One of the negatives of online dating is that a girl meets so many, uh, interesting and unique personalities that when a nice, normal guy comes along, he can seem a little dull and unexciting. When I first met Ethan I wanted to bang my forehead on the table rather than continue our conversation but I was too afraid my perspective was off. There was a strong possibility that I didn’t know what normal meant anymore so I decided to give the whole Ethan and Kate thing a chance.

When I darted from the disastrous second date with Matthew and immediately called up Ethan, it was not the first time that we had met. Initially, Ethan had sent me an email that was friendly and he sounded somewhat fun so, after a few messages back and forth, we agreed to meet for a drink. Ethan was there when I arrived and my first impression was that he was very, very square. His shirt was perfectly pressed, his jeans were ironed with a crease and his hair was almost what I would call the military ‘high and tight’. He politely stood, shook my hand and said, “Kate. It is a pleasure to meet you. My name is Ethan.” The introduction threw me off. I thought for a minute I had the wrong person and this guy was going to try to interest me in a pyramid scheme or try to get me to come to his church, but he quickly followed it up with, “You are much better looking in person than in your photos.” I wasn’t sure that was necessarily a compliment but he followed it with a nice smile so I took it to be flattering. We both ordered drinks and Ethan turned out to be less formal than I first thought but he was definitely not Mr. Gregarious. We both had to struggle a couple of times to find something to talk about but we did have enough in common to make it a decent conversation. Ethan had moved to the area recently to go to medical school, worked a few shifts at a hospital while he was in school, loved the outdoors and was not sure how he felt about the thing. You and me both, Ethan.

We finished one drink and Ethan said that he was sorry but he had to go so he could make it to his study group. It had only been about 45 minutes, a bit brief, so my first thought was Ethan thought I was vile and was trying to get the hell out of there. Game recognize game. Ethan picked up on it, though, and immediately asked if he could see me again. While this was an obviously flattering question, I kind of hate being put on the spot like that. What am I supposed to say? “Hey, that is cool, Ethan, but I am going to decline that offer. Check, please? Go Seahawks!” But, hell, he was being assertive and he got points for that so I agreed to another meeting. I did feel like we had barely broken the ice so maybe the next time Ethan would get crazy and loosen one of the buttons on his (perfectly wrinkle-free) shirt. A girl can dream.

Before we left the bar, we of course had to pay for our drinks. This is always the time in a first date where I feel like a giant hypocrite. I am all about standing up for my gender, equal pay for equal work, etc., but I won’t lie and say that I don’t notice if a guy doesn’t pick at least the first check. I have yet to meet a girl that doesn’t feel like that but it makes me ashamed to even say it. It is not a black mark or an absolute but, if I am being truthful, it is something that I note. It isn’t that I feel I am owed a drink or a guy is lucky to be out with me. I am not a prostitute (most days). Almost every single decent guy I have known or dated, though, shudders at the thought of splitting the tab on the first outing and would take offense at a girl offering to pay her half. I wish this part of the date could just be skipped because it always leaves me conflicted. Ethan grabbed the bill, studied it for a solid minute, and told me, “Kate, looks like your half, with tip, is $6.75.” Well, he was good at math. At least he had that going for him. I luckily had exact change so we were soon out in the parking lot, exchanging very chaste handshakes and agreeing to meet again soon.

Well, great. I wanted to go on another date with this guy like I wanted a hole in my head. But was it just me? He was nice! He was in medical school! He didn’t get drunk and talk about demons and regale me with stories of all the ladies he had to hit off with a stick! But if ever there was a personality I would call vanilla, it was Ethan. I am pretty sure he had a pulse and a heartbeat but I would not put a lot of money on it. But, fine, I had said I would go out with him again, there was another $6.75 burning a hole in my pocket and I was going to like someone nice if it killed me. Ethan emailed the next day and asked to meet at a local brewhouse for happy hour the next weekend for some drinks and dinner. There looked to be promise on the horizon. Drinks, a weekend night, more than an hour to converse – all good signs that Ethan did indeed have a wild side.

I walked in the restaurant and there was Ethan. He looked exactly the same except for his immaculate shirt was a different shade of blue. He stood to greet me, again, shook my hand, and said, “Kate. You look lovely this evening. It is very pleasant to see you again.” Very pleasant? Don’t get crazy on me, Ethan! We are in a public place! Again, he was being extremely polite and gracious, perhaps even pleasant, but I felt more like I was on a job interview than a date. My hopes for the rest of the evening were not high but, over the next couple of hours, Ethan did loosen up, a little. He had a few drinks, said a curse word or two and we actually had an interesting conversation. Maybe he was just shy or nervous at being on an online date. Perfectly understandable. I was still having fun so when, as we finished our second round, Ethan asked if I wanted to rent a movie and watch it at his house, conveniently only about 5 minutes away, I agreed. Right on cue, the bill then arrived. Ethan snagged the check right up, started doing his mental calculations and informed me I owed $19.25. It was becoming clear I was going to have to keep change handy for my dates with this guy.

Ethan told me once we got in his car that he had a credit at a Blockbuster that we could use but, he hoped I didn’t mind, the store was 20 minutes away. 40 minutes round-trip for a rental seemed like a bit much but Ethan look horrified when I offered to just pay for a movie closer to his house. Ok, he really, really wanted to use that credit. An hour, and many pauses in conversation later, we made it back to his place. It was nice – very clean, there were pictures of his family hanging on the wall and he had a very friendly, cute cat – but, by that time, I just wanted this date to be over. There was no way I could not watch the movie without being totally rude – we had worked so hard for it! – so we settled down on the couch to watch.

I purposefully sat a friendly distance from Ethan but he scooted over right next to me. Damn. Five minutes in, very slowly as if to not alarm me, Ethan started moving his hand towards mine. It literally took him 15 minutes to get to my hand. 20 minutes later, I could feel Ethan staring at me intently so I glanced over at him to make sure things were cool. He was not slow this time and went in for a kiss. I have never kissed my brother but, if I had, I imagine that it would resemble my first with Ethan. I had absolutely no interest in continuing or repeating that encounter ever, ever again. The time had come to stop being nice. I waited five minutes and then gave a big yawn and told Ethan I was sorry but I could not stay awake. I had to go. I felt awful for hurting his feelings but I was not doing either of us any favors by sticking around. The five minutes it took to get back to my car were the definition of awkward but the relief that I felt at being off of that couch was so overwhelming that I knew I had done the right thing.

As I drove home that night I considered throwing in the online dating towel. I felt like Goldilocks – either the men were so nice as to be without personality or they were attractively cocky and also complete jerks. Just a girl in a fairy tale, I wanted one that was just right. Maybe that guy wasn’t out there and maybe, and this had to be acknowledged, it was me. As disheartening as both of those options were, I did not want to give up. Onward and upward! The next guy in the rotation, Kevin, was, according to his profile, 6’6”, so upward it would turn out to be…

Published in: Uncategorized on September 9, 2010 at 9:47 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Kate, I hate to tell you this but there are very very few really good guys left out there anymore. Good luck in your search.

  2. “Dating” totally sucks!

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