92: When You’re Bored By Your Date

It’s been quite awhile, hasn’t it?

Since you last heard from me, I’ve been on many dates – many entirely bland, perfectly fine, ultimately blah dates.

You know how reviewers often say you want a piece of art to either be great or awful? That it’s the in-between that are difficult to talk about?

Well, I’ve had just about nothing but in-betweens. Many nice-enough girls, who either didn’t hit me right – or I didn’t hit her right – or we both agreed, this isn’t right.

While that kinda sucks for storytelling – you don’t really wanna hear me talk about what anecdotes I told to which ladies, and which interesting career offshoot they’re trying this minute, do you? – it does bring up a very important point for online dating: What do you do when there was nothing great about the first date – and you don’t want a second?

First, before we get too deep into this, the answer is going to be different for men and women, most of the time.

Really, the key is who’s contacting who? The onus usually falls on the man, but occasionally the guy won’t really be feeling it, while the woman will – and she’ll reach out.

Rarer – but it does happen. It’s happened a few times to me in this little interim.

Well, let’s just talk about this from the reactive viewpoint. Let’s assume you’ve impressed your date more than vice versa, and now they want to meet next Saturday, and you really would rather do, well, anything. Nothing wrong with them – but you’d be wasting both your time.

Here’s what you don’t do.

  • Don’t just ignore them. That’ll work – eventually – but you’re probably going to get a series of follow-ups, which will sound more and more desperate, ending with an insult or a stalking. If they prove themselves stalkers, then you ignore – but not if this is just a regular person swimming in the same ol’ dating pool, doing his or her best. Ignoring is just rude.
  • Don’t mislead. “Oh hey! Yeah, I had a great time too – let’s do it again, absolutely!” followed by a bunch of dodges? Hey, coward – don’t be a shithead. You may think you’re being nice, but false hope is one of the crueler moves available in the online dating world. Don’t do that to someone.
  • The cousin to the mislead – don’t stand someone up at the last moment with some lame excuse. “Oh – I’ve got an, uh, eye infection.” (Yes, that’s a real-life example from earlier this year.) Not only are you encouraging the false hope – you’ve also screwed someone out of a night, and, if they like you enough, they may take you at your word – and try again. So you have to do the dance again. Does your ego really need that much of a massage?
  • Don’t use someone. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with wanton sex – as long as both parties are looking for that. If there’s someone who you know you don’t dig – but they’re better than nothing, for the moment, for a jolly now and again when they are expecting more – once again, don’t be a shithead. Your bedpost notch isn’t worth the self-hate that’ll be coming down the pike in later years.
  • Don’t be rude. There is this awful breed of person that loves to be mean behind a façade of ‘honesty.’ “You have X flaw – I don’t know how anyone could want to be with that.” Sorry – honesty doesn’t have to be brutal, hurtful, or without tact. If you’re the type of person who gets off on that kind of thing – go find willing participants on Fetlife.

Really, it’s not that hard.

Rule 92: Be Straightforward But Kind

“Listen, I had a good time with you. But I didn’t really feel that spark, that excitement that I look for in my nascent relationships. While I have little doubt that we could entertain each other again, I don’t think this will go anywhere. But good luck out there!”

That’s not so hard, is it? Feel free to just cut-and-paste that baby. The truth is – we’re all going to be in all these positions. And the harsher you are, the harsher the dating world you live in.

Not to mention – depending where you are, the pool might be small enough, you’ll run into these people again. Or try to go out with someone they know.

Civilization may be judged by how it treats its elderly. Daters are judged by how they treat their rejectees. Reap the good karma. Don’t be a shithead. Don’t let the relative anonymity of the internet age, and the disposability of so many multiple first dates, turn you into a sour jerk. Just be true, and kind. It takes less energy, yields better results going forward, and is less likely to get you a bad reaction that, who knows, could turn ugly.

Be decent. It’s good practice.

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#89: Don’t Be Hasty

I was nervous driving down.

Now, I suppose that’s a normal reaction – dates are usually pretty nerve-wracking. But – well, I’m totally full of myself here, I don’t get nervous often. I’ve too much experience – after, what, I’d say hundreds of dates in my life, it just doesn’t have the same effect on ya.

