Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Auntie Seraphic & Had a Lousy Date

This is the saddest thing I have read since I read about the poor baby elephant whose mother stomped on it. It's just so.... What is wrong with the world? Argh! Sexual Revolution, I hate you so much!

Note to men: Girls won't slap you. Women don't slap men anymore. We're afraid if we slap you, you will punch our lights out. (That said, I have been known to take that risk.)

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

I'm not really asking for advice, now that it's after the fact, so much as relating a story thinking you may have some advice to cull from it and post on your blog for other girls, since I wish I had had some (or a reminder, if you've posted on this already) beforehand!

I recently started a new job, and there was an orientation meeting for all the new hires.  There was a guy there, with whom I didn't have much interaction during the meeting.  But on our lunch break lunch, we both ended up at the same fast food place.  He was sitting at a table nearby, and because we were supposed to sort of know each other, and because I thought it'd be nice to get to know someone, I went over to his table. 

So, we chatted a bit-- the normal "get-to-know-you" stuff like where we had lived previous to our current town, previous jobs, that sort of thing... 

Later, before the meeting ended, he asked if he could give me his number.  He was pretty cute and seemed like a nice guy (a little over-the-top gentlemanly, even), so I took his and went ahead and gave him mine as well.  I was pretty excited and flattered about it, and hoped he would call or text at least some time that week. 

Well, he texted me later that evening. I was surprised, but still happy to be receiving attention from someone I would consider dating.  He continued texting me over the next couple days until he said, "It would be nice to see you again," and asked me to go to dinner and a movie with him that weekend.  This seems innocuous enough, but I think such a standard date may have been a small, red flag in retrospect. 

Well, I was very excited. I even bought a new dress.  He offered to pick me up, but I declined and we agreed to meet at the theater. 

Now, I just want to remind you that I have met this person once before in my entire life, and the sum of our conversations could fit within 45 minutes, excluding texts. But the first thing he did when he saw me was hug me. I don't like being touched by people I don't know well, but I told myself that that is probably a normal thing to do, so I went with it.  Then, when I turned to walk toward the ticket booth, he walked next to me and put his hand on my lower back/hip.  I literally jumped and tripped because it was so surprising.  But I didn't know what to do, and I didn't know if I didn't like it, or if I was just not used to it, so again, I went with it. 

But, Auntie Seraphic, the boy did not [fail to] have some hand on me for more than a few seconds the rest of the night.  I could barely walk. During the movie, he immediately put his arm around me and stroked my arm the entire movie.  But again, I wasn't sure if I disliked it because it was objectively weird, or if I disliked it because I have deep-seeded issues with intimacy.

After the movie, we went to dinner, and it was incredibly awkward.  We didn't have much to say to each other, and I was bored out of my mind. He made a comment that implied he took my taciturnity for shyness rather than boredom, which wasn't totally off base as I can be pretty shy when I am not comfortable with a person. He asked if we could get together again the NEXT DAY. 

After dinner, he walked me to my car, and as we were saying our "goodnights" and "thank yous," he leaned in for a kiss. And I kissed him back. But it wasn't just a sweet peck; there was tongue. And I just kind of stood there, wondering when he was going to be done and trying to decide if I was enjoying it or not, and wondering if we were bothering the other people in the parking lot. 

After I pulled away, I didn't say anything and just started to get in my car. He made the quip, "mind if I get in there with you?" and I said, "Haaah. No." And I left.  I was near tears on the drive home, because I was so disappointed, and felt so guilty that I didn't like him. 

He texted me later, calling me sweetheart, and asking when we could get together again.  I never responded. Mostly because the next day, I had sunk into a depression coma and stayed in bed most of the day, feeling like a bad person because I didn't stop him when I should have, and wondering if there was something wrong with me for not enjoying his attention. If it needs to be said, I am not terribly experienced in formal dating. I've had boyfriends, but they always evolved naturally, out of friendship. "Dating" in the 1950s sense, is fairly foreign to me. 

It wasn't until I talked to some friends who were in unanimous agreement that his behavior was objectively weird and creepy, and that he shouldn't have put me in a position where I would have had to tell him I was uncomfortable in the first place, that I started feeling less awful about it. 

One friend made a great point that this guy didn't treat me like a human being who he was trying to get to know and earn the privileges he took, but he treated me like a DATE. As if he had a script for how "dates" are "supposed" to go, and just followed that. That's what I meant when I said the standard Dinner and a Movie Date was a little bitty red flag. 

