Did the Date Go Good or Bad?

I found this wise and interesting response to Captain Awkward’s ‘It came from the search terms’ regular spot. This is her answer to the question of how to assess a date after the event. At first I found it odd that we’d have to ask, but then I realised that we never know another person’s perspective or the view from inside their mind, which leads to the guessing games we all know from dating . Read on if you dare!

CA says: This is a great question. You can’t control whether another person will like you, so after a date ask yourself:

  • Did I enjoy myself?
  • Was I relaxed and comfortable with this person?
  • Could I be myself around this person?
  • Did the conversation flow?
  • Did I feel like the other person was on my team, helping the date go smoothly and laughing gently at any awkward moments? Or did the awkward silences turn into awkward chasms on the edge of the awkward abyss?
  • Did the other person seem at ease and comfortable with me?
  • Was the actual time we spent together fun/enjoyable/comfortable/pleasurable?
  • Was it as good as spending time alone doing something enjoyable or with a good friend or do I wish I’d just spent the evening at home?
  • Was I bored? Checked out? Apprehensive?
  • Was it easy to make plans?
  • Do I feel like the person was listening/paying attention/engaged?
  • (If kissing is a thing you’re interested in) Can I picture myself kissing them?
  • Am I looking forward to hanging out again?
  • Were there any red flags?*

If the date went well for you, where you enjoyed yourself and felt good, ask the person for another date. The rest is up to the other person.

If you can get in the habit of checking in with yourself about your own comfort and enjoyment levels during and after dates, even a “meh” date can be useful because you’ll know more about yourself and what you’re looking for.

Below is a bonus list of some of my personal First Date red flags from back in the day when I bravely put on clean shirts and lip gloss and met strangers from the Internet for drinks:

  • Was the person I was meeting generally congruent with the person presented on the dating site and during any prior conversations? If you’re “single” on the dating site and suddenly “planning to get divorced btw we still live together and no one at work knows we’re separated so I’d appreciate your discretion” when we meet, if you’re 28 in all your dating site photos and 58 in person…it’s not going to work.
  • Did the person monologue the whole time?
  • Did I feel like I was monologuing the whole time at someone who just shyly stared at me and nodded? (The Silent Type is a great type and it may be your type but experience tells me it’s not mine).
  • Did I feel like I was an unpaid nonconsensual therapist while someone shared everything about their life?
  • Did the person constantly talk about their ex and exes?
  • Was literally everything they said a complaint about someone or something?
  • Were these complaints at least funny and entertaining?
  • In these complaints was nothing ever their responsibility? Was it just a long list of Ways I Have Been Wronged By Others with a subtext of Surely You Have A Duty To Not Disappoint Me Like Everyone Else Has (Now That You Know My Tale of Woe)?
  • Ugh, mansplaining, especially politics or philosophy, how movies get made, the “authenticity” of whatever food we were eating, the makeup and history of the neighborhood where I lived and they did not …
  • Talking during movies. No.
  • Taking me to some sort of performance and then critiquing how much it sucks into my ear in real time. No.
  • Overfamiliarity, over-investment.I can’t wait to introduce you to my son, he’s going to love you!
  • Overdoing innuendo and sex talk too soon, like, “I just got a new bed, it’s very comfortable, you’ll have to come test it out with me later heh heh.
  • Overdoing it with the touching. If dinner and a movie remind me of how my cat likes to constantly crawl all over me and make annoying biscuits everywhere it’s too much touching!
  • Negging of all sorts, especially “I don’t usually date ________, but you seem really cool.
  • Constant contact, expecting constant texts/calls/emails before we’ve even met in person, all up in my social media biz, “liking” every single photo/comment going back through the archives. It feels good to be seen and not so good to be ‘surveilled’.
  • Neediness  – We literally just met, so, surely there is someone else in your life who can drive you home from dental surgery or hold your hand while you put your dog to sleep or fly home with you to your father’s funeral or weigh in with you about whether you should accept this job offer?
  • Casual, ‘ironic’ sexist or racist comments, dropping code sentences like “I hate all the political correctness these days, I feel like I can’t say anything.
  • Bringing your feature screenplay to the date for me to read.
(Note that the bold text shows the most common experiences for me!)

Your Mileage May Vary, as the great saying goes. My list doesn’t look like anyone else’s and I may have had stuff on there that is not necessarily a problem in itself or not a problem for you, or where there are exceptions to be made. It’s not meant to be universal and it’s about compatibility with you vs. any one thing being Good or Bad.

