Date No 10 – Show me the Banter! Please!

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So next date was Sunday afternoon.  Because I was so nervous getting back into the game, we’d been bantering back and forth in instant chat for several days.  I knew better than to get my hopes up too much, but the banter was really good.  What girl wouldn’t swoon for a conversation like this:

Me:  “What are you doing?”

Him: “Searching the couch for rubber bands and refrigerating them.”

Me: “Um, okay, I’ll bite.  Why?”

Him: “They last longer that way.”

(I googled this later by the way and it is totally true.)

Me: “What do you use rubber bands for?”

Him: “I don’t really, but I figure if I need one it’ll be better if it lasts longer.”

Okay, so that was one of the more bizarre examples, but generally banter was lighthearted and speedy and we didn’t run out of things to say to each other.

Anyway, I arrived at the little pub and found he was the only person there, sitting in a corner, looking pleasingly like the photo of him, if a little smaller than expected.  But I’m used to that.

I went over and introduced myself and he smiled and nodded.  He already had a drink, so I ordered a beer from the bar and joined him.

“So, how’s your day been?” I asked.

“Good.”

“What have you been up to?”

“Nothing much.”

I waited for some more, but no more was coming.  He just sort of sat there with this little smile on his face looking anywhere but at me.

“Rubber bands all frozen?”

Another smile, but no answer.

I sat there for 20 minutes trying to get something – anything – out of him.  But every response was monosyllabic and gave me no opening for anything else.  Finally I made my excuses and left.

I arrived home to a message from him:  “I had a great time.  Can I see you again soon?”

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27 responses »

    • I wouldn’t give up on him either. My son is very funny when he is instant messaging etc but due to being shy he is quiet when he first meets someone. Just cannot do small talk easily. Once he is relaxed he is much better. You could be casting away someone who is quick witted and from your post reasonably easy on the eye. Maybe you could give him a second chance.

    • I agree with you Patty – it may well take 4-5 dates to get him “out of his shell” – but seriously, who has the time and energy for that? If he’d shown ANY attempt at leading/making conversation then maybe – but when you have to do all the teeth pulling like that……I agree – we’re done. NEXT!!!

      • 4-5 dates, yes, but 2-3 dates, no – surely if she could get a long-term relationship out of it, then a few preliminary hiccups are worth persevering through? I know if I felt that I could date somebody for at least 2-5-10 years, then I would stick with gritting it out through the initial awkward gettting-to-know you dates – I’d consider that longer-term ‘pay-off’ worthwile. I’d find the time and energy for that.

  1. I had a similar first date with a guy, and tried to lightheartedly bring up the one way communication that was going on, and he told me by saying that I had made me feel even more self conscious and he was now embarrassed. But at least it cleared the air, and my expectations that he actually talk were addressed ( no 2nd date)
    Your guy could have saved face by saying, that he knew he may have been shy and nervous the first time, or that he was terrible at first dates, but hey I really liked you/had a good time lets try again.

  2. I tend to agree with the softy-softly approach. A lot of people are good partners but may have trouble with the bridging problem. They just need a little encouragement to relax and come out of their shell. That’s why I almost believe in the 3 date rule, unless there are extenuating circumstances and it’s a most definite ‘no’ why cast somebody away so quickly? You wouldn’t like that done to you, to be pre-judged on the slightest mis-step, so I bear that in mind when meeting others. Otherwise it’s a ‘do-or-die’ nerve-wracking situation and who wants to front up again for that, knowing how quickly they will be dismissed? It sounds like he CAN banter, I would email him back again, tell him what the issue is, apologise for the quick judgement and say that you’d give him a second date if he can open up a little more. Plus, if you are seriously looking for the long-term and a serious relationship, would you be so quick to discard somebody so readily? You have to give blokes a chance.

  3. This may be a bit harsh, but you know what – life’s too short. Afer the spark is gone, you rely on other elements in a relationship – such as the ability to have a good conversation. Banter is not necessary on a first date – it’s a bonus but not necessary- people may be shy and it may take them a while to relax enough to do this. But on a first date I would expect my date to make an effort to tell me something about themselves, enquire about me and hold up their end of the conversation. If that doesn’t happen, think about all the situations that you could face in the future with your partner when they may not be prepared to make an effort (even if it takes them out of their comfort zone) such as meeting your friends, family or co-workers. Even if it was awkward, I would appreciate someone who tried to engage in friendly chat – not monosyballic responses for 20 minutes.

    I wouldn’t be quick to judge a potential partner on their looks or whether there is that ‘spark’ as I think attraction can grow once you know someone. But I love someone who can have a good conversation.

    Besides, who knows who was doing the bantering on the other end of the chat line – could have been a flatmate.

    • Right on Michelle!

      I wouldn’t want a second date with a guy that can’t produce anything except monosyllabic responses either. I can be shy initially but I make an effort on a first date I’m there to find out a bit more about the guy and I expect him to ask me questions as well. That’s the whole point of a date, getting to know the other person which means actually having a conversation.

  4. Gah! why do men DO this? Two of my boyfriends were like this – great fun online, silent and pulling teeth in person. So the fact that they progressed to boyfriend shows that I gave them both a second (third, fourth, fifth) chance but really, it just grew incredibly tiresome to deal with. I’m no chatterbox myself but I do not like walking around, dining etc. with someone who is resolutely not talking. With one of them, we went out for months and he grew more silent rather than less so it’s not necessarily just an initial hump to get over.

    Since I’m an inveterate look-at-things-from-the-other-side kind of person, I’d give him a second chance because I’d be thinking “maybe he’s been feeling that up till now he’s been doing all the wit and it was time for me to strut my stuff”. And since he said he’d had a good time and wanted to see me again, I’d feel that maybe I had been interesting after all and try again. But I’d be wary of a third chance.

    Happy Valentine’s Day all!

  5. I’ve had many rather awkward first dates and much better second/etc ones, so yeah, some ppl just take a bit longer to open up. If he could be that funny online that means he *can* communicate well with you, it’s just the media used and the circumstance.

  6. I’m not sure what to make of this guy, 20 minutes of trying to coax more than a word or two out of him seems a bit much. This is a difficult one and the comments from everyone so far reflect this!
    Do you give the guy another go or is it just going to be a waste of time? I guess in the end Patty, you’re the one who was there and if it was really way too hard and awkward then you just have to make that call.

    Now I know I can be a bit shy and socially inept at times, had my share of dates with those awkward silences but somehow either my date or myself has managed to pull something out that gets the conversation going again.
    I particularly remember one date that I had way back in the mid 90s which was very awkward at times. The girl was however, a very alternative, headstrong and as I found out later an extremely dominant woman and kind of took charge of things.
    What made this date so memorable was the fact that it very quickly ended up turning into a very hot and passionate two year relationship! I still look back fondly at my time with this girl, she taught me the kind of things that make you totally ashamed of yourself while putting a stupid grin on your face just thinking about it!! It did make me wonder at the time if she had previously been a sex worker…
    I think every guy should get to meet a girl like this at least once in their lives, someone who’ll teach them a thing or two! 🙂

    So I suppose the moral of the story is if the guy is a bit awkward but you can see he is making some sort of effort, then stick with it because good things might come from it…

      • Well we did have a great second date last weekend, nothing has happened so far however. She did have it on her profile something along the lines of “friends first with view to more later” so I’m not pushing it.
        This does bring up another awkwardness issue with me, I’m hopeless at making a move on a girl or reading any signs she may be giving me as to interest or lack of from her.
        I wish I could have some of that X Factor that the players have, I only want enough to get this girl!
        Still, I think at the very worst I’ll end up with a new friend so whatever happens it won’t be a total loss!

      • Hats off to nerdy guy. ‘I’ll still have made a friend’.

        Insert Big Loud Cheer from the sidelines here. A man mature enough to know that quality friendships can happen even if the spark isn’t there!

  7. I think you were too quick to judge. Next time, 3 date rule. 3 dates, no spark, move on. I’ve done this and it doesn’t waste any time, and you’re absolutely sure when you say “thanks but no thanks.”

  8. Oi Patty! Where are you?. Did the fat winged cherub finally get you? Are you OK? Sweet baby cheeses, Patty – say something!

  9. Well, she hasn’t deleted this blog, which indicates to me that she still plans to keep it active. If she was dating, surely she would be blogging – so my logical conclusion is that she is still a bit stung by her recent experiences and just taking a temporary break. She is after all, a human being, and not just an entertainment machine for our voyeuristic pleasure. If she was in love, she would surely be popping in to tell us that too? But she hasn’t. So again, perhaps a temporary ‘time-out’.

  10. Patty, I saw you were over at de Brito’s place. When will you write your next post here? I don’t care if it isn’t even about dating, I just love the way you write and your sense of humour, come back!

    • Thanks Joey! I admit I wasn’t going to come back, but it is great to see that there’s actually really nice people out there… I just wonder why the hell none of them seem to be on Big Dating Site. 😦

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