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The Vine: February 27, 2013

Submitted by on February 27, 2013 – 2:26 PM43 Comments

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I need some dating guidance. I recently opened an online dating profile and hit it off right away with one of my matches. We had been communicating on the site for about a week when he asked if I wanted to try texting. I told him that I didn't want to give away my personal contact information before meeting in person, and since we live in the same town, I asked if he wanted to meet during the following weekend. He said that he did, and asked when I wanted to meet. I suggested a lunch date in a restaurant that I hadn't tried but had heard good things about. He wrote back and asked if we could meet at somewhere more affordable.

I told him that I don't believe that men should be expected to pay and that the asker of the date should treat, which in this case would be me. I told him that I understand it might make some men uncomfortable, but it makes me uncomfortable if a man always pays. I explained that I had experienced dates that were upset or offended when I offered to pay, or to split the bill, and found this behavior very unappealing. With all that in mind, I still wanted to try the restaurant, but I didn't want it to be an issue.

He wrote back and told me that would rather go somewhere that he knows he likes so he can focus on the date instead of worrying that he might order something he might not like. Furthermore, he said he would insist on paying for the first date because he was raised to be a gentleman, even though I might call it old-fashioned, but it's okay if I want to pay for other dates.

I'm worried about how to proceed. I know that ultimately it's not a big deal if he pays for the date, but I feel like he is ignoring all of my reasons and feelings about wanting to pay for a date that I asked for, which I don't feel is very gentlemanly behavior. I'm a little nervous that using a phrase like "old-fashioned" means he might have some antiquated ideas about men and women (I've already told him I don't believe in traditional gender roles).

It's also a little obnoxious to say I can pay for future dates…let's see how this one goes, buddy, because it's not off to a great start. And I'm a bit annoyed that for someone so particular about where we meet and the cost, he hasn't provide an alternative suggestion, even though I've asked him for ideas twice.
Should I chill out and tone my feminism down when it comes to paying etiquette, or should I tell him how I really feel?

Progressive Woman Who Still Wants A Boyfriend

Dear Prog,

Neither. It's too much trouble with this one and you haven't even laid eyes on each other yet — your budgets don't match, he's unresponsive on alternatives, and if it's this difficult to get on the same page with a lunch date? Yeah: no. Next.

With that said, he may not have provided another suggestion because he doesn't want to meet up at all anymore, and I do think you need to chill out. It's not really about the feminism, though. Let's go to the videotape:

I told him that I don't believe that men should be expected to pay and that the asker of the date should treat, which in this case would be me. I told him that I understand it might make some men uncomfortable, but it makes me uncomfortable if a man always pays. I explained that I had experienced dates that were upset or offended when I offered to pay, or to split the bill, and found this behavior very unappealing.

So there's this issue, first of all, namely that it's a first date, not oral arguments. "I told him," "I told him," "I explained" — you haven't even met the guy and you're hammering your 95 Theses up on the sneeze guard of the salad bar, so dial that shit waaaaaaay back next time and force yourself to wait until the actual date to mention it. On that occasion, do a ten count when the check arrives, then say, "Since I invited you, it's my treat," and when the dude doesn't go for that (and most of them don't), press it once more, then give in graciously with a "Okay, but I got it next time" or a "Splitsies it is, then."

"Graciously" is the key here. I think you just want to prevent misunderstandings or awkwardness at the table, but it's having the opposite effect. The next thing is that it doesn't make you a bad feminist to allow the guy to pay. It really doesn't. It just makes you someone who isn't going to make a federal case out of a generous gesture, and maybe this is why previous dudes got uncomfortable — not that you wanted to pay, but that you wouldn't let it drop?

And that's the third thing: on a first date, you can't tell that much from it anyway. When a man reaches for a check, it's usually not because he wants you barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, making him pot pie. He just doesn't want to look cheap, an urge that isn't limited to our friends on the Y side by any means, and you kind of have to get to the third or fourth date and see if he's still doing it and then see if you can live with it. If he's ordering for you like it's the 1957 Copa? You've got an issue there maybe, but if he's reaching for the check? Like…you're planning to do?

Don't read quite so much into this stuff. "Old-fashioned" is probably just an expression for him; covering the bar tab once doesn't make a guy a Schlafly devotee. And here's my last thing: so many guys are actually already feminists themselves but don't realize it. You tell them there's still a wage gap and they're like, "In 2013? Pfff, no there isn't. …WAIT REALLY THAT'S SO DUMB WHAT WHY" and they are so mad. You can't assume they're all like, "Bitches, amirite?" My grandma used to tell me not to look for trouble because it already knew right where I was; sexism, kinda the same thing. Be aware, stand your ground, et cetera, but you have to give people a chance to deserve you, no?

