Check Your Baggage, Please
If you had to sum up your worst date ever in one sentence, what would it be?
Here’s mine: I made a girl cry on the first date.
How does one accomplish this exhilarating feat, you ask? Let me tells ya….
My first date with “Monica” was actually one of the most fun dates I’d ever been on (well, up to the point where I made her cry). We had met through a mutual friend, and when I called her a few days later, we chatted for almost an hour before we decided that we might as well go out to dinner. After dinner, we headed to a local bar, where we laughed over cocktails for several more hours. I felt like I could talk to her all night, and she seemed to feel the same way.
Towards the end of the evening, she put her arm around me, furrowed her eyebrows pensively, then asked, “do you wanna go see a movie or something?”
Seeing as how it was 11:30 PM on a Tuesday night, I responded that it was probably too late to see a movie, but we could watch a DVD back at my place. She liked the idea, so we headed out.
Once we got in my car, though, she had a change of heart.
“You know what? It’s getting kind of late. Maybe you should just take me home.”
Not wanting to reveal the disappointment in my voice, I instead launched into “smart-ass mode.” This is where I cleverly and charmingly rebutted every reason she had for calling it a night. (Okay, fine. In my mind, at least, I was being clever and charming.)
“Ya know, I have to be at work before you even have to be awake tomorrow morning.”
“Oh, come on. You’re sounding like a chick. I thought you said you weren’t the ‘chickish’ type.”
“Never underestimate the power of caffeine!”
As we bantered back and forth, she was smiling the entire time. So, she seemed to be enjoying herself. Besides, I figured she’d notice that I was driving back to her place, not mine. And so, I continued the playful—or so I thought—ribbing.
All of a sudden, she burst into tears.
“Why does it always end up like this? Why can’t a guy just drop me off and kiss me and say goodnight? If we go back to your place, you know we’re not gonna watch the movie. We’re gonna be messing around all night, and before we know it, it’ll be six o’clock in the morning, I won’t have gotten any sleep, and I’ll be completely useless at work!”
Whoa. This was definitely not the reaction I was hoping my charm would elicit. Regroup! Regroup!
Inside my mental huddle, I went through a quick checklist:
Did I have fun tonight? Absolutely.
Do I want to continue hanging out with her? Certainly.
Am I hoping to “get some”? Umm… okay, sure. But, honestly, I only suggested coming back to my place because she wanted to see a movie at 11:30 PM on a weeknight.
Okay, so did I come on too strong? Hmm. I don’t think so. Dude, what the hell just happened?!?
Still bewildered, I unleashed a torrent of backpedaling, dousing every accusation she made with some variety of, “I’m sorry, that’s not what I meant.”
That seemed to calm her down somewhat. Between sobs, she eventually admitted that she always seemed to date guys who would hook up with her and never call again.
Great. I guess this means I have to be her friend tonight.
I did my best to convince Monica that I actually liked her and just didn’t want the night to end. Finally, she stopped crying. At that moment, though, a new thought spring into my head.
Hey, wait a minute! Was it fair of her to assume that I was just trying to get laid?
My sympathy erupted into frustration. And boy, did I give her several pieces of my mind.
“Fine! I get that you thought I was just trying to hook up with you. And… okay, maybe I did want to. But, I only suggested coming back to my place because YOU wanted to see a movie at 11:30 on a weeknight. You had NO right to judge me the way you did just because you’ve dated a bunch of a-holes in the past!”
Somewhat to my surprise, she understood and actually apologized, admitting that she really liked me, too, and maybe that’s why she got so emotional. By this time, we’d been parked in her driveway for half an hour, so I gave her a peck on the cheek and dropped her off. She thanked me and said she’d call me.
Well, she did call, and we did talk on the phone a few times after that. But we never went out again. I guess we both just lost interest. I mean, how could we ever top the epic fail that was our first date?
Since then, I’ve learned to laugh about that night. After all, how many people can claim that they made someone cry on the first date? If nothing else, it was a lesson on how the emotional baggage we carry can sabotage new relationships. I also learned to save the smart-assery (smart-assity? smart-assinine?) for… well, maybe the second date.
Still, it wasn’t until a year later that what should have been the lesson of the night struck me. Yes, Monica assumed that I just wanted to sleep with her. And yes, it was a horrible misunderstanding. But wait….
She accepted at first!
So what happened between the time we left the bar and the time we got in my car that made her change her mind? That’s where I messed up!
So what was it? I never found out. I was too wrapped up in the fact that I made a girl cry on the first date.