“You’re buying [next time] since you made me put on pants and do my hair, right?” I texted, attaching a selfie.
“Absolutely! You’re so gorgeous,” Jake replied.
I put my phone down and sighed. I’d just spent 90 minutes on my First Date Fabulosity Routine, only to have my date, Jake, bail at the last minute.
“I had to run my roommate to urgent care. Kidney pain apparently. Doing okay, on meds now but still stuck here. I feel so bad!” he had explained.
I took his word for it, and we rescheduled for the following Tuesday. In the meantime, he texted daily. When Tuesday morning rolled around, Jake wrote,
“Another belt snapped on my car last night.”
“So it sounds like we should postpone,” I replied, not wanting a repeat of last week, where I sat alone on my couch with perfect hair.
I debated throwing in the towel, clicking over to Jake’s Hinge profile. Dammit, he’s really cute.
“So now that your car is back in action, should we try this again?? Third time is the charm?” I texted the next day.
“Yeah! Tomorrow night? I have an orientation tomorrow morning and don’t want to be groggy.”
“Tomorrow works for me!”
In the early afternoon [on the next day], I texted,
“Hi! How did orientation go? Just confirming plan for this evening. …5? At [a food truck lot]?”
“We just finished, 5 might be a bit too early. I’d like to take a shower and all that when I get home.”
“No problem – just let me know what time works for you!”
Since I had the green light, I hopped in the shower around 4pm and began the plucking/curling/poofing/pulling [on tight pants] routine.
“I’m pretty nervous to be honest,” Jake wrote at 4:30pm.
He wasn’t the first guy to admit this and I responded with my usual reassurance.
“Aw really? I’m really chatty and bubbly and have lots of great (terrible) dating stories and I ask lots of (easy) questions if that helps. As long as you don’t show me YouTube clips of you surgically removing your big toenails or say that you have an alien blood type that doesn’t get COVID*, you’ll be golden. *based on true stories.”
“The f*ckkk,” he wrote back.
“See? Nothing to worry about.”
“I’m still nervous.”
“Well then let’s get you a beer, stat.”
“I’ve still gotta shower… Had a little [outdoor ski] fun [after the orientation]. Just got home.”
I looked at the clock. It was 5pm, so I figured I had an hour to kill and poured a small glass of wine. My phone binged again.
“I hate to even ask this but I’d do the same time tomorrow at [the same food truck lot].”
I stared at my phone in disbelief, a series of possible responses flying through my head. What came out was,
When he didn’t reply right away, I added, “What happened?”
“Just not feeling it right now,” Jake said.
I felt heat rise from my neck to my face. Is. He. F@&%#. Kidding. Me?!?! I immediately started texting my friends. A few minutes later, my phone sounded again.
“Nothing personal, just not feeling like drinks and people,” Jake added. It was now 5:19pm.
I thought of a hundred different responses – all of the things I wanted him to know about how inconsiderate, selfish, and hurtful this was. I wanted to tell him how many times I sucked it up and SHOWED UP -for dates, concerts, work events, birthday parties, bridal showers- when I wasn’t “feeling it.” How many times I was dying on the inside, but smiled, asked questions, and tried to make the other person feel valued. This guy couldn’t put on pants, drive seven minutes away, and spend 90 minutes letting a cute blonde carry the conversation? After already bailing twice? To make matters worse, he’d even had a glimpse into my beautification process after the first time he’d bailed.
As my mind raced with potential replies, I realized the best thing I could do was simply unmatch him on Hinge and archive our text message thread. Any of my emotional responses would just make me look like as much of an asshat as he did.
There’s a reason I love having a blog.
And thus, I give to you:
Thanks to the wonderful women [of all ages and marital statuses] who shared their utterly badass advice. We hope you’ll pay it forward and pass this along (and share your own advice in the comments section)!
Men, please do the following: 1) Be on time. 2) Do what you say you’re going to do. 3) Be kind. 4) Know yourself (as in, don’t string me along if you know we aren’t a match).” -Lora L.
Be honest, be yourself, don’t play it too cool (i.e., three day waiting period on follow up communication). If looking for a relationship, give reasonable time to get to know a person before rushing to judgment, but be upfront about not being into the other person so you don’t waste their time. Oh, and come with your own condoms. (I would tell the woman to always have her own, too.) Get your junk checked between partners. And expect to be asked.” -Anonymous
Advice for men dating women in their forties: Forty-something women generally have their shit together and have low tolerance for men who are not self aware. Bring your best self and we are good to go. :)” Signed, Jen O.
1. Don’t show up in sweatpant shorts on the first date 2. Don’t cry about your ex on the first date 3. Be funny 4. Ask your date questions 5. Clip your fingernails 6. Dont say offensive things like “trump is a gift from heaven” or “COVID isn’t real” unless you are certain the other person feels the same way 7. Don’t talk about how much you miss living with your mother 8. Learn to play the guitar 9. Be open to new experiences 10. Show kindness to animals and waitstaff 11. No whining or complaining on the first date 12. Don’t flake when you make plans unless there is a bonafide reason 13. Don’t say you’ll call/text when you have no intent to do so 14. View dating as an adventure and have fun with it! 15. Meet in a public place in case she’s a psycho 16. Don’t be clueless, learn to read social cues 18. Do not, under any circumstance, send a Dick pic unless clearly requested.” –Pam @ I Choose This
As some f&@&* questions. Don’t make her carry the conversation. Be more interested than attempting to be interesting.” -Taryn D.
