Thursday’s Thoughts From a Bartender: First Date Rejection – How Far is Too Far?

  • Posted on: March 1st, 2012 by

By: Lindsay Hopper

As a bartender, you see a lot of first dates, especially when you bartend in a restaurant. You see bad dates, good dates, sometimes REALLY good dates (you know who I’m talking about- that couple that ends up having a few glasses of wine and starts making out in the corner), but very rarely do you see a really BAD date.

I think that’s because usually the bad dates don’t last long enough for you to see much of them. This was not the case for one particular couple I had the pleasure of waiting on recently. Now let me start by quickly breaking down a good date for you: the couple comes in, you can see that inner excitement of “is she going to hold my hand?” or “will he put his arm around me?” They sit down, chat for a while, forgetting to even look at their menus, order drinks and then 20 minutes later finally order their food. Some people in the service industry may find that annoying, especially when they’re busy, but I personally find it to be endearing.

Once they order, they eat, slowly, and, if they’re sharing dishes like many people do at my restaurant, they always leave the last bite for the other person. Now let me break down this bad date for you. They came in and I thought they weren’t even together. I actually offered them seats at the bar because I thought they both came by themselves.

Once I realized they were together, I took them to one of our lounge tables and gave them menus. I asked them what they wanted to drink and he immediately starts ordering food. He asks her if what he ordered is okay, she nods, I get their drinks, and we were off! Literally. It was like a horse race. Their food started coming out and they just went to town. I’ve honestly never seen people eat that fast, and I’m a really fast eater. And while I had a few interactions with them each individually, I don’t think the couple said two words to each other.

Twenty minutes after their food comes (okay, that may be an exaggeration but it was defiantly under and hour), my barback clears their empty plates and I get ready to bring them the dessert menu. As I begin to approach them, I hear one of the most shocking things I’ve ever heard during a first date come out of his mouth. He looks right at her, preparing to speak to her for the first time since they came in (okay, another exaggeration but you get the point) and he says (this part is NOT an exaggeration). “So, I’m really not feeling this and I don’t think we should see each other again.” He then looks right at me and motions for the check. I run his credit card, bring it back to him and thank them for coming in, all while trying to keep a straight face. And as they get up to leave, I hear him say, “do you want me to walk you to your car or are you okay?” Daggers shoot out of her eyes into his face as she says, “no, it’s fine, thanks.”

So this is my question to you: how far is too far when it comes to rejection on the first date? Personally, I’m all about the honesty in a relationship but there is such a thing as a line. And sometimes keeping your mouth shut is imperative in order to spare peoples feelings. Now, in this situation, it’s not like the girl thought the date was going well, it was abundantly clear that this was a very, very bad date, but why not just walk her out and have that be the end of it? Don’t tell her you’ll call or say the cliché line, “we should do this again sometime” but don’t make a bad date even worse by throwing the rejection out there before it even ends! I wanted to look at him and say, “Seriously? You were so close! What’s another 10 minutes??”

I mean, say you’re a relatively attractive single in your mid to late 30’s with a pleasant personality and sense of humor and someone decides to reject YOU just for putting yourself out there enough to go out on a date. How would you feel? And in this case, the woman was just that, there was nothing she could’ve done differently to make the date better, it just wasn’t a good fit.

We’re all just floating around trying to find that right connection and there should be sensitivity involved. When it comes to rejection on the first or second or possibly even as far as the fifth date, definitely be honest but not hurtful. I think you should proceed with caution and have a little bit of tact. And the man on this date clearly doesn’t know the definition of the word. Or maybe he was just too cheap to order dessert.

  • She should consider herself lucky to have NOT ended up with him. For a guy to do that, all he wants is to TAKE from her… whether it was sex he wanted, or her to meet some need of his for brilliant intellecutual stimulation, he clearly shut off the second he wasn’t going to ‘get what he  wanted” for himself out of the interaction and he had NO regard for her as a person after that (or before that, to ne honest). So it became about filling his stomach (the next thing on his self-centred “What I Need” list) and getting out of there so he could not ‘waste’ his so-important time on someone not giving him what he wanted.

    Selfish prick.

    A conscious, decent guy would have at LEAST decided to enjoy getting to know her as a PERSON and treating her as sich. If there is no chemistry, FINE, but the energy of the dynamic can shift to being friendly and decent to one another. Why the hurry to leave unless you think there is NOTHING IN IT for you to stay? Rushing off to take what you want from the next person.

    One of the first things I taught male cliens was to see every interaction as a chance to SHARE themself and their experience with another person. Two people mutually enjoying the music, the food, a laugh, whatever.

    And somewhere near the end of the date (or middle, so as not to lead her on) I would have said “You know I am really enjoying your company, but not feeling the chemistry that’s a priority for me right now. I’d love to keep enjoying getting to know one another tonight, though.”

    No promises of the future. Clear. Complimentary in some ways. Honest. And not by saying “You aren;t my type.” or “You aren’t…” anything. focusing on.. “After my last relationship I am looking for a certain spark, but even if it’s not there I’m happy to be friends.”

    Bottom line: Dating is not about what you want to GET out of it, it is what you want to SHARE and with WHOM.

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About Jennifer

Jennifer Kelton

Jennifer Kelton CEO / founder LLC is a Los Angeles native and a pioneer in the worldwide dating industry, investigating the game of love while providing encouragement and support since 2007, starting with the acclaimed dating book Don’t Use My Sweater like a Towel. An accomplished CEO, visionary and entrepreneur, Kelton’s work in the […]

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