Would You Rather Meet Out or Get Picked Up For a First Date?

Would You Rather Meet Out or Get Picked Up For a First Date?This latest report from DatingAdvice.com doesn’t surprise me, but it does disappoint me a little.

Money quote: “Three out of four American men and women, regardless of race, sexual preference, marital status, with incomes between $25-125K, and over age 34 said they prefer meeting somewhere for a first date rather than be picked up.”


What can I say? I’m a traditionalist. Despite my advocacy of online dating, I’m a firm believer that dating used to be better. You’ve probably said it yourself: “I miss getting to know someone organically, through work or mutual friends. And then, as we get to know each other, we feel a spark, and he asks me out for a highly anticipated first date.” This, for most people, is organic dating. When you get to know a guy through repeated interactions, you feel comfortable enough to let him pick you up and take you out on a proper date. He gets to demonstrate his punctuality, thoughtfulness, chivalrousness – and maybe even get you back to your place after the date if he’s lucky. Now THAT’s a date.

When you get to know a guy through repeated interactions, you feel comfortable enough to let him pick you up and take you out on a proper date.

But because dating is fraught with failure – especially online dating – people have gone to the OTHER end of the spectrum. Instant gratification. Let’s meet as quickly as possibly for a no pressure, no cost, no intimacy date for forty-five minutes at a coffee shop to see if we have chemistry.

And then you wonder why dating sucks. You’re not dating the way that you really want to date!

You want to get dressed up, not meet right after work.
You want to do it on a Saturday night, when you don’t have to wake up early the next morning.
You want to do it with a few drinks, not a Jamba Juice.
You want to create the possibility of intimacy, which is pretty hard to achieve at 2:30pm in the plastic chairs outside Starbucks.

In short, by meeting out, you’ve taken all of the fun, excitement, chivalrousness, and romance out of dating. You’re going into the date, assuming failure and looking for an exit strategy, instead of spending a week building up a level of trust and rapport before your big date.

Which just goes to show: just because 73% of people agree on something doesn’t mean that they’re right.

In short, by meeting out, you’ve taken all of the fun, excitement, chivalrousness, and romance out of dating.

Oh, and one other preemptive strike: Please don’t make this post about safety. Fact is: the men who are most likely to become stalkers are the ones whom you’ve dated more than once. Which is to say that a crazy guy is not going to reveal he’s crazy until later on down the road, when he already has your address, has slept with you or is your boyfriend. If you actually have a personal story about how a guy forced his way into your house on a first date, I’m sincerely sorry. Otherwise, let’s keep this discussion about the actual virtues of meeting at a restaurant or getting picked up at your home. Thanks.

Join 9 Million Readers

And the thousands of women I've helped find true love. Sign up for weekly updates for help understanding men.

I hate spam as much as you do, therefore I will never sell, rent, or give away your email address.

Join our conversation (89 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    I’m all for being a gentleman and picking up and walking your date home, but I don’t see how that will make or break a date. If you’re into each other, you’re into each other whether you first laid eyes on each other at Starbucks or at her front door.

  2. 2

    Hi Evan, it’s my first time posting but I’ve been following your blog for a number of years. I really enjoy it, thank you.

    I’ve done a lot of online dating over the last 10 years (in between boyfriends). I think a date can still be very exciting (the anticipation of meeting them) and the man can be chivalrous (by picking up the tab and opening doors etc) even when you meet out in public. I do agree that a lot of online dates have a ‘drive-by’ feel to them. But if you really click with a guy then it doesn’t matter at all if he picked you up or not. That has been my experience.

    I know you asked not to comment on the safety factor but I don’t see how you can possibly avoid it. Just the idea of some strange guy picking me up in a car or coming to my house fills me with anxiety. I would never do it, not until we’ve had a few dates. I think it’s safe to say that women grow up being a lot more vigilant about their personal safety than men. It’s not a feeling you can really understand unless you’re a woman.

    1. 2.1

      He’s specifically talking about a first date with someone who you already know.

  3. 3

    Evan, I have to side with Brigitte on that one. If I have never met a man in person, no matter how charming he seems over email and on the phone, how can I get into his car, and how can I give him directions to my home, where my children live? That would be straight out irresponsible of me. If we hit it off, there will be plenty of times for him to pick me up, but a “meet and greet” first date is not one of them. Sorry, you cannot say “don’t make it about safety”, when it in fact is first and foremost about safety.

    Plus, as a parent, I don’t want my children getting used to seeing a different guy pull up to my house every 2-3 days to pick me up. It weirds them out enough when I tell them I’ll be coming home late tonight, I’ve got a date. No need to have them see my dates, too.

    Actually, now that I think of it, there’s another thing, that applies both to men and women. What if the first date is a complete flop? What if it is so bad that you have to stand up and leave mid-date? Now as a man, how can you get up and leave if you still have to drive this woman back to her home? and as a woman, how can you get up and leave, if you don’t even have your car with you and this guy, whom you want to leave ASAP, is your ride?

    It basically all comes down to it being the first date, and the two people not really knowing each other. In this situation I believe it would be helpful to leave a few things to imagination, such as: where she lives, and what does the inside of his car look like.

