Maria is a 30-year-old sales rep. “I’m busy and active, so I live in skinny dark jeans,” she says. “At work, I’ll pair them with a blouse and cute flats, and on a date, I’ll wear heels and a slinky top. Maria says “I’m always doing something. Taking a class, sitting on a committee, travelling somewhere, running half-marathons, doing yoga.” She says she is “shy at first, but once I’m comfortable with someone, I will not stop talking.” Maria wants to date a guy who is “funny, kind, and a bit of a manly-man, like he should be able to pick me up, and build a fire.”
I was in a long-term relationship that ended badly, and I wasn’t ready to start dating again for several months. I finally agreed to go on a blind date. I had no idea who Jeff was, and he isn’t on social media, so I wasn’t able to creep him. I was told he was cute, average height, with “football physique” — not the chiseled abs kind — and was super sweet.
My friend told me that Jeff was actively looking for a girlfriend. I wasn’t interested in anything serious, but I decided to give Jeff a chance anyway. We texted a bit, and Jeff seemed funny and nice. He suggested that we check out a new bar that had opened up downtown.
With the mention of going to a bar, I knew that this wasn’t going to be my dream date. If I were a guy planning a first date, I would be more creative, and show that there was actually some thought put into it, but whatever. I said sure, because it was easy and because I wanted to appease my friend who set us up.
Jeff was 10 minutes late, which isn’t that big of a deal, and he apologized profusely. There wasn’t an instant connection — no fireworks, no desire to kiss him, nothing. He was nice and polite, but there were no “This guy is so sexy” or “I need to know more” feelings. It didn’t help that when he arrived, he was covered in sweat. He blamed the delay on work, and I said it was fine. He was dressed nicely, in a collared shirt with jeans.
There was something peculiar but familiar about him that I just couldn’t place. I felt like I knew him from somewhere. I was probably staring at him too much. The bar was empty, except for one other couple sitting in a corner booth. It was still early for people to start their Saturday-night partying, but the atmosphere felt weird.
We grabbed a booth and continued our awkward small talk. Eventually the server came over. I ordered a vodka tonic, and to my horror, Jeff — a 33-year-old man — ordered a vodka cranberry. He ordered another one before he was finished the first, and proceeded to double-fist them.
I thought I’d try to establish something we had in common, and said that I used to drink vodka cranberries like they were going out of style … when I was 19. He laughed, but I think it was to hide some embarrassment.
The date was not going well. Our conversation covered the usual topics, or at least it did for me: Jeff contributed next to nothing. When I tried to probe deeper, I received overly general or “I don’t know” answers. He wouldn’t tell me anything about his job, other than “It’s boring.” His apparent lack of interest or aspirations was a big turnoff. The only topic he seemed interested in contributing to was dating, when he told me about some of his friends’ seemingly amazing and perfect relationships.
Sirens were going off in my head, telling me to run for the hills. Another alarm bell, still going since the start of the date, was telling me that I’ve met this guy somewhere before. Eventually, I cracked and told Jeff that I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and couldn’t handle anything serious.
He was nice and said that he completely understood. But, a moment later, the server dropped off our bill, and Jeff asked if we could split the tab, which was less than $30. This was an even bigger turnoff than his disinterest in talking about work.
Flabbergasted, I said OK, but had no cash, so Jeff had to wave down the server to split the bill for us. We said our goodbyes, somewhat awkwardly, and as he walked away, I suddenly remembered — he was a delivery guy, and had delivered something to my office a few months before.
No wonder he didn’t want to talk about it.