I developed [the list] over time by paying attention to what made me feel good, comfortable, safe, relaxed, happy, excited and what made me feel the opposite.I stopped asking people “Is this normal/cool/okay thing when you date?” and started asking “Am I good with this?” and “Am I delighted by this?” Those experiences (and the decision to be picky about second and third dates) helped me avoid some entanglements that would have been fleeting at best and draining at worst, and it helped me know “Just Right” when I saw it.

We focus so much on the auditioning aspect of dating – Am I good enough?

Does the other person like me back? – that our own comfort and needs and pleasure can get lost right when we need them most.

It was a good date if you enjoyed yourself and felt good and did your best to be kind and considerate. It was a bad date if you didn’t enjoy yourself. Whether a good date will lead to another one is up to more than just you.

Thanks to Captain Awkward at https://captainawkward.com/category/dating/page/3/

What Not to Expect From Online Dating

Don’t Expect Too Much

Don’t expect truth and honesty, simplicity and easy silences, satisfying sex and ready-made intimacy, trust and transparency, straight-forward, no-games relationships. Do these qualities or destinations even exist?

Don’t expect to meet your match immediately. Don’t expect people to be true to their word. Don’t expect someone to show up at the time and place you’ve agreed to meet. Don’t expect someone to share their surname, or even their first name or phone number – for a while at least.

Don’t expect him to be monogamous, or her to be direct. Or vice versa. Don’t expect to be believed, honoured, appreciated or adored. Start with a blank canvass, reduce your expectations and then you won’t be disappointed. Expect the unexpected. Revel in the unknown. Explore your inner adventurer. Embrace opportunity.

I’m not going to lie to you about what this blog is and is not.

If you want to live vicariously through fluffy fantasy or saucy tell-all stories, or you’re searching for a simple, loose-ends-tied, neat and cheesy ending, this blog is not going to satisfy you. There’s no sugar coating here. There are blunt, difficult, confronting subjects butted right up against heartbreak, desire and soaring emotional highs.

And an awful lot of confusion.

I’m not here to dispense advice or paint myself as an expert. I won’t be telling you how to get laid, or how to increase your hit rate on a dating app. I’m clearly not expert at anything other than being authentically myself. Not that long ago, I was just an online dating virgin on a quest to enjoy life and give it my best shot.

I Gave Online Dating a Go for 3 Main Reasons

Firstly, as my colleague pointed out that day in the Asian diner, I wasn’t going to meet anyone new by sitting at home. I have little or no opportunity to meet men in any other way, in more traditional ways, if they even exist these days.

I’m beginning to think that these other avenues are no longer present in society. Research has shown that 61% of adults who have tried online dating say that it’s easier and more efficient than other ways of meeting people. I’m also a single parent in a small-ish city. My workplace or my children’s schools seem unlikely to deliver a person-of-interest. I love the way my life is so full but the downside is finding actual time to ‘date’ or meet men.

Secondly, online dating filled a niche for me and provided a world of opportunity. I need to insert a disclaimer at this point and make it clear that most of my dates were conducted in the day time. This does change the dynamic and also prevents some issues that can come up at night.

Thirdly, I wasn’t looking for Mr Right. Prince Charming was not on my agenda. I wasn’t even sure whether I was looking for anything. One thing was for certain, after a couple of decades in a monogamous marriage, I wasn’t looking to replicate the experience any time soon. I’ve heard that this attitude is not uncommon among ‘cougars’ online. In many ways, we are the antithesis of the stereotype often found in the media of the ‘desperate’ woman over 40!

We are looking for fun, on our terms.

As you read my stories, you might wonder why I haven’t just given it all up – decide to become a hermit who’s best friends with her vibrator. At times, the idea is tempting but I have stuck with it through thick and thin. I have been prepared to take the good with the bad, and to learn from and enjoy each interaction and experience as part of my journey as a human being.

In many ways, I’d led a sheltered life after being married so young. A couple of decades later, I was determined to live as fully and mindfully as my circumstances allowed me.
And I’ve certainly had a collection of mixed experiences, ideas and emotions that, together, offer a contrary narrative to the poplar ideal – the conventional story of Finding Love On The Internet.

‘Love’ by whatever name we give it, whether it’s romantic love, lust, affection, adoration, desire, infatuation and so on, drives so much of human behaviour and interaction. We all want some of it, we all want a taste and some of us want to live and breathe it and never let it go. Some of us want only the one bite, and others want to salivate lasciviously over the potential for sexual gluttony.

Wherever we feel we might sit on the spectrum will usually change as we live our lives. And I want some of it, in the name of life experience if nothing else.