last stop was Houndtooth Pub, where we talked about Caribbean cruises, spiritual retreats and outgrowing the antics of being in your twenties.

It was after 1am when I walked M to Penn Station. Later, I texted him to say thanks for a great night and for coming into NYC.

“Worth the trip,” he replied.

The feeling was more than mutual.

| first date ettiquette, first dates, Midtown NYC, Nominate A Date

Worst Job Interviews Ever

July 13th, 2011 — 4:19pm

Last week, I blogged about some dating dos and don’ts that also apply to job interviews. In the course of pavement pounding, I’ve encountered my fair share of faux pas from those on the other side of the desk. Here are the worst offenders – and lessons to be learned from them.

Do Put Your Best Foot Forward (i.e. Appearance Matters):  On a date or a job interview, you’re expected to look your best and put some thought into appearance. The hiring rep at one Soho-based PR agency clearly didn’t agree – she elected to interview me while sitting on top of a milk crate. More confounding still, the colleague of hers who alternated between typing away frenetically on her computer and staring at me as the conversation unfolded in her office.

Don’t Pull A Disappearing Act:  Rejection – both giving and receiving – is par for the course in dating. If you decide after a few dates, you’re not that into someone, the kind thing to say so instead of pulling a disappearing act (admittedly, I’ve been guilty of the latter many times). It seems many companies don’t agree. One publishing house I interviewed with twice said it was down to me and one other candidate. It took me emailing them after two weeks of radio silence to find out they’ve given the job to someone else. Even more offputting was the popular accessories brand with which I also interviewed multiple times. The CMO even followed up via email to say there was an additional role I was being considered for. One month later, I received a generic form letter of rejection in response to my initial online application – as if I had never had any human contact with the company. Tacky.

Know How (and when) to Wrap Up:  The art of making a graceful exit often seems to be a lost one these days. Case in point – the above-mentioned milk crate-seated interviewer who asked me three times if I had any more questions. Um, here’s one: why are you asking me the same thing over and over again? Then, there was the CFO of a legendary boutique PR agency who prattled on about his most recent breakup. The guy also illustrated a very important thing to remember on first dates and interviews…

Don’t Get Too Personal:  In my resume, I mention that I write about dating and relationships, so I’ve come to expect that a certain amount of curiosity about that goes with the territory. What I don’t expect is to have an interviewer spend twenty minutes giving me chapter and verse about his most recent breakup, why anyone who’s over 40 and single is ‘a loser,’ and his theory about the biggest difference between men and women:

“Women need a relationship to feel complete because they have vaginas, so they literally have holes that need to be filled.”

I’m reasonably certain that female genitalia isn’t appropriate in any context on a job interview. Nor, I suspect, is being asked out for a drink by the interviewer. 

Another reason I’m enjoying my current dating hiatus — bad dates and bad interviews are too much for even the strongest cocktail to make palatable.

| first date ettiquette, job interviews

A Memorable First Date Resurfaces

April 2nd, 2011 — 3:37pm

There are some first dates that you always remember — and yet, never expect to hear from again. The very first bachelor of my US Dating Blitz last year, Dave, fell into this category.

As I described here when Dave and I met up after connecting on Match.com, he took me out for a great night in Cleveland — five-star meal, first-class conversation, post-dinner smooching. Then he shocked me with his question about whether I like to, ahem, have my salad tossed.

After our date, Dave sent me a couple of racy text messages to which I didn’t respond. So imagine my surprise when he resurfaced in a text last week.

“Was I your most fun date on your tour around the country?”

I laughed, tempted to thank him for providing me a with first date story I never tire of telling. He had another question for me–

“Did I make the book?”

I had told Dave when we went out that I would be writing a book about my adventures. Funnily enough, it never occurred to me that his x-rated inquiry might have been prompted by that. So does he or does he not have a derriere fixation? Dave offered me the chance to find out.

“If you’re ever back here in Cleveland, you know my door is open and I’ll take good care of you :),” he texted.

It would almost be worth making the trip just to see what he might ask on date #2.

| first date ettiquette, first dates, Match.com, online dating, The Great Dating Blitz

First Date Déjà Vu All Over Again

March 19th, 2011 — 7:30pm

When you’ve been on enough first dates, you inevitably find yourself feeling a sense of déjà vu during the experience. At no time is that more true than when you meet someone you’ve connected with online.

You’d think that having already seen your date’s profile, you would be able to dispense with some preliminaries and move on to more substantive conversation. What I’m finding increasingly, though, is the opposite. Bachelors online seem stuck in a rut of asking questions they should presumably know the answers to already. For example–

“What kind of music do you like?”

“How do you spend your time when you’re not working?”

“Where do you live?”

All would be perfectly acceptable lines of inquiry if you are connecting somewhere outside of cyberspace. But as I find myself regurgitating details from my online profile more often than not, I can’t help thinking how tedious and unnecessary it is.

I think an online date is kind of like a job interview. You should do your homework ahead of time and know who you’re talking to. Only then do you stand a chance of having the kind of dialogue that doesn’t feel like Groundog Day all over again.

| dating dos and don'ts, first date ettiquette, online dating, online dating profiles

Madrid: Day Two And Date #1

October 8th, 2010 — 3:18pm

On my second day in Madrid, I strolled over to Puerta del Sol, where I picked up a sightseeing bus that gave me a great introduction to the beauty of Spain’s capital city.