But this one was different.

First, I was coming off a bit of a hiatus (and yes, sorry for the delay train wreck fans, but I’m back now). So I figured I might have a little rust to slough off. Not to mention, I’d been hitting sour notes in the lead-up, and who knew if the cloud’d still be there.

Next, this girl had already set up and cancelled a meet once. Her reason seemed legitimate enough, but one never knows if a legitimate reason is just a polite decline. Yet, after a suitable period of time for her to come to whatever terms she needed in her situation, here we were.

I also was playing an away game – driving down to DC, to a neighborhood I’d never been, to a bar I’d never heard of. Doesn’t matter much – but does matter a little.

And this girl was tickling all my fancies. Attractive, fast mind – totally kept up with me, she might’ve even out-paced me a time or two, and I just don’t see that often. Living her life by high ideals, yet not taking herself seriously. Indeed, she was bein’ as silly as they come in the lead-up.

That was the final reason – we hadn’t yet said a serious word to each other. We spoke in code, we took on roles and played them out through our threads, we didn’t know each other’s real names – all extremely fun, but I didn’t know exactly who I was meeting. Nor if we’d speak as ourselves, or role play the whole time. I figured I was ready for either, but not knowing what voice I’d be in the whole way… well, I was nervous.

Did I mention as a bonus that she was a redhead? I completely buy into the fiery redhead thing – I’ve seen it a lot in my dating life. Pretty much a 100% rate.

Anyway, as soon as she came in and we sat down, the nerves went, the conversation lit up – we were ourselves – I made her laugh, she did the same, and it was great.

Well, almost. I was getting the friend vibe – this was too nice and wonderful a lady, too interested in enjoying life, for her to let that get in the way of a good time. But, even as we were conversing and laughing, I felt her drawing back.

And, indeed, after an exactly reasonable amount of time, she said she had to go put together a costume using a nearby friend’s closet – true, I’m sure, but something she coulda shrugged off if she were feeling it.

Later, when she turned down my offer of a second date in the nicest, wittiest way, my suspicions were confirmed. No hard feelings – well, other than a misinterpretation of some rusty Japanese getting further garbled by an interpreter of questionable English command – but we worked through that, no hard feelings.

Tho I’ll be honest – this one hurt. Just ‘cause when ya find a girl so seemingly perfect for ya, you hate to see her get away – and that before you’ve really had a chance.

Rule 89: Don’t Be Hasty

Sometimes, a date will turn your stomach. Whether they are obnoxious, unpleasant, whatever – sometimes you know you don’t like this person and you never will.

That may’ve been the case here. My language and thoughts can veer coarse – I may’ve offended her somewhere in there (tho I’m pretty sure she woulda let me know – not shy this one). Perhaps some statements came off as braggadocio (tho they were just part of the story, or the point – but who’m I defending myself to?). Maybe I didn’t have the hair she needs, or the abs, or the posture. Maybe the garlic fries I ate the day before were still hanging around. Who knows – who cares, that way lies madness, tastes are unpredictable.

But, if you aren’t having your stomach turned… you really owe it to yourself to let the string play out.

eDating lends itself to disposable dates – and disposable dates don’t go anywhere meaningful. You want to know if someone’s right? It takes more than one meeting to get a good feel for a soul.

And if all you’re looking for is that instant click – well, you’re probably missing good folk. And, worse, you’re tending towards shallow relationships and, often, shallow people. Because, let’s be honest – that instant click is almost entirely about sex appeal. Which is fine and wonderful and all – but there’s a reason sex doesn’t really get good ‘til you’ve had a few rounds with a person.

Sometimes that instant click hits, and it’s overpowering – I’ve been on both ends, and it’s an intoxicating drug.

But it’s not the only one. I’ve seen plenty of folks wonder why they’re solo, when they spend all their time searching out faults first, which leads to easy outs, which leads to loneliness.

Don’t be one of them. Take your time.

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#2: An Open Letter

Alright lads – a little advice, shall we? After talking with many female friends, these things – which seem so obvious – obviously actually need to be said.

