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.”

Blech.

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.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    vision

    I always meet up at the first meeting and first date. Had a few strange ones and it made me realize that having a child and being single, I needed to be more aware. After I get to know him more, and trust things, him, then he can pick me up.

  2. 32
    judy

    Thank you Evan. It has taken a long time for that to sink in. And a few re-reads of your post.

    My mind is slowly changing.

    Now all I need is the man! (However, I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know that at least one of these women out here is HEARING you.)

  3. 33
    soul sister

    Just wanted to chime in here about two things: totally agree with all the women on here, you do not ever get in a car with a stranger. As far as building trust, I have built up trust, emailed, talked to a guy I met on line, and IRL he was NOTHING like he sounded on the phone and through email. So you can build up trust with a stranger, and he turns out to be a bad guy cause you miss-read him. So if you can be surprised to find out he is an asshole, you could also be surprised to find out he is a rapist. Yes, I agree, the odds are low, but ask anyone who has had something rare and tragic happen to them: A .00001% chance becomes 100% chance if it happens to YOU, and the potential “romance” of a date is not worth the price to pay if you are wrong. This reminds me of why men never worry about walking through a dark parking lot at night and women always do (or should). Men are just not in the same physical danger as women in our society. Period. So a man cannot understand what it feels like to be physically vulnerable and know it. This is also why women who go home with a man they don’t know for a one night stand, no matter where you meet him, are playing with serious fire.

    The second comment: if you have children, you absolutely do not want them knowing how many dates with new men you are going on! If I am going out for a meet & greet, I don’t tell them that! I just say I am meeting a friend, call my cell if you need me. If I were to wait until I felt ok with a man meeting my kids when he picked me up, we would be waiting a long, long time…men do not meet my kids until they are a boyfriend. The two worlds do not collide before then, ever.

    Final comment, I dated a cop who did neighborhood “Stranger Danger” type presentations. We met on line, dated about 3 times, finally allowed him to come to my house for dinner and a movie. Before our date, I asked him to please send me a text picture of his cop badge. Just because he SAID he was a cop didn’t mean he really was! He sent the pic back two mins later, and all his text said was “you are a smart woman…wish all the woman I meet on crime scenes were this smart, then I wouldn’t be meeting them”….sorry Evan, in total disagreement with you on this one. The world is indeed a scary place. No need to hide out in fear, but some healthy discretion can only be a good thing.

  4. 34
    Kristen

    I 100% agree with Evan. If you consider your date “a stranger” and are coming from a place of fear and mistrust, why are you dating online at all? If you changed your attitude to one of confidence and trust, you would take time to email, talk on the phone, and take he opportunity to rule out the creeps before meeting. Although I have to say never has a man I met online actually offered to pick me up on a first date.

  5. 35
    Chance

    soul sister:

    Asking someone that you’ve been on three dates with to send a text of his badge before he arrives at your house for dinner and a movie is over-the-top. Not saying that you can’t do that, but you were lucky that he responded the way he did.

  6. 36
    Soul Sister

    Kristen #34 – by all eye witness accounts, Ted Bundy looked and acted like a really sweet, normal, handsome guy. I am sure some of those women’s families wish they had not been so confident and trusting. If only all creeps wore flashing neon signs on their heads and sounded like monsters But they don’t. I have gone on many, many online dates and had a blast. I am not coming from a place of distrust and fear, I am coming from a place of healthy discretion. If a woman was murdered (yes, very rare indeed, but just because I don’t personally know someone who was, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen), and if I heard she let some guy in her house she met online, I would think she was not very smart. Just like the young woman who walked home at 4:00 AM by herself from a bar (I think in N.Y?), and turned out the bouncer had followed her and killed her because she was walking and vulnerable. Opportunity meets whacko. Do people walk around in the middle of the night and never get accosted? Sure, but the ALMOST non-existent odds no longer matter for her, she is dead.

    I know more people get killed in car crashes than some stranger, and yes, I still drive every day. But I take precautions, I wear my seat belt, I buy newer cars and pay attention to the safety rating. If I leave work late and the parking lot is dark, I ask my security guy to walk me to my car. No big deal. There is so much in life we can’t control (like cancer or other illness), why not up our chances on the things we can control.

