Friday, June 24, 2011

Guest Blog: Once Upon a Time, con't.

**When we last left Katie, she was in the middle a pre-Valentine’s date with Mr. Suave, who maybe meant well, but was causing Katie to quickly lose her patience, and her appetite, with his lame lines and questionable motives.

The conversation obviously was not going well at all—my attempts to get to know Suave were seriously halted. Finally it was sushi time, so we downed our drinks and walked to the original restaurant. There still wasn’t a table ready. Mr. Suave said it was ok if they sat us at the bar, which I immediately dread because I can see it from where we’re standing. It is a teeny, tiny bar counter. We are sitting on teeny, uncomfortable, backless stools. There’s not enough legroom to turn our bodies and face each other.

So, we sit side-by-side facing the Japanese sushi chef while attempting to make eye contact every-so-often throughout our dinner conversation. Not exactly ideal, but I’m again trying to roll with it (no pun intended). So Mr. Suave made a hiccup in the plans—but he really wanted to take me out for sushi. It maybe even was kind of sweet that he was so insistent upon keeping his word. This is what I’m trying to convince myself of. I don’t want to be a silly, uptight girl who makes up her mind too quickly about a guy over a few less-than-lovely moments. I’m really trying to have an open mind—after all, how many college guys ask for your number, soberly contact you a few days later, and actually take you out on a date? In my experience, they were few and far between. I vow to continue to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Mr. Suave ordered our sushi; I think I picked two and he picked two, which we were meant to share. All of our sushi couldn’t fit on the counter in front of us. We could only fit one plate at a time. Throughout dinner, the conversation was pathetically dwindling. I feel like the only one trying to keep the momentum going, as he’d made little attempt to get to know me, and instead proudly explained past instances where he felt like Tucker Max (as if that were a good thing). After side-talking and side-eating two really large sushi rolls, I’m feeling pretty full. By the fourth one, I’m donezo (and when were we going to leave for the movie? It’s getting late!). But Suave insisted I eat more. I insist I’m full. He playfully insists again. I tell him I could hardly eat any of the third one, but thank you. He doesn’t drop it. I literally had to eat some of that fourth roll because he peer pressured me into it. I’m not proud of this moment. I just really wanted to get out of there.

Sidebar (E): Okay, seriously, WTF? Does this guy have some sort of force-feeding fetish? I don't even know what to do with this...

Finally, dinner is over. Before we leave the restaurant, Mr. Suave pulls out the movie tickets he had bought earlier online. Whoa—I’m pleasantly surprised! How sweet and thoughtful of him! I’m so glad I gave him the benefit of the doubt. This was a step onto the right track. Major brownie points.

But wait—he bought them for a 9:00 movie.

It’s past ten. Uh, what?

He is seemingly surprised but not bothered; however, I am a bit confused. Didn’t he know the movie was at nine? He picked the tickets. He was excited about this movie, too. I would have been more than understanding had we eaten at the other restaurant so we could make the movie on time… which he had already bought tickets for… which we both really wanted to see. Which was only playing the week of Valentine’s Day.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t angry with Suave, I just didn’t understand him. I was frustrated and turned-off. Why go through all the trouble of planning ahead to buy movie tickets only to have us miss the movie? And now what were we going to do?

Mr. Suave still wanted to go see the movie, and thought maybe he could use the tickets for a later showing. We arrive at the theater, only to see that there wasn’t a later showing. I’m more frustrated and definitely disappointed. I’m trying not to let it show though—because he seemed so cool with it all. He didn’t apologize or anything (which, I realize now, would have curbed my frustration some). Then, he says he still wants to see a movie! I just want to go home; there isn’t another movie playing I wanted to see. I tell him it’s okay, we can see a movie another time. I have class in the morning. Let’s just call it a night.

But Mr. Suave isn’t fazed by my plea. He picks the movie Gran Torino. Which doesn’t start for at least another half-hour. At this point, I’m too frustrated and tired to fake much interest or enthusiasm. I meekly shrug my shoulders and say alright. I don’t even know what this movie is about, but the name of it sounds like a car.

