Archive for May 11th, 2011
First Date

This is the story of our first date, and how I almost screwed it up.

Ailish and I found each other through eHarmony. Neither of us had met up with anyone from eHarmony before.

Our first date was essentially blind. We had been exchanging emails back and forth for a little over a week, and had shared pictures of each other. But first dates are tough at the best of times, and blind first dates are particularly scary. So, Ailish and I had discussed some ground rules.

I would pay for the date. Though I generally think dates should be ‘dutch‘, I think the first date is an exception. We would be meeting up for dinner and desert, but nothing more than that. Once the meal was over, we’d go our separate ways. We’d not discuss the possibility of a second date, no matter how well the evening went. Instead, we would wait, and talk over email. No pressure, no awkward conversation at the end of the night.

At least, that’s how I remember it. Ailish insists we never had that conversation.

So, we met up at Matahari, just off of Jasper Avenue in Edmonton. Ailish had just said goodbye to her brother, Brian, who left on an exchange program to France, and I had just had my car broken into. It gave us something to talk about, at least. Actually, we didn’t stop talking. The date went extremely well, certainly the best first date I had ever had. A fascinating, intelligent woman, easy conversation, and she even liked Thai food and fried bananas.

Eventually, we had finished our desserts and I had paid the bill. But we were still talking. We were getting looks of impatience from our waitress, and eventually received a polite suggestion that we move along to make room for other patrons. So we did, but our conversation continued.

Right until we got outside. At which point, well, we were done. The evening was over. No going out for coffee. No discussions of a second date. No. We had discussed this, and agreed. So, I thanked Ailish for the date, and said goodbye.

But… well… only one of us thought that was how the evening was going to end. So, here’s me, thinking the date had been really successful; I definitely wanted a second date. And here’s Ailish, very confused, wondering if perhaps I was just being polite, right until the end where I abruptly stormed off, pretty much in the middle of the date, with no indication that I ever wanted to talk to her again.

The look of hurt and confusion on Ailish’s face finally clicked about half way home. I had monumentally screwed up.

Dating “rules” say you should wait two days to call after a first date. Or is it three? I waited twenty minutes. As soon as I arrived home, I wrote an email apologising, and thanking her for a wonderful evening. Even though we had agreed that the date would end when we were done at Matahari, perhaps I should have invited her for coffee anyway. And I definitely wanted a second date, if she’d oblige.

Ailish took a scenic route home so by the time she checked her email, my message was waiting for her. She quickly agreed to a second date.

Three years later, I discovered she didn’t actually like the fried bananas, she was just being polite.¬†She always claimed we never had any arrangement for our first date, and I had just invented the whole thing. She did keep on agreeing to more dates, though, even after we moved in together. Even after we were married. They were always the highlight of my week.