I don't think this guy was predatory; I think he was just confused.  I ended up writing him a very succinct text telling him I would prefer not to go out with him again, because I didn't feel a spark, and because I thought he came on too strong for a first date. 

So, I have definitely learned from this... Mostly, to not be so compliant, and that I don't need to fool myself into believing I enjoy attention that I only think I should enjoy.  That it's okay to not be into someone who is into me, and that a bad date isn't the end of the world. But I also decided I really don't like dating. It seems so unnatural to me! I really prefer my more "European" approach to relationships that grow naturally out of friendship. I don't think I will go on a date with a stranger like that again any time soon. 

Anyway, if you have any other thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

Had a Lousy Date

Dear HALD,

I am so sorry that happened to you. I think the worst part was you just allowing this stranger to keep touching you, thinking that maybe you were "supposed" to enjoy it. Nobody has the right to touch you without your permission, and it is very odd for a complete stranger to think he can do it without asking. It would be unusual (and perhaps disturbing) for a young woman to enjoy any young mn she barely knows stroking her in a dark room for two hours. And personally I really HATE the hand-on-the-back routine, which is so patronizing--the big man pushing the little lady in the direction he wants her to go.  

I can't even begin to imagine what was going through the man's head, but I think your friends were right. Perhaps he wasn't thinking of you as "you" but as "A Girl." And it is indeed like all he knows about Girls is what he sees on TV and in the movies. 

The story is so sad that it strikes me that many readers could profit from reading it, so I'd like to put it on the blog, if I may.   I think what all girls could stand to learn is how to get out of hugging someone, and how to speak up and say, "Hey, it's a little soon for that" AS SOON AS they feel an unwanted touch. It can be so hard to do this comfortably and graciously. And your friends are right: men shouldn't put us in this embarrassing position. But who is going to tell them? Their parents? They certainly aren't going to learn it from Great God Television.

Another thought that comes to mind is that we can always say "No" to "dinner and a movie". As a first date. We can always say no, and we SHOULD say no to anything that surprises us or makes us feel uncomfortable. In future if a cute stranger asks you to "dinner and a movie" as a first date, you are well within your rights to say, "No, thank you. But what about a coffee?" 

I hope this is helpful. And I hope you don't jump a mile the next time you are asked on a date in a "traditional" way. I'm not sure "dinner and a movie" is a red flag in itself--I guess it depends on the cultural context, or if the guy sounds like he got the idea out of a comic book. 

Just have a game plan: ask yourself what you're comfortable with, suggest a "low time commitment" first date and hold out your hand for a handshake before anyone comes at you with a hug. Look anyone in the eye when they do something to you you don't like, and tell them you don't like it.

Again, I'm very sorry you had such an uncomfortable experience. It almost hurts me personally that your response to this unlikable guy was to feel guilty for not liking him. 

Grace and peace,


TRS said...

Even after years and years of dating, we can fall into this sort of tragic situation.
Know why? Because everyone tells us we are too picky. Then we go into dates thinking, "I should like this guy." Particularly if he's doing things that indicates he likes us.

It would be a great service if you could help singles over that hump. I've dated so many men who were wrong for me, who I wasn't interested in beyond friendship, because after age 38, the common denominator factors in.... It must be ME! I must be too picky, so let me prove I am not!

Although.. I must say I LOVE the hand on the small of the back thing. But you're right, I love it when the guy respects me, and it comes off as a protective, honoring move. Given your reader's description of events... It would indeed be creepy.

Jackie said...

Ugh, HALD, I am so sorry this happened to you! The guy's actions were completely gross. Good for you for writing in, instead of keeping it in and silently doubting yourself.

I think this kind of behavior is especially invidious because the other person is breaking the social contract (trespassing boundaries, making another person uncomfortable) while counting on you to keep it (not make a scene).

It's manipulative and low and the social dynamic works against the vulnerable. Which is why Seraphic's plan is really good. I would only add that it may be helpful to practice the responses a couple of times (by yourself, with a friend) before going out in public. It may feel weird but there is no shame in being prepared. :-)

This kind of thing occurs in many contexts (anywhere that people can manipulate the social contract), but probably most blatantly in matters of attraction. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Good job on bringing this to attention as you have no doubt helped another girl by addressing this. :-) Hope your next date is MUCH better!

katy said...

