Zach is 43, and lost his wife to cancer two years ago. He is “experiencing the singles scene and dating after a long absence.” Zach likes volunteering and travelling, and says he is “very easygoing, witty, sometimes too nice, a bit uptight and usually prepared to give others the benefit of the doubt.” Zach says he is a “jeans and Polo guy — but I do change into a dress shirt for a first date.” Zach says, “I go on too few dates, and usually just coffee meetings to see if there’s a spark.” He says, “I’m looking for someone with intelligence, humour, maybe a few years younger. I love discussing forbidden topics like politics and religion.”
I met Rachael singles social event. We seemed to hit it off. I told him a bit about having somewhat recently lost my partner to cancer — I’m newly dating again. We had a nice conversation, even if he complained a bit about the event. We exchanged email addresses with the intention of meeting up.
We decided to meet for dinner on a street with a lot of different restaurants, and when Rachael arrived, we wandered the street reading menus and checking out the options. Rachael turned out to be very particular about where she would eat. One restaurant was too hot, another too cold; one had no salmon, another had no chicken; one was empty, another too full. After walking up and down the block three times, revisiting all the menus, I strongly suggested we eat at what appeared to be the least objectionable to her.
Rachael seemed nervous. She was tapping her glass and silverware. She found it difficult to keep eye contact. She mentioned that she was working in a job that was outside his chosen profession. I retired early, but I had worked a variety of jobs in the same profession for my entire career and was interested in why she had switched careers midstream. People’s career trajectories are always interesting. Rachael went into a 20-minute dissertation about how she lost her job, every minute detail included.
A few times, when Rachael had mouthfuls of food, I tried to commiserate and offer my perspectives and experiences with the same thing, but that elicited no response or reaction as she continued with her story, with no acknowledgment of my statements. I refilled my wine glass many more times than I usually would have.
Being too polite, I went on to ask what she was doing now, and she went into another dissertation about her new job, including details of what was good and bad about it. She described the details of her performance review, training, rapport with co-workers on a typical day At no point in the discussion did she express interest in what I thought or had to say, even though we had similar experiences. I felt more like her therapist helping her through her frustrations rather than her date.
I casually walked Rachael to the bus stop and got her a taxi — a better date would warrant another drink or dessert — and wished her well and a safe ride home. She had been so engrossed in his own story, she was startled as her walked her to the bus stop, meaning a subtle end to date.I told her, I was not sure, I was ready for the dating scene, given the recent date of my wife.
Rachael was shocked to learn about this, even though, we had discussed it in detail, even before meeting for this date. No way was I going to spend another moment with her. No.