    And yes, like Brigitte said, there are many ways to make a first date romantic without one person picking the other one up.

    1. 3.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I went on 300+ dates. When I used my own 2/2/2 rule, moving from email to the phone to the real life date, I could almost always build up enough trust and rapport to pick up my dates and drive them home.

      Since I had an extremely positive experience doing it this way (as did most of the women who went out with me), I recommend it to others. I’m recommending raising the bar for how you can have a great date: put in more time up front, build up trust, and create a better, more fun and trusting atmosphere. Your entire post is all about failure and fear.

      “What if he turns out to be a psycho who wants to stalk my children?” Okay. Let me know how many times that’s happened.
      “What if a new guy comes to my house every 3 days? What will my kids think?” Probably the same thing they think when you leave to go meet a guy for coffee. Mom’s going on another date.
      “What if a date is a flop and you have to leave mid-date?” Another worst case scenario that has never actually happened to me. Even when someone is weird and there’s no connection, I’ve never been tempted to abandon her.

      You extol the virtues of “leaving something to the imagination”, Goldie, but that’s pretty ridiculous. No one pines to wonder what the inside of a man’s car looks like, nor does he care what your living room looks like.

      I’m trying to teach trust, abundance, and emotional investment prior to going on a first date to make your first dates even better. You’re preaching fear, worst case scenarios and emergency exit strategies. It’s not that you’re “wrong” to do what you’re doing. I just think my way will lead to an overall better dating experience.

      1. 3.1.1

        Evan, as a divorced mum of a 13 year old daughter I completely go with Goldie here. Evan, I don’t know the age of your kids. Let me assure you that my safety is paramount in the mind of my 13 year old. Whilst on the one hand she is happy to see me happy (dating the same man for 3 whole weeks now :-) ) she is nowhere near interested – or happy – about meeting him or acknowledging his existence yet. Our first date 3 weeks ago was at a local bar. (and we both live not only in the same town… about 5 minutes away from each other!). It was at night, outside, romantic, fun and left us both wanting more. It was in fact, a great first date.

        I also agree with Goldie that if either of you wishes to cut that first date short, well… basically you’re both stuffed if you’re only in one car :-)

        Evan, these are actually the realites of dating.. and I also agree with Marc who mentioned that if there is a spark, it’s going to be there whether you are “at Starbucks or her front door.”

        Well said Goldie

      2. 3.1.2

        How many times does a nut case stalk your children? Do you have children? All it takes is once. You don’t invite strangers into your home, and even if you do not have children to be concerned for – you don’t know this person and it is foolish to give your home address to someone you don’t know. Let alone open the door for them and invite them in.

        I met a guy at a starbucks who seemed perfectly normal on email and the phone. And the moment I layed eyes on him, I knew he was a skulking oddball. He immediately asked if I wanted to go to a nearby secluded beach / park with him. I declined. He then repeated the offer every 2 to 3 minutes, as if I might have forgot my answer by now. He was so odd I had us sit next to a table full of cops. When they had to take off for a call, he visibly relaxed, smiled, gave a sigh of relief and then said (can you guess?) let’s go to the beach now. I thanked him for meeting me and then left. I was very glad this nut case did not have my home address.

        Yeah, maybe he just wanted to go to the beach REALLY BAD. My take on it was do I want to go to a secluded area with a total stranger who can’t understand the word no. My house would be a nice private place too. He might have been happy skipping the beach had we met there.

        1. Goldie

          Aw c’mon Jackie, the man just loves long walks on the beach! Who can blame him for being a romantic? haha

          I actually do not have any scary stories of my own – I’ve been lucky so far in that I’ve been able to weed out the creeps at the message/email/phone stage. One exception was this year – I was in a rush and didn’t do the complete 2-2-2 with the guy – he set a date on a Sunday evening, at a coffee shop I’d never heard of. Two things that made me wonder were, one, why hadn’t I ever heard of a coffee shop that is one mile away from my home? and two, why is this coffee shop located on a street that is an office park, where every building on that street is an office building? So on Sunday morning, my dog and I went to check the place out. Sure enough, the coffee shop had been closed for years. It was in a plaza where all other businesses were closed on Sunday. In fact, every building on that street was closed on Sunday. I canceled the date right away. The man wasn’t even surprised that I canceled, or that I didn’t want to reschedule. I took a photo of the date location and have been showing it to my friends at parties for entertainment. Everyone who sees it is completely horrified. But like I said, that one was on me for not having gone through with the 2 messages/2 emails/2 phone calls process.

      3. 3.1.3

        I agree, Evan, that your way promotes trust and trust is the foundation of better relationships. But the idea that we should put in the time upfront to be comfortable, when you consider putting in the time to be two dating site messages, two email messages, and two phone calls does not seem to me like really knowing much about a guy. There is so much I read from body language, and I just won’t trust a man until I’ve met him face to face. I’m so glad the 200 women you went out with were safe, and I bet you’re right 99% of the time that getting in a car with a man you’ve never met before is going to be fine, but in a country where 1 in 3 women is a survivor of dating violence, I’m not prepared to be wrong 1% of the time in order to have the chivalry of a guy ringing my doorbell promptly.