I seem to be in a crazy minority here, but I don't think the guy was insanely "gross" or "creepy." I think yes, he came on strong for a first date, but not more strong than our hypersexualized culture would consider totally fine. The first date in the 2-hour dark room plus dinner is a little much for we NCGs, but it's not lunacy in our secular culture. And romantic (not pawing) touching of arms and back might be taboo for NCGs and NCBs on a first date, but not taboo at all for the secular culture. Tongue on the first kiss, again, too strong for we good girls, but not taboo and awful for the secular culture (though admittedly, even among our secular friends, it's on the heavy end of the normal range). I guess I was really surprised at how surprised HALD and all HALD's friends and the commenters were - when you go out with a guy who has not demonstrated any evidence of being a NCB, you would be shocked that he acts more in line with secular cultural dating norms rather than NCB/NCG norms. The fact that the guy would have happily gotten into the car and slept with HALD that night simply makes him a normal, pagan Western guy raised on Glee and Sopranos and Friends, not some sort of demon spawn. He needs Jesus first, some guidance from the NCB/NCG crowd second. He sounded like a dream-date for most secular girls. Am I out of my mind??

Renee said...

I have a male friend who is especially flirty with pretty much every female, even elderly women. Lack of discrimination in this respect really peeves me.

At my group birthday dinner earlier this summer, he was sitting across from me at the table (not directly across, but across).

At a random point while we were all waiting for our food, he says to me "Renee, give me your hand."

My response: "Why?"
Him: "Just give me your hand."
Me: "No, I don't want to."
Him: "C'mon.
Me: "No."
Him: *defensive* "Wow, I'm not giving you 'Hey Girl' comments on Facebook anymore." (He made a habit of writing me things on Facebook in the style of Ryan Gosling memes).
Me: "That's fine, I really don't care. And don't pull that manipulative stuff on me."

Then my other male friend interjected that I was so mean, and repeated to me later in the evening that it was mean of me. I have had run-ins with this other male friend in the past, when he insinuated that I was "asking for" his comments on how I looked in my jeans. He has hang-ups because I wouldn't date him, even though he was convinced that I would date him in "just a matter of time."

Not all men are like this. I have male friends who are very respectful. They are the only ones I choose to spend time with now.

Renee said...

@ Katy: agree, he does sound like a dream date for most secular girls. Sad.

@HALD: I am so sorry that you went through this. :-( I can imagine how awkward and disheartening it all feels. I have a hard time sometimes figuring out how to be "wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove" in situations like this.

Sheila said...

Renee, that is awful. Sadly women are taught that they have to go along with men when they do this stuff -- or at any rate, are not taught that it's okay not to. And then we wonder why so many girls sleep with guys whom they didn't actually want to sleep with.

Good for you standing your ground ... hopefully you made an impression on those guys (no matter how rude they were about it) that you can't just order girls around.

TRS said...

I do have to agree with Katy, for most secular folks this is typical date. Especially for those in their 20s and 30s when hormones are raging.

BUT even so, the excessive arm and back caressing while there is no reciprocation from the girl, does set off creepster bells. From his POV, since she wasn't expressing displeasure, he thought he was on his way to a one-nighter based on his experience with secular girls.

It's seems to be a case of HALD's inexperience. I'm not blaming her... She didn't know what to expect from a creepy secular guy, so she didn't know how to fend him off.

For future circumstances, don't accept a date so quickly. It sounds like he locked you in pretty quickly after meeting you. Assumed familiarity after all the texting. And proposed a 'not really get to know you date"
YOU get to say, I'd much rather get to know you a little before you treat me to dinner and movie. Coffee instead?
And establish that you're a NCG looking for a NCB... It's as easy as asking, "so, where do you go to church?" If they have an answer you have someone worth dealing with. If they scoff and snarl "church?!" Just move along.

Seraphic said...

Katy, I see what you mean, but I think constant stroking during a movie would be too much even for non-religious girls. Ditto for tongue on the first good-night kiss when she never gave him any active encouragement at all.

In fact, non-religious girls hate being stroked by strangers just as much as anyone else, I imagine, and many of them have just as much a hard time speaking up, or slapping away a male hand, as religious girls sometimes do. And after finally getting to the end of the date, they too feel completely grossed out.

I recently read the account of a girl who went to a concert with a Toronto celebrity, not because she liked him, but to make contacts, and even this completely secular (and, in this case) on the make, was shy, shocked and silently grossed out when the celeb kept touching her. (Originally she thought he was gay and that this wasn't really a "date.")

What I don't get is how a guy could keep on touching a woman WHEN SHE NEVER TOUCHES HIM BACK. Not touching him back SHOULD SEND A SIGNAL! I wonder why it doesn't.