When you first contact a lady – don’t expound on the pounding you’re ready to give her. There’s a time for dirty talk – and first email contact is not it. This has, quite simply, never worked in the history of eDating. Ok, maybe somewhere there’s a completely wanton slut who’s ready to spread her legs at the first dirty word she hears. But I’ve never met her – and I know some proudly slutty women. Expecting your clever talk of filling cracks to cause such an act… well, you’ll do better with the lotto.

When you get a ‘No thanks,’ don’t lash back. It’s not like you’re going to convince her that she’s an awful person and you deserve to be the one to take her fruit, thanks to showing her the error of her ways. It’s not like you can convince her that, actually, she is attracted to you. It’s not like she’s waiting for someone to challenge her thru name-calling – that’s how she’ll recognize The One.

Besides – in the cases where the brush-off has nothing to do with you, a gracious moving on will, sometimes, result in her returning your way after some other situation resolves itself. You’ve proven yourself a non-creep by not getting all snippy – which, sadly, seems to be the default response of the rejected men out there.

Hey, if your ego hurts, spill it elsewhere. Yelling at her does no good, and much bad.

When you are actually wronged – beyond the perceived, a concrete slight – don’t pursue it. Move along. It may be tempting to go to shared online forums and talk smack, but trust – this only makes you look bad. You’re hurting your future. Really – it comes down to one thing.

Rule #2 – Don’t Be A Jerk.

Ok, yes, we’ve all been trained by years of seeing the asshole get the girl.

But, guess what? It’s not that he’s an asshole. In fact, the assholic tendencies are merely a symptom of the attractive quality – the confidence. Confidence is so attractive, that women will put up with an asshole to be near it.

But guys – when you think that being an ass is going to get you anywhere – think again. In fact, when you’re doing it out of a place of insecurity – as most yellers do – then you’re giving them twice the reason to reject you. No confidence, and an asshole to boot.

Learn to be fine with the negative – ‘cause you’re fine with yourself. Even if you’re not – practice, eventually your attitude will fit your actions.

There’s no reason to be a jerk. Be funny, be happy, be attractive – but not an asshole. Trust me – the few women who actually are attracted to nasty men are not the kind of women you want anyway. Way too big a headache. You get quality women by being a quality man. Part of that is taking things in stride – not whining to the woman who did it to you.


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#41 – Now This Is A Valentine’s

Well that was an unmitigated disaster. I came in with low expectations, but this…

I definitely started it. Running behind all day – just one of those days – I left with barely enough time to make it. Then, the traffic started. Then more. I send a text to my date, apologizing, explaining I’ll be a bit late.

My phone rings while I’m slowly rolling – lightly pressing the brake, that slow – in the traffic, which of course stops short, which of course I don’t see, checking to see who’s ringing, which – I don’t need to say it at this point – causes me to give a nice love tap to the car in front of me. Barely anything – my car has no damage – but the old cheap plastic bumper of the old cheap car in front of me cracks, splatters a bit… and now it’s a scene.

The passenger comes out and shakes his head. I apologize. I give my insurance info. I give my license plate number, driver’s license number… they insist on sitting in the middle lane, honks all around, the merely-bad traffic becoming gnarled and nasty… eventually I cajole them over to a side road. They insist on getting the police to come for a report. Really? I say. This is a fender bender – you’ve got my info, we’re all set. But they are insistent.

The cop comes. He says you’ve got his info, you’re all set – we don’t do fender benders. Uh-huh, I say. Now it’s the actual time we’re supposed to meet, and I haven’t gotten out of the city.

I – feeling very conflicted – text extremely carefully while heading down there (I pull off), I’m to be unforgivably late, you get a free slap and drink when I arrive. How close are you? she asks. Turns out she’s already made dinner plans for about an hour after we were supposed to meet.

Now, I’m a little tense and annoyed already, but this irks me. A lot. Under the best of circumstances, it would take me 40 minutes there, another 40 back – and she’s slotted me in for an hour, tops, between work and dinner?