      4. 3.1.4

        Hi Evan, I’m usually a big fan but really surprised about your advise on allowing a man to pick up a woman on a first date from online. I don’t mean to sound condescending but I think if you were a woman you might feel differently. I have been dating for a year and a half online – divorced for 4 years. I am confident with an open heart and positive attitude. With that said, I like to get a feel for the person and a comfort level after meeting them in person twice before inviting them to my home to pick me up.
        Trust, abundance and emotional investment isn’t given instantly to someone it happens when a woman feels comfortable with her date. I think this is less about fear than plain old common sense.
        If that upsets the apple cart so drastically I don’t think the date that evening is someone I want to be with anyway.
        For a frame of reference my average time spent online and talking on the phone before a date seems to be around 2 – 3 weeks.

  4. 4

    EMK, your post just shows how men and women might see this issue differently. No woman I personally know would ever put herself in the vulnerable position of being alone with a man she has never met before. That’s the whole reason for meeting in a public place. When I had self-defense training, the instructor told us to never ignore our gut feelings, and that most women who’d been victims of an assault admitted later that they’d had an uncomfortable feeling about the man, but ignored it. Women are taught to be nice and not offend anyone. Brigitte is correct in saying that you can’t understand how vulnerable a woman can feel if you are not a woman.

    However, on two occasions I let men who came to visit me from out of town pick me up for the first date. With one of the men, there was no chemistry, so despite the fact that we’d exchanged numerous emails and chatted on the phone twice, the greater “intimacy” did not ensure chemistry.

    I do agree that meeting for drinks and apps, brunch, or even a light dinner is better than a coffee date. If you both like each other, there will be plenty of dates in your future in which the two of you can be alone together.

  5. 5

    Definitely meet for a first date; esp. from online; it’s impossible to build a appreciable measure of trust, abundance, investment, etc., prior to ever meeting. It’s just a blind date after all. Conversely, I’ve ended a number of dating situations because she wouldn’t ride in my car or let me pick her up at date #2+.

  6. 6

    I mainly meet the guys i date irl ( rather than online). I’ve been picked up from my house and met up with them at the restarant. I haven’t had bad experiences with them picking me up but despite that, for first dates, I really prefer meeting out. I feel more free and comfortable that way. And I don’t do mid day, mid-week coffee dates either ( if it’s a day date it’s a brunch, with alcohol lol) so there is a romantic vibe even when we meet there.

  7. 7

    I think old-fashioned dates are a wonderful idea, Evan, once you’ve met the date in person and developed a comfort level. Knowing what we know about the world today and how easy it is to be less than honest online, would you seriously recommend your daughter have someone she met online and talked to on the phone come to your home to pick her up for a date?

    1. 7.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Yes, otherwise I wouldn’t be giving this advice. Please, dissenters, tell me a story about yourself or anyone you know who got picked up by a man at home who proceeded to stalk or assault you. I’m not saying that it can’t happen. I’m saying that it pretty much doesn’t happen. And living in fear is not a great policy in general. Cars crash every day, yet you get in the car, right? So until I’m confronted with the evidence that having a guy pull up in front of your house with his car leads to actual bad events, I’m going to say that your fears are much scarier than the reality. Oh, and I would bet that more women have been stalked by men who they’ve gone out with for months than by first dates. Does that mean you shouldn’t go out with a man for months or ever let him over? Of course not. This is all irrational fear. You think if you meet him out on a first date, but he comes home with you on the third date that everything’s fine. Nope. Guy is more likely to do something crazy when he has feelings for you than when you’re a stranger.

      1. 7.1.1

        “Oh, and I would bet that more women have been stalked by men who they’ve gone out with for months than by first dates.”

        YUP! I totally get being worried, especially for people with children. I would struggle with that majorly too. Here’s my take as someone who actually dated a Lifetime Movie Worthy Dude (Example: I was once getting juice out of the fridge and turned around to find him standing three inches from me. At which point he put a hand around my neck and said “You know it only takes 8 pounds of pressure to crush someone’s windpipe?” Carry on.), what Evan says is 100% correct. If lunatics acted like lunatics from the get-go, they would have very little success finding anyone to date them.

        In this dude’s case, The Crazy made it’s full-on debut at about the 7 month mark. Despite the whole experience (thankfully, nothing terrible happened), I can tell you that he is literally the only nutjob I have ever encountered and I am the only one of my friends that’s ever encountered one at all. In my case, I decided that living in fear wasn’t fair to me or anyone that wanted to date me. I went over what happened, gave real thought to any red flags I may have missed and went back to living my life. Dating is supposed to be fun, after all!

      2. 7.1.2

        I have three stalker stories, none of them men I ever agreed to date, one of whom repeatedly broke into my apartment. I have never been a victim of any crime, which I attribute to a mix of good luck and being a street-smart girl who pays attention when the hair on the back of her neck stands up. So overrule your gut because Evan said to if you wish – it’ll probably turn out fine – but I’m going to keep listening to my instincts.

