As a single female in my mid-twenties, living in New York City, the dating scene is a little unique. First dates are actually pretty easy to come by. In fact, sometimes, dating feels like a part-time job in itself.
But why is getting the second date so impossible? It’s not because I haven’t been asked, or my schedule is too packed with other commitments – but it’s because I am, quite possibly, one of the pickiest people on this planet. As in, I’ll find the most irrelevant point and use it as the main reason for why nothing will ever continue past date number one.
- It’s the kind of date he suggests. This can depend on the location, or what kind of event his chooses, without considering any external factors. I once went on a date with a guy who suggested we go check out a rooftop bar. Cool, right? Yes, out of context. When I add in that it was (a) raining and (b) in Murray Hill, you might change your stance. If not, allow me to elaborate. When I double-checked that the plans were still intact, he said “yeah, it’s supposed to stop raining soon”. OKAY BUT IT IS, IN FACT, STILL CURRENTLY RAINING. And I had just finished straightening my hair. So we go up to the roof, see that there is about a foot of it covered by a tarp, and get hit sideways by rain. I finally get aggravated enough to ask if we can go grab something to eat, because I also just came from spin class and had nothing to eat before chugging my vodka. So he wanted to walk around and find someplace (remember, STILL raining) about eight blocks away. Why? Because he lived there. So glad it was convenient for him.
- It’s his height. I know, I know – that isn’t everything. Which, is why I (usually) don’t immediately run away if he’s too short for me. I’ve dated guys who are shorter than me in the past, and – not that this was the sole reason, but – it didn’t work out. He would get insecure when I put heels on, because I was taller than him, or I would resent him for having to plan my wardrobe around flats. I’m not some sort of giant over here, I’m actually pretty average for my age – so says my doctor (I wonder if these guys are considered below average? I should look into that). All I’m asking is to still feel like a petite woman when I’m around a guy I’m dating.
- It’s his stature. I’ve been known to like a guy who can put up some weight. And I, personally, really enjoy working out in my spare time. Not that I require washboard abs and killer biceps, but I don’t want to feel like I’m the only one who cares about breaking a sweat, or knows what a dumbbell is.
- It’s the approach he takes when we first meet. Did he just formally shake my hand? Did he just hug for too long? Did he try to dive in for a kiss? This is supposed to set the tone for the date – not make me feel all formal and uptight about our current situation. I get it, first dates can be awkward. But so can shaking hands. So let’s pass over that, okay? A nice and friendly kiss on the cheek can cover all of the bases at first interaction, and make for a much smoother transition into the evening.
- It’s the way he reacts to me. I talk a big game, I’m fairly confident, and I am very outgoing. If a guy can’t handle that, or acts very passive, I’m totally turned off. On one date, I wore my little LBD, had my legs highlighted as the feature presentation, and my body language was focused on him. So, when his arm accidentally fell off the table and his hand grazed my leg, things were looking up. Until, however, he immediately panicked and pulled his arm away completely. How many times do I need to touch his shoulder for him to understand that a little bit of physical affection was okay? If he gets that awkward with a hand-on-leg situation, I don’t want to know what else makes him get awkward – or what level of awkward that may be.
- It’s his characteristics, traits, and/or mannerisms. To just completely lay it out there, I’ve been on too many dates where the guy giggles like a little school girl. GIGGLES. What is that? Thanks for making me feel like I’m funny, but stop it. I have also been way too close to uncontrolled saliva. If they spit, I’m out – point-blank, thanks for playing. My last point here, because I could go on for days, is to follow my lead with drinks. If I am ordering vodka or whiskey on the rocks, maybe you don’t order the sangria? That’s not really manly, if you ask me. And, HUGE negative points if your two sangrias have your slurring all over me. Fail.
- It’s his attention span. It’s bad enough that we’re all glued to our smartphones every second of every day, but on a date? Come on. Put it away for a few, will you? I don’t want to feel like I’m already in competition with whatever it is that he finds fascinating, or whatever it is that clearly can’t wait until the date is over, on his phone. I once had a guy keep the phone on his lap while we sat at the bar, and keep checking it every two seconds. It got so bad that I asked him if he needed to get in touch with someone. No, of course he didn’t. And don’t even get me started on the tv. Reschedule if it’s a “big game”.
- It’s his closing game. There are two pieces to this: the getting home aspect, and the goodnight kiss. If we’re talking the former, no you’re not staying over. Sorry, but I have enough self-respect to make you hold out at least a few more dates. If we’re talking the latter, then you should have survived puberty and had this handled by now. Don’t attack my face; don’t lick me; don’t use your tongue like a boa constrictor, please. Spare me the pain and agony, and just lightly (this is the key word here) peck my cheek if you can’t handle anything more.
- It’s his follow-up. Most of the time, I’ll go days without hearing a peep. Which is fine, since I’m well-known for getting claustrophobic from back-to-back texts. However, common decency is acknowledging that the date was fun. So if it’s been a few days and you fell off the face of the earth? Chances are, unless you did something exceptional during the date, I’ve written you off completely. This also means that I’m not answering your booty call texts from here on out – one date does not give you the right to blow up my phone at 3am on Saturday night.
- It’s his over-confidence level. If the first date went well, it’s pretty common that communication continues from there. Again, usually via text. Fine. However, having a successful date can sometimes build up his self-esteem to a level that’s unacceptable. On the first date, he’s on his best behavior. Once he knows he passed Go, he may present an entirely new person you’re dealing with. All of a sudden he feels comfortable texting sexual innuendos and straight-up asking you to come over for a night session. My goodness, I’m not sure what’s wrong with me…your presumptuous and tacky approach to peak my interest just didn’t cut it, bro.
I’m not asking for Ryan Gosling. Heck, maybe I am. Heck, I’ll probably find flaws in him, too. Maybe this is my defense mechanism for keeping my distance. Maybe I’m subconsciously aware that I’m not ready to dive in deep just yet. But, I do know what I don’t want – which (hopefully) will make it extremely obvious when I find out what it is that I do want. And, hopefully, when that time comes, they will ask me on a second date.
By Jessica Coleman