Try to handle it diplomatically at the time instead of pre-controlling it next time. This guy, chalk it up to bad fits and move on.

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43 Comments »

  • attica says:

    I agree; turn the page on this one. Resist the urge to make a prospective date A Referendum On Gender Roles, and just try the artichokes, you know? There's always time for referenda later.

  • slices says:

    I think, "He wrote back and told me that would rather go somewhere that he knows he likes so he can focus on the date instead of worrying that he might order something he might not like." would have been the nail in the coffin for me. WTF? I mean, that level of rigidity in regards to his lunch intake just screams "I DON'T GET OUT NEARLY ENOUGH" to me. Worrying he might order something he might not like? Seriously? And this is a sincere worry? I am picturing someone with alarmingly neat fingernails, a belief that tipping 15% is above and beyond standard, and a need to get back home before the cat gets lonely. Sars is right: Next, please!

  • garli says:

    I'd skip to the next guy. it's early, you're not invested and basically it sounds like the problem is

    I say I feel strongly on something and he disagrees.

    Just skip, if it starts off stressful, why bother?

  • Jen S 2.0 says:

    Agree with Sars that there was mucho overthinking here on your part. An approriate response would have been, "Of course! In fact, why don't we just meet for coffee?" (Or tea, or hot chocolate, or a cocktail, or spring water, or whatever.)

    I know people who avoid meeting for anything BUT coffee or a drink or a walk for the first meeting just to avoid this unnecessary level of drama about who's paying for the shared appetizer and the $23 crab cake.

    On the topic of old-fashioned-ness, I think it's just as unladylike for the lady to get grabby over the check on a technicality — in this case, before you've so much as entered the restaurant — as it is ungentlemanly of him not to let her pay if it's important to her. In fact, IMHO, it's tacky for anyone of either gender to dig in their heels about the bill. You get it, or he gets it, or you split it, but A) if it really matters to one of you, the other should give in quickly and gracefully, and B) it doesn't need to really matter either way to YOU — as a lady looking for signs of compatibility — on a first date. Whether he is cheap or not a gentleman will become evident quickly no matter who paid for the first date.

    I also feel like dudes are really confused these days over whether it's okay to let her pay. I personally know girls who offer to split/pay on a first date but then are super annoyed if he lets them. Like, wha? What's a guy supposed to do? I respect your dude for gently but firmly sticking to his guns, and I don't see the problem. (In fact, the bigger red flag for me would be his panic over the possibility of a meal he doesn't love.)

    If you still want to meet the guy, I say fine; if he still wants to meet you after you nit-picked this issue to death, you're in luck … and if ultimately he is your man, this rough beginning won't matter in the long run. But you can try the restaurant any time; it doesn't need to be on THAT day.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Yeah, I meant to mention the menu neurosis as a red flag myself. You're not going to Bugs R Us, guy. (Right? Because that would be kind of awesome. "Moth?" "No thanks.")

  • courtney says:

    I'm chiming in to say I completely agree with Sars's advice (& I say that as the primary breadwinner in a nearly 11-year relationship).

    but really I'm just here to tell the story about how, as a teenage St. Louisan, I managed to get local non-celebrity Phyllis Schlafly to agree to a telephone interview for a term paper I was writing on the ERA. she called early on a Sunday morning, leading to the hilarious experience of my sleepy mom handing me the phone with, "why the hell is Phyllis Schalfly waking me up on the goddamn weekend?"

    (needless to say, I was only aware of the ERA after seeing my mom's t-shirts & pins endorsing it…& while I was polite to Ms.[ha!] Schlafly, I definitely did not agree with anything she had to say.)

  • Rachel says:

    I get what the LW was getting at with the "well, I'll pay, so no sweat there" part of it. That struck me more as a reaction to them hitting it off via email/messaging and her wanting to soothe his [apparent] wallet-fears because she chose to go to French Laundry and his budget is more Five Guys. I feel like that was the urge behind that.

    UNTIL: Dudely is worried that he might order something he might not like? Yeah, no. Unless it's Indian food and he's never tried that, I can't think of anyplace you could reasonably go that doesn't have at least ONE thing on it that appeals to everyone. And hell, "Oh, I don't like Indian food, let's go to Five Guys" would have fixed that hole, dude. No need to get into your Sheldon Cooper-esque food issues.