        I DO know that automobile accidents are statistically a greater risk to me than dating violence. That’s why I have insurance, wear my seat belt, and drive defensively. I also know, statistically, that for American women of my age, homicide is my #2 risk of death and there’s a reason why the police start those investigations with the last man she dated.

      3. 7.1.3

        I am a single 34year old mom of one. I have to agree with Evan :::gasp:: Ok, I DO understand what the other women are saying, and yes.. I can agree it may be /feel easier to MEET for the first date . Then, the first time that both people lay eyes on eachother  , is actually controlled by both parties . Maybe that’s why so many women prefer meeting in public. They still are somewhat in control. From how great their makeup is before first meet.. To how “perfect their outfit” is “laying” against their skin.( ok.. Make sense? ) control.  We all like control , power, and all the rest.. I’m not speaking of that type of control. I am speaking of the control that women still will have, by meeting their date. They can leave if they decide to.. They can enter the meeting place exactly when THEY feel ready.. Vs the earlier than planned doorbell ring, or the kids trying to catch a glimpse then suddenly throw a tantrum when they see mommy dressed in something other than her yoga pants , or the early arriving date that throws one for a loop if she still isn’t ready and early bird is now outside her door. Women feel thrown off, perhaps they are not prepared or ready for their” entrance “. Basically , it boils down to control. Yes, I know I sound like I’m bashing my team lol I’m not. I understand , because I’ve had those moments. If I’m being honest, I prefer having some control still during the date. Independently driving to a mutual meeting place helps me still feel somewhat in control . No, I don’t want to have the captains chair on this flight! I just prefer being somewhat in control ensuring the date starts and ends successfully . However, I agree w/Evan . What happened to how dating used to be. So, gain trust of course… Trust your intuition ladies and hopefully you’ve been talking for longer than this novel I just replied with. Let him know where you live if you feel this is someone you have exchanged enough messages/calls/ etc , that you can trust their agenda. Don’t enter a date as if you are about to go a few rounds with a UFC fighter. However,  Don’t go into the date knowing less about him than you do about your mailman.. Or meeting after less than a couple texts and whatever that dating site had posted of your date , Charlie Manson .

  8. 8

    I can understand where Evan is coming from, but a rule of thumb I meet my first online dates at a location. I definitely agree with putting some heart into it by at least willing to meet for dinner on a Saturday where you can let your hair down a bit.

  9. 9

    Evan I took your advice and stopped going on any coffee dates They are doomed.

    Ive traded a few emails and then speak over phone first as you recommend and my intuition is seldom wrong from this screening.
    I love getting a few drinks and an appetizer but I drive there because I want leaving to be easy . Some of the best time Ive had to get to know a guy is on a really long walk.

  10. 10

    I’m so tired of hearing women talk about safety to justify why they’re not willing to date online, let a man pick her up, etc. It’s as if most men were rapists and killers in their mind. I have a friend who is 56 years old and will not date online because “what if I meet a serial killer.” Please. I’m almost 32, I have had a lot of dating experience (both online and off), and I don’t recall one single man ever attempting to harm me physically or emotionally. I have let men pick me up at my place, and have gotten in their car after a dinner date. I even traveled to foreign countries to meet with men whom I’d developed an online relationship with (*gasp!*). COULD it happen? Like Evan said, yes it could happen, just like a deadly car crash could happen too. But I knew I had nothing to fear, and I feared nothing.

    Personally, if I was a man, I can’t imagine I’d be very attracted to a woman who lives out of fear, who believes men are dangerous, who believes she needs to protect herself from the mean evil men out there. Seriously, let a man be a man. Now, I’m not saying women should get in the car with any man who winks at her on Match. But after a few back and forth emails and phone calls, one would hope you have built enough trust and rapport to let the man do what he’s supposed to do – pick you up and show you a good time.

    I love Lifetime movies, but life is not a Lifetime movie. It’s funny, because as much as women dislike being considered the weaker sex, they immediately resort to this argument to justify their fears of men. “we’re vulnerable, etc…” Interesting…

    1. 10.2

      Alexandra! Thankyou for standing up against giving in to all the fear-based info
      nowadays. Yes, yes, yes, it is out there, but how often do we hear about all the
      nice men, who politely date women? It is not, what sells news, yet!!

      I have been hitchhiking a lot, and met helpful people and some say: “How dare you?”
      I answer: ” It is only humans!”
      I am afraid of dating, because I am afraid to open my heart to another person,
      but it is something I can work on. I am not afraid of men, I love them, they are
      just not women, but it does not make them someones to fear.

    2. 10.3

      I couldn’t have said it better myself! Well put and I agree!

  11. 11

    I honestly do not understand what the big deal is. It’s not like men are begging us to let them pick us up for a first date, and we’re all “Noooo, I’m scaaaared”. On a few occasions, I did ride with the man on my first date with him (including the one that later became by boyfriend), after he picked me up in a public place. On a very rare occasion (once, if memory serves me) a man picked me up at my house for a first date. But most of the time, guys want to meet on neutral territory as much as we do! They, too, have had their share of crazy, and don’t want to take any chances with a female stranger in their car; and another thing, they don’t want to drive too far out of their way to meet with someone they haven’t yet seen in person. Aren’t we supposed to be reactive and not proactive? Aren’t we supposed to let the man choose the place to meet? Well, nine times out of ten, the man chooses to meet somewhere that’s not my home. Who am I to tell him he’s wrong?

