I'm going to start with a question that wasn't actually in the original list, but that a commenter named Heidi asked in response to my Ridiculous Theories post last week. Theory #5 involved a bar that I refuse to visit with prospective dates because I am convinced that it is cursed. Apparently whether or not this theory is ridiculous depends upon the evidence. So here it is.
- The first time I visited said bar, it was with my then-boyfriend, and we went there basically to break up. Not a good start; wouldn't you agree?
- A few months later, I went to said bar with another date, a date who admittedly didn't do anything so awful except I suppose bore me a bit. (Oh, and plagiarize my "I'm just not into you" e-mail in order to brush off someone else.) A mildly bad date maybe doesn't lend a whole lot of credence to the curse theory, but I'm building evidence; stick with me, OK?
- A year after that, I went to said bar again with an early meMarmony match. It was a rare third date, and we had a fine time... many laughs, good conversation, plenty of compliments from him onto me... Before the night was through we were making out under a disco ball in his nearby office and talking quite convincingly about a fourth date. A few days later, he told me there would be no fourth date. He'd be dating someone else, apparently, instead. As if that weren't frustrating and ego-blowing enough, he boomeranged back into my Inbox several months later, having broken up with the girl who was at one point "better" than me. An innocent invitation for drinks turned into something that felt pretty date-like, at the end of which he asked me on that long-delayed fourth (or perhaps, fifth, depending on which ones you count) date after all... And then sent continually evasive and noncommittal e-mails until finally saying, "Sorry; I shouldn't have asked you that. I'm just not feelin' it, I guess." Score three (four?) for the jaded burlesque lady; she got me again with that guy.
- Around the time of the disco ball, no-fourth-date incident, a friend of mine went to this bar with a date, too. Just as with my date, things went rather well. There was good conversation and much enthusiastic pawing at each other in a car later on, as well as seemingly sincere talk of another date. She never heard from the guy again. Not only that, but another friend who it turned out worked with the guy later told us that he seemingly vanished entirely--quit his job unexpectedly and without explanation and was never seen by anyone there again. Mysterious? Yes. I am telling you, something's not right with this place.
- And finally, I have to point out perhaps the most innocent victim of all in this curse. Shortly after events #3 and 4, I was walking with some friends to breakfast at a nearby coffee shop when I saw a sweet-looking elderly couple hobble quietly past the bar in question. Directly in front of the door, for no discernible reason and with no advance warning at all, the old woman's legs gave out and she toppled quickly to the ground. Since then, I can't help but wonder if it's not enough just to avoid entering this bar with a man; I have to avoid even walking past it with one as well.
OK, on to the rest of your questions. I didn't really mean for that first one to be a whole post in itself.
Liz wants to know... What's the age range you've dated? How many years older, and how many years younger than you?
I had one date several years ago with a guy nine years my senior, and twice I've gone out with guys four years younger than I. I'm sure it's all situational and depends on the individual, but in all three cases, I felt like the age range was too wide. The nine-years-older guy was 34 when I was 25. I was losing all my single friends to marriages at the time, and he was starting to gain his back due to divorce. It was just one of several examples proving we were at different places in life. Same goes for dating twenty-somethings now. I just don't see myself relating to most of them. It's fun to step back into that life for a little while, but long-term relationship potential would be tough. (For me, I mean. And with my limited experience dating younger men. Please don't send me hate mail if you're rocking an Ashton-and-Demi thing that works for you.)
Incidentally, the nine-years-older guy was listed as "Steve" in this post; the first four-years-younger guy was Aaron (and was the date on which I wore the shirt mentioned in BeingMcCrary's question for Part 1); and the second four-years-younger guy was the scary one who inspired the majority of this post last summer. (Man, it's fun having my whole dating life chronicled online for quick and easy reference.)
Married Jen wants to know... Do you believe in "dating karma"? Like if you don't like a guy who is obviously interested in you, that it will happen to you the next time?
I don't know that I believe in dating karma from that perspective, but I do wonder what I did to men in a past life to make me so unlucky in love this time around. I'm sure I was some sort of player or heart-breaker; I just hope I had fun while it lasted.
Married Jen also asked... What's the most creatively planned date you've ever been on?
You know, I should really have an answer to this by now, given how much time I've had to think about it. Unfortunately, the best I can come up with is the small dinner party that my first pseudo-boyfriend (in high school) and one of his best friends planned for me and the other friend's girlfriend. I wish I could remember the odd mix of foods they made. It surely wasn't a cohesive menu, but it was a very sweet 16-year-old gesture nonetheless. Slightly more recently, I also remember being about five months into my last "real" relationship and realizing I'd never really had a first date with my boyfriend. We'd started as friends and segued into more than that over time, so we never had an official first date. The day after our conversation about that, he sent me an e-mail asking, "May I take you on a date?" He made a reservation at a fancy restaurant we'd never been to; he picked me up bearing flowers and wearing a button-up shirt that was tucked in; and then he got really romantic and took me to see The Matrix Reloaded after dinner. (OK, so it may not have been totally romantic, but it was a good "first date," anyway.) And since I don't put out on a first date, he didn't even stay over that night. All right; in truth, I think the not-staying-over part was due actually to an early morning golf game; after all, if there's ever a time to be a slut, it's when you're on a first date with your boyfriend of five months.
LC wants to know... How do you feel about dating someone younger than you, nevertheless he shows he is a mature individual?
I know it all depends on the person, so I'm not saying there'd be no exception to my general feeling on this, but... see the response to Liz's question above. Also, I think Red said it best when she proclaimed, "If your age starts with 2, I won't date you." Seems a pretty good rule to me these days.
Metalia wants to know... Do you have an emergency plan to fall back upon (possibly involving friends, and code words) should the date turn out to be a bust from the get-go?
Perhaps I should (I do love a good code word), but luckily I've never really felt it all that necessarily. I rarely schedule a first date on a Friday or Saturday, and when you're meeting for drinks or coffee on a weeknight, it's not too hard to beg off with an early exit. Yes, I've had some painful dates, but generally I figure I can survive anything for two hours. I sat through Jersey Girl, after all. (And even most of From Justin to Kelly.) I do, however, wonder, any time I see a guy glance at his cell phone on a date, whether he might have some sort of emergency plan worked out.
And finally, Poppy, overriding her first comment that she didn't have an "appropriate" question for me, decided to ask this "inappropriate" one... Do you you respect the 3 date rule, wait a lot longer, or go for it on the first date if you feel like it?
I think Poppy's already gotten her answer to this, seeing as I wrote about it in comments on a few other blogs lately. (Apparently I'm hesitant to spill dirty details on my own blog, but have few qualms publishing them elsewhere on the Internet.) Let me start by saying there is a difference between a date and a bit of mostly meaningless action. If I said I have never had my Mildreds off* the first (and in most cases, only) night I've known a guy, I would, I'll admit, be lying. But if it's a real and proper date with a man I'm hoping to date again, I see no need to rush things along so quickly. Call me old fashioned, but can we not retain a bit of mystery, save some things for later, let anticipation build a little bit? Personally, I think the three-date rule is absurd, and not because I want to "go for it" earlier, but because I think less than ten hours into an acquaintance with a potential boyfriend is just too soon for certain things. Yes, I am a prude. Selectively, anyway. And that's all I probably need to say about that.
* I did say I enjoy a good code word!
Thanks again for complying with my request for questions (and for humoring me as I thereafter neglected to answer them for weeks on end). Got anything else you want to know? Perhaps I'll answer it sometime next year. Perhaps.