In a way, this is better. If I’d fought rush hour traffic down there, had two drinks, and had to turn back around, I’d be pissed. Better this, with me transferring that feeling to the anal-retentive bumpees, right? (UPDATE: They’re suing me for medical damages. They were both fine, but they didn’t wait a day before finding their ambulance-chaser.)

Tho it’s worth mentioning, just as she’s telling me there’s no time left for us to meet, I’m passing a massive crash going the other direction on the freeway. Looks like a detour thru the airport for me. That’s right – driving thru the airport is the fastest way home.

Two hours later, I’ve had my most expensive non-date ever. I think – depends – I haven’t gotten the bill yet.

The good news – she handles it all like a champ, is apologetic over the scheduling snafu, sympathetic about my troubles… even as my texts get slightly snarky and terse.

The bad news – well, the rest of it is bad news. Even my, uh, buddies, holding some treats for me, decided to have it themselves before I could pick it up – so the fun I hoped to pick up on the way home wasn’t around, if ya know what I’m sayin’, wink wink nudge.

Yes, I’m talking about chocolate.

Rule #41: Don’t Fight The World.

Remember how I was talking about needing a break? Well, the world decided to put an exclamation point on it. When you get a message like that – listen. Time for me to sit back and wait for a better stretch – I’m obviously meant to be celibate for a week or three. No worries – good stretches await. Fight the tide, and you tucker yourself out going nowhere.

See that? I said tucker yourself out. The world definitely wants me to have that break.

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#12: Surviving Valentine’s

Today, it is that most cruelest of holidays, Valentine’s. The holiday that isn’t, and yet still manages to depress around 90% of the population.

Do I have a date? Yes, I do. With a girl I’ve never met who proposed it herself, as a way of spitting in the face of ol’ Saint Valentine, the guy removed from the liturgy in ‘69 because no one has a clue who he was. (Ain’t the internet great?)

Do I have high expectations? No, not really. First – well, first dates with someone you’ve never met rarely lead to second dates – less than half the time I’d say, too many interlocking as-yet-unseen pieces have to fit. Second, she lives in another city – yes, it’s nearby, it’s an easy jaunt down there, relatively speaking – but still. Things’d better be pretty tight to warrant a continuing thing in this case. Third, expectations are dangerous things.

But mostly, right now, I’m in a low rut. This is a common problem for most edaters I know. Frustration sets in at some point, and you just want to stop. It can be sparked by one particular thing – like an email from a lady sayin’ no thanks – pleasant kisses or no, she doesn’t find you attractive, as is my case at the moment. Doesn’t matter if she wasn’t that attractive to you – in fact, that makes it worse! She should be so lucky, you think.

There can be any other number of triggers: A string of unsuccessful dates. A string of ugly dates (body, mind, spirit – they all pretty much lead to the same kinda ugly as you get to know a person). The frustration that comes from the invisible levels we all subconsciously set for ourselves, and the exhausting numbers game of finding someone who is acceptable to you and you to them.

Or just general fatigue – it’s all about an injured, quivering ego that doesn’t want to face shortcomings again, even if they’re just imagined. Especially if they’re just imagined – nothing can be done about them. Whatever it is, most everyone who enters this game will feel it sometime. There’s only one thing to do.

Rule #12: Soldier On

Smash your head into that wall again – one day, it’ll break. (Which did you think I meant – the head or the wall? Ok – now you know where you are in the process, friend.)

But it might not be a bad idea to take a little rest and marshal your strength. Me, I’m going to Atlanta for a week to visit family, and a brand new niece – my first. First of the next generation at all, in fact. Should be a pretty great, rejuvenating thing. Then I’m going to a chainsaw carving festival in the wilds of Pennsyltucky. Throughout these trips, I’ll flirt with ladies, I’m sure – but nothing beyond keeping the skills sharp.

Yes, when the edating world kicks you a little – and it will, most folks I know get kicked hard at some point – any endeavor that involves the heart you’re getting kicked some time, deal with it – just draw deep, see if there’s something to be learnt (I try not to blame others for problems, but instead see what my half was… I said TRY), balance yourself again, and back out you go.