Once again, we go to a nearby bar to pass the time. After indulging in drinks before and during dinner, I don’t really want another now, so I tell Suave I’ll just have a Shirley Temple. He asks me if I’m serious, and when I tell him I am, he’s amused. I shrug my shoulders again. I want to go to bed.

I’ll spare you all the juicy details of this next phase of the date. In summary, after waiting for him to take the reins and try to get to know me, I begin to fill the awkward silence with more chitchat. I can’t help myself. I’m trying to make this as painless as possible. At one point, Mr. Suave whipped out his iPhone and I asked him about that. I played with a light saber app. That was probably the highlight of the night. The app, obviously—not the conversation.

We go watch Gran Torino. It was actually a really good movie- but definitely not a date movie (if you’re thinking the Valentine-horror movie isn’t exactly date material either, but I beg to disagree). I remember wishing I was more awake to fully take it in—and with someone that I wanted to discuss it with afterward.

Suave takes me home, and asks if he can walk me to my door. I oblige, out of fear of a repeat of the sushi incident, but I’ve already made up my mind that we are not going to kiss.

Sidebar (Katie): This isn’t unusual. At one point or another, girls usually decide how far they want to go with a guy way before the date is over.

Sidebar (E): Truth.

So he can walk me up. Whatever. By now I’m a bit surprised he hasn’t sensed my indifference from the majority of the date. I later learned (years later) that guys are pretty oblivious to that kind of thing.

I unlock my apartment door, and he immediately and silently invites himself in. I’m in my kitchen, cutting the flowers and putting them in water, while he watches and tries to chitchat. Out of nowhere, Mr. Suave proudly admits that I’m the first girl he’s ever bought flowers for. I can’t help but give him a look (this is my famous/infamous natural reaction to things weird, dumb, or offensive). I say something like: surely he couldn’t be serious? What about prom? High school? Mother’s Day? How did he get away with never having to buy flowers?

I was set up again. He smugly replies that he gave those girls flowers… but I was the only one he had bought them for. The others got last minute flowers pulled from his mother’s front yard because he didn’t really care.

Sidebar (E): Again. Ew.

I’m completely, strongly, turned off. The last shred of “give him the benefit of the doubt” was worn out because:

(A)  I don’t believe him. It was totally a set-up. Like he’d been waiting all night for the right moment to whip out this golden anecdotal nugget.

(B)  Is this supposed to impress me? To make me feel special? I’m supposed to feel special because a 22-year-old guy, who pulls flowers from his yard for all his unworthy dates, found me good enough to finally buy a bouquet for? Oh yeah, what a catch. He is soo sweet.

I remind Mr. Suave that I have class in the morning, and don’t even hug him goodbye. Yet, he leaves with a smile on his face. I don’t know what he’s thinking, but I know I don’t want to go out with him ever again.

Luckily for your entertainment, and unluckily from my perspective, this is not the last I will hear of Mr. Suave.

Poor Katie. This guy did so many things wrong, but I think his main problem was trying way too hard. I have a couple of friends who are genuinely really great guys, but who have an unfortunate propensity to jump the gun. I usually make them call me with their first and second date plans for approval first. It’s entirely possible that I am alone in this group, but I simply think taking a girl to the fanciest restaurant in town, or dropping $150 on baseball tickets for a first date makes you seem like too much of an eager beaver. Impress her with the real you—with your conversation and gentlemanly attitude (please, always open the door for a lady, regardless of how old, unattractive or related to you she is). Save the big ticket items for later, if you must.


  1. Katie/E,

    I concur there was clearly some effort put into this date on his part...but, well, let's chalk this up to good motivation, poor execution.

    We've all been there...trying to empress the object of our new found crush with the perfect plan. The problem with perfect plans is they rarely survive first contact with reality. This means one has to have a plan, a back up plan and a "well, shit, the world is conspiring against us" plan (you never know when you'll get lost on the way dinner before senior prom because your directions suck and you have the worst sense of direction ever, even though you have lived in Houston all your life and drove by the restaurant a thousand times and then need to audible to whatever restaurant that may be available that one could show up to in a tux and gown, without a reservation...just saying. ; )

    It's good to want to go to a certain this or that, but when timing/life/the girl, or stupid directions, just do not work out, be flexible and go with it. Like Katie said, she was just hungry; she did not care where she ate. She knew that it's people, personalities and the imperfections of life, that make events fun and interesting not certain locations and cemented plans. Guys, don't get all wrapped up in what was suppose to happen and enjoy the date for what it really is: "First dates are interviews!"

