This is what I find people telling me all the time: “Just go on one date with him. Give him a chance. You’ll never know. What can one date hurt?”
Well, actually, a lot. One date can hurt a lot.
First of all, you don’t just show up to the date, chit chat a little, and go home; I’m not donating just three hours of my life to this date. It takes way more time than that. If you are being set up on a blind date, you have to chit chat with your friend, banter back and forth, to set up the date. Does he fit my list of criteria? Potentially, so you decide to go for it.
You have to do a little bit of secret stalking (because you have to figure out which mutual friends you have in common, but of course, if those come up in conversation, you have to pretend like you did no stalking and then you superficially exclaim, “I had NO IDEA you also knew Sarah! What a small world!”, except you already knew this anyways, and you know he knows it too, but you don’t want to admit to stalking, so you just pretend no one knows anything). If his stuff is on super private, then that eats up more of your time, because you have to resort to some more creative stalking methods (Google, LinkedIn–although that gets touchy too since LinkedIn tracks profile views).
Usually what happens in all of this research you are doing is he seems to fit all of your criteria, timing seems perfect, you’ve suddenly got your life figured out, and you are SO EXCITED to finally meet your Prince Charming. So, then you spend all this time preparing for That Special Moment. What will your first encounter be like? Will you shake hands? Hug? Will he just get down on one knee right off the bat?
What should your hair look like? Should you straighten it? Put it in a sock bun? The just-rolled-out-of-bed look? (hey, might as well prepare him early on). How tall will he be? Should you wear sandals just in case? Oh, but what if he is a leg guy? Then you should definitely wear heels. But, then you should probably paint your toe nails too (which you never do but this is a good time to start). You spend some time brushing up on potential topics of conversation just in case he asks–politics, your funny childhood memories, what colors you want your wedding to be (oh wait, is that too soon?)
Then you go on the date, you have an OK time. You aren’t quite sure what to think of him. I mean, he did hold the door open for you, and he does seem to be motivated in his career, but what about that strange comment he made about a “friend” he just went out with? He kind of coughed funny into his napkin during dinner, so does that mean he was a smoker at one point? And, you aren’t quite sure he is going to look good in sea foam–you desired wedding colors so…is that a deal breaker?
You don’t really have much to report to your friends upon returning. Oh shit, then you get the text message. He wants to hang out again. You are spiraled into a bout of confusion. I mean, my whole life, I thought I wanted to marry someone who is 6’7″, and he is 5’10”, but maybe I don’t care about that? And I really like people who love Tracey Lawrence, Clay Walker, and Alan Jackson as much as I do; he didn’t know who they were, but maybe I could introduce him? I never quite saw myself with a salesman, but maybe I was wrong?
You basically have two options: say yes to a second date , or reject him (my dad always tells me that “rejection” is too strong of a word to use here, but I think it’s perfectly accurate). Saying ‘yes’ tells him that you liked everything you saw the first time, and you are willing to learn more. But, then that also means after the second date, you will either have to say ‘yes’ to a third date, and rearrange more of your already-busy schedule, or reject him (and rejection after a second date stings more than the first). And, if you weren’t really feeling it the first time, do you really think a second time will change anything?…
Of course, there’s also all that emotional trauma that comes out of rejecting someone as well. We all know how horrible it feels to be rejected–your childhood wounds automatically open up, you feel like a fool for falling for someone who obviously didn’t like you, you remember all your other breakups you obviously aren’t quite over yet–so when you DO reject him, you want to make it sting as little as possible. You talk to all of your friends about how to word the message, whether you should invite him out for ice cream and do it in person or not, if you should even accept his friend request (my dad also suggested I just create a Facebook group, titled, “Hearts Broken By Britany”, so I can just send the group invite, and then they can all commiserate together).
You finally do it. Then, you have to worry about your reputation, because likely, he’s told all his friends he’s taking you out, so when you reject him, you can expect him to tell all of his friends what a heartless bitch you actually were (to lessen the blow on his own ego). Hopefully your Prince Charming is not friends with him when this happens…
Likely, he also gives you a rebuttal to your rejection: but don’t you remember gazing into each other’s eyes? what about all those kind things you said about me? I really saw this working!, so you have to deal with the emotional trauma of full-well knowing you are the cause of someone’s heartbreak.
A few days later, you might even get one of those “late night text messages”, to which now you also have to deal with the emotional trauma of feeling like someone else’s prostitute (I never respond to anything that comes my way after 12 PM–as my dad also says, nothing good happens that late, you were probably not in the best state of mind when you sent it, and I’m just going to spare us both some embarrassment and pretend I never got it–I can delete it, you never have to admit to sending it, and we are never speaking again, because your moral code is obviously different than mine).
All in all, what can one date hurt?
Actually, a lot. One date can hurt a lot.