    Ultimately, though, I agree with Sars. If it's taking THIS much effort to go get some freakin' lunch, he's not worth it and LW should perhaps think about taking some deep breaths next time. It'll be okay.

  • Jo says:

    I think Sars is right that you're completely overthinking things. On one hand, the guy's neurosis over what he will order is a little crazy, and probably would be a red flag for me. On the other, it's seriously OK for him to pay and the feminist club won't kick you out if the guy buys you lunch.

    This sounds like way too much trouble, but if you really want to give him a shot, why not say something like, "Why don't we start over on this. I'd like to meet you, so why don't we meet up at Starubucks and go dutch, and see how that goes?"

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Agreed on the food thing. Nobody's forcing the guy to order something he hates–even if it's a new restaurant or cuisine there's got to be something he can choke down. Now, if we're talking allergies or serious aversions, okay, but that's a bit neurotic for the first date.

    However, I also think arguing about who's going to pay etc. before you even meet up is a little rigid as well. Your feminist card will not be revoked if he gets one check. Clearly you aren't demanding to go to the most expensive place in town and order the diamond lobster or anything, so relax a bit on that score.

    If he's really worried about not being able to cover any check because of financial difficulties, that's one thing, but that's another issue entirely–one of money matters and not etiquette or politics.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    And if that's the case, that's fine, but be armed with alternatives: go to the park, see an outdoor concert, free art/city-walk, something. Get out in front of the problem.

    Not that that's even the topic. Point is, check issues aside, this guy sounds like he's not for you.

  • Katie says:

    Re: 1957 Copa–I've been there…well not actually there, but on something that turned into a first date (we were just meeting for coffee, and then he wanted to get dinner and I like an idiot thought it would be okay) where he ordered my meal AND THEN (when the bill came) told me we were splitting the check. Now, don't get me wrong, I have no problem with splitting the check (or picking it up entirely) under normal circumstances, but when you order for me, and then tell me I'm paying half, I'm not a happy camper. Needless to say there was no second date.

  • Sue says:

    This is in no way meant to excuse the back-and-forth oddness, but I'm remembering a male friend of mine who kept first dates from websites at the level of coffee instead of lunch/dinner. If I recall correctly, his reasoning was that the first date was more about recon than making a deep connection – are they like their online post or not, any major red flags or is it worth making a second date with them to see more of what they're like.

    I was a little taken aback by this, but the more I thought about it, the better it seemed. The awkwardness of "Oh, you don't drink….I'll just hide my whiskey then," or "You're a vegan? Me…neither" is avoided in a preliminary meeting.

  • Jennifer says:

    In general this guy kind of sounds like too much trouble, but I've read enough women online saying, "If he doesn't pay on the first date, I think badly of him" to think that maybe the dude is just covering his bases on that one. He is at least amenable to switching off who pays in the future.

  • lemon says:

    Awww, I feel bad for this guy, y'all. He probably isn't a total lunch freak! He probably came up with that "I don't want to be weirded out by sushi when I'm trying to seem awesome on a first date" line because 1: this place might be way too expensive for him even if y'all split the bill or 2: he's trying to save face and get you to pick a cheaper lunch place so he can pick up the check for both in case you decide to allow another human being to pay for the food you ate this one time. Or maybe 3: he's kinda picky but doesn't want to look like a total picky weirdo at the table when it turns out the menu doesn't have anything he can pronounce or whatever.
    If you like him so far, I say give him another chance and be a little less controlling, because it's totally okay for him to pay for lunch.

  • Lulu says:

    I have a very similar rant about who pays. I do think it can be a litmus test for sexism, not because it's unfeminist to let a guy pay, but because inflexible Guy Always Pay-ers tend to be mired pretty deep in some sexist bullshit. I disagree with Sars that most men are feminist at heart. Plenty of men (and women) are blatantly, unrepentantly sexist.

    That said, I agree with her that you don't need to go looking for trouble. It turned out he WAS a Guy Always Pays guy, but you didn't need to assume that before you even knew. Assume the best and only pull out your rants when warranted. I know you were trying to be clear with your treatise on Who Pays, but it may have come off as argumentative, and that made him defensive. Here's all you had to write to his affordability thing:

    "Don't worry about the bill. I asked you, so it's my treat!"