Seraphic said...

I think I should stress that "secular girls" are not all jonesin' to jump in the sack on the first date. Some are, sure, but not all.

It is a major Catholic girl error to think that "the norm" for non-Catholics is just sleeping with any old guy or being sexually super-confident or promiscuous or anything like that. Just 'cause a girl thinks premarital sex is okay doesn't mean she's going to have it whenever or with whomever, without any thought beyond birth control. Not true. I suspect only a small minority of women act like that.

Seraphic said...

--and I should end, no matter what we see on TV.

TRS said...

Of course you are right Auntie, but there are also plenty of "secular" girls as well as Catholic girls who go out with this kind of guy and report to to their friends, "oh he REALLY likes me. He walked with his hand on the small of my back, and couldn't stop touching me all through the movie. And that first kiss!! Swoon." And I'm all, "barf". Do you really think he's that into you? Or does he do that with every girl ever just waiting to see who he can bag?

My friends think I'm bitter and jaded because I can see through all the Don Juan antics! (Or maybe I'm bitter and jaded!)

These guys know that with a lot of girls, they can pull this and after 3 to 5 dates get the girl in bed. Because no one has ever made her feel so special before.

It's not that "secular girls" are easy. It's that some of these guys have MOs that work for them.
And it sounds like just what the guy in HALD'S story was up to.

Jackie said...


Hey Katy!

In regards to considering it "gross"-- what I find off-putting, regardless of religious belief, is that this guy was *clearly* making HALD uncomfortable. And he kept doing it anyway.

You don't need to be a mind-reader to sense when you are trespassing someone's boundaries. She was clearly not reciprocating and *he kept on persisting*. That is the grossness, from my perspective.

It's unfortunate that he is either so blind or so lacking in awareness that he cannot see the affect he is causing on another human being. (I wonder how he would like to be groped by a near-stranger, let's say a guy with SSA, when he clearly is not comfortable with it?)

There are lots of guys of all beliefs (and lack of beliefs) that have basic human empathy. This guy clearly is lacking in the department in my opinion.

Jackie said...

Oops, sorry that is "effect" and not "affect"! Always mixing those two up, darn it.

Jackie said...

@Seraphic (@ 21:33pm)

Too true, in regards to secular girls. I have secular friends who are extremely thoughtful and conscientious in this regard.

They will wait around for a guy they really like, both get tested and use multiple forms of birth control to avoid an unplanned pregnancy and STIs. In some ways, they are much more level-headed. Every step of their process is made after a lot of consideration of the risks and consequences.

It's not the right way, in my opinion. There's no contraception for the heart. But to suggest that they are all super sex-positive, and will sleep with anyone for any reason, is a fallacy.

Sarah said...

I just wanted to address Katy's post really quick...

It's not like the friends I told were a bunch of pearl-clutching NCGs. Among the people I told was a 30 year old man, an atheist who said I should have called him, and my therapist, who is a non-Catholic married woman. I did tell an NCG, but she has dated plenty of irreligious men. Not a single one of my friends, religious or no, thought his behavior was normal or acceptable. In fact, the reaction from everyone was along the lines of "OH MY GOSH."

I was not uncomfortable for any moral reason, or because sexuality itself makes me nervous. I have not unfortunately, been the most chaste person ever.

I have boundaries, though. And everyone has different boundaries. There should be no expectation that you go so far on a date. People should be respectful of other people's boundaries. Period.

If the expectation exists that on a first date with a near-stranger, he is going to touch me like we are in love, no matter how little we actually know each other, then I will be happy to not touch dating with a ten foot pole.

I realize you're not "blaming" me, per se, but I do feel you are telling me I am wrong for feeling infringed upon. And that's where I very much disagree.

Sarah said...

Shoot. Realized I posted under my real name. Force of habit. Anyway, I suppose it doesn't matter. There are lots of Sarahs in the world, and I don't think any guys I know read Seraphic Singles. ;)

Lena said...

My four cents on this situation: Decide if you want to date anyone you work with. Sometimes it works out well, and sometimes not. Usually when it doesn't, the woman leaves or loses her job like it or not. Also, you don't have to decide if you like someone's touch or not. If you like it, you instantly know. I have had to at times jerked my body or body part away if receiving unwanted physical touch. There have been times I froze too. You could always step away if you are standing, twist away, or pick up his hand and remove it from your body. Usually guys get the message. I've had guys apologize to me. And finally use your words. Dating is a learning process of some sort, and sometimes it just stinks. And sometimes you meet a nice person and it's okay. Sometimes it's magical.

