Check Your Baggage, Please

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If you had to sum up your worst date ever in one sentence, what would it be?

Here’s mine: I made a girl cry on the first date.

How does one accomplish this exhilarating feat, you ask? Let me tells ya….

My first date with “Monica” was actually one of the most fun dates I’d ever been on (well, up to the point where I made her cry). We had met through a mutual friend, and when I called her a few days later, we chatted for almost an hour before we decided that we might as well go out to dinner. After dinner, we headed to a local bar, where we laughed over cocktails for several more hours. I felt like I could talk to her all night, and she seemed to feel the same way.

Towards the end of the evening, she put her arm around me, furrowed her eyebrows pensively, then asked, “do you wanna go see a movie or something?”

Seeing as how it was 11:30 PM on a Tuesday night, I responded that it was probably too late to see a movie, but we could watch a DVD back at my place. She liked the idea, so we headed out.

Once we got in my car, though, she had a change of heart.

“You know what? It’s getting kind of late. Maybe you should just take me home.”

“Aw, really?”

Not wanting to reveal the disappointment in my voice, I instead launched into “smart-ass mode.” This is where I cleverly and charmingly rebutted every reason she had for calling it a night. (Okay, fine. In my mind, at least, I was being clever and charming.)

“Ya know, I have to be at work before you even have to be awake tomorrow morning.”

“Oh, come on. You’re sounding like a chick. I thought you said you weren’t the ‘chickish’ type.”

“Never underestimate the power of caffeine!”

As we bantered back and forth, she was smiling the entire time. So, she seemed to be enjoying herself. Besides, I figured she’d notice that I was driving back to her place, not mine. And so, I continued the playful—or so I thought—ribbing.

All of a sudden, she burst into tears.

“Why does it always end up like this? Why can’t a guy just drop me off and kiss me and say goodnight? If we go back to your place, you know we’re not gonna watch the movie. We’re gonna be messing around all night, and before we know it, it’ll be six o’clock in the morning, I won’t have gotten any sleep, and I’ll be completely useless at work!”

Whoa. This was definitely not the reaction I was hoping my charm would elicit. Regroup! Regroup!

Inside my mental huddle, I went through a quick checklist:

Did I have fun tonight? Absolutely.

 

Do I want to continue hanging out with her? Certainly.

 

Am I hoping to “get some”? Umm… okay, sure. But, honestly, I only suggested coming back to my place because she wanted to see a movie at 11:30 PM on a weeknight.

 

Okay, so did I come on too strong? Hmm. I don’t think so. Dude, what the hell just happened?!?

Still bewildered, I unleashed a torrent of backpedaling, dousing every accusation she made with some variety of, “I’m sorry, that’s not what I meant.”

That seemed to calm her down somewhat. Between sobs, she eventually admitted that she always seemed to date guys who would hook up with her and never call again.

Great. I guess this means I have to be her friend tonight.

I did my best to convince Monica that I actually liked her and just didn’t want the night to end. Finally, she stopped crying. At that moment, though, a new thought spring into my head.

Hey, wait a minute! Was it fair of her to assume that I was just trying to get laid?

My sympathy erupted into frustration. And boy, did I give her several pieces of my mind.

“Fine! I get that you thought I was just trying to hook up with you. And… okay, maybe I did want to. But, I only suggested coming back to my place because YOU wanted to see a movie at 11:30 on a weeknight. You had NO right to judge me the way you did just because you’ve dated a bunch of a-holes in the past!”

Somewhat to my surprise, she understood and actually apologized, admitting that she really liked me, too, and maybe that’s why she got so emotional. By this time, we’d been parked in her driveway for half an hour, so I gave her a peck on the cheek and dropped her off. She thanked me and said she’d call me.

Well, she did call, and we did talk on the phone a few times after that. But we never went out again. I guess we both just lost interest. I mean, how could we ever top the epic fail that was our first date?

Since then, I’ve learned to laugh about that night. After all, how many people can claim that they made someone cry on the first date? If nothing else, it was a lesson on how the emotional baggage we carry can sabotage new relationships. I also learned to save the smart-assery (smart-assity? smart-assinine?) for… well, maybe the second date.

Still, it wasn’t until a year later that what should have been the lesson of the night struck me. Yes, Monica assumed that I just wanted to sleep with her. And yes, it was a horrible misunderstanding. But wait….

She accepted at first!

So what happened between the time we left the bar and the time we got in my car that made her change her mind? That’s where I messed up!

So what was it? I never found out. I was too wrapped up in the fact that I made a girl cry on the first date.



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By day, I engineer happiness at WordPress.com. By night, I am a relationships and comedy writer, which can be redundant or an oxymoron, depending on your perspective. I am the creator of Musings, the blog you're reading right now, and LemonVibe, an anonymous relationship advice site. You can also find me on Twitter (I am not the creator of Twitter).