A few things to remember: This happens to everyone – no, there’s nothing particularly wrong with you – tho maybe you have a complex jigsaw piece, or have set your standards too high, decide during convalescence – taste is an odd thing and it’s impossible to know someone else’s until you test it – and you’re perfect for someone out there.

No, I don’t mean that in the Hallmark way. I mean it in the scientific way – there are millions of eligible available to you, and they’ve all got their own predilections – and for a number of them, those predilections will fit you like a glove. Hopefully, yours will fit them too –if not, try on the next one. Unless you’re so wonderful that they’d use you to play you in the tv series about how wonderful you are, it’ll probably take awhile. That’s alright. Give up, and you’re doomed to be the cat lady, or the creepy guy in the Aloha shirt at the strip club.

So, just remember your deep breaths, and keep at it. I’ve been hearing a lot of frustration from friends in these long dark days of what should be frigid temps – damn you erratic global warming weather, hitting us with spring on V Day, that’s just cruel – and yes, this is one of the hardest stretches right now. But spring is just around the corner. It might be here already (in which case, wow have we fucked up). Just be ready for it – that’s all you can do.

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#49: The Bondage One

‘How do you feel about gasmasks?’

‘I love them! I wore one at my last private party!’

‘Put this on.’

Let’s be clear: I had been stood up. Second time in two days, actually – making up for the plethora of women last week – but, both were first dates, this is wholly expected.

The first, she’d gotten to a point of needing some sort of romantic resolution with a man – maybe I’ll see her later, who knows. We did get along well – scary well, no way I coulda kept that up – a sardonic solace there.

But the second lady, she had a friend to help. Said in such a way, it can sound like anything – an emotional crisis, a stranding, anything.

No worries – I knew she was polyamorous. (I toldja Baltimore is full of ‘em.) Don’t think she said it explicitly in her profile, but had that ‘Available’ tag reserved for the taken but not. I wasn’t looking for anything serious here, but perhaps just a little diverting fun.

Then she let’s drop – actually, I’m being stood up for a fetish event. And I’m welcome to come – it’s at the Hustler Club.

I debate a bit – but not really, know me you know I jump at the chance to try things – end up, 8 or 9 that night, sitting amongst an eclectic group of leather and suits.

My ‘date’ sends someone to fetch me – turns out she’s not allowed to leave her post, she’s a sub for the night. I’m standing talking with her for a bit, say ‘We can sit down,’ but she says no, she can’t – but I can, enjoy the show.

No sooner have we gotten the briefest of salutations out of the way, she’s being hogtied on a booth and shocked with a wand. The Dom makes her hold the thing, creating a current – a number of us run our hands along her flesh, creating surface static – strong enough my hand is tingling for 10, 20 minutes afterwards. Her evening’s Dom hovers, nearly kissing her, as blue charges jump from her mouth to his. This is not a usual first date.

After, she’s buzzing. She tries to talk, but can’t really. Eventually, just as she’s coming down and approaching normalcy, she gets tied again – this time to an x cross, topless, with switches and whips flogging her body.

Now, everyone involved in this strip club event was friendly – but I definitely was apart. I spent most of the time ignored, since I wasn’t part of the festivities – just watching.

And while I learned some facts about my ‘date’ – which the writer in me wants to talk about, but the human in me wants to conceal, she might like her privacy – I didn’t ever really meet her last night. She was in another state – high on adrenaline, cozying with one or another member of the group, and taking her brief moments of lucidity to her phone to keep the rest of life in order.

The fetishes were no doubt interesting – the candle show (that one poured hot wax down the ass crack, and into her mouth)… the dominatrix (if I hadn’t talked earlier with the little cute thing bent over the horse, getting paddled and clamped in the worst(?) of places, I would swear she was suffering and bearing, not lividly loving)… the conflicted strippers – enjoying the show, loving the play, whipping select customers, a little resentful of all the attention they lost – and, people, I lived in Thailand a year, I wasn’t being shocked here.

But, all the same, the whole night I felt the outsider. Even the strippers didn’t come with their usual honey traps, assuming I was with the fetish group. I spent long stretches sitting alone, staring at tits. Ok, it wasn’t so bad.

