We are sitting comfortably on the couch with our feet up, our shoes neatly laid out on the floor. The hour is late, an ideal time for deep, meaningful conversations. As our talking begins to slow down she finally concludes with, “It was a disaster of a date!” I nod in agreement sympathetically, reviewing each detail that she shared with me in my mind.
Although it has never happened quite like that, this story has happened many times over. Friends will frequently tell me horror first date stories that range from ones that went completely wrong to stories of dates that weren’t terrible, but contain a good story of something awful or awkward that was said or done by their date.
Bad4 has a nice collection of bad dating stories over here and she links to one of the craziest stories I’ve ever seen over here -I think that story is pretty unbelievable.
While I enjoy listening to these stories, I tend to feel left out when these stories are being discussed, since I don’t have any really great bad first date stories. That is not to say that I’ve never been on a bad date, just none that were extremely awful that have any remarkable stories (Bli Ayin Harah!). My bad dates seem to consist of either too many awkward silences or just a general feeling of “Ok clearly we are not meant to be together and this is not going to work” based on our conversation. The only stories I have involve the time I was on a date when it was windy and the guy’s Kippah flew off and he ran and chased after it, and certain times when guys said things that I thought should definitely not be said on a first date, let alone any date, or actually ever.
I do, however, have a number of “good first date” stories. The problem with these stories is that good first date stories are only really good when the end of the story is that you married the person. In that case you can say, “He did such-and-such on our first date, and from that moment on everything went right!” Or something like that anyway. No one wants to hear good first date stories that don’t end with marriage because they are just not as fun as bad date stories. Bad stories with bad endings are more fun than good stories with bad endings, because bad stories you can just say “wow that was awful!” but good stories with bad endings just produce the following reaction: “Oh.”
I have decided to share these stories anyway, because I think it is important to stay positive. Instead of channeling frustration by making a list for guys of “don’t do this on a first date,” it’s good for guys to have a list of things that girls appreciate and like on a first date.
And with that nice introduction, here is my list of “good first date” stories, or things that guys did early on that I thought were really nice. One or two of these stories are from friends, but they are all written in first person to keep things more simple.
1. When we were on the phone discussing locations of where to go on our date, one guy gave me a choice of three options of where we could go. I thought this was better than the general "what do you want to do," since I feel uncomfortable choosing a location when he is the one paying, and it is better than just picking a place without taking my preferences into consideration at all. (Side note: I am pretty flexible and don’t care about location at all- so far no guy has ever suggested something that I wasn’t up for at all, but it is still nice to be asked.)
2. In between my phone call with the guy and our first date was shabbos. On Friday he texted me something to the extent of: “Have a Good Shabbos! Looking forward to meeting you.” I thought that was sweet.
3. After mentioning casually that I was traveling somewhere (not far) after a night-time date, my date expressed concern for my well being, since he was not sure if traveling so late to this place was safe (it was!) and he asked me to text him when I got back OK. Even though I was perfectly safe, I couldn’t help but smile when he said that. When I was almost at my destination, he texted me "Did you get home OK?"
4. This is a good second date story, but I’m including it anyway. For a second date, one guy suggested we go somewhere and the suggestion was based on an unusual activity I had mentioned on our first date that I enjoy. I was very impressed because it showed that he was listening to everything I said.
5. One guy complimented me on something I was wearing. After a moment of being alarmed and thinking, “Wait, why is he noticing what I’m wearing? Since when do guys notice these things? Why is he complimenting me- no guy has ever done that is that normal?” I realized he was just being nice and I should just accept the compliment. I smiled and said, “Thank you.”
6. I once went on a date when I was in a location not near my home that I was unfamiliar with. The guy and I agreed that it made most sense to meet up in the place we were going to go on our date. Having the awful sense of direction that I do, I of course managed to get lost. So there I was in some random place, which I knew wasn’t too far from where I was supposed to be, but I had no clue how to get there. Slightly embarrassed, I explained the situation to the guy, who was super nice about the whole situation, told me to stay put and he walked all the way to where I was to come get me.
After reading these you might be tempted to ask, “Why didn’t it work out with any of these guys? They seem great!” This brings me to a point that I have been longing to make for a while now, especially in the role I mentioned above which I find myself in very often, the role of the listening friend. The point is: Just because a guy is a great guy, does not necessarily mean I want to marry him. Hopefully, most people in the world are good people. In fact as an optimist, I tend assume most people are nice unless they prove me wrong. (Don’t worry pessimists, I unfortunately find myself sometimes slipping towards the deep end.) Sometimes people act as though a person being “good” is enough reason to marry them, and in my humble opinion, that is not the case. They need to be “good for you” as well.
Just because a story doesn’t have a happy ending, doesn’t mean we can’t learn from it, grow from it, or even appreciate the good aspects of what it is. I can’t help but end by saying that one day, all of us singles, will find the story that doesn’t only have a happy beginning, but has a happy ending, too.