Note: this is is the third installment of Dating Week, a series of blog posts sparked by a discussion last Saturday with two other single male friends.
Although meeting women when they’re out with friends isn’t the best time to pick them up, it does have its benefits. They tend to be more open, more comfortable, and more themselves. You can get a better idea of their true personality, quirks and all.
Quirks aren’t necessary a bad thing. I want a woman with a lot of personality. As such, I’d like her to feel free to be herself; fully unrestrained, fun, and at her most unguarded.
There are quirks, but then there are red flags. Being able to decipher the difference is an important skill that I’m a long way from mastering.
I probably don’t have to explain what a Red Flag is, but just in case: a Red Flag is a euphemism for a warning sign. In other words, say you’re on a first date and all a woman can talk about is her ex-boyfriend. That’s a red flag. Another example: you go out to dinner and the person you’re with gets tipsy before your food hits the table. Major red flag.
My personal favorite red flag story: I was on a date with a woman I had met through mutual friends. Due to the company, both of us were comfortable and relaxed andhit it off well. We made a date for the next week, which also went well…to a point. There were a few moments and statements made that gave me some pause, but with my propensity for missing those little red flags, I didn’t pay them much mind. Thankfully, she had a flag the size of a football stadium to unveil.
As we were discussing our respective pasts, she brought up her engagement a few years back. It was sort of a sad story, as she was practically left at the Altar. At the moment, I didn’t think too much of it. Again, I’m an idiot, but something like that is certainly an important and traumatic experience. I mean, it’s bound to come up at some point.
Then we moved onto another subject, and it came up again…and again.
The kicker came later in the evening. We had moved on to an entirely different subject when she, without warning, emptied the contents of her purse onto the table. It made me literally stop mid-sentence. From the pile of assorted materials she took out a folded up page of a magazine, opened it, and handed it to me. It was an advertisement for a bridal gown designed by…someone. I forget whom, and I most likely didn’t know who they were anyway.
“What’s this?” I asked innocently.
“That,” she said, “is the gown I would have worn.”
“And…you carry this everywhere with you?”
“For the last three years.”
If there was an alarm that went off whenever it was time to finish up a date and cease all romantic pursuits, it would’ve caused dogs on the other side of the city to howl. All in all, nice girl, but holy crap.
I thanked her at the end of the date. Not insincerely, either. Sure, I was thankful that she was forthright about something that was weighing far too heavily on her mind to be anything but a detriment to any potential relationship rather than an enchanting evening, but at least I took something out of it. I’m thankful for those rare moments where the red flags fly so high you’d think you were back in the glory days of Soviet Russia (where engagement break you!).
I end up with women that are wrong for me, which I suppose is true for anybody that’s not engaged or married. In hindsight, I can look back and say that these are not severely broken or undateable women. For all their faults, I can match them; for every piece of baggage, I carry my own. The simple fact of the matter is they were not compatible or healthy for me to be with on a long-term basis, leading to awkward interactions, uncertain motivations and broken hearts. And in every instance, I can always look back and recognize that there were warning signs from the beginning that I should have heeded, and in many cases they were mistakes and oversights similar to the ones I’d made before.
Problem is, I’m a sucker for a pretty face and expressive eyes. So when a woman does or says something so disarming to me it creates a pregnant pause in the conversation, I should just get up, put my money on the table for dinner, give them a kiss on the cheek and whisper “thank you so much” before walking away. Instead, I break the silence by taking their hand and saying “so what do you want to do on Saturday?”
One of these days, I’ll learn. Until then, I’ll keep making the dumb mistakes and hope history doesn’t repeat itself. If only Napoleon had been so tenacious, he could’ve made one Hell of a comeback at Waterloo.
Tomorrow: ONLINE DATING
So what about you, readers? What’s your favorite Red Flag story?
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