But will I ever see the lady again? Who knows – I feel like I’ve yet to meet her – or maybe I met the real her, and it’d be awkward to see her clothed, talking of the nose on that burgundy.

Or maybe I’ve seen her deepest corners, and instead of tensing at that thought, she’ll relax and gush forth – well, as much as someone else’s wife who loves playing with everyone can.

That doesn’t really matter tho. Here’s the point: While the night was fun, and a great way to get to know someone better… it was an awful way to get to know someone from the first.

Rule #49: Don’t Get Fancy

Listen, I love a good date idea. The wilder and more interesting, the better. But, if the idea is SO great that it steals the show, and gives you no chance to get to know a person… well, it’s not much better than going to the movies. Save that for folk you already know a bit – when you’re still in the who-are-you stage, keep it simple. Have something in your hand – a mug, a fork, a wine glass– and a space quiet enough to talk. That’s really all you need.

Everything else just gets in the way. And if you can’t captivate each other now, when every story is fresh and your quirks remain charming, then disguising that in an acrobatics class isn’t going to help. Get to the point – then get zany. And never stop being zany, at that.

That’s great advice. I’ll never follow it – the next time someone says I’m standing you up to jump out of a plane, I’ll grab a ‘chute – but, don’t be like me, kiddies! Be sane! Your fortune will be better – trust.


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#66: Don’t be greedy

Well, I’ve been slammed. This is always a danger – folks you meet online tend to flake out at a higher rate, so when I’m on a streak, I tend to slightly overbook, knowing that should get me a pretty comfortable number of dates.

And then, suddenly, no one cancels, and you’re in trouble. I wound up with 4 dates or date-like entities (long stories) in a 3-day period. My head was spinning for awhile there – I barely had time to write little flirty missives to anyone. A nice self-regulating mechanism, by the way.

One of those quickly turned ‘round to a second date – which confirmed this, this wasn’t going anywhere. We ended the evening arguing whether a sense of community could exist without a religious basis. (I kept trying to steer the conversation away from such things – really? Can’t I just be funny and charming this early date? You really have to run through your checklists on me? I don’t like checklists.)

Another will soon be a second date – and that one, that’s the bisexual polyamorous girl who lives with her butch life partner – and her life partner’s other life partner, her sister wife, she was often referencing Big Love – who is being taught to be a contortionist, roller derbied a few years, stripped a few months to knock out credit card debt…

Poly, she might be quite fun, but likely not a long-term stop. Still, Baltimore has a thriving polyamorous sub-culture – lotta artists in Baltimore these days – I’d be foolish to ignore ‘em. They make this journey more interesting, as I wait to lose my socks to the right lady.

I could go on, but here’s the point – I was very nearly exhausted by it all. Keeping all stories straight, remembering the names of friends I’d never met, tracking which lady I had what inside joke with – my plate was full.

And yet, my first night off, I went out on the town with friends, and at a bar, stuffed as I mighta been, I couldn’t turn it off. I wanted to flirt with every pretty girl, get every number, just keep it going like I’d never stop.

But that’s the problem. I never would stop. So I mostly talked with my friends – got yelled at by the bartender for celebrating pool shots a bit too loudly – and laid back.

Rule #66: Don’t be greedy.

There’s a very delicate balance you have to strike in the online dating world. Go too slow, and you wind up getting overly attached to long shots – all dates are, in the end, long shots for anything truly lasting, that’s why you need so many. Get overly attached, you wind up driving people away.

BUT! Go too fast, too hard, and you destroy your ability to connect in any meaningful way. Hey – that’s fine for some folk. If you’re in a wild-oats stage, or just want to forget a heartbreak, whatever – if you don’t want anything serious, then see as many as can, as often as you can.

If, however, you are looking for something more meaningful, then the balance is tough. Too few, it’ll probably take forever to find the right one, and you’ll press ‘em even if you do find ‘em. Too many, and you will never get past the fuck stage with any – because there’s another round the corner.

You want the baby bear porridge (which I’d normally say is two first dates a week – for me at least). Lose sight of your final goals, you’ll get lost in the game.

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