    And while we’re at it, coffee dates work best for me. Of course, by coffee date I do not mean “swing by a nearby Starbucks at lunch”, more like “meet at a nice comfy coffee house in a cool neighborhood in the evening”. You can sit in a corner and chat for hours without the waiter hovering over you, because the restaurant needs to turn the tables and you’ve been there too long; the man doesn’t have to empty his bank account buying you your meal; it’s dark and intimate, the atmosphere is very cool and urban, what’s not to like?

    I am a lightweight when it comes to drinks. No way can I get a few drinks and drive. Even one beer is pushing it. Coffee is better.

  12. 12

    Ok Evan – I’ve got an example. For starters, I’m a professional actor so I have an online presence, if someone wants to find me they can. That’s not the issue. However, I went out with a guy a couple of years ago. He got wasted. He was my ride home. I wasn’t in an area where I could grab a bus home, a cab would have cost me $60+ – which I flat out couldn’t afford. I sat in a restaurant entertaining a drunk man for two hours while trying to find a friend who could come pick me up. I couldn’t have known from 2/2/2 that he had a problem with alcohol. I could have met him at the restaurant and driven myself home when he turned out to be Mr. Not Right. Not romantic. Not worth it. Be a gentleman. Meet me someplace nice but casual the first time, prove that you are safe and thoughtful of what are very legitimate fears. That’s romantic. That’s chivalrous.

    1. 12.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Good example, Nikki. A rare one, but a valid one. I wouldn’t let it stop me from future dates, but if you choose to, that’s your decision. All I know is that if I spoke to you on the phone for a week, felt a connection, built up trust, asked for your address and you told me that you didn’t trust me, I’d feel like shit. Furthermore, I’d feel that you were so fearful and jaded that you can’t even tell a good guy when he’s spent a week getting to know you. That’s the consequences – from a male perspective – of treating trustworthy men as if they’re untrustworthy.

      1. 12.1.1

        You Evan, you have a great point – and I wonder if there is also a cultural component here … you’re an East Coast guy. I live on the West Coast and most often date guys who grew up here or in the Midwest. I think I’m going to do an informal “poll.” I have a 4th date with a guy on Sunday. If there’s a natural opportunity ‘m going to ask if he has a strong opinion about it. And next time I’m going out with a guy on a third or 4th or … date, if it feels appropriate I’m going to ask.

        In the meantime, I’m going to keep gently steering first dates where we meet each other somewhere or he picks me up and we go someplace close to where I live.

        Personally, I love it when a guy says “Hey, I was thinking we could go for drinks on Thursday night, someplace not too loud with a great wine list. Is there a place that you really love to go or that you’ve been dying to try?” (This was what the guy I’m going out with Sunday asked the first time we went out. I chose a wine bar close to my house where I know the bartenders.)

        …of course, one of the things I’m learning from you is that I don’t really enjoy men who are all alpha all the time. I like a guy who knows what he wants and knows how and when to lean into his beta male in order to get it. Such a turn on.

        Keep you posted …

  13. 13

    Goldie @11
    “I honestly do not understand what the big deal is. It’s not like men are begging us to let them pick us up for a first date, and we’re all “Noooo, I’m scaaaared”.

    Totally agreed. Not sure why Evan is bringing up an issue that 99% of dating men and women agree upon- meeting out at on a first date. Never heard dissent on this one before so not sure why this is even a topic. Guys are OK with it, women are OK with it, and its the social norm.

    Goldie says:
    “And while we’re at it, coffee dates work best for me. Of course, by coffee date I do not mean “swing by a nearby Starbucks at lunch”, more like “meet at a nice comfy coffee house in a cool neighborhood in the evening”. You can sit in a corner and chat for hours without the waiter hovering over you,”

    Agree with you again. Some of my best first dates have been at a great coffee/dessert café near where I live. Everyone always raves about it. If one of those first dates turns into a relationship, then we frequent that same place because it is such a cool place. There are couches you sit on which is even cozier and more romantic than a bar. Maybe the people who complain about coffee dates are going to crappy places. They should be blaming the venue, not the concept .If done right, it is just fine.

    1. 13.1

      Yes, there are some really cool one of a kind coffee houses that aren’t like StarBucks. They have cozy couches, artwork from local artists on the walls, and sometimes live acoustic music. And some nice snacks. There is one such place in our down town area, close to a nice park, and the libarary, which usually has free art exhibits as well, plus it’s a cool area to walk around afterwards.

  14. 14

    So here’s another perspective:

    If the date’s not going well, I want the same power to end it that the guy has.

    If the guy picks me up, and he decides along the line that he doesn’t like me or he’s wasting his time or even that he’s just got a headache, he can end the date and leave anytime. Maybe he’d be an asshole for doing it, but he can still do it.

    I can’t. Even if the date’s turned into a complete and total nightmare, I have to play nice and make the guy happy and wait until HE’S ready to go home, or else I won’t get a ride home. (Unless I have a bucket of money for a cab, an unoccupied friend available to pick me up, or happen to live in one of the handful of areas of the US where public transit is worth a damn.)

