I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Me, I saw three live music performances, had two dinners out at restaurants in newly reclaimed downtown St. Paul, had one giant Sidecar too many at the best old school supper club and lounge this side of Nye's Polonaise, baked some cinnamon pecan blondies (minus the pecans), and attended two parties in the same night (a Sunday night, no less), one of which featured a dinner of Eggs Benedict and a drink that tastes like liquid candy. Oh. Also, I painted less than one full wall of my sad, sad garage, and I went on possibly the single worst date of the year. Those last two have little to do with food or alcohol, however (or with the recently lost four pounds that are obviously coming right back), so perhaps they hardly bear mentioning.
In truth, the date itself wasn't particularly dreadful. A bit mundane and small talky, sure, but that is nothing new. It was the last three minutes that made me remember why I've repeatedly said I'm swearing off this nonsense for good.
How about a discussion question? We haven't had one of those in a while. Tell me: at the end of a date that was by no means spectacular, is it a good idea to ask, "So! What do you think? Should we get together again?" Because I'm sort of voting for no, on the grounds that such a question can only create the sort of formidable awkwardness that dating with the Internet as a buffer was designed specifically to prevent. That is what e-mail is for! Slinking away with a "Thanks but no thanks"--no brave poker face required! Seriously: don't we all know this by now? Perhaps not.
However! If a man does ask that question after a lackluster and mundane, borderline painful date, what is the woman on the receiving end to do? Muster a weak, "OK" and back out later? Go on an equally boring second date and live through the same awkward question again after that? Or politely and honestly say, "You know, it was nice meeting you, and thanks for the coffee and conversation, but I just don't think there's a love connection here, Chuck"?
I have a friend who, in her online dating days, somehow mastered the polite and gentle "No thanks" speech. I think it's time I had her mentor me, a la Phoebe and Chandler in The One with the East German Laundry Detergent. (Yes, I had to Google that. There is a Friends reference for every situation in life, but rarely is the memory accompanied by the episode title.) I need her to mentor me, because somehow my version of the "Thanks but no thanks" line prompts men to argue and rally, saying, "Really? Really? You didn't feel a connection?? What does that even mean, 'connection'? I had a good time; what, didn't YOU??"
I wish I were making that up. I am not. I am also not making this up:
Him: You know, I went out with this other girl... We went on like, five, six dates, and then she said, "I just don't feel that big spark. What BIG SPARK?? What does that mean? Why does there have to be a SPARK?
Him: I'm sorry. I don't mean to put you on the spot...
Me: Um, well you kinda are.
The only way I think that situation could have gotten any more awkward is if I had said, "You know, you're right! We SHOULD go out again! Even though I just told you I do not want to, meaning that strange second date will be clouded by insecurity and gloom from the very start, SURE! Let's go out again! You still want to, right??"
Sigh. On a related note, I just checked my Sitemeter account and found that someone Googled their way here this evening by typing "Stefanie's awkward life." I think that says it all.