78 thoughts on “Check Your Baggage, Please

  1. If this Micah thing isn’t a troll I really hope its sterile and doesn’t have access to impressionable young minds.

    FFG

  2. @Kat Fenn

    Hi Kat. I realized when I read your response that something I originally wrote isnt clear. When I said, “The guy is supposed to lead and you lead by doing the right thing,” what I really meant to say is that I think its a bad idea for guys to go into a date having unclear physical boundaries in that they act cordial but have in the back of their mind that if they happen to “get lucky” than great. I understand that we’re built to be sexual but I think its more productive to set the date up in such a way that it doesnt make sense for a strong physical component to enter. This way, both people can focus on getting to know each other in a way I find is really productive.

    “Are you kidding me? Maybe after he totes me around like a little trophy wife he can give me my monthly allowance to buy groceries and have my hair fixed every now and then. After all, I want to look good for my man, not myself!”

    haha.. I couldn’t agree with you more Kat! I want an equal, not a trophy wife. I can see though how from what I wrote it might have the meaning you thought it did. I think you’re right on. I want my wife to be a whole and full person. I want her to live out her dreams and become who she feels is her best self.

    M

  3. @micah: I have no idea how you do it, but somehow, even when trying to say you believe in equality, you manage to come off as extremely condescending.

    “I want my wife to be a whole and full person. I want her to live out her dreams and become who she feels is her best self.” This is the same sort of thing I expect to hear from a parent talking about their child…you know, before that child even goes to high school/college or becomes an adult. When you use it to refer to someone you would marry, it sounds like you want to marry someone and then make them “an equal, not a trophy wife.” Like you’re raising her to be the person she will become, rather than marrying someone who is a unique and fully-grown adult, and then growing and changing together.

    And as for your statements about “leading”…why is it somehow a guy’s responsibility to set up the date such that ” it doesnt make sense for a strong physical component to enter”? First off, it’s both perple’s responsibility to decide how the date will progress. And secondly…what is wrong with a strong physical component, so long as it doesn’t offend or upset anyone? Getting to know someone can happen in a variety of ways, depending on the people involved…and you don’t even know what each of these people was actually looking for in terms of how the relationship should work.

    You seem very caught up in rules…this is how a guy should behave, this is how a first date should work, this is how a relationship should commence. It’s good that you have a strong sense of how you want your life to work. And I’ll be honest, I’m no relationship/dating expert. But it’s all part of real life…and no matter where you look, real life doesn’t always follow any set of rules. “Should” is great for setting guidelines and trying to manage the world around you, but people don’t always do what they “should.” In this story, neither Dennis nor Monica did what they “should” do on a first date. But that’s how real life works. You can’t just keep throwing rules at it…you just have to set boundaries of what is always unacceptable (like murder, or somehow violating another’s rights), and work from there.

  4. @Vivster

    At first I thought I was just an okay writer, but now I starting to believe Im the worlds worst writer.

    Im not getting my point across clearly as I agree with much of what you wrote. Im sure my high school english teacher is rolling in her grave right now.

    Well, back to my day job.

    M

  5. Examining one’s own writing ability and knowing when to throw in the towel is another excellent starting point…

    FFG

  6. i have to agree with micah. i think he is talking about standards not rules.

    @dennis hong: i have no doubt you have a lot of dating experience. you come across as a really nice guy.

  7. @”qwerty”:

    Welcome back, Micah. Here’s another free tip for you: Next time you post under a pseudonym, at least try doing it from a different computer. You have your own blog, so I’m surprised you don’t realize that blog administrators can see IP addresses. Oops! Nice try, though.

    In any case… thank you. That was much less antagonistic than your previous posts.

  8. Dennis Hong :
    @”qwerty”:
    Welcome back, Micah. Here’s another free tip for you: Next time you post under a pseudonym, at least try doing it from a different computer. You have your own blog, so I’m surprised you don’t realize that blog administrators can see IP addresses. Oops! Nice try, though.
    In any case… thank you. That was much less antagonistic than your previous posts.

    @dennis hong: uhhhhh I hope you are not in IT.

  9. “Hey, you know what would be cool? Posting under another user name and agreeing with myself! That would be the w1nnz0rz! Ooo! And I’ll keep my simplistic sentence structure but just not capitalize anything- that will throw them off my trail! @ll D3nn1s’ b@s3 @r3 b3l0ng to m3!!1!”

  10. Dennis Hong :Well, we all had to start somewhere. Proofreading, spellcheck, and some apostrophes would be a good start….

    Yeah, people that can properly use the word congruent but can’t spell *isn’t* correctly are a little off-putting to me.

    @Kat, Dong, FFG, and Viv… I love you guys… you just helped me kill half an afternoon. That I really probably should have killed writing, not reading, but I promise I’ll get to that this weekend.

  11. P.S.: I hate it when I’m not logged into WordPress and my picture doesn’t show up. I like my picture.

    Also, @FFG: Please don’t ever type in symbols again. I love you too much to let you cause yourself that much pain.

