It’s not me; it’s you.
I was single for quite a while, not marrying until I was nearly forty.
There are lots of reasons for that, which I can explore at a later point, but for now, before my memory starts to fail me, here are some awful memories from those two decades or so.
Dating, much like job interviewing whilst unemployed, is often an undignified and embarrassing process leading to humiliation or ghosting.
ME: (to a young lady in a Hoboken Starbucks) “You’ve got the best smile I’ve seen all day.”
GIRL: “It’s early yet,” quickly walking away with her beverage.
2. ALL ROADS LEAD TO HOME
During the first three to five minutes of awkward first-date chatting at a Hudson Street NYC cafe:
GIRL:“You do know how to get to the Christopher Street PATH Station back to Jersey from here, right?”
3. FAMILY VALUES, Part One
GIRL: “This is my brother. He comes on all of my first dates as a chaperone. We are very close.” All while holding hands under the table.
4. FAMILY VALUES, Part Two.
GIRL:[First date] “I’m Asian, so family is very important to me, but I don’t prefer Asian men, which is why I date Jewish men like yourself, because family is very important among Jews. Oh — I forgot to ask — You don’t have an Asian fetish, do you?”
ME: “Um, I don’t have an Asian fetish, but I am also not Jewish.”
GIRL: (Looking down at her pen and clipboard) “You’ll lose a few points with that one, but we need to go through this checklist faster because I’m meeting another guy for a drink here in ten minutes.”
5. THE SILENT TYPE
ME: “Hi! So glad we’re getting a chance to meet in person after all of the online back and forth.”
ME: “Everything okay?”
GIRL: (Politely smiles, still not speaking)
ME: (6–8 minutes later) “Okay, well it’s been great getting to know you. Take good care.”
6. IRISH EYES
GIRL: “I’m so sorry about the busboys and wait staff. I hope that it doesn’t ruin our first date.”
ME: “What are you apologizing for?”
GIRL: “Well, we spent so much time on the phone getting to know each other and we have a mutual Irish heritage, so I chose this Irish Bar intentionally because it’s my favorite. I’m so sorry that the only people working right now are the Mexicans.”
M.J. Phelan is a freelance writer, now happily married with two children, 7 and 8. The above stories are absolutely the truth.