HALD said...

Oh, I should have mentioned: We work for the same company, but not at the same location. We will see each other very, very rarely.

Antigone in NYC said...

Oh, the guys I've kissed out of a sense of obligation ("I didn't want to hurt his feelings!" UGH!). So unfair to me, and unfair to them, because I resented them for kissing me even as I closed my eyes and kissed them back. Most of them were nice guys who would have stopped immediately if they had realized I wasn't enjoying it.

Never ever ever kiss a guy you don't want to kiss. If there's one good thing about getting older, it's that I have the confidence now to say "I'm not there yet," and have mastered the art of the turning the cheek to the guy who's going in for an unwanted goodnight kiss. ;) This guy sounds pretty inexperienced. Most men get much better at reading women's body language as they get older (and the ones who go in for kisses when they can tell the woman doesn't want to be kissed are Jerks Who Should Be Dumped).

I have sympathy here for guys, too: I've had men share with me how nervewracking first kisses have been for them. (Is she into it? Does she want me to kiss her? Is it too soon?) They know if they wait too long most girls will lose interest (things might be different in trad circles, I don't know).

katy said...

Sarah, all I'm saying is that when you were describing your date, I saw what a lot (not all of course) of perhaps more secular girls would describe as perfection. He lovingly strokes arms, hand on small of back (lots of girls think that's awesome, including me), passionate kiss at end of night, not wanting night to end, etc. Now most girls, secular or otherwise, would only consider this a dream date IF and ONLY IF they were super into him too. But IF they were, then what you described would be considered by many to be a dream date. The thing is, you weren't into him, and he wasn't reading whatever cues you thought you were sending to let him know you weren't ready for all that. So all I'm saying is that, IF you had been more secular and IF you had been into him, what you described would have been considered awesome by MANY (though of course not all). It was very movie-ish sounding. Real life and real dating isn't the movies, but that doesn't change that movies exist.

Seraphic said...

What I hear you saying is that some women would find that much physical affection on a first date a good thing, if they were very attracted to the man, and that perhaps, under the impression that all women feel this way, and other the impression HALD was that attracted to him, Scooter went for it.

I think we can agree that Scooter was not rooted in reality and also that Scooter is responsible for being darned sure that a woman is THAT into him before taking such liberties. Is ignorance that some women are more modest or less turned on by him than others an excuse? I don't think so.

Is Scooter a wicked man? We don't have enough evidence to make that judgement. There was, for example, no force involved, and HALD never actually said, "No, stop that." Was Scooter a thoughtless guy? The evidence certainly points that way.

The tragedy of that whole story is just that Scooter was thoughtless, however, but that HALD just went along with Scooter's hug, groping and kiss because she didn't know what else to do in very embarrassing, uncomfortable situation.

And my question is "When it has been banged into male heads for four-and-a-half decades that "No means No", why is it so difficult for young women to say "No" to unwanted physical touch?"

This is an honest question. 25 years ago I walked up to a girl on a dance floor who was being completely fondled by the complete stranger she was dancing with (slow song) and asked her if she was okay. She gave me a bright, fake smile and said she was fine. Later, I heard, she was really upset at the guy.

I keep hearing, and reading, stories like this, and I have to wonder, why on EARTH do we not SPEAK UP while it is HAPPENING? Are we too embarrassed? Too frightened? Too shocked to clearly understand what is going on, or too traumatized to think about it?

How do we develop, from a young age, the confidence and quick reflexes that can keep us safe from unwanted touching? (When we can, I mean. I am constantly being felt up by female security guards in airports.)

katy said...

Yes, that's basically it. Good questions that you've asked, for sure! In the end, we women can be averse to the extreme in any type of interaction that is uncomfortable, no matter how slight the discomfort. We so want to have pleasant fairy tale lives and dates and experiences that it's next to impossible for some of us to communicate effectively if that communication requires any amount of push-back. Being a combative shrew myself and approaching auntie age/status, I have long left such tendencies behind, but I remember them and have seen them in many others as well. Again, I do not want to be blaming the victim here at all. Scooter shouldn't have objectified someone he barely knew into "date-on-my-arm," rather than actually getting to know the human on his arm. So a lot of things went wrong here from the start all the way to the bitter end. In order to avoid the Scooters of the world, or to redirect them if we happen to be on dates with them, though, there are tricks and tips we can learn. So I guess I would categorize this into the teachable moment category for all of us!