    Nothing romantic or relaxing about any of that.

    1. 14.1

      Yes, that’s it exactly! Even if you override the fact that 99.0% are trained from the time we could walk that you ‘don’t get into a car with a stranger’, meeting a person is still the gold standard for determining connection and attraction with a person you’ve originally met online.

      I recently had a fabulous couple of calls with a guy but when we met I knew pretty quickly that he was not a guy I would ever want to date. I was very happy that when I had had enough I had the power to say ‘It was lovely to meet you etc.’ and head on my way.

      Like most women, I love getting picked up for a ‘real date’ but there is no way I’m putting all my options in the hands of a guy I’ve never met before.

  15. 15

    EMK wrote:


    Actually, something similar happened to me recently as happened to Nikki (#12), with a man getting drunk on our first meeting, so I was glad to have my own car. Another man I met once was a bit physically pushy with me, trying to kiss me beyond what I felt comfortable with. While I didn’t feel like he was going to assault me, I’m also glad I wasn’t alone in a car with him.

    Since 3 out of 4 American women of all ages don’t let men pick them up for first meetings either, concern for personal safety seems like the norm. Isn’t a woman going to have a better time on a date if she feels more in control of her own time and safety? Sure, the likelihood of a man being dangerous is very small, but as my mother always told me, “Better safe than sorry”. And maybe a woman just wants to be able to leave when she wants to leave, rather than being dependent on the man for transportation, especially if she ends up not feeling it for him (or he drinks too much, etc.). I think that’s actually more empowering, not weaker.

    As for a man feeling insulted, the vast majority of men I’ve talked to have been understanding and aware of how a woman might feel about this issue. They almost all ask if I’d like to meet them, not if they can pick me up for first meetings.

    1. 15.1

      Most of the men I’ve met online have been very accepting of me being cautious, and told me they wanted me to be comfortable. In other words, my feelings & comfort level were important enough to consider. That is reassuring and helps to build trust.

      Some women are so conditioned to be polite and avoid offending others that they end up sacrificing their own safety. I hope no one who reads this decides to ignore their gut feelings in order to score points on a first date.

  16. 16

    Sorry, but my first responsibility is to my personal safety. I’m not going to worry overly much about hurting the feelings of some guy who feels that me not being willing to hop in his car ruins the magic for him. There are just too many ways it could go wrong. I see exactly zero downside to arriving at a first date under my own steam.

    And I’m certainly not going to subject myself to the victim-blaming that would happen if I did get that ride, and something did go terribly wrong.

    Perhaps this is one of those areas where you simply have to be a woman to understand the culture of fear that we live in. When men stop assaulting women, I’ll start hopping in men’s cars.

  17. 17

    On a weekday, I am fine with meeting after work, since I am already in Manhattan. Over the weekends, I prefer to be picked up. In fact, if the guy doesn’t have a car, and I have to take the subway or something to meet him, I am not sure how likely I am to go on that date to begin with.

    I’ve had many dates even come up to my apt to pick me up, not just wait for me outside in the car.

    Aside from that, I agree with John in that I don’t understand why this is even a topic. It’s a personal preference and a non-issue.

  18. 18

    Wow – Leave for a little bit and the place gets a make-over. Looks great!

    Here is a story: Guy picked me up at my place for a first date. We were going to go for dinner. Once in the car, he asked if we could stop by his place, he forgot his wallet. We do. The next thing I know, he is on top of my trying to take off my pants, telling me “this will help me relax:”

    I’m fighting to get up and my knee hit his groin. He rolled off of me and I ran out of his apartment. And then I walked home. It didn’t occur to me to call someone, maybe shock.

    I know what you are going to say – this could have happened at any time on a different date. My point is that although it rarely happens, rarely =/= never.

    1. 18.1

      This, people, is the perfect example of a PICKUP ARTIST. Taking a woman back to his place “for a minute” because he ostensibly “forgot” something and needs to run inside, and oh, “why don’t you come in for a sec?” is a key pickup artist move. In her case, Kristyn should have insisted (nicely) upon staying put in the car while he went inside to retrieve whatever he “forgot”. Or if she allowed herself to be cajoled into going in, she should have just stayed by the door. Would have been much easier to make a quick getaway outside.

  19. 19

    Evan, I have to agree with you. I’ve been saying this for a while. I’m 47 and have been single most of my life, but have gone through periods where I just didn’t date. But when I have done the online dating thing, it always proved to be frustrating in how people rushed you get to a quick Starbucks meeting and then made a snap decision about chemistry in a short period of time. My feeling is that sometimes chemistry can take a little time to percolate, and I’m not talking about a long time, just more than a rushed coffee date which is anything other than a date.

    I’ve truly missed how dating used to be where you get picked up at home and have a nice date on Friday or Saturday night and get to have ~time~ for that chemistry to develop and percolate and find out what kind of fun you can have on a date with this man (and I’m not referring to the bedroom). I always looked forward to anticipating that first kiss at the end of the evening. Really, I’ve never had a bad experience that way. While I have had some dates with guys that I chose not to see again, or vice versa, all in all, I would still prefer to spend a few hours on a date giving someone a chance (and getting one in return) than being rushed to judgment too quickly.

