The Post Date Text… Save Face or Man Up?

I’m baaack… after my traumatic break-up that was worst than a lifetime movie, I have finally returned to the real world and starting dating again. Friends have been really great with several of them wanting to set me up. After this past year I decided that it would be best to be totally open to anything and everything. I found a guy who met everything on “my list” and he turned out to be a sociopath, so at this point I really have nothing to lose!

A good girlfriend from college set me up with her 2nd cousin. We texted a little (I was out of town, he was busy) and finally met for dinner last week. I wanted to do drinks, he insisted on dinner. I knew VERY little about him before we met. Just that he was a little bit older (my friend had sent me a picture) and that he’s related to my girlfriend.

So, Friday night comes along. I’m not feeling this date at all so I stick with a very chill outfit (distressed skinnies, silk blouse, black booties and a leather jacket) and head out. The night goes like this…

8:00pm – I arrive. He texts… he’s running 10 mins late. All of the people in the very busy restaurant look at me like the sad 30-something girl who is getting stood up.

8:15pm – Date arrives. He has MUCH less hair than he did in his pic and is VERY grey… how old is he??

8:30pm – Date is 46! 11 years older than me and went to the same school AT THE SAME TIME as my dad’s wife. Date orders wine. A BOTTLE of wine. Apparently I’m stuck here for a while.

8:45pm – Date then orders several appetizers without asking me what I like to eat. Okay, then… Date tops off my wine.

9:00pm – Date tops off my wine. Unlike my fun self, I’m really not drinking very much!

9:15pm – Date tops off my wine.

9:30pm – Date tries to top off my wine. I pout the rest of the bottle in his glass.

10:00pm – Great convo, but it’s time to wrap this party up. The restaurant is now empty.

10:15pm – Date insists on walking me to my car on the 4th story of a huge parking structure he’s not parked in. Very sweet, but also a little creepy. He insists that I text him when I get home since I had “half a bottle of wine.” I say thanks and hug him goodbye. He kinda leans in, I hop in the car.

10:30pm – Text date “I’m home! Thanks again!” He responds with “really fun night!”

Sunday – Date texts “small talk, blah… How’s your week looking? Are you up for dinner again some night?”

My response – “small talk, blah… I really enjoyed our date, but don’t think there’s a love connection there. How would you feel about me setting you up sometime? I have a ton of gorgeous, amazing and successful friends I’d love to introduce you to. Let me know and I hope you have a great week!”

Date – “Hi. I feel the same way about the connection – really glad you agree. I’m definitely OK with a setup. I’ll return the favor if I can think of anyone who would be a good fit. It’s been a pleasure to meet you.”

Ok… so was I a bitch for stating there wasn’t a love connection? Was he a dick for agreeing with me or was he just saving face? Why ask me out again if you didn’t like me? I’ve been dating for A LONG TIME, but shit like this drives me nuts. Thoughts?



  1. Just my 2 cents — which is about what it’s worth.

    1. I’d never meet someone without speaking on the phone first. One never knows how long they spent composing a text or who helped them. They could seem incredibly witty etc., just to strike out completely when face to face or even over the phone.

    2. Stick to your guns next time. Dinner on a first date (unless you’ve met the person before, at a party for example) should never be an option. Take it from someone who used to ALWAYS invite women out for dinner thinking I was being good and chivalrous. My female friends said: You usually know in the first 5-10 minutes, why trap yourself for 1.5 to 2 hours. (Not to mention the expense.)

    3. As for the setting up — Personally, unless I thought my date was incredible, but just not for me (e.g. if age was the only issue), I’d have avoided that completely. I think you were 100% correct in calling out the fact that it wasn’t a good match. Kudos to you for being honest. As for his response — not everyone is as definitive. It’s possible that he wasn’t sure, but wanted to go on a second date to decide for sure. However, as you mentioned, he also could have been doing it to save face… After all, YOU ARE AWESOME, so it just HAS to be him saving face 🙂

    My advice to you always remains the same. Do what feels right. Whether it’s right or wrong, it doesn’t really matter. It matters that you’re being true to yourself. You deserve someone awesome… and you’re going to find him ! (But that won’t keep me from enjoying your stories in the meantime.)

  2. I have to agree with Ross! Go with your gut and Just Say No to dinner! I recently went on a (slightly disastrous) date that I thought was just drinks…
    The dude had been texting me all morning about how nervous he was (red flag #1). When I showed up, I found out that he’d been there already for 45 minutes 1) because he was nervous about being late and 2) so he could start drinking to get some liquid courage… woof.

    I already had a feeling before I’d even met him that it wasn’t going to be a match made in heaven, but I wanted to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. I figured I’d show up for a drink and call it a night.

