Dater X: Three Strikes, You’re Out

Last week, I went on my first date with Jack, the young publicist I met through work. And after I tell you all what occurred on that date, I’m confident you will understand why my first date with Jack was also our last.

After taking the initiative to ask Jack out, I figured I’d let him take the reins and plan our first date. We agreed to get together after work and didn’t have a game plan, so we decided to just play it by ear. He met me by the steps of the New York City Public Library and was as cute as I remembered, but slightly younger looking (which was probably just my subconscious reminding me that I was a cradle robber). He suggested we go grab some coffee and then maybe a bite to eat afterwards, depending on how we felt. On our walk to get caffeinated, he said, “I’m glad you asked me out. I like seeing a proactive woman who isn’t afraid to make the first move.”  We were off to a great start.

We headed into the first coffee shop we stumbled upon, where I ordered an iced tea (it was hot as the Devil’s playground outside) and he grabbed a bottle of water. Yes, a bottle of water. He told me he wasn’t really one for “tea or coffee or any kind of stimulant.” Upon hearing this, I first thought about how it’s possible for anyone to function without coffee, because if I could, I’d be walking around with an IV bag of Starbucks blonde roast coursing through my veins 24/7. And then it hit me.

“Wait, so do you drink alcohol?” I asked.

“Not really, no,” he replied. “It sounds corny, but I’m one of those ‘my body is a temple’ people. I treat it with respect, but don’t judge people who do drink.” I would agree that, yes, his body IS a temple, but I’ve dated non-drinkers (to be clear, not recovered alcoholics, but people who just don’t drink), and in my experience, they do judge, often in passive aggressive ways. Case in point, his “I treat it with respect,” comment. Besides, I treat my body with respect by rewarding it with Sangria after a long week. What’s the harm in that? I want to be able to go out with my man to my favorite pub, grab a few drinks and watch football on Sundays like red-blooded, boozy Americans. I considered this Strike 1, the first sign that we might not be compatible.

After we talked about the usual first date topics for a while—upbringings, family, jobs, blah, blah, blah— I asked him about his college experience and what it was like (you know, since it was still fresh in his memory).

“To be honest, I hated the academic rigidity of exams and classes, but consider myself an intellectual,” he said. “I’d choose a good book or deep conversation over a social event any day. I hated parties, am not into sports at all, and usually my friends had to drag me out of my room to go out — they still do. I made friends with a lot of the international students which was cool, because there was a new group of them to get to know every few semesters.”

Uh oh. I’m all about having intellectual conversations, and I know that I need to find someone who can keep up with me in the brains department, but I’m also a very social person. I never have to get dragged out, and I certainly didn’t have to in college. In fact, I was usually the one doing the dragging. On top of that, I got the feeling that he was friends with this constantly revolving door of international students so that he didn’t have to commit to a group of people long-term. Telling me this also made me realize that he wouldn’t mesh well with my group of friends who are all very outgoing, social, sports enthusiasts. Wildly different social personalities — Strike 2.

After I finished my tea and he finished his Poland Spring (heh), he suggested we head towards Grand Central Terminal, where we would both eventually need to hop trains home, and grab a bite. We walked and walked, and eventually made it to the train station without having stopped anywhere for dinner. He then asked me if I wanted to just go down to the basement of the station where there are a bunch of food vendors. I thought it was kind of weird that we weren’t going to a restaurant, but brushed it off. He opted to grab something from the Mediterranean stand, and I, a salad, so we split up, and he joined me on my line when he was done buying his food. He did not buy my salad, and I’m sorry, but in my opinion, on a first date (especially one that would cost you a total of $20) you better whip out your wallet and at least offer to pay. Chivalry is dead with the Millennials.

When we sat down to eat, he asked me if I’m on OKCupid, because most singles “our age” are online dating. I told him that I am and that I’ve met both complete jerks and some great guys, but ultimately none with staying power.

“I’ve met some nice girls on there, too, but I usually realize a few weeks in that they can’t keep up with me intellectually and I end it,” he said. “Most of them end up being short-lived flings, unfortunately, but I end things before they get too intimate. I want a relationship though.”

And then the moment that changed it all happened.

“I’d imagine you take your flings a little bit farther than I do, though…” he said, smirking. My jaw dropped and I uttered a confused, “Excuse me?”

“You know what I mean…” he said as he shoved some falafel into his mouth. “You seem like you’d take things farther than I would … with the guys you meet.”

“Well, it seems you’re implying that I’m ‘easy,'” I said, “which isn’t the case at all. I don’t look for flings, I look for substance, and the guys I’ve dated have all been potential boyfriends, not hookups.”

He nodded. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have assume,” he said. “That was rude of me.” Yeah, no shit, Sherlock.

I wasn’t sure if he was testing me to see how I’d respond, or if that was really what he thought, but I wasn’t amused. I had given him no indication whatsoever that I slut it up on the regular, and even if I did, that’s none of his damn business. Strike three, you rude man child. We finished our meals pretty quietly and I couldn’t get on my train fast enough. Once we parted ways, I almost immediately received a text that said, “I want to apologize for that comment. I’m not sure where I was going with that, nor was I assuming or judging. I supposed it was just tactless inquiry. I feel really bad.”

“It’s okay,” I replied. “Water under the bridge. Goodnight.” And it was a good night … because I was able to weed out one more jerk and move on.