First Dates

Last night’s first date went well. The guy seems sweet, smart, and is easy to talk to. He’s cute and we had things in common, as well as being interested in those things about us which seem different. It got me thinking though, about the expectations we bring with us to a first date.

If the person comes from an online site we go into it with a heads up. This is, if they were honest in their profile, which, in my case, they usually are (except date from hell, I had back in December). But then it’s up to us, during the date, to find out about those things that we deem interesting or important. Like their family background, their goals in life, what they do for a living, what do they stand up for, etc. During this search for information it’s come to my attention that there seems to be two types of people, those who go in with a set list of things they are looking for, in which case you pass the interview or you don’t, depending on how good of a match you are. And those who are trying to decide if there is enough chemistry there for a second date and sort of wing the info-gathering bit.

Last night’s guy was of the second group, which I totally prefer. The first group of people, the people that come to a date with an agenda, make me feel like I’m up for a job interview, and it’s a complete turn off to see them mentally checking off boxes. Not to mention those who actually say things like “Oh, you like baseball, great, you definitely get points for that!” like I would be thrilled to get points, because yeah, sure, I’m there to be graded, right?

Anyhow, within the no agenda (preferred) group, there are those who are who they are, whether you like it or not (not in a cocky way, but more so confident), and then there are those who are aiming to please, and come across as sweet but also somewhat of a people pleasure, which depending on my mood can seem endearing or just plain “too nice”. Last night’s guy was aiming to please, and I still need to decide what my mood is, and how I interpret his behavior.

I like the guy, don’t get me wrong. It’s very sweet when you notice someone making an effort to say the right thing, to please you, to put their best foot forward so that you will like them. It shows they care. I do appreciate it. But at some point during dinner he said something like “Come on Jen you have a PhD, you can deal with that.” Mind you, we were talking about my dying plants (with which I really need help, but that’s another post) and my doctorate has nothing to do with my not so green thumb. The thing is that right there and then, it dawned on me that he was playing to my title. Did it intimidate him that I have a doctorate? Was he being supper polite, straight lace, proper, because of it? Or is it just the way he is, with everyone, regarding of their titles or what they do for a living? I don’t know.

Ever since I got my doctorate the interations through online dating sites have changed a bit. I have guys writing to congratulate me on my accomplishment. I have others writing to me because they have a doctorate as well and think that makes us somehow compatible. And yet, others that write sheepisly thinking they’re not worthy because they don’t have this degree, but still want to tell me they find me interesting or attractive.

I’m not sure what to make of it all. When I was getting this degree it never occurred to me it would somehow influence my relationships outside the professional field. I never, in a million years, stopped to think my dating life would be affected by it or that it would even matter. Shows how naive I actually am sometimes, huh?

Guys immediately infer that I’m super smart just because I have this degree. And for those who are a bit self-conscious or run on the insecure track, it represents a threat. I’ve always had a strong personality, I like things my way, I’m opinionated and have a strong sense of ethics, when something isn’t right I’ll say it, I’m usually confident and somewhat assertive, but that’s me, degree or no degree. Believe me, I remember being this way when I was 5 and barely in kindergarten.

I also have a self-conscious streak, so I do get it. I often do things or prevent myself for doing things to accommodate others, to make them feel good and try my very best (most of the time) to be empathetic and considerate. So when it’s best to just shush it and agree, to comply and cooperate, to compromise, I will. But, the overly checking the words I choose, and apologizing for them is not my thing. So when I meet guys who do, it just strikes me as if they are trying too hard or maybe they’re just too insecure.

Last night’s guy doesn’t strike me as insecure. I think he was trying to be nice and he doesn’t know me yet, so he was trying to not offend me. The thing is I’m not easily offended. I’m not very politically correct either. I’m not rude, but I’m not overly concerned with saying the right thing either. He just doesn’t know that about me yet. So when he called me a girl instead of a woman, I was not going to go all feminist-bitch on him, believe me, most days I feel much more like a girl than I do a woman. Take today for example, I’m rocking my lapel flower again and feeling so girlie, it’s not even funny.

Anyhow, what do you think? Is it self-consciousness or people pleasing? Any thoughts on how guys approach first dates? Guys are you there? Hello?! Don’t be shy and chime in, will ya? I would love to hear about your experiences.

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4 responses to “First Dates

  1. Mmh, I have no real experiences with first dates… I only dated two men in my life and both, when I was still in school with no degree to speak of… but I would not be surprised if you having a doctorate intimidates some men.

    I guess I wouldn’t read too much into it, because it was – after all – just a first date. If you think you had a good time and you didn’t feel he was insecure, I’d see where the second date goes. If he continues to say things that put you off, maybe be upfront and ask him, why he says it?

    • I think you’re right. Not reading too much into it is the best way to go, besides it’s just a first date, who knows what will develop next if anything. Letting go, letting go… that’s my 2011 goal!

  2. It could be a bit of both. Depends on the guy. Some men are intimidated by women who have strong personalities, are independent, that have a higher degree. Those guys probably are not for you. The right guy sees your strengths and rather than wanting to a) shame you for them or b) get into a who-is-better contest or c) ride your coattails, he will see it as a compliment to the person he is.

    I do think going into a date with as little expectation as possible outside of just having fun and getting to know someone is the best way to go.

    • “The right guy sees your strengths and rather than wanting to a) shame you for them or b) get into a who-is-better contest or c) ride your coattails, he will see it as a compliment to the person he is. ” This is so true, and believe or not, somewhat hard to find.
      We’ll see what a second date brings. I’m open to it, if he is.

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