5. Do not talk about marriage on a first date. Now, to my credit, I didn’t start this topic of conversation. My date asked me what I thought made for a good marriage. I have no idea why he asked me, since I had already made it clear that I had recently come to the conclusion that marriage pretty much kills a relationship. In fact, I said that I supported Katherine Hepburn’s view of marriage and quoted her as saying “married couples should live near each other and visit frequently.” (By the way, there is no rule about trashing marriage on a first date; I think the website feels this is so obvious that it need not be mentioned. Obviously, they were wrong.) In hindsight, I think the question about what makes a good marriage is one of those Miss America-type questions, where I should have given a non-answer answer about saving the world and feeding the hungry. Instead, coming from the marriage I was in (see number 1 above), the first thing I said was “sexual compatibility.” My date tried to help me out, saying that surely I meant the greater good of intimacy and closeness, etc. I guess that was his Miss America response. But I was steadfast in my answer. After a while, my senses returned and I remembered to mention honesty, trust, respect, friendship and the true number-one for me, sense of humor. So maybe he thought I was kidding all along. One can only hope.
6. Do not kiss good night on the first date. Gotcha. You don’t actually think I got close to breaking this rule, do you? Instead, I did the awkward shaking hands with my non-handshaking hand thing. It was like I was possessed by my grandmother. And then, as if straight out of the Mary Tyler Moore show, I said I’d be glad to help if he ever needed information about things to do or see in Atlanta. I didn’t offer to take him or go with him, just to point him in the right direction. After that, I wouldn’t even ask me out on a second date, and I know all the really good stuff about me. Needless to say, there was no “I hope to see you again” or “call me sometime.” It wasn’t until I got into my car that I realized I hadn’t taken a breath for the past three hours. Surely the lack of oxygen was responsible for my impossibly geeky behavior, right? If I had only passed out, the evening would have gone much better.
There are actually 22 “don’ts” on firstdate.com. Among the ones I managed to avoid were:
Don’t smoke. Not cigarettes, not marijuana, not crack cocaine.
Do not bring your child. Duh. I also left the baby album in the car at the last minute. So there.
Do not wear a low-cut or revealing top. In hindsight, this might have helped things considerably.
Do not recite from the bible. Although I managed to steer clear of both testaments, I did quote a People Magazine article, which is actually number 11 the “don’ts” list.
Do not tell your parents you are going on a date, especially when it is with a doctor-correction-a
surgeon. When I called my folks the next day to give them a very brief synopsis, I heard my father yell to my mother, “Cancel the caterer, honey.” I then explained that I wouldn’t be telling them about any future dates since I never again wanted to make that day-after-the-date phone call. For this, my mother has not spoken to me in over a week — which is actually the silver lining to this whole ordeal.