I used to think that a bad date meant one where there was no chemistry or connection, that was until I actually went on one. Over the years, I have listened to countless friends regale me with bad date stories, and thought to myself that these were just anomalies. I mean, they had to be, right? Because in all of my years of dating, I never walked away thinking, "What was wrong with that person?"(Except for maybe the time that a man ran away from me screaming that he had terrible diarrhea, but even then, I figured, "Ehhh, it's Asia, I hope he feels better")
I went on a date with a guy who seemed really cool, looked great on paper and we had many of the same interests. "This will be easy," I thought smugly, "What could possibly go wrong?" Well, I was wrong. The beginning started out nicely, we met at a fun spot and there was no awkward search for conversation, but after the first 15 minutes he started to become annoying followed by uncomfortable. It started when he spent a good amount of time talking about how much money he made, and all of the things he could afford. Bragging about money? A big no-no. It's unattractive, and one would hope that you have something to offer aside from a healthy bank account. The irony is, when the bill came, he examined it, pulled out his half, asked for mine, and then exclaimed how little he paid for the evening. "I know," I replied, "I paid the same amount." Now I'm not a princess by any means, I am a strong independent woman, perfectly capable of paying and providing for myself, but this was a first date. I will probably get some flack for this, but I'm old fashioned, and believe that guys should pay on the first date, or at least offer, especially when they've spent the better part of half an hour bragging about how much money they have.
In addition to his distasteful discussion about money, he made several, what i perceived to be, very weird and inappropriate comments. Over the course of the evening, he made a comment about my dirty underwear (WHAT?!) and also made a comment about his "cock being wet" after he spilled a drink on himself. I ignored it, hoping he'd take the hint, which only made him repeat it again, louder, while pointing to the offending spillage. "It'll dry," was the only response that I could muster.
As the evening came to a close, I was tired, relieved, and looking forward to getting home, but he had other ideas. Somehow, in his mind, he felt like we had a real connection, and he showed this by GRABBING MY HAND (I managed to pull it away without outwardly grimacing) and then, out of nowhere, grabbed me and kissed me. Not a sweet first date kiss either, but a full on assault of my face. It was not pleasant. This is what clinched it for me. I knew I'd never go out with him again. The weird comments, I could put down to first date nerves, the not paying thing, while I thought it was bad form, could've been overlooked. But pushing intimacy on someone? That's too much.
Call me old fashioned, but I am a big believer in the first kiss. I'm a romantic, and I want it to be lovely, exciting, and laced with anticipation, not an attack. On the taxi ride home, I was stunned, confused, and a little bit worried that that my friends were right, that bad dates are the rule rather than the exception. He wanted to see me again. I obviously, didn't feel the same.
I'll admit that this guy wasn't hugely offensive, and the stories I've heard from others have been a lot worse. A friend of mine went out with a guy who told her she should've dressed up more, spent the entire evening telling crude jokes and bragging about money (why is this a recurring theme? It shouldn't be. STOP THE MONEY TALK) and then complained to her that the restaurant was too expensive. Another friend went out with a guy who excessively passed gas and tried to lighten the mood by NAMING his farts. Or my friend whose date stole the salt and pepper shakers from the table. I could go on and on.
The common theme though is that the offending parties were seemingly oblivious to their behavior, and in all of the cases wanted a 2nd date, all of which were politely declined or evaded by missed calls and unanswered texts. Most of us demur, make excuses and dodge calls and dance around the truth because we didn't want to be rude or confrontational. Or maybe we just didn't see the point of spelling it out. However, it got me thinking.... if someone behaves badly on a first date, should we tell them? What if we said to the offender, "I don't want to see you again and this is why..." Are we doing them a disservice by pretending that their behavior was ok?
I took this question to the streets (aka SMS and WhatsApp) to see what other people thought of this. As I suspected, most of the people I talked to said they'd make up an excuse and let it go, not wanting to bother with the repercussions that could come from honestly telling someone that they are unbearable. The general consensus was, "If I never have to see them again, who cares? it's not worth it" though I did have one friend remark that it would depend whether the date was just awful or clueless. "If he was a geek I would tell him what he did wrong out of pity" she wrote. Some people got back to me and told me that they'd say something, but not afterwards, but right then and there, as it was happening. Talk about not being afraid of confrontation, more power to them!
A big part of me feels like it would be wasted breath, I'd rather not deal with it, and I don't want to have to face the aftermath should we run into each other again. I'd rather give a credible excuse, blame myself, and never think about it again. The other part of me thinks, "No, they should know." If your date is ugly or even boring, then a excuse is fine, there is no need to be unnecessarily rude and hurtful. But if your date is rude, crass, or inappropriate, why not just give them a reality check and hope that they take it into consideration for the future? If people keep accepting this behavior, it enables it.
Perhaps there is no wrong or right answer but just what feels right at the time. Perhaps we need to have these bad dates to recognize the good ones that we go on, and appreciate them. Or at the very least, perhaps these bad dates and bad behaviors will reiterate qualities that are important and attractive, both in other and ourselves, and we'll ultimately come out as better people.