A Path to Seeing Colors

Relationship red flags can be as heavy as feather against the skin, or as subtle as a sledgehammer to the head.  The ones I ignored on the way to the altar were so glaring that when I drove past the bank in Dupont Circle, instead of the time and temperature the sign would flash “Refugee, Don’t Do It!”

Given that history, I normally have a more sensitive flagometer than most.  Being an hour late for a first date should have sent it into the “back the fuck away zone.”  Displaying the fallacy of “as comfortable at a black tie affair as a dive bar” should have been another.  But I sat through it anyway.

The School Administrator and I had plans to meet at the hip new wine bar that proved to be too hip to make me a drink for 15 minutes.  I decided that going next door to a very solid dive bar and updating SA via text message was the better way to salvage an evening.  Forty-five minutes later my date’s disagreement with my assessment was palpable.

“We don’t have to stay here; I just didn’t want to stew in my own juices next door” I said after the perfunctory “hellos” and “you look greats.”

A short cab ride later we faced each other from the opposite deep backed chairs at the Ritz Carlton.  It was yet another moment of failed logic.

We were two manhattans and two spectacularly overrated glasses of champagne into the evening when my cerebral clouds parted.  SA was neither Vicky Vale to whom to show any bat caves, a unicorn to chase, nor a windmill at which to tilt.

“SA, I think I should call it a night.”

“It’s so early; are you sure? I don’t see a second date after a first that’s so… er, short.”

“I think we’ll both be ok with that.  Let’s just call it the gift of obviousness.”


12 Responses to A Path to Seeing Colors

  1. k8 says:

    Ack. I don’t know how to tell them that I just don’t see it happening. Maybe I should just say it, huh? Makes me feel ick.

  2. Kevin says:

    I hate to refer to a sitcom, but there really should be wider acceptance of the Barney Stinson dating “Lemon Law.” Basically, you have 10 minutes to back out of any date with no reason given.

    Despite the fact it took “two manhattans and two spectacularly overrated glasses of champagne” to get to the point, at least no one went home thinking, “That went great. Can’t wait till next time.”

  3. I like Kevin’s idea.

    Prior to meeting my husband, there were many dates I went on where I thought, ‘how much longer do I have to stay?’

  4. Christina says:

    Why spend an uncomfortable evening with someone when you can have a comfortable one by yourself. At least there was no way messages can be mixed or misunderstood.

  5. kitty says:

    gosh, that must be one of the benefits that come with experience. i twisted myself up in knots a few weeks ago telling a guy it just wasn’t going to happen. and then clearly i didn’t word it correctly, because the response was, “what’s not going to happen?”

  6. lacochran says:

    Hm. You arrange a date. She immediately disappoints you. Rinse and repeat.

    Might be worth asking yourself what you get out of this cycle since you do it over and over again (going out with women who clearly don’t give a damn.)

    Or, just load up on more alcohol and it won’t matter so much. 🙂

  7. f.B says:

    It is absolutely cool to be honest when an inclination becomes a strong feeling. But, sometimes, surprises take until a second date to show themselves.

  8. Jean says:

    It’s kind of like removing a bandaid – it might sting a little at first, but it’s better to just give it a yank and get it over with.

    I like your directness. Boy, I can’t even imagine showing up an hour late. No surprise you didn’t feel the magic.

  9. elle dubya says:

    “the world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self awareness.”

    i’m guessing you’ll know where i grabbed this quote from. seems pretty applicable here.

  10. liz says:

    you did the right thing . . . now, please sign up for Date Lab: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2006/07/07/LI2006070700949.html

  11. dan-E says:

    luckily for me this realization occurred after two beer and two glasses of wine and only one bar on my last first date. unluckily, that date wasn’t quite so brief.

    at least beers are cheaper than manhattans.

  12. NATUI says:

    Honest and to the point without being cruel or bitchy. It actually sounds like a great way to end any date.

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