The First Date - Don't Scare Him Off
I remember my friend Pete. He was 30ish at the time. Successful. Settled. He wanted a family. He would speak about it sometimes, how he felt ready, how much fun it would be to bring his kids to Ranger games one day. He admitted to me once that when he'd see Dads at the Garden with their little kids in their little jerseys, he could actually feel a physical ache, he wanted it so badly.
He went on a blind date with a woman his brother works with. About 2 hours in, he called me from the bathroom. “Call me back in ten minutes with an emergency. Get me the fuck out of here.”
An hour later we were sitting at the bar in Jekylll and Hyde’s drinking dirty martini’s. “OK, so tell me. What the hell happened?”
“It was awful,” he said. “I don’t even know. I just had to get out.” He actually looked shaken.
“Well, where is she from?”
He shook his head. “I don’t know.”
“Don’t tell me she’s an Islander fan.”
He shrugged. “No clue.”
After a few more questions – what kind of music does she like, what are her hobbies, what kinds of books does she read, is she a democrat… all of which went in that same shrugging direction, I gave up. “Alright. What DO you know about her?”
“I know her sister just had her second baby, Theresa. I know it’s her little sister and that kills her. I know her time clock is ticking, and she wants to get married and have babies as quickly as possible. She likes the name Winston if it’s a boy. And I know her mother asks her all the time, why isn’t she married like her sister.” He downed the rest of his martini and waved at the bartender frantically for a second.
That poor girl. She was actually out with a man that wanted the same things she wanted. He hadn’t freaked out because of what she was saying. He freaked out because of when she was saying it.
“Who the hells dumps all this at someone so fast?” Poor guy was blinking and twitching.
Being on a first date is like meeting any one for the first time.
A neighbor, a coworker, a friend of a friend. You start gradually. Generally you do not begin the conversation with the worst possible things you can think of. You don’t start with a focused agenda. If they did it, you’d think there were a few screws loose, and you’d be right.
I’m not saying lie. I’m not saying to hide things. I’m saying, there is a certain amount of time you should know someone before the topics of conversation become very intimate and personal. The first date is no different. There is an order to revealing yourself.
Your ticking biological clock is just one example. Talking about your ex doesn’t usually bode too well during the first meeting either. Odds are your date doesn’t want to be lead to believe you’re living in the past. He probably doesn’t want to hear how many partners you’ve had, or how your ex was a narcissist. He doesn’t want to hear how you’ve never been good enough for your mother, and how all your friends are getting married and how badly you want to have a baby. He doesn’t want to hear how you never got over that guy in high school that broke your heart.
All of these things may be true. And, yes, they are all important for you to discuss in a relationship. But a first date is not a relationship. There is an order to things.
You Rock! Don’t You?
There are many other things about you that aren’t on the scary list. Maybe you speak a second language, play guitar, collect matchbox cars. Maybe you just read Survival of the Sickest and you’d love to discuss it. The Matrix is one of your favorite movies. You saw Blink 182 in concert a bunch of times. You go to Ireland every fall and you saw the Mammoth head at the Celtic Museum in Dingle. You have opinions about art, and music, and politics. You have traveled, you have an interesting job, you kick ass at Halo. You’re a Ranger fan. You’re an excellent photographer. You’re in a darts tournament next Friday. You once met Carmen Electra in Kennedy Airport. You make a mean lasagna.
There are hundreds of things that make you “you,” many of which a first date would love to hear about.
Scaring Him Off
Sometimes this sabotaging is on purpose. For some people it’s easier to end things before they start. Blowing it fast and hard is easier than taking a real risk, by taking the chance that someone might actually like you.
It’s true, telling him you can’t wait to get married and breed will scare him off. And then you can tell yourself, "Well I’m glad I found out now, nice and fast, instead of later." You convince yourself he was scared off because he doesn’t want what you want. You think: He must not want marriage and kids.
What most likely scared him off is the fact that you were so desperate and insecure that you actually brought this up on the first date.
Pace yourself. Take your time. You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Try to keep your first date light and fun. Get to know someone and let them get to know you a little bit before you reveal your more personal secrets or serious issues.
Don’t rush it.
“The universe tends to unfold as it should.”
Blink 182 - First Date
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*All text is original content by Veronica.
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