When Is It Okay to Walk Out On A Date?
Online dating is pretty amazing, connecting us with people we would otherwise never meet and creating love stories that would otherwise be fantasies. But online dating isn’t perfect. The biggest pitfall? Meeting that guy you’ve been chatting with for weeks and being sorely disappointed when you meet him IRL. When he seems so wonderful over the web, but in reality, he’s weird or doesn't look at all like his pictures.
What do you do when this happens? Do you ditch the date, or do you grit your teeth and stick it out?
I’ve had my share of cringe-worthy meet-ups. Like Lisp Guy. We matched on Tinder, had a few fun days of messaging, and decided to meet up at a bar on the Lower East Side. I arrived after him, but he was easy to spot even in the low lighting. He waved me over and said hello... I think. I honestly can’t be sure what he said the entire night because the poor man had an awful speech impediment. I know it’s not his fault and I’m a terrible person, but there are only so many times a person can ask, “can you repeat that?” before it becomes super awkward. So, I left. I made up some BS excuse about my roommate locking herself out and needing to go home to let her in and I GTFO. He watched out of the foggy window as I pulled away in the cab. Our eyes met briefly… and I just knew he knew.
Not my finest moment.
There was also Short Guy. It started the same way it always does—match, chat, meet up at bar—but I felt like the Jolly Green Giant when he stood up from the cocktail table to greet me. Now I am not a tall lady, so this dude had to have been just pushing 5’1. On a good day. I don’t know if it was the memory of Lisp Guy’s dejected frown or if I just really wanted to enjoy the hip lounge in the Meatpacking District, but I stayed. It was the right choice because Short Guy was awesome! We drank bougie cocktails, laughed and flirted. He mentioned his friends were going to a club in Midtown, invited me, and even paid for the cab that whisked us there. It was a PAINT PARTY. Straight out of Miss Congeniality. The music was pumping through multiple floors, shaking the crystal chandeliers and strong drinks. His friends, all men, were welcoming and polite even when they showered us with glow paint. Plain, pure fun. We drank and danced until close to dawn under the lasers and strobe lights, grinning and laughing. He bought us slices from a dollar pizza place down the block, and then put me in a cab to go home.
Short Guy and I never saw each other again, but that date is still one of my New Yorkest New York nights.
Would something similar have happened if I had stuck it out with Lisp Guy? Did I judge him too quickly? I will never know what that night could have been, but I do know that I should have given him a chance.
Online dating is hard, and God knows we all do a little glossing, white-lying, and editing to make ourselves seem more attractive on our profiles. So, we should cut ourselves, and each other, some slack. If your date isn’t what you were expecting, why not stick it out? As long as you’re safe, there’s no harm in showing compassion to another lonely soul wandering the New York dating scene.
And who knows? Maybe you’ll end up dancing on a table, glowing under the lights, and smiling like you’ve never smiled before.