    Anyway, not judging anyone for the choices they want to make, but if you are riding in my car, you will wear your seatbelt or not ride in it. Bad things happen to people every day who say “it would never happen to me”….and yes, sometimes you take every precaution I the world, and bad things still happen. But that young girl who walked around at 4:00 AM would still be alive if she had called a cab….just sayin….

    P.S. any person you don’t personally know would be considered a stranger. A few phone calls/emails does not mean you know them. Sometimes people are shocked by what other people they think they knew very well do, happens every day….”wow, my neighbor seemed so nice, he just didn’t seem like the kind of guy who would kill his wife and kids”…

  7. 37
    Emiko

    Answer? It depends.

    Yes, it’s disappointing when a man wants to meet up, and yes I am less into him. When a guy asks to meet up he’s NOT putting his best foot forward. He is telling me he’s not committed to impressing me, and hence, nor am I. Go big or go home.

    Single parents have more to worry about. If I were a parent I wouldn’t feel comfortable letting some guy know where my family lives. If I had a roommate I wouldn’t feel comfortable, either.

  8. 38
    Sparkling Emerald

    I don’t know what the big deal is about meeting out for the first date or two. Most men offer that anyway and are very understanding. Evan, I agree with about 80-85% of what you say, this falls into that 15-20% category. Some women have a 2/2/2/2 rule with the 2 being 2 dates being met out.

    I don’t think a potential relationship has ever be de-railed because the MET for happy hour instead of being picked up.

    Being cautious where caution is called for is not operating from a place of fear. I put money away for retirement, I wear seat belts, I wear a bicycle helmet. I keep my doors locked at home. None of these things GUARANTEE my safety, but I feel like they increase my safety. Do any of these things make me “living in fear ?”

    The TWO guys I have ever let pick me up on a first date, expressed surprised and questioned my decision. So I won’t meet out again (except in the case of a POF’er that I swam into, whom I just happen to have known from the past) So not only will I feel more at ease meeting someone out, but my date won’t find my judgement to be questionable.

  9. 39
    Kristen

    To each their own. One can make all kinds of arguments about a date potentially being a serial killer but seriously that is absurd. A serial killer is not going to be deterred by a refusal to ride in a car together on the first date. The chances of a date being a serial killer infintismally small and not worth consideration. Approaching dating from a place of fear and mistrust is different from taking reasonable safety precautions. If you believe men are potential serial killers, rapists, etc., do whatever makes you feel safe.

    1. 39.1
      Goldie

      Doesn’t need to be a serial killer. Just a creepy, lonely guy who doesn’t know the difference between date rape and consensual sex would be a bad enough outcome for a first date.

      Although I have to add, I do live in a city that recently made national news, after a local man had offered rides to three young women on three different occasions, they had all accepted the rides, and returned back home to their families ten years later, after living in his basement for ten years.

      1. 39.1.1
        Erica

        Not analogous, Goldie.

  10. 40
    k2012

    While I have changed my mind about online dating and have decided that it is not for me, if I ever ‘met’ someone online, there is NO WAY I would allow him to pick me up at my house for a first date. That is one precaution that another coach who I subscribe to, advises. When u are going on a first date, meet in public places. That is definitely a safety precaution. If we go on other dates, let’s say we reach the 5th date, then I would start letting my hair down and feel more relaxed with him. Then he can pick me up at house. If I go out with a guy who I knew from before and he is single, then its ok for him to pick me up.

  11. 41
    cat

    A woman here in Australia was recently bashed to a pulp and they believe she was attacked by a gay she had met on the dating site rsvp. Now if this was the case, given she was bashed at her home she must have given him her address.

    I would not tell a guy my address, nor would I get in his car with him until we had been on multiple dates, and I knew where he lived.