    I find it kind of sad, really, that this had gone by the wayside. I recently had an encounter with a guy who contacted me via email from a meetup group. We corresponded for a few weeks while he was out of town and I looked forward to his returning to town so that we could meet in person. Our correspondence progressed along so much that he stated he wanted to take me to a nice romantic dinner when he returned to town. When I thought about how our first date would ensue, the societal pressure to be “smart” and meet him at a restaurant or something seemed like a total slap in the face to him and the progress we’d made getting to know each other and the feelings that had developed. It felt rude and distrustful to have to say “I’ll meet you there.” I totally get where you are coming from, Evan! Your post is as if you’ve been reading my mind. (As a sidebar, that relationship fell apart before it even began and we never met in person. But, alas, I would still feel the say way the next time around.)

  20. 20

    If a guy feels insulted because I don’t feel comfortable having him pick me up at my home on the first date, then all I have to say is, “Tough titty said the cat to the kitty.” I don’t feel that one is being paranoid if they choose to err on the side of caution. Besides, first dates do not have to take place in a boring coffeeshop. There’s a dating website called, “How About We, ” in which people get together to partake in fun activities of mutual interest. It beats meeting at a coffee shop, and it enables both parties to get to know each other in a safe and pressure free environment.

  21. 21

    I don’t consider a first meeting with an online guy a date. It is just a meeting. If there is the desire to have a date, that is another level. I usually meet for a date but not because I am scared. I just live in an out of the way place and see no reason for the inconvenience.

    In the spirit of couch surfing, I let a man with whom I had spoken several times on the phone stay at my house. He was considering moving to my town so he was going to be in town a for a few days. I wasn’t worried, I trusted my instincts, I checked his creds, and felt just fine about the arrangement. I didn’t fall in love with him but he is a friend and a good, interesting guy.

    Chancy? Maybe but I trust my instincts.

    1. 21.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Jane “I don’t consider a first meeting with an online guy a date. It is just a meeting.”

      And that’s exactly what I believe you’re doing wrong. You’ll enjoy dating a lot more when you make it feel like dating as opposed to meeting.

  22. 22

    What a timely subject for me. I have a first date tonight with an online date who iwill be picking me up. After a week and a half of building rapport and trust via several lengthycompelling telephone talks and texting while he was out of town on business and I felt safe enough to say, “yes,” last night. I love his traditional approach. He is making an effort and showing enthusiasm, how refreshing. i really feel like I’m being wooed and I like it. it is fun. So happy I said yes to him and hope to continue being in a position to keep saying “yes.”

    1. 22.1

      It was such a fun, romantic first date. Sealed with very nice kissing. He followed up soon after with a call tp chat and ask me out on our second dinner date this coming weekend. :) I like him as much in person as I did throughout our week and a half of phone talks and texting. We were really comfortable with each other, conversation and laughter flowed, the food and ambiance was great and the physical attraction to each other was clear. Though he looks slightly different than his pictures in that he has put on a few pounds, and I was initially a bit dismayed but, he is a real gentleman, and still really nice looking, so, I can work with that.

  23. 23

    Yeah, the whole coffee-date thing sucks. It’s hard to feel a sense of romance when the barista is hollering out orders, the frappuccino blender is shrieking, and a steady stream of grumpy customers is bumping into your table. Plus everyone glaring into their laptops, writing the next big screenplay (if you happen to live in L.A.), and yapping on their cellphones. NOT romantic!

    I was recently at a Starbucks (not on a date), and had an odd experience. Table to the left of me, a divorce attorney and his unhappy female client, going over some paperwork. Table to the right of me, a man and woman quite obviously on a meet-and-greet first date, making small talk. What a juxtaposition. And, NOT romantic!

  24. 24

    I see what Evan is trying to say but alas, he can’t change the world and the way all the women in it think or feel. Although for most of what he preaches I wish he could. :) So we as men play by women’s rules or we’re not in the game at all. Especially online.

    I’m in the group that thinks a “meet & greet” is NOT a date per se but it can and has turned into one on occasion for me with a woman who obviously trusted me getting into my car and us heading somewhere else close by to play darts, dance etc…..One time the woman even said to me before getting in my car “you’re not an axe murderer are you?” and I said “even if I was I wouldn’t axe murder you, you’re too cute”…LOL

    For guys online it’s a given that we’ll be meeting a woman rather than picking her up on a meet & greet, I’m fine with that and actually prefer it. I don’t even walk her to her car in the parking lot for fear of making her uncomfortable.(Right or wrong ladies? Please chime in) Even on the first date or two I don’t mind depending on the logistics etc….. like how far apart we live, where we’re going etc….. in all honesty I leave it up to the woman and whatever she’s most comfortable with is fine with me as long as she lets me know. Now if we’re going on date 5 and she still doesn’t let me pick her up at home or she doesn’t want to come to my house then we’ll have a problem.

