Women have been bitching about men who can’t commit for, well, forever. As a single woman with no driving interest in marriage, I’m not even looking for someone to commit to me forever and ever. I’d just love to find someone who can commit to a decision. And maybe a date.
The problem, as I see it, is chronic indecision, which smacks of insecurity and a lack of authority. An ability to commit to a plan. Spontaneity is fun, and sometimes works out, sure, but it alone cannot make you more appealing or “fun.” It’s seasoning, not substance. And as I am learning, those who favor spontaneity over scheduling in advance are also quick to cancel, and often cannot be counted on to follow through. It’s not a date if it doesn’t have a date. This goes for ladies and gents, by the way. It’s not solely a dude’s problem. Thought I’ve been seeing a lot of it lately.
Look, bad dating stories abound. We could trade them all night. But here I’d just like to highlight a few bad CHOICES that were made. Not to poke fun, specifically, but because a good learning experience can be had by all. And yes, these things really happened.
Bad Choice #1: Test a woman to see if she’s worth dinner, and then tell her you tested her.
A young man recently took me on a first date to an upscale sushi joint in midtown. We had a mild disagreement during dinner–I like to think it was playful–about whether it was a good idea that he told a woman he’d been emailing that he couldn’t meet her one night because he had another date scheduled. I simply asked, why bother telling her your business? Just say you have plans. (And WHY are we talking about this?) But he said he liked to test women’s responses to the fact that he was dating other women. Hmm. Weird.
When the bill came, he held it in his hands and said to me, “So, did we ruin this?” What do you mean, I asked. “I mean, do you want to see me again?” And I said, sure, I’d see you again. Why, because we had a disagreement? That’s not a big deal. And he said, “OK. I always ask that before I pay the bill. Because if you’d said no, I would have suggested we split it.”
He probably thought being honest was charming. It wasn’t.
THE LESSON: Decide whether or not you’re going to pay for dinner going in. And certainly don’t walk through the decision-making process in front of her. If you DO have a handy little rule you use to figure out if a woman is worth dinner, I’d advise keeping it to yourself.
Bad Choice #2: Set a date, but then cancel because you remembered you have a girlfriend.
I met a handsome gentleman at a singles event (let’s remind ourselves, he was AT A SINGLES EVENT), and we seemed to hit it off. He bought me a drink, chatted me up, and even invited me to join him and a guy friend for a bite afterward.
The next day, he texted me at around 5pm to see if I had plans for that night. Unfortunately, I did. So we made a plan for Wednesday.
Then he changed it to Friday.
Then he sent a text saying that maybe we shouldn’t meet at all. He’d been seeing someone for three months and didn’t want to “disrespect her” by going out on a date with me. You want to talk about disrespect?
On the surface, it seems he’s gunning for good-guy points because of his sudden and surprising attack of conscience. But I don’t see that as good guy at all. I see it as indecisive guy, and ultimately, disappointing guy. A disappointing guy who seemed to want my blessing for backing out.
THE LESSON: I for one don’t care if a dude is seeing other people–that’s why we call it dating, right? But either keep it to yourself or get clear on what you’re doing first. What seems like an “aw shucks, I’m just too good a guy to do this” makes you look less like a man…and more like an ass.
Bad Choice #3: Cancel on her twice, but when she can’t meet you spontaneously whenever you randomly text, end it.
I met a man online one day and spontaneously decided to get a drink that night with him. I liked him. Good sense of humor, normal-seeming guy. He asked me out to dinner the following Saturday. The day before, he texted to say he would have to work late (he is a waiter at a very nice hotel), and that dinner wouldn’t work after all. OK, the life of a waiter. I get it.
Then, Saturday, he asks if I’ve made other plans. Since he had canceled, yes, I said, I had.
“Well, I decided not to work late tonight.”
Hmm. Decided? I thought you had to work late, I said, reiterating his text. “Oh I decided not to–I don’t have to if I don’t want to.” OK. I say, why don’t we reschedule for Sunday night since you’re off Monday? And to that he said he wasn’t sure, about funds, he had bills to pay, but if I wanted to meet up in the park during the day, that’d be cool.
It soon became clear to me that he was specifically trying to avoid DINNER, clearly, since thereafter came a string of day-of invites to meet in the park, or for a late-night drink, etc. This just seemed odd. When I asked if he wanted to reschedule our dinner, he did.
THEN, a few days before our second attempt at a date, he asks me if I can spontaneously meet him for a drink before I go out.
When I said I couldn’t, but was looking forward to seeing him Sunday, he texts this (and I quote):
“I think it’s best we skip Sunday…I think I may b a little to outside of the box for us to actually enjoy any type of real connection…no hard feelings I hope.”
Wait…what? I reminded him that while I was unable to take him up on his spontaneous offers, he was the one who had canceled not one but both our dates. “Hmmm…” he texts back. “I even confuse myself…especially when it’s spelled out like that 🙂 If u still wanna keep Sunday, I’ll b less mixed up.”
No thanks, I said. I think I’m done.
THE LESSON: A few things:
–If you’re going to lie about how you have to work, don’t later say you didn’t actually have to. If you’re going to go with a lie, follow through.
–Don’t talk about money. It’s very…undergrad. Your money is your biz.
–Spontaneity can be fun, sure, but spontaneous is not a euphemism for can’t stick to a decision. And as far as “real connection” goes, you can’t know if there is one until you’ve actually been in their presence–which is hard to do when you can’t stick to a plan to meet.
Dating does require at least a little foresight and commitment, like anything you want to actually make happen, like mastering a sport or maintaining friendships. Like life, a big part of the dating game is simply just showing up. Interesting, good, sexy things can’t happen to you if you’re not there.
Terri Trespicio is a writer, speaker, expert, and coach. Visit her at trespicio.com.