As I enjoyed the views from up top, I couldn’t help noticing that posters for “Eat, Pray, Love” the movie seemed to be on every other block. I found myself thinking that, though my international journey hadn’t produced anyone remotely resembling Javier Bardem, I had enjoyed almost every moment of it. And I was excited to meet my Madrid date — radio journalist Victor, 32.

Exceedingly smart, well read and adorable, Victor charmed me right away by talking seamlessly in both Spanish and English.

Over cerveza at a cozy bar in Madrid’s Lavapies district and then a delicious dinner (where I discovered I love black pudding, and rediscovered my love of flan), Victor shared his take on how dating in Spain is different from NYC.

For one thing, there really is no such as a date. Victor was adamant in an endearing way about how I was his first-ever date, saying the Spanish don’t call it that. Social networks are so strong in Spain that people meet in groups and, for the most part, see no need to use Internet dating.

Over after-dinner drinks, the talk turned to politics. When Victor started talking about American imperialism, I could feel myself growing uneasy, tired at this stage of my travels of being put on the spot about US foreign policy. I think there’s something to be said for the no politics or religion rule about conversation on a first date.

Still, I truly enjoyed Victor’s company. And I was happy when he said he was free over the weekend and would love to get together again. So that’s exactly what ended up happening.

| first date ettiquette, first dates, Madrid, The European Dating Blitz

Dating Boot Camp: The Finale

June 16th, 2009 — 12:57am

Last week, I attended the fourth and final installment of Lord & Taylor’s Dating Boot Camp.

Once again, Gotham-based married matchmaking duo Matt Titus and Tamsen Fadal led the entertaining seminar, talking about what to do on Date Night. Joined by a panel of men that included Thrillist.com editor Hayden Lynch and actor , Matt and Tamsen dished out some first date dos and don’ts.

Panelists Hayden Lynch and Chance Von Spiessbach at Dating Boot Camp

When it comes to attire, be comfortable — no muffin tops or excessive cleavage, Matt says.

Also off limits on a first date — talking about therapy, babies or the future. And, don’t invite your date inside, unless your intentions are purely physical.

“The journey to Mr. Right has to be pleasant,” Matt said. “Compartmentalize what you want from a man and act accordingly.”

Tamsen encouraged women to play the field, as she was doing when Matt first asked her out.

“ ‘I’ll throw you into the rotation,’ I told him,” she said. “[You should] have three to four guys in your rotation.”

One of the night’s most debated topics – who should pay on a first date.

“Let him be the guy on a first date,” Matt advised.

He’s not alone in what, as I recently discovered, many believe is archaic thinking. According to Match.com survey, a whopping 71% of men think they should pay on a first date (versus 58% of women).

As for the inevitable post-first date question — why hasn’t he called? — Matt explained that men have a totem pole of priorities (career, friends, pets, etc.) and it takes time for a new woman time to work her way into it.

“To him, a call equals a commitment,” he said. “If you call first, you’ve shown him all of your cards, establishing who asks and chases. Let him chase you.”

Having experienced the dynamic of male-as-pursuer on more than one occasion, I must admit I’m inclined to agree with him.

Coming up…a brief reunion with a long-distance dear friend and a quick jaunt to Puerto Rico.

| Dating Boot Camp, first date ettiquette, Lord and Taylor, Matt Titus, Tamsen Fadal

Dating Boot Camp: The Finale

June 15th, 2009 — 7:57pm

Last week, I attended the fourth and final installment of Lord & Taylor’s Dating Boot Camp.

Once again, Gotham-based married matchmaking duo Matt Titus and Tamsen Fadal led the entertaining seminar, talking about what to do on Date Night. Joined by a panel of men that included Thrillist.com editor Hayden Lynch and actor , Matt and Tamsen dished out some first date dos and don’ts.

Panelists Hayden Lynch and Chance Von Spiessbach at Dating Boot Camp

When it comes to attire, be comfortable — no muffin tops or excessive cleavage, Matt says.

Also off limits on a first date — talking about therapy, babies or the future. And, don’t invite your date inside, unless your intentions are purely physical.

“The journey to Mr. Right has to be pleasant,” Matt said. “Compartmentalize what you want from a man and act accordingly.”

Tamsen encouraged women to play the field, as she was doing when Matt first asked her out.

“ ‘I’ll throw you into the rotation,’ I told him,” she said. “[You should] have three to four guys in your rotation.”

One of the night’s most debated topics – who should pay on a first date.

“Let him be the guy on a first date,” Matt advised.

He’s not alone in what, as I recently discovered, many believe is archaic thinking. According to Match.com survey, a whopping 71% of men think they should pay on a first date (versus 58% of women).

As for the inevitable post-first date question — why hasn’t he called? — Matt explained that men have a totem pole of priorities (career, friends, pets, etc.) and it takes time for a new woman time to work her way into it.

“To him, a call equals a commitment,” he said. “If you call first, you’ve shown him all of your cards, establishing who asks and chases. Let him chase you.”

Having experienced the dynamic of male-as-pursuer on more than one occasion, I must admit I’m inclined to agree with him.

Coming up…a brief reunion with a long-distance dear friend and a quick jaunt to Puerto Rico.

| Dating Boot Camp, first date ettiquette, Lord and Taylor, Matt Titus, Tamsen Fadal

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