Kate said...

I think a big part of this whole "comfort zone" sort of thing comes with age. I'm a total introvert and I usually refrain from any sort of confrontation. I've been kissed on the sly after dates - or even just at bars - and ten years ago, I would've let it go and just avoided the guy for months. Now....well, I recently slapped someone for touching my hair. Granted, he had been touching my hair for months and my cringing away and polite "Please don't touch my hair" requests were completely ignored. This man is a slight acquaintance and married. When I finally turned around and went with the slap, he seemed genuinely confused. Maybe it was an overreaction, but I went with my instinct at the time. He hasn't touched my hair since.

My temperament certainly hasn't changed through the years, but I am less worried about what people will think about me if I am firm about some things. If I'm uncomfortable in a situation, I remove myself immediately. Maybe it means less dates and parties...but I'm okay with that.

Seraphic said...

After being told repeatedly not to touch your hair, he got what was coming to him. His surprise is slightly pathetic. What was he expecting? A time-out?

"Stop touching my hair or I'll put you in the naughty chair!"

Anonymous said...

Just as men have been told "no means no," women have been told things like "oh, that just means he likes you, you should be flattered," or "don't be one of those girls always causing drama", or "be nice", or "other/secular/normal girls would have liked it". It's hard to say no. Sometimes it feels like one's speaking up is a worse crime than his crossing boundaries.

That's one of the reasons that I think consent needs to be "yes means yes," because absence of a no ≠ keep escalating until I say stop. Seraphic's right: your not-reciprocating was a signal, and it's one he should have picked up on. (And consent isn't just an issue for the sex-having secular girls; it's equally important for holding hands, kissing, and every other boundary.)

It is really hard to speak up, especially in the moment! Your boundaries are totally legit, you have every right to feel infringed upon, and he should have been thoughtful and attentive enough to notice your reaction and see if you were interested, or at the very least ask. He's either completely self-centered, interacting with the idea of you as A Date, or a predator.
I react very strongly now to people who brush past my boundaries, because sometimes they're doing it to see if they can get away with it, and if they can get away with that then just how far can they take this.... (Read The Gift of Fear.)

HALD, I'm so sorry this happened, that really sucks. Please practice speaking up so it isn't as hard next time. There's a site I like that has a lot of polite, firm scripts to use when people cross your boundaries—CaptainAwkward.com. It's very secular and very liberal, but the scripts are solid. You are totally allowed to have a polite spine.

TRS said...

What was he expecting? A time out?

I was trying to reconcile his thought too. His wife likes it when he touches her hair, ergo, all women love having their hair touched, even by people to whom they are not married?

thepinkeminence said...

I have to confess that I'm with Katy here. The lady in question never at any point voiced her concerns (which were of course legitimate) or stated that she was unhappy unambiguously. The guy, therefore, proceeded along on a very nice date that he planned and paid for, etc. and then the next day...he was coldly rejected. I bet that guy is really confused right now, and perhaps rightly so. All of us, CLEARLY, can see through her account that she was uncomfortable and unhappy. But WE are not HIM--that's precisely the point of much of Auntie Seraphic's advice, to teach us not to assume about men what we can about women--and I am not certain that HE saw a problem. A lot of men I know cannot read body language at all, and to pretend they can when we would rather not put voice to our feelings is unfair. The way I see it, this date was unsuccessful because one half couldn't tell the other wasn't delighted, and the other half spent the evening marinating in her discomfort rather than talking about it. For all we know, a single extra sentence while they were buying movie tickets would have made this a completely different experience. As sympathetic as I am to ladies with bad dating experiences, I think what we have here is a case of two people who couldn't figure out how to communicate with each other, rather than a "bad" guy and a "good" girl. Speak up!

Lillian Gerken said...

I am now married, but this strategy worked for me in the past.

A young man, after chatting me up for several hours at the party of a mutual friend, leaned in to kiss my lips. As he did so, I turned my face away. I said, "I don't kiss guys I just met." You could also insert, "I don't kiss guys on the first date" or "I don't kiss guys I don't know well."

Honestly, all it takes is turning away and making one firm statement to reject his advances. Any nice guy will be quite abashed and chastised if a woman does this. Not-nice guys are another matter, but hopefully you are not going out with those.

Ladies, do not be shy about saying No! We are to often likely to "be nice" to our own detriment and discomfort.

Incidentally, the young man in question seemed duly chastised in response to my "rejection" and treated me very respectfully afterwards. Although I ultimately married someone who treated me far better. :)