Don’t misrepresent yourself. Don’t paint yourself in the light that you think the woman wants to see, so that you seem perfectly compatible. Be honest about who you are. She’ll find out anyway.” –Donna Rubin Design
1) Don’t put photos of your children on your dating profile. They have rights to privacy. 2) Asking questions about your date’s interests, hobbies, skills, family, life, thoughts, etc. is a nice, human thing to do and shows you’re interested. 3) I feel like a bad feminist for saying it, but pay. Pay for the first round. It shows respect. 4) We don’t care how many animals you have killed. We don’t want to see the dead fish pic. 5) Is it time to get sexy? Make sure she comes first. Period. If I just want you to pound out my sadness, I’ll tell you. Otherwise, I prefer real, reciprocal sex.” -Anne K.
1) If you know what you’re looking for, be upfront about it. The worst we can say is no. But, isn’t it better to be on the same page? It’s definitely a dick move to pretend to be looking for something more serious when you really just want to hit it and quit it. There are people out there of all genders looking for anything from one night stands to long term monogamy…find the one that wants what you want! 2) It’s okay not to know what you want. But be honest about it and/or try to practice some impulse control and take things slow until you figure it out. 3) Consent is sexy…informed consent is sexier. Have the conversations about birth control, protection, and STI testing. And (obviously!) be respectful about boundaries there. 4) Don’t be afraid to start the conversation. I don’t remember the last time a man I dated initiated any conversation on the above topics. It’s exhausting to always have to be the one to bring these conversations up! I would hope that -even if we’re just banging one out and going our separate ways- that you would care that I don’t get hurt emotionally or physically. It’s just basic human to human decency and dignity. 5) If someone (doesn’t matter if it’s your wife or one night stands) sends you the gift of a nude, UNLESS SHE EXPLICITLY TELLS YOU TO SHOW THE WORLD, you keep it to yourself! I want you to see my tits – not your weird best friend!” -Allie D.
Don’t lie about your height.” -Anonymous
Be clear about your intentions and feelings. If you intend on just having sex and not getting emotionally involved, say so. A dick such honesty does not make. The dick move is in making us think you’re interested in an emotional connection and over time hurting us by not giving it. Also, be willing to pay. Unless your date is clearly in a better paying job than you (which statistically is unlikely), the person who makes more should be willing to pay more. Since that is likely you, respect our plight with glass ceilings throughout time and plan to pay. Lastly, respond to messages within 24 hours and include a reciprocating question or follow-up item. Stop assuming women will lead every bit of a conversation. It’s exhausting.” -Shawna W.
The first word that came to mind was respect. I don’t know if I’d say ‘treat your date with the same respect as you would your mom,’ but something like that.
Respect covers a whole lot of things like honesty, being on time, knowing how to listen, and not talking about weird stuff or your ex (at least not at the beginning, unless it’s really funny, then maybe). Hygiene does come in a very close second, though. Maybe even that comes under respect; respect yourself enough to take care of your body and think about how that will impact your date.” -Babs S.
It all just boils down to: be nice and don’t be a jackass.” -Anonymous
1. We don’t need you, so calm down. 2. Manners go a LONG way. 3. We don’t want a mental dump of your life, let’s start with your favorite food. 4. If something turns you off on the first date, we feel it too, so be honest. RED FLAGS: 1. Mentioning a bad relationship w your family, it is fine if it exists, but let’s not jump to what Christmas w the in laws could turn into on our 1st date. 2. Disrespectful behavior while out on said date (rude to waitstaff, impatience, etc.). 3. Odors…. In general…. A shower and scrub is always needed pre-date. 4. DO NOT BATHE in your cologne. Things that are well received: 1. Genuine smiles. 2. Sharing of stories, letting the convo go where it goes. 3. Showing a picture of your fur baby (if you have one). 4. Talking about something you have passion for (hiking, outdoors, photography, your work, etc.). -Dorothy Z.
Buy (at least) the First Round
Be Upfront About Your Intentions
Help Drive the Conversation
As for my advice, well… here’s what I would have said to Jake [if I’d thought he’d have been receptive to feedback]:
As someone in her late 30s who’s been married and dated a fair bit, perhaps I can impart some wisdom from down the road so you don’t miss another opportunity with another amazing woman: If you’re absolutely forced to cancel on a woman (whether it’s at the last minute or not), do everything in your power to make it up to her. She has likely arranged her entire day around meeting you and put extra effort into looking nice. If you’re lucky enough to have the chance to try again, show up with bells on. In the initial dating stages, don’t ever, EVER tell her you’re ‘just not feeling it’ when you have plans to hang out. She’ll have put her cutest outfit on, done her hair, and been ready to carry the conversation; the least you can do is show up. Canceling last minute, no matter the reason, conveys selfishness and inconsideration – hardly the hallmarks of a stand-up guy. If she has any self-respect whatsoever, you’ll send her running for the hills. Best of luck, [Jake]. I’m sure you’re a great guy and smart enough not to make the same mistake tw- ah, four times.”
Really, though? I think it all boils down to this:
Figure out how to make her feel safe and seen, and she’ll gift you with her whole self.
What’s your advice?