Dating advice from the Refugee – sure, why not?

I am qualified to give advice on a number of subjects.  I am not sure dating is one of them but since I received this email from a reader, why not…



To: restaurant refugee <>

Date: Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 8:15 PM

Re:  Advice for a first date


I really liked your list of favorite restaurants and your blog in general.  The list didn’t have any restaurants near the E Street Cinema though.  I have a first date this Friday and was thinking of dinner and an indie flick at E Street any advice?


First I am flattered that you like the blog, and humbled by the question.  While there are a number of good places to dine in that part of town, you don’t need to restrict yourself to dining by the theatre because your idea for a first date sucks.


I know that was harsh but this is tough love time.  “Dinner & a Movie” is thoroughly unimaginative first date; it is a cliché wrapped in slices of low hanging fruit.  More importantly it does little to advance what should be your only objective for the date – to determine if you want another.   A good first date answers that question which means that if she were to stand you up it is still a good first date because you learned everything you needed to know to determine that you don’t want a second date.


If you are going to spend 4.36 hours with this woman (the average time for a dinner & movie date – yes I just made that up) spending two of them in a darkened theater does not help you gather that information. And have I mentioned that is cliché?  You live in one of the best places in the world for FREE cultural events.  Go to a museum, and then dinner.  Go see jazz in the sculpture garden and then dinner.  Do something different; mark yourself as a gentleman capable of crafting a date not born of a cookie cutter mold.  Think.


One more thing, don’t wear khakis and a polo – they’re like garanimals for grown-ups.


15 Responses to Dating advice from the Refugee – sure, why not?

  1. Shannon says:

    Best date idea ever was in college. There was a huge snowstorm, and the guy showed up at my dorm with hot cocoa and two stolen cafeteria trays, and took me sledding.

    A more creative dinner and movie date idea would be the American City Diner. They show old movies on their patio every night at 8:00.

    Shannon, of course exception are to be made for classic movies. Cassablanca at Screen on the Green comes to mind.

  2. zipcode says:

    Wow – marry me at once!

    One of the reasons I said Yes to marry my ex fiance was the first date we went on. Perfect – ate Gadsby’s Tavern followed a nice stroll in Old Town – it was nice. Worst date was McDonalds in college – they guy bought me a happy meal

    Dearest Zipcode, sadly I am only one inch taller than you and I know you need at least five for the stilletos you like to wear. That and I never venture across the moat into the hinterlands.

  3. Lemmonex says:

    Even if you are plum out of ideas, just do dinner, no movie. I have gone on a second date with far too many men because I could not tell the guy was a loser because we spent half the date in silence.

    I am kinda a beer and pizza gal myself for the first date; I wanna see if a dude can hang. I will judge him, harshly, if he orders Miller Lite.

    I usually do the reverse – swank first date, very casual second. Miller Lite is not a reason to judge harshly – it is a reason for elimination; unless the second date is a baseball game.

  4. zipcode says:

    so – those stilletos are for other activities lmao hahaha

  5. Shannon says:

    Hey, I was at Casablanca! I go to every Screen on the Green, actually.

    I think I would be intimidated by a swank first date, then again, I’m a dive bar kind of girl.

    Swank for the people that won’t think I am a pretentious ass, a little divey for people that need to be convinced that I am not. I’m flexible. For me, the date needs to match the woman not some formula.

  6. Lisa says:

    I hate movies on early dates. Those are long dates, and you don’t get to talk. So you aren’t getting to know the person, which is what you want to do before too many dates elapse. Plus if it’s sad you feel uncomfortable crying, and if you think it’s dumb but the date think it’s hilarious, you think less of him…

    Lisa, you raise an interesting question. Is it possible that certain movies (besides the classics of course) could be a good date? If for example, Imagine Me & You were still in the theatre and a date didn’t appreciate the romance of the movie that might indicate a fundamental incompatibility with me. Could someone’s different reaction to a movie present an early warning signal? You’ve got me thinking. It is still a bad idea for an early date – but maybe earlier than I used to believe.

  7. zipcode says:

    Movies on first dates do suck – because if you don’t like the guy you are stuck, however unless you use my foolproof get out of a bad date plan muahahaha

    Among the things I recall fondly from my restaurant days is that on the rare occassions I had a date if went sideways there was always the emergency at the restaurant.

  8. Shannon says:

    My foolproof plan is to get Zipcode to come along and arrest the guy at the end, much like the conclusion of many Monty Python sketches. (Which is what many first dates are like, anyhow.)

  9. zipcode says:

    I can let you borrow my cuffs shannon 🙂 The hinged ones hurt the suspects – they now come in pink!
    I will discuss my foolproof plan on an upcoming blog.

    I thought all of the dirty, dirty talk was happening at Shanon’s joint. Not that I think handcuffs are dirty, mind you.

  10. Shannon says:

    My dirtiness is contagious, apparently. Like an Internet social disease.

  11. zipcode says:

    ahhh I use work all the time too — I love my nextel and how if you press the side while digging in your purse you can make ring like a fake phone call.
    “Oh excuse me, this is my work phone, I must step outside.”

    “Oh, I am so sorry, we have an emergency at work, I must depart, thank you for a lovely evening.”

    Back in college I got busted for this because I met this stupid guy at the library and used my other old standy – “Oh, crap I forgot I had a meeting at the sorority house tonight, I have to go.”
    Yeah he followed me, I had to drive to the house across campus and sit in the house until he left (2 hours later) and calling the campus police.

  12. seeriously though..some of us are a teeeeny bit curious about your fave restaurants in that neighborhood…AND you may need to do a whole post defining a swanky date…

    for you, blonde, anything. i promise i will post something about my favorite restaurants in that area and about my fantasy swank date.

  13. freckledk says:

    Lemmonex and RR will both never date me. I’m a whore for a Miller Lite.

    Maybe by the time you comeback on the market you will have made some progress on this unfortunate characteristic.

  14. LivitLuvit says:

    AMEN not wearing khakis and a polo shirt! Women JUDGE, and we judge hard. (So do you, men, don’t lie.) Step it up a notch… oh, and make it look like that’s totally the norm, too, obvi… 😉

  15. Melda Weibel says:

    I find this refreshing. I stumbled on this site while researching a bit and will surely visit back. I’m into dating, well, not litterally since I’m married, but rather in an accidemic sort of way. I find it an interesting subject, and also enjoy reading what others have to say about it. I’ve never been a success myself, but I did find somebody.. on-line, the perfect somebody and am now happly married. For those still in the game, good luck too you. Umm.. sorry for rambling.. anyhow, I will check back often.

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