Quote of the Day, Love: Oscar Wilde

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Long Walk

Among the many unspoken problems of first date etiquette is the delicate issue of the walk back to the car. Fraught with peril and terror, some men will  not even stand up or open the door as you walk out.  Nerves and expectations combine to make a tsunami which washes away all good sense or manners. Maybe the problem is rooted in the expectation of how to leave the date without looking desperate or rude. What exactly is appropriate? Are you supposed to shake hands, try for a kiss, run the other way.  And as a woman, are you supposed to wait for a signal, or wonder if he's a serial killer and keep a worried hold on your pepper spray? What if the person likes you but you don't like them or visa versa?  Possibly to avoid these potentially sticky situations, a small fraction of men abandon chivalry all together and plant themselves at a table, movie theater chair, or doorway unmoving as a stone lion.
A few examples

1. I broke my ankle and a week later went on a second date with a computer guy. Seattle's University district is not all that dangerous, but at the time a mad mugger was on the lose and stabbing  people. As I had nothing of worth on my person, I figured he'd probably be angry and go for Mr. Stabby. Though I had a cane, I doubt it would have made much of a difference in that instance.  After our movie let out, I hobbled down the stairs and this conversation followed,
Him: So where are you parked?
Me: About eight blocks away.
exit stage left quickly)
Him: I'm just up the block. Goodnight. (man exists stage left post haste.)

Of course no harm befell me, but I didn't talk to that guy again.
Safety  is always an issue when you meet someone for the first time, so I carry pepper spray on my key chain. I've had no occasion to use it to prevent assaults yet, as I have found that the vast majority of people are decent and law-abiding. But, I was tempted to douse that guy and limp away laughing.
#2 We had a perfectly nice time and though there was no chemistry, the nice guy walked me back to my car. 
We met at a wine bar in the suburbs in November on a street with no streetlights. The road had no sidewalk except for a small strip of gravel and was icy, and,I had on boots with a loose heel.
Me: Nice to meet you
Him: Ok, bye
Me: (waiting for him to get up and walk me to my car,) Ok then.
Uncomfortable silence.(exit confused stage right)
The solution:
If the date was at all civil, men offer to walk the woman to her car. If she doesn't accept, at least you were polite. Women, for safety always meet in a  public area. If the guy seems sane and relatively normal, let him walk you to the car unless you feel uncomfortable.  Civility is no substitute for safety. Hmm, sounds like a bumper sticker for the NRA.

1 comment:

Sara Packwood said...

The whole chivalry issue is a tough one for men. But if a guy is civil, that's more important. It sounds like most of the time you are civil and thoughtful. But definitely drop somebody like that if they seem at all like a bully. You're not obligated to be nice to somebody who acts that way. :)