I've been single since the Sumerians were settling Eridu (if you believe this psychic in New Orleans who told me my soul has been around -- and single -- since the sixth millennium B.C.), so yeah, I've been on a lot of dates.
I won't claim I'm an expert, but I know enough to actually be helpful to you lady readers. In the interest of both men AND women, I give you the eloquently titled, painstakingly wrought
Things Women Do On Dates That Suck That I Wish They Wouldn't Do Anymore
Checking Your Phone
Look, guys know that the friend who calls you exactly 30 minutes into our date isn't really in the hospital with Toxic Shock Syndrome. It means you're not interested. But if you're actually into a guy you're on a date with, put away your damn phone.
I know that it's tempting when you feel your phone vibrating to check it out (hell, I want to too), but just don't. I promise I'll inevitably get up to pee out some beer, and the suspense will have made it all the better when you can see on your Blackberry that your friend Melissa just ate a questionable taco.Complaining
If you're already unhappy about the selection of the bar, the seats at the restaurant, the crowd, the ambiance and/or the noise level on the very first date, how is date three not going to be an episode of "The McLaughlin Group"? I often marvel at how willing people are to get negative right from the jump, whether it's about the actual date itself or their own lives (overbearing mother, oily boss).
Look, we're on a first or second date! We might mash face or even genitals. Let's keep it positive!
You were hoping I was a young Paul Newman but instead discovered I'm more of an "Aliens"-era Paul Reiser? I'm sorry about that. Hey, I feel those pangs of disappointment, too. I really want to meet the love of my life and was hoping you were gonna be it. You're not. I'm not. But we just ordered martinis. Maybe we could just have fun anyway, despite my not owning piercing blue eyes and a salad dressing conglomerate?
Not Getting That It's Not Happening (This One Is About You Too, Dudes)
When a girl wants to see if a guy is interested in another date, she's typically sweet about it. Like, "Hey I had fun, hope we can do it again soon!"
Dudes, however, are rarely that pleasant. First, we make assumptions that a second date is imminent (a text like "When are we getting that drink???") If we want a second date and you don't, we often get all apocalyptic and start acting like Mark Wahlberg in "Fear."
If a guy won't text or call a girl who likes him, this is usually when she will -- if I'm to believe romantic comedies -- polish off a magnum of crappy Australian wine with her girlfriends and curse his name. That's a much healthier way to deal with a brush-off than smashing the windows of her dad's Corvette.
Really Not Getting That It's Not Happening
Look, you have to be conscious at the end of a date. Not in terms of sobriety, but in terms of social and behavioral cues. It's possible to get all the information you need on whether or not things are working in the moment of your goodbye, if not in the hours preceding it.
If he or she's not clearly proactive about the prospects of seeing you again, just shut it down. "That was fun" does not constitute affirmations of a future date. It's date-wrap-up boilerplate, just like how saying "God bless you" to someone who just sneezed doesn't make you a Lutheran. Your date doesn't want to see you again. Respect that.
Asking If I'm Free Tomorrow
Really? We just met. We're out now. Even if I like you, we're probably not going out again the very next night. Why? Um, I don't know, because we both have lives? Because that means you're a little too available?
Rudeness to a Bartender/Server
Deal-breaker. Straight up. It's over. Unless the waiter turned your thighs into Freddy Krueger's face by spilling a bowl of piping hot lentil soup on you, you have absolutely no reason to be rude to the waitstaff, ever, especially on a date.
Having Immutable "Rules"
Oh, you "hate reality TV?" Get over yourself, banker dude! If she wants to talk about "Jersey Shore" (God help us), that's okay! Dating is awkward and painful a lot of the time, so even if a girl's taste in television makes me question her reading level, I try to go easy on everybody and just have fun.
Likewise, just because I'm a Red Flag Machine and your mother would clearly loathe me doesn't mean you have to submarine the date from the get-go. This also goes for being disappointed in the person physically if you've never met them before. Be a nice guy and maybe you'll have a new, flat-assed female friend.
Watching Me Eat
God, dinner dates are the worst. Oh yes, please, scrutinize the face I make when I bite into something surprisingly spicy. Don't worry about me, that's just a huge glob of white creme fraiche I'm wiping off my dumb lips.
You know what? Let's not go to dinner on date one, all right? I need to get to know you before I'm willing to be in a position where I've unwittingly squirted you with Bloomin' Onion grease.
Talking About Your Ex
Hey! You know what I don't care about? Your last boyfriend. Not yet, anyway. On a first or second date? I'd rather hear about your gynecologist's cold hands. Even if it's relevant ("Oh hey, my ex used to play basketball there!"), I don't want to hear about it.
OK, team. That's my wish list. If you could have your dates stop doing one thing, what would it be?
[Redacted]is the resident Single Guy writer for Lemondrop. He likes drinking too much and upsetting his parents. Sometimes he eats Minute Rice while it's still piping hot, just to see if he can still feel.
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