    First dates are a chance to meet and greet. They are an opportunity to exchange a bit about each other in order to see if this relationship seems to make sense. This guy had jumped the gun and already determined that she was the girl for him (by his wanting her to be his valentine comment) without ever getting to know the real her or showing her the real him. Instead, he was so wrapped up in HIS pseudo "would be my valentine-relationship", HIS perfect date plan, and HIS priorities of seeing a movie, though she was clearly tired, that he never seemed to acknowledge her as a real and equal person, instead of a subordinated ditts who can be dictated to and demand things of. (If she doesn't want to eat the last sushi, it's ok. Fish are friends not food anyway.)

    I really think E hit it right on the head at the end with the door opening lines. It's all about manners. Show her respect as an equal, as a person with a real personality that is worth getting to know, and these first dates will lead to a lot more second dates.


  2. I call shenanigans on his "first bouquet bought" line... c'mon man! That's not poor execution... that's just silly.

  3. Who the hell would spend $150 on baseball tickets for a first date?

  4. As a guy who has successfully pulled of grand gestures multiple times in HS, college, and after, I feel compelled to offer some insight. To start, let’s not kid ourselves. This guy’s motivations were selfish and manipulative. Sorry, but I doubt you were the first one who has received a "date" like this. Honestly, most of what he did (tickets early, special restaurant, etc.) should be EXPECTED on any date with a quality guy. Awesome, I feel better now that is in the open.

    That being said, true rom-com dates are not made up or unrealistic. With the proper approach, they are one of the most fun things to do- for the guy and the gal. Perhaps the key, however, is in the man’s attitude. Most guys see how girls swoon in movies, parrot the gist of the plot, and hope to bed her or get a second date. To be quite honest, that what is sounds like this guy did (In fairness, your guy was probably after the latter). So what is the right approach? On the part of the guy, it is one of giving. When a guy plans and executes these scenarios as an opportunity to give a girl an experience she will relate for the rest of her single life (and maybe beyond), they tend to be INSANELY successful. The attitude should not be one of impressing her, or hooking up, or showboating in public. Instead, the guy should like the girl enough to provide her with an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in a Reese Witherspoon movie (I’m actually watching Sweet Home Alabama now, lol). With this attitude, the gesture is neither selfish (done to make the girl happy) nor manipulative (no expectation of sex or further dates). As soon as the guy thinks “I got this made” the whole scenario goes ass-up.

    Second, as always, the devil is in the details. Dozen roses? I’m okay with that. Red? Detail check. Red implies passion and love. A better option would have been white (innocence of intentions), yellow (just pretty), or a lipstick rose (totally non-committal in color). Second, these dates live and die by the clock more than any other type of date. Reservations are a must any time a lady grants you her time, but especially if you are going for “grand.” Third, like it has been said before, you need a plan B, C, and D with just as much attention to detail as plan A. Four, be flexible! You are doing this for the girl, so go with HER wishes and not your own. Finally, actions speak louder than words. Leave the pickup lines next to the Axe body spray at home. When you go through all this and end the night with a snoozer line, guess what the girl is going to remember? Yeah, not that you just rocked her world and made her feel like a movie star.

    So there you go, a little insight from a guy who regularly has girls asking him to teach their boyfriends his tricks after some of the successful stunts he has pulled off for his dates and girlfriends.


  5. Ooh, I like the comments from the boys/men (sorry, I'm old)!! Although I am not on the prowl any longer, I must say I would still like for my husband to do something grand like plan a date described by Mark & JP. Unfortunately, he does not feel the need anymore ;) So, once you find your lucky lady, be sure to keep her happy with the occasional special date!
    One of E's many sisters...