I recently met a girl in a bar and got her number. The one caveat was that I got her number under the premise that I would help her find a job in public relations. My sister is in PR so I would at least be able to get this girl interviews. I still haven’t learned not to mix business with pleasure. I began asking the girl out on dates. I thought I could start dating this girl AND get her a job. It never occurred to me that she might have only wanted me as a business contact.
I took her to this Italian restaurant in the Bowery section of NYC.
We sat down for dinner, and the girl immediately took control. She talked me out of appetizers. I was happy at this point, because it was getting cheaper and cheaper by the second. I did want more wine, however. It had been a while since I had been on a date, and I wanted to share a bottle of wine with a pretty girl.
“Would you like a drink,” the waitress asked.
I didn’t get a chance to speak.
“We’ll just take tap water,” my date said.
OK, so she didn’t want drinks or advertisers. We both ordered pasta dishes and enjoyed pleasant conversation. After we were finished, the waitress stopped by again.
“Would you like to see the desert—“
My date cut her off: “We’ll just take the check,” she said.
I’m a slow learner and a terrible judge of situations. But even I could see what was going on here. This girl did not want to stay at this dinner one second longer than she had to. She had talked me out of appetizers. She asked for tap water—maybe the process of bottled water would take too long. Wine would have definitely slowed things down, that was out of the question. And, I may be crazy, but if she could have specified how she wanted her pasta, I’m sure she would have ordered her pasta al dente, ensuring the shortest cooking time possible. She put the kibosh on desert and seized the first opportunity to request the check, even though she wasn’t paying.
Honestly, the meal was so fast, I could have just taken her to Wendy’s. I would have saved at least $50.00, and she would have been really happy with how efficient we would have been—maybe 15 minutes tops.
I don’t know if I was being sarcastic or stupid (maybe a little bit of both) when I asked her if she wanted to get a drink when we left the restaurant. You know what the answer was to that.
In my vengeful embarrassment in the aftermath, I got mad at myself for not realizing her strategy faster than I did. In college, I tried three times to get that free meal at Bennigan’s battling their “If we can’t get you in and out of here for lunch in less than thirty minutes your meal is free” policy. I tried every combo in the book: well done steak along with complicated desert and girly coffee drink. But somehow they always got me out of there on time. I wish I had employed the Bennigan’s Strategy on this girl.
It would have been funny to watch her face as I said:
“Yeah, I’ll have the cold cut plate (breaking her no appetizer rule), well done steak, and for desert: bananas foster. Oh, and can you bring out some wine? By the way, I’m a picky son of a bitch and I’ve been known to send back wine 9, 10 times. But hey, we have time.”
I did get a bit of revenge when I realized I only had a credit card and the restaurant only accepted cash. Oops. I bet she was steaming while I searched for an ATM outside. Time wasted!
I should have just helped the girl find a job. I did get her an interview, but I’ve learned if there’s a promise of something like that, pursuing romance is probably not the best idea.
That was an extreme and obvious example, but how do you signal to a date that you don’t want to be there? And are you obvious in sending off your signals, or more subtle? Do you go on a lot of dates that you don’t even want to be on? Do guys ever give off signals that make you question if they want to be on a date with you?