By Erika Farber
During my 20s and 30s, dating was fun and empowering and supplied me with endless interesting stories with which to regale my friends at dinner parties. But to be clear, in defining the word “interesting,” the pendulum swung wide.
Certainly there were dates with cute, funny guys who were polite and self-assured. Unfortunately, that only happened about 5% of the time. More often, it felt as if I was the star in a punked-style reality show.
The thing that bothered me wasn’t how men presented themselves in their online profiles (although some clearly had some personal hygiene challenges.) The thing most offensive, most shocking, and still resonates with me to this day, were the dumb things that came out of their mouths.
One would think that when presented with an opportunity to make a great first impression there would be some degree of preparedness. This was not always the case. I have gathered up some of my favorite dumb things men have said during first dates. While perhaps not as predictable as the classics such as, “my ex was okay with it”
and “are you having your period?” these are some of the top offenders from my personal archives:
Legend In His Own Mind
This charmer claimed to be a film director who worked with notable starlets, lived in New York’s exclusive Greenwich Village and seemed attractive, successful and approachable. When he suggested meeting me at a location more convenient for me than for him, I duly noted his consideration. When he arrived, the man who walked in was, shall I say, far less alluring than his profile suggested. Nevertheless, I remained hopeful that despite falling short of expectations, he would make up for with a great sense of humor or sparkling wit. Unfortunately, I was on a date with a recently jilted, bitter and cranky Eeyore, who wasn’t a film director or even West Village resident, but instead a sound engineer with two roommates living in Jersey City. Clearly things weren’t going to work out, but I persuaded myself to finish my beer and then be on my way. He then asked me, rather bluntly, whether or not I wanted children. I had a few months to go until my 35th birthday, and both my gynecologist and ex-boyfriend had succeeded in scaring the bejesus out of me about my proverbial ticking clock. Although my date’s question was personal and unexpected, I answered honestly. “As a 34-year old woman,” I explained, “that choice was certainly becoming more and more difficult but I’m not really sure.” He jumped in to remind me that I was, in fact, “34 AND A HALF!” and irresponsible to ignore said ticking clock because some women tend to wait too long and then “get upset” when they have trouble conceiving. I decided to leave my half-finished beer - and the man - behind. He wound up finishing my beer before angrily walking me to the nearest taxi stand.
St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Shortly after a particularly devastating break up, I was “picked up” while having a quiet dinner alone. He was handsome and seemed charming and funny and his flattery was just what I needed. On our first date we both felt comfortable enough to share some very personal and intimate details about ourselves. He confided he was a recovering alcoholic, 4-years clean after a long career as a boozy bartender. I shared that my ex had lied to me about his past, his present, and our future for almost the entirety of our relationship. My date was kind and understanding. We shared a kiss and made plans for a second date, which happened to coincide with Valentine’s Day. I looked forward to spending this emotionally tricky holiday with a nice guy. Early on Valentine’s Day, while I was carefully selecting my outfit for our romantic dinner, he called. He began with an apology and then confessed he had “started things back up” with his ex, and said “the old me would have tried to just see both of you at the same time, but my Spidey sense tells me that you and your CIA sleuthing would probably find me out. And, I’m a different person now, and I don’t want to do that to you. It would really kill you.” So, I spent my Valentine’s Day evening with a bottle of rosé and back episodes of Sex and the City. Infinitely better, I decided.
This is a collective tale, sourced from no less than 10-15 dates over the years. To give a little background: Years ago, there were only a handful of “trusted” online dating sites, which were mere baby steps from the anonymous personals section in newspapers. Back then, little white lies were more or less accepted. But there was one pervasive lie that surpassed all the others: men’s stated height. 5’9”’ became 5’11”, 5’7” became 5’10.” I happen to be 5’6 3/4” in my bare feet, so 3” heels can easily put me eye-to-eye with a man of average height. As a result, my date’s very first words were often, “You’re really tall. Are you taller than you said in your profile?” No, sir. I am not. Here’s the thing - if you lie about your height, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Honesty is the best policy, fellas.
The Sour Note
I have always been very attracted to intelligent, accomplished men, and when a world-renowned composer and orchestra conductor found his way into my dating-site inbox, I was intrigued. The composer and I found ourselves happily chatting on the phone for hours before we met face-to-face. The night before our first date, the phone conversation flowed easily, but I increasingly had the feeling this man was drinking while we’d been talking. What started out as a flirty, buzzy chit-chat turned into confrontational, inebriated bravado. As his conversation meandered towards sex more than once, I tried my best to keep things light and easy. He persisted, going so far as to ask me how old I’d been when I lost my virginity. I told him flatly, if we got to know each other better I might be happy to share that with him someday, but at present, it was absolutely none of his business. He plowed on, “Why the provincial attitude? Next, you’re going to shy away from telling me how many times you masturbate each day, or how many sexual partners you’ve had, aren’t you!?” I suggested that he’d forgotten his manners, struggling to end our conversation. The next morning, I received eight emails from him, containing links to his prouder moments as a conductor, filmed in internationally famous locales. I realized in my rush to get off the phone, I hadn’t technically cancelled our date. So, I reluctlently called to let him know that I didn’t feel that the chemistry was there and curtly wished him luck in his search to find love. Over the next few hours, I received pages and pages of texts deriding me for being a short-sighted, shallow, superficial woman. I was thankful the world at large could benefit from his particular musical talents without him ever having to open his mouth.
Meditation With A Happy Ending
For 10 minutes, I observed my fidgety date before he finally crossed the street and made his entrance, all shaky, sweaty and nervous. His side of the ensuing conversation became a running negative commentary about everything; from politics to food, tastes in music to international travel. He clearly had social anxiety issues and while I did feel some sympathy, I was anxious to wrap things up. When the bartender offered to refill our drinks, I politely shook my head and asked for the check. My date seemed shocked and hurt but quickly composed himself. He said that I was prettier than he’d expected and felt a little intimidated, and asked that I give him a second chance. One more glass of wine, on him, for the opportunity to wipe the slate clean. I acquiesced. We walked a couple of blocks to a bar where I knew the staff. Just as I could taste the sweet air of freedom, to my horror, my friend the bartender brought over two glasses of wine and an appetizer, on the house. His kindness had just committed me to another 30 grueling minutes with this guy. My date, delighted by this special attention, turned toward me and announced, “You know, I cancelled something very special to be here with you tonight. Would you like to know what it is?” and what followed remains one of the jaw-dropping-est moments of my life. “Do you know what Orgasmic Meditation is?” he asked, and proceeded to explain it is a community of like-minded individuals who engage in a consciousness practice, combining meditation with...umm...digital stimulation for “ultimate release and the ultimate connection.” He’d planned on going that evening, to provide his services, but had cancelled to meet me. I had soooooo many questions - but afraid my attentivness would be confused with romantic interest, I opted for a hasty retreat from his weird stare and too-long fingernails. He actually attempted a kiss, trying to hug me, putting his arms inside my jacket - but I squirmed out of his creepy embrace and threw myself into the very first taxi I saw. He definitely put the “OM” in OMG.