The great date debate
Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Cheesecake Factory slander does not matter as much as genuine chemistry
By now, I think we’ve all seen the viral “places women absolutely refuse to go on a first date” list from Facebook user John Shaft (who GQ identifies as a military vet named Fike). He compiled this list of 30 from women in his own life. I read through the list, already knowing I’d have a different take from most of the women explaining why Fike (and other men) didn’t get a second date.
I’ve been to every place on here besides a hookah bar and a Wingstop, and I’m amused. Apparently even Beyonce’s “Formation” couldn’t save Red Lobster from getting thrown under the eatery bus. And while I’m adamant about morning pilates and meditation, I still cannot wrap my mind around reality shows (ex. “Ready to Love”) making “dates” at the gym. You’re not talking. You’re not focused on each other. You’re hot and sweaty. It’s just not a great place to get to know someone unless both of you are already gym rats. Exercising is a thing you do to get ready for the date, not the actual dating location.
On the other hand, I love movie theaters like gym rats love fitness clubs. In college, I used to see a new movie every week. But on a date in my twenties, I was irritated by one guy trying to force his arm behind my back instead of over my shoulders. It made sitting in divided seats even more awkward, and he thought dinner and a movie meant sex. No, sir, it does not.
Additionally, the problem with movie dates is if the movie sucks, you’re both bored and can’t really talk to each other without getting shushed. The concession food costs more than a four-course meal, and it’s dark. So why are you here again?
The reason location doesn’t matter on dates to me
Would I go to any of these places again? Some no, some yes. (The “no” is largely because I’m a vegetarian of 18 years who has no interest in sports.) Still, none of these 30 places really matter all that much, and I learned this lesson the hard way.
Years ago, I used to have a (prior) Amazon account where I would adamantly rate books, music and movies. I kept noticing the same brotha was always rating what I rated. I didn’t say much until a second guy (a brotha from London) always seemed to show up in the same review section too. Somewhere along the line, the three of us started leaving comments on each other’s reviews.
The Londoner eventually pointed out an obvious thing that me and the first guy had in common: We were both from Chicago. We’d been sharing reviews for well over a year and never spoke about being in the same city. There are 2.6 million people in Chicago. It’s not like this was the kind of small town (or movie scene) where we’d pop up on each other out of nowhere. Except we actually did cross paths, but I didn’t know it. We both showed up to a Big Daddy Kane concert at the House of Blues. I had no idea he was there, but he recognized me and didn’t say anything.
The Londoner was determined to be a matchmaker and eventually talked the two of us into meeting up. We exchanged info, and the plan was for us to go on a date to a local vegan restaurant since he knew I was a vegetarian (from my reviews) for well over a decade. I’d been to this place a bunch of times with family and friends and loved it. The result that day? It felt like the entire city of Chicago had the same idea and it was packed to capacity. We ended up sitting by the entrance door, the food was lukewarm, the service was terrible, it was loud and he was mad I wore a turtleneck. And that’s just the start of this dating nightmare.
No matter where you go, you take yourself with you
For a woman who has been mistaken for a prostitute, I swear I can’t win with (some) men. But I will defend my turtleneck outfit until my dying day!