The Initial Coffee Meet – An Online Dating Necessity
First, let me tell you that I don’t drink coffee. I have never been able to stand the taste of it. I don’t even like a little mocha flavoring in my chocolate cake. It ruins the entire thing for me. But, I’ve learned the hard way that the initial coffee meet is the only way to go for online dating.
When I first got divorced and moved back to town I tried good, old Match.com. How else are you expected to meet men when you’re not in your twenties anymore? No one I knew appeared to know one, single man they felt was socially acceptable. So, I signed up. I wrote a unique and witty profile. I posted numerous clear, recent photos of me smiling and having fun with friends and family. And then I waited for the men to find me. And find me they did.
Oh, how depressing it is the first time you see the long list of photos of the men in your age group who might be interested in you. I’m sure among them are mostly nice, loving, decent men. But, multiple images of pot-bellied, ball cap-wearing, unsmiling men holding large dead fish, cans of beer, or stupidly another woman’s hand doesn’t make a woman’s heart soar.
So, out of all of these wonderful pictures, one man had the courage to send me an email and say hello. He had only one photo posted (something I know now to avoid in a “match”) but it was a nice photo of his shoulders and face. He was attractive, with a full head of brown hair and beautiful, deep green eyes. So, we began to chat. His profile said he was a veterinarian; although no longer practicing. He loved hiking and biking just like me.
After a couple of days of chatting online he asked me to dinner. I thought, “I’m a very social person. Certainly there isn’t anyone I couldn’t have dinner with?” So we made a date and met for dinner at a local restaurant in my neighborhood.
That night I got ready with the usual care. Make-up and hair perfect, an outfit that best framed my figure and brought out the color of my eyes, and I walked down to the restaurant and through the door with a light feeling of hopefulness. I looked around and didn’t see anyone that looked like my date. Then, I heard my name being called. At a table across the room a man was standing smiling at me; a bald man, who looked to weigh about 400 pounds, wearing suspenders to hold up his enormous pants.
At the very same moment that I realized this man was my date and my jaw dropped open, the waitress walked by me with a smile her face and asked “drink?” “Oh yes,” I told her, “and keep ‘em coming”.
I try not to be a shallow person and I’m not exactly svelte myself, so across the room I went to meet my date. This signified the beginning of one of the most tortuous meals of my life. He started the conversation by telling me he was a widower who had lost his wife to cancer and then went on to tell the painful story. Now, I’m a compassionate person but, it seems to me that if you still have to relive the events of your wife’s death in detail you’re probably not ready to enter the dating pool.
After the stories of his wife, came the problems with his father, also a veterinarian who apparently didn’t respect him or think he could be a success in the field. Many people have difficult relationships with their parents, and this wouldn’t be the worst topic I’ve discussed on a date if it weren’t for the fact that his parents had both been dead for over ten years. Ten years and he still had unresolved issues he felt worthy to talk about on a first date.
Worst of all, as I tried to eat my chicken and polenta dish, he told me that he had stopped practicing as a veterinarian and now worked for the USDA inspecting poultry plants. Oh yes, he described in detail the sanitation problems he found every day inside poultry plants. I had to ask him to stop but I still couldn’t finish my chicken. Thanks for dinner!
As soon as we were done eating, I made my escape saying “No Thank You” to an offer of a ride home. The next day as I was telling the story to a male friend of mine he asked, “Why didn’t you just turn around and walk out when you saw that he didn’t look like his picture?” “I’d never do that to someone,” I replied, “I’m overweight myself so I wouldn’t walk out on someone for being overweight.” “You wouldn’t have been walking out on him for being fat,” he said, “you’d be walking out on him for being a big, fat liar.” And that, I realized, was the truth. In posting a picture that was probably ten years old he wasn’t honestly portraying who he really was.
I learned two things from this experience and you can learn from my mistake. First, never agree to meet someone who’s only posted one photo and, second, only agree to meet for coffee or a drink thereby limiting the time you have to spend with someone who may not be your cup of tea. These two little pieces of advice could save you hours of uncomfortable, boring time that once spent you can never get back.
July 20, 2011