  12. 42
    Cat5

    Most of the time I end up meeting a guy somewhere for a first date because of one or more of the following reasons:

    1. It makes sense logistically.

    2. He suggests meeting up. I have yet to have a guy I’ve met on-line suggest he pick me up for the first date. Someone I’ve met in person — yes, but someone I’ve met on-line — no.

    3. Let’s face it…if you really like the guy and he drives you home…kisses you goodnight…it’s far more tempting to have sex with them the first date. Easier to meet up the first time, and avoid that temptation. :D It’s not about being afraid of men, it’s about being afraid of yourself! ;)

  13. 43
    Shaukat

    There is also another issue here which hasn’t been mentioned. I live in a big Canadian city (Toronto) and I, and most other guys I know who are in my University graduate program, or who are working professionals who live in condos, don’t even own a car. We take public transport or cabs or simply walk to go to work and get around. I imagine it’s the same in Manhattan or any other big city. Meeting up for a first date has always been the easiest option, and it doesn’t have to be dull or boring. There a certain allure and excitement in finding someone you’ve never met in person in a semi-crowded bar for drinks.

  14. 44
    Joe

    While there are obviously personal safety/comfort reasons for meeting out, I do get what Evan is saying. If you’re afraid for your safety from the beginning and unwilling to be picked up, you’re starting from a closed-off position, emotionally. If you trust being picked up, you’re beginning from a more open emotional position. We all know how much women want to feel sparks on the first date (or two). Well, if you’re emotionally closed-off, you’re less likely to have those feelings, and it’s less likely for Dates 1 and 2 to turn into Date 3 and subsequent.

    I think Evan has used a metaphor before regarding walls and doors. If you have walls around your house, it’s going to be hard for bad guys to get in. If you have walls around your house, it’s also going to be hard for good guys to get in. What you want to have is a door that a guy can knock at, and you can open.

    I also agree that going out to dinner or drinks on a weekend night is more date-like. Going out for drinks after work is a little like just going out for happy hour with co-workers (unless you have the hots for your co-workers). Getting dressed and going somewhere where you can get (just a little) booze in both of you is a social lubricant that can help get things flowing between you.

    If you’re that concerned about your personal safety, get a CCW or carry some pepper spray in your purse.

    1. 44.1
      Goldie

      One issue I have with having all dates (including first) be on weekends is that it would make our dating lives pretty sparse. There’s only one Saturday and one Sunday in a week, which is also when other events with family or friends tend to take place. So, even if I cancel any invitations from my friends or family for weekends, I’d still only go on two dates a week, and then wait five days before I can go on the next two.

      1. 44.1.1
        Joe

        I didn’t say all dates should be on weekends…I said they are more date-like than the happy-hour-with-coworkers-like that weekdays are.

  15. 45
    Peter 51

    I wouldn’t expect to be invited around until she was ready to cook dinner. I would also expect to cook dinner first. So this is somewhere around 5 or 6.

  16. 46
    Clare

    For me, I find it very much depends on the guy as to whether I want him to pick me up or meet him at the restaurant. As a general rule, if he’s someone I’ve met before (for example, out at a club or through friends) I am comfortable and delighted if he picks me up at my home. For me, this is lovely, IF I already feel reasonably comfortable with him.

    If he was someone I had met online and had a reasonably good and comfortable vibe from, I might also let him pick me up at home, and have done so, without incident.

    Generally, though, if I was meeting him for the very first time, I would not want him to come and pick me up, but rather meet him there. This is not so much for safety reasons (although that is a factor) as it is about me honestly being able to make an early exit if needed. Just knowing I have this option makes me relax. If he turns out to be in any way boundary-busting or insensitive to my comfort levels, or a just plain bad date, I definitely would want to be able to leave, and not wait for him to be ready to leave. This is not so much assuming the worst as it is a case of: bad dates do happen. I had one date where, the moment we sat down at the restaurant, he started watching the football on the TV and every now and again tossed a question in my direction but otherwise didn’t even look at me. It was a trial for me to go 15 minutes on that date, whereafter I did, politely, excuse myself.

