Long Distance First Date Disaster

This woman moans to Cheryl about her terrible, three-day-long first date….and it does sound pretty uncomfortable. But I don’t think she was particularly fair to the guy, either. This date was doomed from the start….so let’s wallow in the awkwardness with them.

Today, we hear from Patricia. She’s been dating, post-divorce, for eight years. It can be, as so many of us know, “brutal,” so she took an 18-month hiatus. When a friend offered to set her up, she decided to get right back on the horse, so to speak.

She and Russ talked on the phone for two months and exchanged photos. Then they arranged to meet in person. Unfortunately, Russ lives a five-hour drive away. [This seems to be an unfortunate side effect of our hyper-networked-society. Why would you try to casually date someone who lives that far away? As we’ll see, it doesn’t make for anything resembling a reasonable beginning] That ruled out any casual if-we-don’t-like-each-other-we-can bail-after-15-minutes coffee date. A dinner date was also pretty much out of the question. What would happen to Russ at the end of dinner? Would he have to get in his car and drive five hours?

“You cannot just end the day when someone has made that much effort,” says Patricia. A weekend was called for. A weekend was arranged. [Um…no. What was called for was to choose a location in the middle, both drive 2 1/2 hours, and spend an afternoon together. That’s still a heckuva lot of driving, which is why perhaps what’s really called for is to seek dates within your own time zone. But at least it’s a little more fair, and doesn’t require the commitment of a weekend.]

Russ arrived on Friday night, checked into the hotel and called Patricia. She was out with friends having drinks and invited him to join them. [Under normal circumstances, meeting a guy with friends seems like a reasonable, low key beginning. But it’s totally out of line to expect someone who just drove 5 hours to clean up and show up for late night drinks, where he has to impress not one, but a whole gaggle of cocktail-laden women] He said he was “a little tired” from the drive. She offered to come by the hotel and say hello. When she arrived, he appeared freshly showered “with some weird wet hair action going on.” The strong smell of Old Spice wafted off him.

“I was not too impressed.” [Yeah, I hate when men wash their hair and use deodorant]

On Saturday morning, Patricia invited Russ to her house for breakfast. He arrived wearing mom jeans. (See President Obama throwing out ball at All-Star game.) She cooked him pancakes.

“It was a nice, simple breakfast, but he did not say thank you.” [Has she yet thanked him for the $100+ he’s dropped before they even started their date, just trying to get here and spending a night in a hotel?]

The next order of the day was a trip to downtown Chicago and a boat cruise on the river. They took the train into town.

Patricia suggested they take a cab to the boat so they’d be sure to get a good seat. Russ insisted they walk. Walk they did. Actually, they half-walked, half-ran. [I personally like walking around the city and don’t like taking cabs…though I also hate running to get somewhere on time. Obviously, he wanted to cut costs–again, not unreasonable, since he’s the one dropping several hundred bucks just to put himself geographically close enough to go on a date with this woman]

“At one point, we were running, and Russ was laughing. I asked, ‘Why are you laughing?’ He said, ‘I’m laughing with you.’ I said, ‘I’m not laughing.'” [you’ve GOT to have a sense of humor and a sense of adventure….this woman seems to be lacking both, along with common sense]

They got to the dock three minutes before the boat was scheduled to leave. All the seats were taken, so they had to stand for the 90-minute tour.

“If we had taken a cab, we would have had a seat on the top deck. He never even asked me if I wanted a drink.” [Again, it just sounds like they have totally different expectations. I wouldn’t want buy an overpriced drink on a boat tour if I knew the rest of a date lay ahead. I suppose it would have been generous of him to offer, though again…if she wants a drink, why doesn’t she just go get one herself? (And bring one for him?)]

After the tour, they headed over to Navy Pier. Patricia said she was thirsty and walked over to the drink stand. She pulled out her wallet. Russ made a show of offering to pay but let Patricia do it. She ordered a beer, and he had lemonade. [Is she trying to spin this as more evidence of undateability or cheapness on his part? What’s wrong with lemonade?]

They headed back to the suburbs for pizza and a movie. It came down to one piece of pizza. Russ wrapped it up and said he’d eat it for breakfast. [Again, clearly poor Russ is hurting here. It would have been generous of Patricia to offer him the pizza to begin with, since she presumably has a stocked kitchen at home and he’s going back to his second night at the hotel]. Then they went to see “The Hangover.”

“For some reason, he found it appropriate to burp with the ease that one should only feel after dating for years.” [Well, I mean, when you pick “The Hangover…” Also, she hasn’t complained that she had to pay for any of these things, which suggests that he paid for the movie and pizza. Not an extravagant event, to be sure, but a perfectly reasonable first date–especially on top of the trip downtown, boat tour, and Navy Pier extravaganza]

After the movie, they arrived back at Patricia’s home. “He had that are-you-going-to-invite-me-in look. I told him I was tired and that I’d talk to him the next day.”

Russ spent Sunday doing who-knows-what and finally called Patricia Sunday night. She didn’t answer the phone. [OK, you don’t get to gripe about someone not calling if you don’t answer when they DO call. What is she thinking, “you should have called me earlier so I could snub you sooner?” He probably HIT THE ROAD and was home by Sunday night, unless he was supposed to take Monday off work for this]

“Can you blame me?” [Well…]

In the next column, Patricia’s friend Christopher tells Russ what he did wrong. [Can’t wait! Look for an update!]

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