    1. 24.1

      Q: Can I walk you to your car? [asked at the end of the date]

      A1: No, you don’t need to do that, but thank you. [you bid her farewell there]
      A2: That would be nice. [you walk her to her car]

    2. 24.2

      In general most guys I meet online assume that we’re just going to be meeting at the place. I’ve gone on probably 100+ dates in the last three years and can count on one hand the number of times an online guy has offered to pick me up for a first date. They always just assume we’re meeting there.

      As for walking her to her car JB, I always love when a man walks me to my car. It’s romantic and gentlemanly no matter what date it is.

  25. 25

    Any time I’ve expressed that I wanted to wait til being picked up on a second date instead of a first, the man was understanding about where I was coming from, and didn’t take it personally. I mean we ended up going on another date. I always say something like ” I really appreciate your offer to pick me up but I’d feel comfortable meeting somewhere in person for a first date, what do you think?”

    I’m not saying he’s a potential stalker and don’t trust him. I think it’s similar to the philosophy when a man is asking us to exchange numbers or call him after just one email message, without make him feel as though he’s an untrustworthy creep.

  26. 26
    lisha viens

    If my kids are with their dad I let him pick me up. If they have any intelligence at all between my unique name and job they would have enough to stalk me in less than 5 min anyway. Someone knows where I am and if it was really really bad I have friends who’d come get me. Getting picked up and dropped off after is my favorite.
    If my kids are home, I’ve gotten a sitter so I meet them. With the chaos of instructions, hugs, kisses, etc adding a new person into the mix isn’t the most relaxing start to a date for either of us. Not to mention the potential awkwardness of a very perceptive and forthright 7yr old. I do try to keep them separate from dates until someone becomes a serious boyfriend.

  27. 27

    Even if I’ve had a couple of phone conversations with some one from an online dating site, I still prefer to meet them at the pub/restaurant for Date #1.
    Usually it will be at a place that is walking distance from where I live. Most guys ask me to recommend a place that is convenient for me & I always choose one of several good “first date places” close to home.
    So that if the date is a bust, I don’t have an issue with logistics / getting home. And if the date goes really well, and the guy has a car, it’s not out of his way to drive me home (and I’ll accept the offer of a ride).
    But in the center of Boston not everyone has a car – a lot of people use the T/bus/taxi to get around.
    Sign of a date that went very well: Date ends with smooching with the guy while waiting for his bus to arrive 😉

  28. 28
    David T

    Goldie said: But most of the time, guys want to meet on neutral territory as much as we do! They, too, have had their share of crazy, and don’t want to take any chances with a female stranger in their car;”

    In my case I would MUCH rather pick her up. I love talking to someone while driving. Low pressure. It gives time to get to know a bit in private with few distractions before the event and the necessary distraction of driving makes uncomfortable silences non-existent and also we are forced to either make eye contact or deliberately look away.

    The reason I “want” to meet on neutral territory, and I guess most men do, is I go into the asking out *assuming* she is nervous and paranoid because of my past experience on first dates. Like Evan said “If I spoke to you on the phone for a week, felt a connection, built up trust, asked for your address and you told me that you didn’t trust me, I’d feel like shit.” Even more, I don’t want to put her in that position of explaining herself or talking around it.

    Talking about Evan’s regret over the death of anticipation build up I have no problem with the point and click and meet quickly world, though I am also not a fan of coffee ‘dates.’ Just this week I began chatting with a woman on Tinder. We had GREAT chemistry chatting, progressing to texting and a phone call that same day. We had an unusual and fun first date that very night, both convinced we would be friends at least no matter how the date went. She was due at her gym, so we did a workout with some down time during and after at her gym. She said “if you survive , we will get along fine.” LOL

    I met her at her gym (yes, I didn’t pick her up, but for the logistical circumstances of the day this just made sense.) and did a brutal circuit class followed by a walk about town while I held down my dinner, and then a boxing class. It was a BLAST. If you can get all that sweaty out of the gate and still hold hands and share a smooch or two afterwards, you have moved past a lot of pretensions that can be hurdles. We connected well, and if nothing comes of a languishing iron I have in the fire (but has great potential if it does) there will definitely be a second date. Oh, and she is cute, sweet, kind and plenty feminine. You should see her pictures on her Tinder profile. 😉 Maybe I have been lucky, but so far I have enjoyed dates with the three women I have met through Tinder dates and haven’t hooked up once.

  29. 29

    I don’t need to be picked up in a stranger’s car to prove how nice I am.

    If a guy has any smarts at all, and is not an arrogant goof only concerned with how HE is perceived, he’d first consider my comfort and arrange things so that it’s a non-issue. That’s romantic.

  30. 30
    Sparkling Emerald

    I have twice let a guy pick me up on the first date if we met through OLD. They both seemed very surprised. They both gave me the OPTION, of either meeting somewhere or picking me up at my home. The 2nd guy kinda lectured me about letting him pick him up on a first meeting. (so why did he offer it as an option ?) I told him I felt like I had screened him well through e-mails and phone calls, and get this, he lectured me that it still wasn’t safe. This was after we had been out a few more times. So besides his undisclosed pot smoking, his tendency to sometimes lecture me like I was a dumb student put an end to that “almost relationship”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *