Dateline: "I am desperate to make a joke about something..."

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Female, 29, teacher
with
Male, 28, hotel clerk

6:15 p.m. - I want to be on time. This guy told me he wanted to take me out to a nice dinner. He was very adamant about it, in a way that made me feel like I would be underprepared. He wouldn't tell me where we were going, so I called earlier in the day to see how I should dress. He said, "casual."

6:30 - I see him coming down the street towards me. He is wearing a suit and tie with a long black jacket. Not casual. I am in my "dress jeans."

6:32 - He tells me I look sexy and I feel weird. Should I be looking sexy at a nice dinner? That doesn't seem appropriate.

6:37 - We're walking to the main drag of University Ave. I know this area, and I just can't imagine where we are headed. There's the Foster's Freeze ice cream hut, but that can't be it.  He won't tell me how much further it is and I'm trying to just go with it, to not be annoyed. But it is kind of annoying.

6:45 - We walk up to an Italian restaurant. He opens the door for me with quite the self-satisfied look.

6:48 - The hostess leads us to the table. He tells me he wants to sit next to me so he can "show me off." "Um, okay?" We sit down, both at the same side of the table.

6:49 - I notice for the first time that the detailed gold trimming on the side of his glasses is actually a partly coiled snake.

7:00 - "I love that people are staring at us because we're an interracial couple," he says. We are not a couple. I wonder if they're staring at us because we're sitting on the same side of the table. Or because we're a good twenty years younger than everyone else in here.

7:07 - The server grinds our pepper. I am also a server who grinds pepper, and fanciness has always made me feel slightly uncomfortable. I would secretly rather be at the Nation's Giant Burger I can see glowing across the street.

7:40 - I have not laughed once. Not even a fake laugh.

7:43 - I am desperate to make a joke about something. I look around for something, anything. The décor is an "outdoor in an Italian villa" look, with a fountain and fake window shutters on the wall. There is also a clothesline hung through the restaurant, with a variety of lingerie attached.

7:44 - "What do you think they would do if I just grabbed that lingerie and ran out?" It's not that funny, but he could at least crack a smile. Nope. Instead he says, "I'd like to see you in that lingerie." And now I laugh.

8:12 - We walk back to where I parked my car, holding hands. He is talking about how nice a time he had. I am thinking about eating my leftovers tomorrow.

8:20 - We make out leaning up against my car. I initiate, although I'm not really interested. He backs up and says he has to get home. And that he wants to "leave me wanting more." I don't.

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Commentarium (29 Comments)

Apr 27 12 - 2:10am
a l l y

Hmm, sounds like he was cookie-cutter nervous about doing everything "right" and wanting to impress her which she just saw as boring and scripted. Why make out at the end when she obviously wasn't feeling it? I took it as a pity, here-you-bought-dinner-so-I-at-least-owe-you-this gesture that just wasn't to either party's benefit. Don't you remember what Gramma taught us the "sex advice from..." letter the other day?! You are not a homeless person who needs a meal!

This relationship was doomed from the start but that's okay, onwards and upwards.

Apr 27 12 - 8:43am
f

She might have wanted to see if he could kiss at least? Who knows!

Apr 27 12 - 9:46am
BrosephofArimathea

He should've been tased at 6:32. But really, The Author, that weird behavior is rewarded with making out?

Apr 27 12 - 6:13pm
stupidmanboy

who lied to these guys? who told them doing these annoying little "surprise" shit is a good idea? unless you're taking the girl in a G6 to paris for dinner with appropriate clothing packed, it's NEVER a good idea to not tell the girl you don't know well where you're going. also, it's bullshit that he tells her to dress Casual and he shows up dressed up, it's a total game - trying to make her feel inferior to him. what a fucking punk, a man boy. stupid stupid man boy.

Apr 27 12 - 6:15pm
stupidmanboy

@ brosephofarimathea - totally agree, shouldve tased that idiot on sight.

Apr 27 12 - 9:47am
youngtony

omg every dateline thingy ends up with an argument over the morality of kissing

Apr 27 12 - 1:20pm
PluckyTrucky

Well!? WTF is she doing holding hands and making out with a guy she's clearly revolted by & never wants to see again?

Apr 27 12 - 3:14pm
CFG

I dunno, maybe he was weird but hot? That's a good case for disliking the guy but still wanting a little action at the end. Maybe she wanted to salvage a bad date.

Apr 27 12 - 3:10pm
ss

wait, is she a server who grinds pepper, or a teacher? also, is this a first date? She seems totally unimpressed, which makes me think "first date," cause why would she have gone on a second date with this guy, but also, she doesn't give any first impressions, which makes me think they met before. would like to have learned some backstory.

Apr 27 12 - 5:12pm
h

This had to be at Caffe Venezia in Berkeley.

Apr 28 12 - 3:07am
d

sure is. such an odd place, and definitely casual.

Apr 27 12 - 9:35pm
ggg

Holy hell, I hate people who sit on the side side together.

WTF?

Apr 27 12 - 10:44pm
Melbot

We call that "sitting hick" where I live..

May 05 12 - 8:46pm
AlexT

We call that "one of us is cold and the other doesn't want to face the wall instead of all the people" where I live.

Apr 28 12 - 7:38am
jbh

This guy was a fuckhead, plain and simple. He wanted to sit side by side so that his ego protrusion had room to flop out across the table.

Apr 28 12 - 5:22pm
Monica

Help me understand something. I see this quite often. The woman details the date and makes the guy sound sleazy or sociopathic in some way. Then at the end of the night she still makes out with him. Is he sleazy or not?

Apr 28 12 - 11:15pm
JCB

Bless your heart.