  17. 47
    Aj

    Evan here you go. Some years ago before I was married with kids, I let a first date pick me up. He said we were going to a friend’s party and that lots of cool people would be there. He was a military man. He just needed to make a quick stop first at his room in the Hotel where the party was being held. My gut was screaming but I went up to his room. This was about 20 miles from my house. Needless to say there was no party, I fought my way out of the room (I have 3 brothers) and hailed a cab. I was short on the fare but after I told my story to the cab driver, he said not to worry, I could have been his daughter. It could have been a lot worst! So I am in the never let a first date pick you up camp. It is all about safety. And when your young daughter gets older, you will have a change in heart.

    1. 47.1
      Jenn

      Again, this guy was probably a pickup artist. Never agree to go into their room/house/apartment! If they really did forget something, they’ll have no problem with you waiting in the car/at the elevator/in the lobby. And don’t worry about seeming impolite: if there is a problem, you’re much more likely to get out of that situation unscathed if you don’t put yourself into it to begin with.

  18. 48
    Nissa

    Let’s put the shoe on the other foot for a moment. Let’s talk about how it can be a considerate thing for the woman to do for the man, to meet out.

    1.Men have just as busy of a schedule as do women. Therefore, I am not wasting a man’s time if he knows within the time he has allocated that we are not a match. He feels my respect for his time, energy and opinion of what fits for him. Who doesn’t feel more warmly toward a person who is respectful of him/her?

    2.Dating can be expensive if you have buy 2-3 rounds of drinks. Buying a woman a cup of coffee is much cheaper. I would think this would make a man feel reassured that my interest is in him – not his wallet, not in his “date performance” or as a “meal ticket”. Nervousness is easily forgiven; being a person who can’t be comfortable without a few drinks, not so much.

    3.It gives the man an idea of who I am without my having to explicitly verbalize some things. (Informing a man via phone or email without visual context can come across as a list of demands, far too direct and off putting to many men). Therefore I have found it helpful to provide non-verbal cues about my lifestyle. He learns I don’t drink by observing me not drink. He learns I express intimacy only within relationships by observing that while I have given him many (verbal, non-verbal and visual) cues that I truly like him, want to spend more time with him, am having fun and am eager to continue; I don’t dress provocatively or invite him past my front door. This is just as much to damp down my own over-eagerness, so I don’t get carried away, and make more of the relationship than it is. A “no” when the man in question is parked in my driveway comes across as a very personal rejection, instead of being constrained by the surroundings. I find men to be happier when they are not personally rejected.

    4.It gives the man a chance to show he can be chivalrous and romantic in any circumstance. When I meet for coffee, many men have stood outside the door, opened it for me, paid for my drink, leaned in close to ask for a suggestion about where to sit, pulled out my chair and placed a chair for himself close to me – showing punctuality, chivalry, intimacy and thoughtfulness. This made it both fun and exciting for me. This creates more romantic tension about what could happen in other circumstances – leaving both wanting more.

    The man has had the opportunity (except the decreased likelihood of instantly getting physical) and benefit, with less cost. He has had a chance to feel respected, to feel the woman’s interest is in who he is as a person, and has gotten good recon in terms of non-verbal cues and had intimate moments.
    As such, the coffee meet doesn’t seem so bad.

  19. 49
    Henriette

    When reading the Greenwald book, “Why He Didn’t Call you Back,” I was interested to learn that many men interpret a woman’s signs of affluence as her being out of his league; a princess who’ll expect to be spoiled and/or not someone he could ever feel like he was able to provide for. I dress in low-key clothes, drive a 4 yr-old VW and don’t work in an industry known for its huge salaries. I do, however, live in a (relatively) expensive neighbourhood in a (relatively) expensive house.

    I have become increasingly aware of the reactions from men I date. There’s almost always a comment along the lines of, “Wow” or a slightly defensive, “I can tell you that I don’t live in anything like this.” I think that if we’ve “met out” a few times and enjoyed ourselves, it’s easier for me to overcome the suspicion that I might be a snob or judge him by his modest apartment than if he sees my home the first time we meet face-to-face.

