It’s best not to be picky on a first date. To keep an open mind. To be accepting and spontaneous. But some behavior encountered during the first date of trying another human being on for size is beyond the acceptability spectrum. The following events have actually taken place during my single years and are immediate deal breakers upon consideration of spending the rest of our waking days together.
Names have been removed to protect the slovenly and insensitive:
1. They don’t like sweets.
After spending time with our mutual friends, I got invited to this person’s home to “listen to music” and order in Chinese food. I figured that bringing dessert would be a favorable gesture and headed to the ice cream aisle of our local supermarket. After picking up a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and New York Super Fudge Chunk (covering both vanilla and chocolate ice cream lovers), I arrived at his front door. Upon handing him the bag of ice cream containers, he handed it right back to me and said, “I don’t like sweets.” There was no “thank you anyway,” or “I’m on a diet,” or “sorry you went through the trouble.” How does someone not like ice cream? And not just ice cream. No cookies, cake, soda, candy — NOTHING. If they can look at a chocolate glazed doughnut and be uninterested, is this really someone worth trusting?
2. Down, Fido.
If they own a dog that can’t be controlled – that’s a problem. So is the person who is unaware that he or she is controlled by a dog. Another first date led me to a dog park to go for a friendly stroll with a dog owner and his bitch. I was greeted by a large, shaggy barking thing charging me at 30 mph with a long red leash trailing behind her that her owner could not hold on to. The dog hated me. She barked sharply and showed her teeth. I was terrified. My date laughed at my hesitancy to be near his animal and tongue kissed his canine lover to show off. It’s best to leave happy couples like this be.
3. Go Dutch or go home.
If they’re not offering to at least split the bill on a first date, that’s a bad sign. I once met a first date at a neighborhood restaurant. When the check came, I was bored to tears listening to his explanation of the mechanics of stained glass creation. He picked the check up, studied it and asked whether I had change for $50. I pulled out two 20 dollar bills and a 10 dollar bill and handed them to my date. He took the 20s and left them with the bill, then put my 10 dollar bill in his pocket. When I asked him for the money back he said, “I may want to buy a beer later.” It’s probably a good idea to make sure you’re not dating a thief and to check your wallet before you part ways.
4. Refusal to meet in daylight or in public.
Online dating is infamous for first dates that go nowhere. One eager suitor invited me to his home half a dozen times for our first date. I explained why I’d rather meet in public, as I couldn’t risk being kidnapped, gagged, and/or assaulted. I suggested a coffee house or a bar but instead of agreeing to a change in venue, he only offered a different time of the day to meet up. As if a morning date meant less chance of murder than coming over for dinner. Stay away from dark alleys, dates that start in the back of vans, and don’t get in anyone’s car no matter how short a drive you think you’re taking.
5. Refusal to meet at all.
If your date is emailing, texting, and instant messaging you constantly but has every excuse in the book not to meet in person, move on.
6. Slob city.
You agree to meet for pizza. When you arrive at the restaurant, your date’s already there and barely says hello. An order has already been put in for 4 plain slices. You sit down together and your date hasn’t even taken his/her jacket off before shoving one of the slices into his/her mouth. With pizza grease falling out of cheese caked lips, they ask you, “Why didn’t you order anything?” You’re immediately appalled and embarrassed at the same time because you thought at least one of those slices were for you. Before you can answer, your date has shoved the rest of the remaining slice down and is on to the next one. Cheese, sauce, and grease fly everywhere. Shirtsleeves are used as napkins. By the time your slice arrives, your date has finished all four slices and is back at the counter to order more. Grossed out is an understatement.
7. Just say no to drugs.
Especially if your date asks if you want to consume or buy any on your first date. Maybe they concluded that you weren’t relationship material, but had great potential for being a new customer.
8. They only want to talk about work.
Your date loves to work. So much, in fact, that you’re bombarded with information about all the meetings your date went to that day, the deals being worked on, and achievements made in the last year. You wonder if your date has confused this meet up with a job interview. Overheard snippets of conversation on this date include phrases such as “cost efficiency ratio” and “from an efficiency perspective.”
9. URRs: Unidentified random rashes.
Your date has a strange facial rash and arm blotches that could very well be poison ivy, hives, or herpes. There is constant scratching going on and you hear your date mutter something nervously about forgetting to take Valtrex.
10. Hygienically challenged.
You can smell bad breath from across the table even though your date’s been diluting it with soda and French fries. Your date reaches for the ketchup and you get a waft of body odor. You’re hoping it’s coming from anyone else, even yourself, but you know it’s the person across from you. Game over.
11. They’ve got more than a wandering eye.
Midway through the first date at a coffee shop, your companion for the evening gets up to use the bathroom. Your date is gone so long that you get up to see if all is well. You spot your date, outside, kissing another person.
12. They’re technology obsessed.
Your date arrives furiously texting and begging for a few minutes to finish up an email. The email turns into a phone call that lasts for 10 minutes without any indication of it winding down. The server comes to take your dinner order and the food arrives and is eaten with the phone call still going on across from you. You think about calling your date to ask to reschedule but then you realize you don’t actually want to reschedule. If a first date can’t make it through the first couple of hours without interruption from an electronic device, your ability for uninterrupted communication (except electronically) is doomed.
13. You’re on a date with The Mumbler.
Your date may have dreamy eyes and a killer body, but you have no idea what they are saying. You request that they speak up, but they only smile and say something inaudible. You’re embarrassed to keep repeating the word, “What?” in response to every statement your date makes so you’ve resorted to nodding and saying, “Uh-huh.” Your date may have indicated a verbal desire to go out again, but you couldn’t understand.