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The Politics Of Thank You?

A quick thought for this morning.

Last night’s 2nd date (he was last weekend’s coffee date) was pleasant enough. Nice guy: Sweet, smart, polite, interesting.  All the good things. He’s just so wishy-wishy.  Maybe he’s intimidated by me?  I’ve been told I can be a little intimidating.  Anyway, I can’t be attracted to a guy who doesn’t have his own opinions, his own tastes.  When someone asks me out on a date, I expect him to make a plan, at least a rough plan.  Sure, I like some flexibility and spontaneity. But I find it really unattractive to be asked all night, ‘what do you want to do?, where do you want to go, what do you want to eat?’.  Be a man, for christ’s sake, have an opinion.  ”I’d like this, how’s that sound?”
Anyway, I doubt there’ll be a third date. I want to like this guy.   He’s probably ‘good for me’. But I just don’t see us going anywhere.  Maybe as friends.  So here’s the question for the morning, and before I’ve even finished my coffee:  What’s the most gracious way to deal with the ‘’ when you don’t want to see the guy again?
I’ve tried all kinds of ways, and have found them all unsatisfying.  We eventually went to dinner and he paid.  I said thank you last night.  But my inner Emily Post tells me I should send a follow up email saying thank you again.  It’s seems like the polite thing to do, especially in cases where a lot of money was spent (which was not the case last night, but I have been on dates where men have chosen very expensive venues).  However, following the ‘thank you’ would usually be “I had a lovely time.”  This implies that I’d like to see him again.  And in many cases that is not the case.
I’ve sent a thank you with no follow up, “I had a lovely time”, and they almost always provoke a return email saying what a lovely time the guy had and would I like to get together again, leaving me to say no.  Then the thank you is kind of mean – I’m implying it’s safe to ask, that I will say yes to another date when I have no intention of doing so.  I could say, within the thank email, that I had a lovely time but I think we’d make better friends than lovers.  That always seems false and awkward.
One obvious solution is to always go dutch.  I don’t like this.  I prefer to take turns paying. Even when there is a huge income difference between the two of us (as there frequently is, my last couple of exes had significantly higher incomes than I did) I make sure to pay sometimes. Sure, I let them get the big checks, especially when they’re picking the expensive restaurants, etc.  But I want to pay sometimes, just so I don’t feel kept.  Going dutch just feels a little bit too much like buddies hanging out, and I want to be clear from the very start that I’m not looking for a buddy.
I could just send no thank you at all.  I admit, I’ve done that too.  It just feels rude.  I know people are reading this blog, ’cause the counter on the bottom tells me so.  Any suggestions?

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