    I didn’t even finish my first drink when he asked if I was hungry. I said I could eat or not eat and he took that to mean that we should go somewhere else and have a full on meal. He looked at his phone for .5 seconds and said he couldn’t think of anything but really didn’t want to go to a Chili’s/Applebee’s kinda place (ah yeah, duh!)
    We settled for a BBQ place across the street because, according to him, “they have a catering van, so that must mean they’re good”. I shit you not.

    We may as well have gone to Chili’s for how “great” this place was!
    The conversation was fine, thank god there was alcohol, but still- no fireworks.

    Point I’m trying to get at here: always stick to just drinks. But! If mid-drinks the date suggests dinner and you know you’re not interested, how do you politely decline?!

    Better luck to us both, Emily!

  3. Eternally Single:

    While I never want to steal Emily’s thunder, here’s my take on it. Always have an out. When you set up the date, you can make it clear that you have an early morning meeting or something, so that a “part 2” of the date isn’t good.

    Here’s the alternative, and this works in multiple scenarios. There’s rejecting someone and there’s saying “I want to, but I can’t.” This is how it plays out.

    Scenario 1: Him: “I’m having a really great time, would you care to get a bite?”
    You: (EVEN IF YOU’RE INTERESTED) I’m so sorry, but unfortunately, I have an early meeting tomorrow. I would like a rain check though, if that’s ok. I have some free time (later this week, next week, etc.) and really would like to do it then. (I suggest this because sometimes too much of a good thing is still just too much. It also sees how serious he is about following up, etc.)

    You: (You’re not interested) This is the one that gets tricky. The hope is that you can stick to your guns and say “I’m sorry, but I have an early morning meeting, I appreciate the drink, but I’ve got to get going.”

    The downside is that he might call you and ask you out for a second date, or worse, might ask you out for another date right then and there. In my opinion, do everything you can NOT to give him false hope. And if you can avoid giving a hug good night, do it. Nothing says “I don’t want to see you again” more than you reaching out your hand for a handshake when he goes for the hug.

  4. Ross,

    That is wonderful advice! I actually wish I had this post another date that was actually decent. The first date was, anyway. The second date, it felt like maybe we’d talked about all there was to talk about on the first date.

    In regards to the original date I mentioned in my first comment, it was POURING that night! And I’d probably only been there for 15 minutes when he suggested dinner. I guess I just felt bad for the poor guy. But you’re right, I should have stuck to my guns (and my own advice to Emily) to stick to just drinks. I did, however, take a page from Emily’s books the following day when he followed up and I let him know I hadn’t felt a romantic connection but wished him the best of luck. I guess we can’t win ’em all!

    Emily, I’m so happy you’re dating again! How are you feeling about your new idea of just being open to anything and everything? I had tried that once and after one too many terrible dates, I decided to go back to sticking close to my “list”. Not that either one proved to work, I am still single after all! But at least I don’t feel like I’m forcing myself to sit through dates I know I’m not gonna be interested in.

    1. To both of you… if this was a guy I had met online I would’ve stuck to drinks, but this was a set up from a very dear friend. I didn’t want to be an asshole.

    2. Emily:

      That makes total sense. Yes, if there’s a set up, that definitely makes it tougher. But then again, if your “out” is spelled out in advance, you still have the opportunity to use it. The only down side, is that you can’t “back out of your out” if things are going incredibly. Then again, if things are that incredible, what are the odds you won’t see him again. (And if you don’t see him again, then he was a douche and you dodged a bullet anyway.)

      I wouldn’t say that I had any truly horrific dates from setups, but I never had a single GOOD one either. I did far better for myself picking out my dates online, and weeding out some of the bad ones via email and an initial phone call prior to setting up the actual date.

  5. Eternally Single,

    Keep up the hard work. I never know whether it’s enlightening, giving hope or depressing when I tell people that I had about 400 first dates and a number of relationships over a 12 year dating history from 1995-2007. The point was, I know what I was looking for and I stuck to my guns. My parents had a horrible marriage, and I wanted to make sure I picked the right woman for me, so I only did this once.

    It was so worth it. I learned so much along the way about myself and about people. I was lucky enough to finally meet my wife. If you were going to write a book on “recommended tactics for dating” I’d have to say that my wife and I failed most of them. But the point was, none of it mattered. I recognized that she was exactly what I wanted. I’m not what she thought she wanted, but realized that I turned out better. For example, she wanted a high powered kinda guy, and started to learn all of the benefits of someone who’s a bit more “Type B.”

    Just keep putting in the effort because while dating sucks, you’re probably not going to meet your next partner sitting at home watching TV.

    Good luck !

    1. I’m one of the guilty parties … so maybe I shouldn’t comment. But, in some ways, email and IM are like the phone and conversation – they demand a response right away – at least when they are opened … you wouldn’t let someone sit on the phone waiting for an answer … But only in some ways.

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