  12. Hi Dennis,

    I happened upon your blog by chance this evening whilst randomly surfing, I found your story an interesting one since I have been on the dating scene for 3 years following a break-up from 9 year long relationship.
    I’m probably classed in the online community as a “lurker”, I read but don’t often write unless I feel quite passionately about something, if it is ok with you i’d like to offer my view (without being judged too much for having a personal opinion, I hope you will at least take my views on dating into consideration, and please forgive the grammatical errors, it is quite late).

    Firstly a little about me: I’m 29 & female from the UK, I LOATHE (note the emphasis by the use of caps) chauvanistic men, they infuriate me; I am an equal to any other person on this planet regardless of age, race, sex, intelligence, looks etc etc I don’t think I need to elaborate any more on that, you get the picture.

    OK… i’ll get to the point, through personal experience I have found there actually ARE “rules” to the dating “game”, I never thought in a million years I would think this way but i’ve learned some harsh lessons and am still learning as I continue to find someone I am completely happy to be with as my equal partner (or “other half”).

    The foundations of dating: We date in the hope of finding someone compatible with our personalities, thoughts, dreams, aspirations, interests etc. I do not believe in being with someone for the sake of it; out of lonliness or money for example: it has to be for love otherwise ultimately it will not work out (ok there may be a statistical number of relationships that do work out but could we assume that number is quite low?)
    I think this is a pretty standard expectation for most people – right????

    Now, I can see by the responses to Micah’s points that the majority think that we all date and meet new people hoping to ignite something and hoping it will work out…but there is a certain “formula” or “structure” that works best in the early stages of getting to know one another, if we know that a strong relationship is founded on trust, then we know that sex on the first date is a definite no-no.

    I believe that subconsciously, both genetically and instinctively there is a certain method that works well in “successful” dating that leads to a long lasting, loving and fulfilling relationships.
    Basically it is that the man persues the woman if it is to work out as a long term relationship, my view is that women and men are different, we think differently; whether we like it or not, i believe that instinctively men are hunters and are excited about the prospect of having to chase a lady they would like to have as their partner.

    It sounds to me as though Monica really liked you, she was attracted to you but she fluffed the date: She put her arm around you and initiated going back to yours first, perhaps she was testing you to see your reaction??? either way I think she realised that was the wrong thing to do when she got into your car and the date fell apart. You should have just kissed, thanked eachother for a nice evening and gone home, with her wondering if you’ll ask her out again and you wondering how great the next date will be.
    Monica, bless her, hasn’t learned her lesson yet regardless of the same things that happeneing to her on dates.

    Us ladies probably think about sex as much as you guys do, I purposely do not shave my legs and wear my comfy underwear on a first date to make SURE i never sleep with a guy.
    You were physically attracted to eachother – but I think Monica wanted more than sex, she wanted romance. Us ladies want to be chased, to feel special, YOU needed to call HER!!!!! thats just how it is, its taken me 3 years to understand that this is how it is, if you were truly interested you’d have pinned her down for a 2nd date, by not doing so you made it clear you weren’t interested. A year down the line and you are still thinking about this lady, my advice – track her down and ask her out! She’ll love it! and do not sleep on the first date if you REALLY like someone, it messes up your chances through awkward feelings.

    Hope this makes sense, wish you the best whatever you decide to do!
    Feel free to challenge or question my opinions, all i ask is that you take my view point into consideration before replying ;o)

    Thanks

    J

    • Hi J,

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments. Of course it’s okay for you to put in your two cents. :-) For what it’s worth, Micah got attacked mostly because of the antagonistic way he came on here.

      In any case, I understand the idea of “rules.” I just don’t necessarily agree with them. I prefer to see them more as “guidelines,” rather than hard and fast “rules.”

      In my opinion, laying down rules is just a lazy way of approaching not just dating, but life in general. Life requires introspection. We have to reflect on our experiences and learn from them. We have to think deeply about why we act a certain why and why certain things happen to us. And we have to work hard if we really want to improve ourselves. We don’t learn by setting simple rules.

      Here’s an analogy that comes to mind: I have a drinking problem, so I set a rule that I will never have more than two drinks when I’m driving. Okay, that may prevent me from driving drunk. But does it really address the underlying issues with addiction that I may have? In my opinion, no.

      Similarly, let’s say I have a problem maintaining relationships. So, I set a rule that I will only kiss on the first date. Well, is that simple rule actually going to address why my relationships always seem to fall apart after two weeks? In my opinion, no.

      To me, rules are only band-aid solutions.

      Again, I’m not saying that rules are always a bad thing. Sometimes, all we really need is a band-aid. At the same time, I believe that life is too complicated to adhere to pre-established rules.

      Here, maybe this will clarify my position a bit (in case this diatribe hasn’t): ;-)

      Six (Billion) Simple Rules Guaranteed To Help You Find The “One”!

  13. dennis! You are such a nice guy that you still wanted to see her again even after the sobbing on the first date!!! that is so funny! and by the way, don’t question what you did, that reaction is not normal!!!

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