    Then he still might have been like blah blah Gentlemen, but at least you would have saved yourself some time and come off the hero, looking scrupulously polite, friendly, and fair.

    Avoid walls of text before you even meet. Always keep it breezy and enthusiastic. It's hard to convey tone in writing and so, so easy to get into arguments that could have avoided in person.

    But don't bother meeting this guy. It sounds like you are just a terrible fit.

  • NG says:

    Maybe the guy is going through a bit of a financial hard time right now and thought it would be easier (and less embarrassing) to suggest not going to the fancier restaurant because he wouldn't know what to order, rather than saying he couldn't afford it. He might have been so focused on not wanting to look like a schmuck who couldn't afford to take a girl he was interested in to a nice restaurant that he didn't realize how weird it came off worrying about the menu. Just a thought.

  • Chesh says:

    Yeah, there are lots of reasonable explanations for him wanting to go somewhere cheaper that don't involve him being a patriarchal d-bag, but NONE for him not offering a single alternative. The weirdness of this exchange didn't start with Prog writing an essay about gender roles; it started with duder being like "NOPE, TOO PRICEY. GUESS AGAIN!" I wouldn't spend too much time on a guy who can't even be bothered to find a pizza place on Yelp.

  • John says:

    And when you get your next guy lined up, I strongly suggest that the first date should always be for coffee only. Plan for short, so you can leave quickly if you need to and allow everyone to save face…. And if you hit it off, you can always get another coffee. I learned this from hard experience in the online dating world (before I met my special guy 10 years ago). It may sound a little harsh, but it is not unusual for the in-person chemistry to be completely different than the online chemistry. And if you realize after a few minutes that it is just not going to work, you don't want to have to go through a whole dinner thing. Good luck.

  • ct says:

    Hahahahahaaaa…dating.

  • Wendy says:

    When he first said he didn't want to go to this particular restaurant, could it be that he knows people there, and doesn't want to go for that reason? For instance, he's worked there in the past, or he goes there so regularly that everybody there knows him, or his most recent ex works there? Maybe he's saying "out of my price range" for some other reason.

    If so, then the most natural reaction would be to say "not A, but B!" and he would have solved the problem.

    Actually, maybe he's already been to this restaurant before, and had a bad experience there.

    I don't know about you, but now I'm curious. Go out for coffee with him and ask, and let us know!

  • saevae says:

    On the picky note, you can't always peg a picky eater by their first date location. My last date suggested a Thai place, and I had no idea anything was wrong until a week later he broke out "condiments are the devil's work" and "your homemade chicken soup has too much flavor, I'm going to open a can of soup".

  • Maria says:

    I guess I wonder what you talked about online that was so pleasant that it made you both want to move things forward, him with texting and you with meeting. It's too bad things sort of fell apart with choosing the meetup. My first thought was, you could go to that new restaurant any time…and then I wondered if you are telling yourself you can only go there on a date. That was honestly the reason why I thought you were working so hard to make the date fit your parameters. But he has parameters too, and it sounds to me like you're trying to match up a zipper and a comb. Try again, with somebody else, and here's my tip: what you want to hear is a soft but audible "click".

    Also it wouldn't hurt to put in your profile that you're an adventurous diner and you like to try new things. If the worst thing that happens is you meet a foodie friend, well great–now you have a dinner date when a new restaurant opens.

  • Beth C. says:

    OK, I'm going to stick up for the menu thing a little bit. If I meet someone for the first time, I really don't want to go anywhere new and unknown either. It's really nerve wracking for me to meet an internet date, so I want it to be somewhere at least a little bit familiar so at the very least I know exactly how to get there and where the bathroom is (but not at my favorite place, that would be a disaster if date ended up loving the place but we didn't work out). At the same time, though, I am not going to veto a meetup location without suggesting an alternative. So, yeah, he handled it badly, but I don't necessarily see it as a huge red flag all on it's own is all I'm saying.

    Also, I always start with coffee or cocktails, not a meal. It's way easier to finish the drink and say "Hey, you want to grab a bite?" if things are going well than to try to make awkward small talk through the main course after it becomes plain that the situation is "Yeah, you're nice and all, but… yeah, no. Sorry." also, there isn't a check to worry about, or at the very least it's a small one.

    So, yeah, if y'all do still want to meet up, it can't hurt, but I think maybe it's better to let this one go. That kind of awkwardness can be hard to get past when you've only just met someone. Next time, I'd suggest keeping it a bit mellower and not making a federal case over the check on the very first date. You'll know pretty quick if the gender politics thing is an issue from things other than that.