    I might advise a friend who has a collection of vintage Rolexes or plays polo to refrain discussing these on the first few dates for the same reason. Having expensive things or hobbies is certainly nothing to be ashamed of but, alas, first dates can already be loaded with all sorts of crazy expectations, false impressions and nerves. I figure: why add to that?

  20. 50
    Julie

    Hi – First time commenting on this blog. I have been on Match.com for over a year. I would never consider having a man pick me up at my home for our first offline meeting. It’s just too much too soon. I consider the first meeting Date0. If we like each other, then we can go on a real date for the next meeting.

  21. 51
    Selena

    We’ve all met people ‘organically’. Some we hit off with, some we don’t. We would have all driven ourselves to the venue though before meeting. (Who asks a total stranger to pick them up before they’ve ever met?) So I don’t see what is so unromantic about driving ourselves to an ‘inorganic’ first meeting. What’s the difference really? It doesn’t have to be about fear, just about feeling comfortable.

  22. 52
    Fast and Furious

    These days I don’t think you know who you could trust and for that reason I would meet out. I went out on a date with a girl previously and she offered to pick me up and drop me home. In my mind I was thinking “I have no idea who this girl is(yet), I cant let a total stranger pick me up”

  23. 53
    Make it happen!

    I don’t know how old this post is but I just searched this topic. I have been on a few dates from online and its defiantly a complaint I have. I feel limited as a guy when I don’t get to drive. If I really like the girl during the date it kills me when we walk out of the restaurant and then “oh where did you park the other direction, ok well lets do this again sometime soon!” I mean If I really like the girl I always want to kiss to make damn sure they know I like them. In these situations it’s like I am pressured to just jump in and do it soon as we leave the restaurant before they walk off to their car. I always get way better response on dates where I make the effort to give the girl a kiss at least. The opportunity is almost completely gone if I don’t get to drive. I am not super comfortable kissing on first dates and it really brings on the nerves when I have to do it out in the open. It is always light years better when I can pick up the girl and drive her, open the car door get to know what music she likes radio stations she likes. Drop her off at her place and give her a real goodbye kiss, it also opens up the option for her to invite me to stay at her place. Meeting a person somewhere is impersonal the girl might as well say meh I don’t like you that much, I have like 10 other dates this week I’ll just fit you in and don’t expect any physical contact  because there’s a way higher chance I’ll just want to leave and might not call you back. I will always offer to drive but usually get resistance so I end up going on a lot of these meet and greets that just suck, this is why guys don’t want to pay for anything anymore. I pay for everything because that’s how I was raised but if I don’t even get a real date experience or get treated like some random stranger, I’ll just go eat with my friends instead. Oh there was no chemistry! He didn’t even make a move! Well ya but you set up the date for failure.

  24. 54
    Make it happen!

    Oh yea and I guess nobody’s going to be drinking either since there’s no DD. Very romantic.

  25. 55
    Jenny

    I think it’s unfair of  you to dismiss safety concerns. No matter how long I’ve talked with someone on the phone, I’m not letting them know where I live or get in the car with them if I haven’t met them in person at least once. True, NOT ALL MEN are serial killers. But it only takes one, and you have to understand that women have been warned about allowing themselves to be in this situation their whole lives.

    In addition to safety, though, what if it’s a bad date? What if I would really rather not be dependent on this person for a ride? What if he is coming on way too strong and I don’t want to have him bring me home, walk me to my doorstep, and then disengage myself from an awkward situation where he pushes to be let inside? It’s just a bad idea. I am disappointed at how inconsiderate you’re coming off by being so cavalier about women’s safety concerns. 

    1. 55.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Get to know him better before you go out and you won’t be as fearful when you go out. Go out with a total stranger, and yes, getting picked up will feel awkward.

  26. 56
    LilyG

    Soul Sister’s posts are smart and right on. My brother is a cop and yes, women have been raped, assaulted, robbed, & even murdered on 1st time online dates. 
    It so much better to be safe than dead. If one woman is saved by reading our warning posts–how nice is that!
    Media can hype both ways–but stranger danger is real. Only in sci-fi movies do women really defend themselves–with guns and impossible cgi martial arts moves. 

     

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