Jul 11, 2016

#1 - Trivia Night

I am so excited to get this section of my blog up and running!  I love talking about dating and relationships, though not necessarily the act of dating itself, so these posts make perfect sense for me!

Our first story comes from a 24 year old named Serena shared on Bustle:

"I was on a Tinder date with a guy who had completely lied about himself, so I was already annoyed. The bar we were at was having a trivia night; since we entered a round late, we came in last place. At this bar, the losing team (us) and the winning team (a couple on a legit good first date) had to participate in a 'physical challenge.' The announcer made me and the other girl blindfold our partners, and then he handed us gigantic cucumbers covered in peanut butter. He told our partners that they had to lick off all the peanut butter in order to win. Since I hated the guy so much for lying about himself and getting me into this situation, I was maybe (a lot) rougher with the cucumber than I should have been. At one point, I basically shoved it into his mouth to get it over with, and he immediately knocked it out of my hand. It rolled under a pinball machine and we were disqualified. I stayed for 20 more mortifying minutes before faking a work emergency."

So if you've been living under a rock for the past couple of years and have no idea what Tinder is, it's a dating app you can download on your smartphone.  You put in your search criteria (preferred gender, location and age) and the app sends you a bunch of profiles to review.  Swipe right if you like what you see, swipe left if you don't.  If you both swipe right, you get a cutesy message saying you're a match and you're free to communicate within the app to learn more about each other.

It's not clear from Serena's story how much contact she had with her date prior to meeting up, or what exactly he lied about.  However, here are 3 lessons I learned from her story:

Lesson Learned #1: Do Your Homework
When I meet a guy online, I have to know more about him than he's already told me.  So when we talk on the phone or meet up,  and the conversation (hopefully) begins to flow, he's pretty much confirming what I already know. Yeah, it may defeat the purpose of the conversation itself, but at least I know I'm talking to the dude in the profile pic.

The easiest place to start is Facebook, since most everyone has a profile.  Some dating sites, including Tinder, are even linked to Facebook and you can see who your mutual friends are which makes stalking researching your potential date even easier.  If you have mutual friends, don't be afraid to ask them about him.  Check out his pictures and make sure there's no one around who looks like they could possibly be his girlfriend/wife/significant other.  Make sure he looks the same in ALL of his pictures - I almost went on a Tinder date with a guy who looked different in every single picture he had posted.  Notice I said "ALMOST". I need to know what I'm walking into!  Be on the lookout for fake profiles that seem too good to be true.  Catfish, anyone? Umm...no thanks.

By the time you find his Facebook profile, you'll likely have his full name so then you can move on to LinkedIn to confirm his professional life.  Google him, search his name in the sex offender registry and your state's Department of Corrections (DOC) website.  Most DOCs have a database you can search for both past and present inmates.  I'm serious, I have used all of these easily accessible and free online resources to research a potential date, and as a result I've avoided a potentially dangerous situation on more than one occasion.  Like the time some guy emailed me on Match on behalf of his friend who was so shy he just couldn't email me himself (red flag #1).  The guy gave me just enough information to find out that his "friend" had spent time in prison for multiple sexual offenses.  I promptly deleted his emails, blocked his profile and kept it moving.  #byefelipe

Lesson Learned #2: First Dates Don't Have To Be Adventurous
Granted, trivia night isn't exactly adventurous under normal circumstances.  But if you're on a first date with a guy you barely know, it could turn out to be pretty awkward as it was for Serena.  A dinner date may seem cliché, but it gives you an opportunity to talk to the guy over a somewhat limited period of time and if you're not feeling it you can leave after dessert...if it even gets that far.  If things go great, you can continue chatting over drinks or head to a movie.  Save the adventurous stuff for the second date when you have a better idea of who you're hanging out with.

The other great thing about a dinner date is you'll get to see how he treats the wait staff.  This is huge for me.  If he's disrespectful to them, you'll know he's that kind of guy.  No matter how sweet he may be to you on that first date, he'll probably end up talking to you the same way eventually.  Ain't nobody got time for that.

Lesson Learned #3: Be Honest With Yourself...And Him
I'll admit this is a tough one for me.  I don't like to hurt anyone's feelings.  I mean really, who does??  But if things are obviously not going well, it's best to be honest rather than prolong the agony.  Why suffer through the embarrassment and awkwardness a minute longer than you have to?  First dates are awkward enough!  You don't have to be mean about it, but say something along the lines of "Hmm...this isn't going so well, is it?"  Maybe get a to-go box and cut your losses.  Another reason why dinner is the best option for a first date.

Several years ago I was on a first date with a guy who spent most of the evening telling me how his wife had cheated on him with his best friend.  By the way, don't talk about how your ex done did you wrong on the first date.  It's not cute.  Like, not at all.  Anyway, I was not feeling him but I didn't know how to express it.  So when the conversation began to dwindle, I pulled my phone out and started checking Facebook, emails...whatever just to let him know I had tuned out.  I never heard from him again.  Probably not the best way to handle it but mission accomplished regardless.

Any other suggestions for how Serena's date could have gone better?  Comment below and let a sista know!

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