  • David says:

    I agree with the first part of Sars's advice: he's probably not for you.

    But I also agree with the second part. I'm happy to pay, be paid for, split, whatever. I would regard myself as a feminist. (Whether I live up to that is for others to judge.) And, in truth, it's a while since I've been single, so I'm reaching a bit here.

    But if, in advance of a first date, I received an email setting out a list of non-negotiable principles about how the date was to be paid for I would, I'm afraid, start to wonder exactly how much fun it was going to be.

  • Megan says:

    I always considered the first meeting with an internet fellow to be a pre-date. It isn't itself a date; it is a chance to see whether both people want to go on a date.

    After a lot of back-and-forth exchanges that fizzled out, I started putting text in my profile that basically said "Look, I want to meet you right away. I have friends and I have penpals. I'm looking to date and to do that, we have to meet. When you write, please write with a suggestion for something to do."

    That didn't actually work, because people can't follow written instructions to save their own lives, but perhaps it spared me dealing with some tentative fuckers. It is just an ice cream cone. Spare me the wrangling.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    "It is just an ice cream cone" made me laaaaaugh and laugh. Because seriously.

  • Erin W says:

    I don't know, I don't think I would ever start anything with a guy who described himself as "old-fashioned." I can't think of any context in which that is a positive for me.

    I can also be really rigid about the "Who pays?" debate. In my little world, you always go splitsies until you're an established couple, and after that who cares, it'll all even out. I think it's gross (for either sex) to expect to be paid for, and I'll say so.

    Anyway, don't feel bad Prog. My reading of the situation is that you addressed too much well-developed viewpoint on a wishy-washy manchild. It was never going to work out.

  • Sara says:

    I'm a progressive woman who did the online dating thing on and off for a few years, and I get how confusing the who-will-pay-for-the-date dance is in these modern times. But the LW makes me tired, and if I was on the receiving end of a date negotiation like that, I'd give up.

    Online dating makes it easy to pick and choose desirable traits and put it all out there in terms of your values and beliefs — in a way that isn't possible if you meet a person at a bar and give them your number. But there's such a thing as putting out way too much information at first, and going back and forth about who pays or where to eat really drains all the mystery and sexiness out of meeting someone new.

    Online dating isn't like buying used furniture off of Craigslist. Each person you'll meet is a complicated and multidimensional being. You'll probably save yourself two hours if you look for reasons not to like them before you even meet them, but get ready to find the whole experience disappointing if you do.

  • Abigail says:

    Oh dear. I mean, is this what it's like out there? Really?

    (Vows to be extra nice to husband from here on out.)

  • Megan in Seattle says:

    Both parties are kind of overthinking it, but I think Sars is spot-on. You haven't even gone out yet: just skip it. And while I think you could have eased up on the payment thesis, I went to college in the South, where "I was raised to be a gentleman" or "my momma raised me right" was a good sign that the speaker and I would not be compatible as dating partners. Your mileage may vary.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Mostly it's a logistical hassle? It's when you get too bogged down in how perfect X is "on paper" that you have problems. This last time, I tried to maintain a ruthless churn rate as far as converting the online chit-chat to meet-ups, because if it's not going to translate, let's find that out now…and there was one dude who seriously could have been grown in a lab, that's how perfect he sounded for me. We met up, had a perfectly enjoyable pint, but it just kinda lay there, for both of us. Kind of disappointing, but also one of four other dates I had that week.

    I mean, grain of salt, since even the shite dates I can collect as stories, and it IS a hassle, with the finding the JUST good enough bra that you don't jinx it, blah blah blah. But if you want to make an omelet, you're going to have to break some eggs. Boring German architect eggs who couldn't STFU about soffits. hee.

  • Jane says:

    Like a few others, I'm struck by the "you plan, I approve" dynamic. In my view, any plan veto carries the responsibility to offer an alternative; I'm not playing "warmer-colder" with you until I guess what you want.

  • Isabel C. says:

    Oh my God, Sars, you do the good-underwear-jinx-avoidance too? You're the first other person I've met that gets this, and I swear I've been doing it my entire sexual life.

    …aaaanyhow.

    I definitely add my vote to both Camp If You're Going to Nix Something, For Fuck's Sake Suggest an Alternate and Camp First Date Is Coffee. Really, for blind dates* you want to have as many of the time variables as possible under your control, so pick something without waiters and prep time, lest you be stuck waiting for your meal for half an hour trying to make conversation with a man who responds to everything in monosyllables.

