I almost canceled. Why? Was he odious and self-absorbed on the phone? Sex obsessed? Foul mouthed?
No. If he were, I wouldn’t have agreed to coffee.
His emails showed he was smart; his call was interesting, incorporating current events. He could converse about different topics without being obnoxiously opinionated or emphatic.
So why wasn’t I excited about meeting him? I didn’t find anything I was curious to know more about him. He’d been retired for 8 years, although he was still in his 50’s.
I met him anyway, although I was thinking of ways to put him off up until an hour before we met. The bottom line was I just didn’t feel we had enough in common to see him again. I know it is terrible to make this kind of judgment before even meeting him. I encourage others to meet a guy for coffee if there are no glaring red flags in the pre-meeting vetting. Yet here I was violating my own advice.
The conversation meandered through many topics. He stayed focused, didn’t complain about his ex, didn’t ramble about his kids, or friends of friends, or his resume. He tracked with the conversation and made relevant comments.
I vacillated between thinking, “I would have coffee with him again,” to “How do I tell him I don’t feel a spark?” It turned out to be a moot battle in my head, as he didn’t ask to see me again. I learned I was the first woman he’d gone out with after his divorce last year. He’d only been on the dating site a month, and I was “an experiment.”
I was his practice date!
I’ve learned I was the practice date — the first post-divorce encounter — for two other men. One was so needy he determined I was “The One” within 10 minutes. The other was more grounded and he became one of my treasures.
I’d done it many times myself when I was first dating. I’d accept coffee invitations from nearly any man whose profile and conversation were interesting. Those practice dates helped build my confidence and comfort around men who were deciding if they were interested in me or not.
Have you known you were a man’s practice date soon after his divorce/widowhood? If so, did you treat him differently than other men who seemed more experienced?
For more information on what to expect from initial encounters, get your copy of First-Rate First Dates: Increase the Chance of a Second Date