Yes, he is sleazy and/or sociopathic. And yes, she makes out with him anyway.

Apr 30 12 - 1:55pm
KH

+2 (one for each of you. :) )

Apr 29 12 - 6:17pm
Rachel

I've definitely made out with a guy that I wasn't really interested in at the end of a date. I went out with this guy and I knew long before we got our entrees that I didn't want to see him again. He was just kind of dull and full of himself. Plus he talked incessantly about how his ex was a bitch, which was a huge red flag. But I had been optimistic and was previously looking forward to a good make out. I'd had a couple of beers and just thought I might as well go for the kiss anyways. Just curious if he was a good kisser and looking for a little intimacy. We ended up making out pretty intensely, practically groping, in the parking lot.

I wasn't too worried about it, because I was sure that he enjoyed it as well. But then I felt guilty, because I'd pretty much just used him for a little make out action. He proceeded to ask me out over text message and I decided the best course of action was to just be honest and tell him I wasn't interested. I sent a nice enough text back, but he responded with a pretty rude text about how I led him on and something about me being a slut. While I think his response was immature, I kind of see his point. I can certainly understand why he felt that I led him on. So ever since then, I've been careful about what kind of signals I give on dates.

Apr 29 12 - 7:22pm
Monica

You were just curious if he'd be a good kisser and if he was looking for a little intimacy? Why is it so hard for women to admit that they just want attention?

The best course of action would have been to not make out and grope a guy you had no intention of seeing again. Did you also make him pay the check? Jesus. And women wonder why men are refusing to commit.

Apr 29 12 - 9:36pm
Rachel

Yes, I think I was just wanting attention. I think I did admit that. I also thought I might see him again, because he was attractive and I enjoyed the kissing. But I also didn't think he was a very nice guy so that's why I decided to not go out with him again.

I don't really see how that has any connection with the stereotype that men are commitment-phobic.

Apr 30 12 - 12:50am
nope

Why is it that wanting attention is used to mean 'being a terrible person,' especially when applied to a woman?
If a guy relayed that story about a girl ('I wasn't that interested in her as a person, but she was attractive and I wanted to make out anyway') he wouldn't be treated like a monster, he would be treated like a guy. The difference between wanting 'attention' and wanting intimacy seems really irrelevant in this case, except that 'attention' makes Rachel a bad person, while 'intimacy' just makes her a person. And while it's important to be careful to treat other people with decency, in the immortal words of Bret and Jemaine, a kiss is not a contract.

Apr 30 12 - 11:04pm
JO

@nope

Exactly. Monica's response is a little bizarre. Rachel openly admits that she just wanted something physical (to make out), not something emotional (wanting attention). She doesn't say it was right, just that people sometimes do selfish things for instant gratification.

May 02 12 - 1:54am
AAC

"If a guy relayed that story about a girl...he wouldn't be treated like a monster"

We must read different Internets (and live on different planets), because outside of the "Hey, bro!" circuit, people are usually much quicker to jump on men for pursuing physical contact with women they know they're not going to care about -- especially if there's ANY chance of mixed messages, i.e. broken hearts. For a lot of women I've known, it's been basically their #1 fear about the men they date -- that they're just in it for the sex, and don't really care/aren't really attached.

As for why this behavior pushes male buttons, it's not hard to understand. The world is full of people who pursue narcissistic gratification at others' expense, often by allowing the other person to believe something that isn't true. The stereotypical, clichéd male version of that behavior is acting like you're falling in love with a woman so she'll sleep with you, and then dropping her once you get what you want. The stereotypical, clichéd female version is acting like you're really interested in a man until you know you have his attention and desire (and maybe a few pricy dates at his expense), and then dropping him before you actually have to have sex with him. (Not coincidentally, women who do this a lot often find sex distasteful to begin with...and for that matter, men who do a lot of seducing often don't actually enjoy sex very much.)

The latter behavior has the virtue of plausible deniability: it's impossible to prove that someone was just in it for the attention, and was never really acting in good faith. Besides, it's not hard to find a good reason to decline a man's advances -- and for obvious reasons, we're reluctant to second-guess a woman's decision not to have sex with a guy. But in my experience, there are a LOT of people believe that a man who has sex with a woman, and then drops her, is a cad...and thus, that sticking your dick in someone IS a contract.

Anyway, it's impossible to know whether a woman who makes out with a guy and then drops him is (a) doing it because she can't stand him but thinks he's hot, (b) doing it because she's desperate for physical contact, (c) doing it because she gets off on messing with his head, (d) whatever else. But I can tell you this: it's pretty much guaranteed to elicit hurt and/or rage in the guy who's on the receiving end. And whether or not you think that reaction is justified, it's still going to happen.

May 09 12 - 5:49pm
leitning

Got a couple issues with rejection there AAC?

Apr 29 12 - 6:20pm
v

A sociopath who deserves to be tased? What did he do? Made a couple of lame jokes and sat on the wrong side of the table?

Apr 30 12 - 9:01pm
Thinkywritey

Awful. This mixed-message shit is some psycho bullshit.

But for the record, when I was married, we frequently sat on the same side of the booth together. Easier for quiet-voiced people to talk, easier to touch each other. The good thing is, we never gave half a fuck what anyone else thought about it.

May 02 12 - 9:20pm
Blossom

Why is it inappropriate to look sexy on a dinner date? Isn't that a time when a lot of people *want* to look sexy? I'm having a hard time seeing why this writer even went on the date to begin with.

May 07 12 - 11:29pm
SS

Ugh, suit with long jacket (a hotel clerk!?)? What a stuffy d-bag. Feel sorry for this girl.