    For example.

    As far as money goes…Frankie says relax. I really should take this advice myself–it's not gender-or-date-based, for me, so much as it is a weird WASPy guilt about Not Paying Your Own Way and Imposing Yourself on Others, Young Lady, You Should Be Ashamed, but still–but a simple "Hey, my treat this time: I asked!" should really do the job with anyone who's not himself all twitchy.

    *And online dating, while not completely blind, could probably use a service dog: back when I dated, sometime in the late Triassic, I think I got to know all of the ways that a shot could be, shall we say, extremely flattering. And that doesn't even count body odor/nasal talking/asking about your favorite TV show only to respond "I hate that! Everyone's too bright and witty!"

  • JeniMull says:

    As Abigail stated, I am feeling much more appreciate of my husband who is totally NOT helping with either the stinky car or clogged garbage disposal right now. I don't care. I'm totally making out with him tonight, because good god, I don't want to date again.

  • Jen S. 2.0 says:

    Abigail:

    It's way worse. You DO NOT understand. Please, for all of us single girls, be super-duper-double nice to your boy.

    Oh, the stories we could tell.

  • Laura says:

    I am agreeing with everyone who pointed out that "who pays" shouldn't be such a fraught question on the first meeting. I met my husband through online dating; we'd both been meeting people that way for years and while he's the most ardent male feminist I know, he still paid on our first date. Because in his experience, The Man Pays or looks like a total cheapskate. I've always made more than him and he is now a stay-at-home dad to our 3 month old, so it certainly didn't set us up to follow rigid gender norms.

    Also, I know this is unusual, but he and I chatted online quite a bit before we finally met up (we didn't live super close to each other) and we had a kind of crappy first date – he was late and flustered because he got lost, I was in a crabby mood to begin with and we ended up sitting outside on a sweltering day so neither of us was at our best. We had such good chemistry online and had so much in common we decided to try again. So if the LW really thinks this guy has potential despite the meal weirdness, I'd encourage her to go out with him (though I'd suggest coffee/drinks/ice cream) because you never know.

  • attica says:

    Isabel C, oh, if only I could bring a service dog! To sniff out douchebags!

  • Lisa M. says:

    I'm a little late to the party but I'm going to put in a vote for going out with the guy to see if the good vibes you got from him online bear out in real life.

    I agree with everyone that says you're overthinking, and letting him pay once is fine.

    I have a theory for why he didn't suggest an alternative place: you came across as super opinionated and maybe a bit controlling. Perhaps he thought that whatever place he suggested would be met with a veto. After all, he suggested that you guys pick a different place, and you were *quite negative* about that suggestion, sticking rather firmly to a place that you've never even tried. So maybe it's a bad sign that he wouldn't suggest an alternative, but I think he read you correctly in that you would veto whatever he suggested.

  • Megan says:

    maintain a ruthless churn rate

    Online dating made a lot more sense to me when I realized the goal was through-put, not any particular date.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    @attica, brilliant!

    *Sniff sniff* "Oh, girl, this one smells like he feels sorry for Joe Francis going bankrupt. Fake a stomach virus quick1"

  • Izzy says:

    You know, if I could be into genetic engineering…

    Actually, back when Google Glasses were looking like a thing, I was hoping for a pair where, after you chatted with someone for a little bit, you could call up their FB posts to see if they'd ever compared taxes to slavery.

    I mean, on the one hand, invasion of privacy is bad.

    On the other hand…That Guy. Maybe it could be a voluntary program? Like getting a security certificate for your website? Sign up now and let potential dates know you don't like Ron Paul!

  • Kara says:

    Yeah, I always make first dates "a drink," whether that's cocktails or coffee, because it's just easier. If things go well, you can always extend by ordering food or more drinks; if things don't go so well, it doesn't take that long to have one drink so you haven't wasted much time. My last date was a cocktail – only one, because I wasn't into it (he wanted to go out again; I declined).

    I was thiiiiinking of dipping my toe back into the online dating waters (it's been "meh" at best for me, on a couple of different sites), but this is making me question that.

  • Catherine says:

    I was thinking about getting back into dating, but as I am middle-aged, large-sized, AND have a service dog (trifecta of undate-able for the win!), it might be a more effort than it's worth.
    On the other hand, the 'churn rate' way of looking at it could work for me. Thanks for that, Sars!

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