How Can I Turn Drinks into Dinner Without Scaring Guys Off?

How Can I Turn Drinks into Dinner Without Scaring Guys Off

I’ve been reading your blog for about two years now and your book ‘Why He Disappeared‘ really helped me get over a failed relationship. Thank you! I have been dating in London for over a year now and I don’t understand something…

When you talk about dates, you usually talk about meeting a man for dinner, him planning the date, etc. I’d like to go on that kind of date, but what I usually get is invitations for drinks, a popular phrase is ‘something casual’. I said yes to several of those and they were mostly disappointing. They either invite me to go to a pub, or have no idea where to go at all and leave it to me to decide on the place. After a drink or two, if it’s going alright, I suggest having dinner – they never do – but it’s usually about 8pm and I’m hungry, and again, they have no idea where to go.

I thought it was the fault of dating apps – that’s what I’ve been using to meet men, so I signed up for e-Harmony, still the same result. So my question to you is, what should I do in this situation? I realize I hate drinks dates. I don’t think it gives anyone a chance to impress anyone; I’m not going to wear heels to go to a pub.

A couple of people suggested meeting for a coffee. If they don’t know me well enough to risk spending two hours having dinner with me, we could chat a bit more, or talk on the phone. I personally don’t mind spending a couple of hours getting to know a new person over dinner; I do not see anything threatening in a dinner date situation.

Am I missing something? I tried telling one guy I was talking to online that I don’t know what to make of drinks dates… he never wrote back. How do I explain to people that I don’t think drinks are a good idea without putting them off? Or do I meet them, have one drink and then say ‘sorry, I have to go’? I would really appreciate your help with this!


I feel for you, Katerina.

But the greatest gift I can give you right now is not sympathy; it’s actually teaching you to understand the male point of view regarding your common situation.

Have you ever talked with a man about his dating experience? Have you ever read the male commenters on this blog? It’s not that you’re “wrong” to hope to have dinner on a first date; it’s that you seem to have no empathy for the male dating experience. It’s not even that you’re callous about it; it’s that you’re clueless – the same way men are clueless when they ask you out on a date without a plan. So…

If you’re a quality man with an average profile, you write 100 generic emails to the 100 most attractive women on the website.

If you’re lucky, 20 will write back.
If you’re unlucky, 10 will write back.
If you’re delusional about the kind of women you can get online, 0 will write back.

Now, when this man finally does get responses, they’re not unlike the responses you get from men: short, awkward, stilted, poorly spelled, incurious.

Out of those 20 emails, only 10 may be worth a second response.

Of those 10 emails, only 5 might get to the point of exchanging phone numbers.

Yes, you were missing something: an understanding of the male dating experience.

Of those 5, only 3 might end up on a first date.

Of those 3 first dates, one might be in a bad place in life, one might not find him attractive, and one might have lied about her weight and age. So…

How do you feel if you’re this man?
How do you feel about dating?
How do you feel about yourself?
How do you feel about women?

Probably pretty shitty.

Make no mistake: most men expend a LOT of energy for very little reward.

But it doesn’t end there.

It seems to men that no matter what they do, they’re doing it wrong.

    • Push too fast to meet? You’re a stalker.
    • Take too long to meet? You’re a player with too many options.
    • Spend a lot of money on a first date? Too intimate. Too much pressure to put out.
    • Spend too little money on a first date? He’s cheap. Selfish. A serial dater.

What do most guys do in light of all of this? Exactly what you described

    a. Choose a casual, low-stakes place for coffee or drinks, so he doesn’t have to spend too much time or money on a woman who, 75% of the time, will not become a second date. (Presuming there’s a 50% chance you don’t like him and a 50% chance he doesn’t like you.)

    b. Ask “What do YOU want to do?” He figures if he asks you, he can’t get it wrong. (Which is, of course, the wrong answer. You don’t want him to ask you where to go. You want him to make the decision YOU would, picking anything – except a coffee shop, bar, pub, chain restaurant, or fancy restaurant, as long as it’s well-reviewed, local, and you haven’t eaten there recently. How could he go wrong?)

None of those is to suggest that your desire to have a better first date connection is a foolish one. If anything, I completely agree with you and have written extensively about the value of building up trust, rapport and anticipation BEFORE the first date to ensure that you go on better first dates.

Most guys don’t like the odds of splurging on dinner with a stranger, so the trick is in making him invest in you PRIOR to your first date.

To answer your question more pointedly, Katerina, yes, you were missing something: an understanding of the male dating experience.

Now that you know that:

    A) Men face more rejection in a month than you’ve likely faced in your lifetime.
    B) Men get stuck paying for a new woman each week who doesn’t come as advertised or doesn’t like him in return, and…
    C) Men don’t know (or care) what you want out of a date – they’re just trying to see if there’s chemistry before investing a lot of money…

Perhaps that will help you have more empathy for these poor clueless schmucks.

Now that you do, your best bet to get a guy to WANT to take you out to dinner?

Follow my 2/2/2 rule as outlined in my TED talk and Finding the One Online – and watch as men step up to the plate like never before.

In summation, most guys don’t like the odds of splurging on dinner with a stranger, so the trick is in making him invest in you PRIOR to your first date. Not by demanding dinner after your first eHarmony email, but by flirting and leading him from email to the phone to a date over the course of a week.

My Love U clients SWEAR that this is the most life-changing thing they’ve ever learned about online dating, so please, don’t knock it until you’ve taken my course and tried it yourself.

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  1. 1

    London has the most amazing selection of upmarket cafes and cocktail/wine bars. Their prices aren’t that much higher (if at all) than the pub, as going out in London comes at a price wherever you go. Added bonus: you are not competing for attention with a huge TV screen showing the latest rugby match. There is such a huge amount of choice, you are really not doomed to the grimy pub that still smells of cigarette and pee of patrons long past. How about going to one of the chiquer places as a compromise? He doesn’t have to spend a fortune ( A couple of beers/glasses of wine is a fraction of the price he would pay at a restaurant) and you get to dress up without having to look out of place.

    I nixed coffee by day as a date plan, as it is way too casual. The stakes are really too low, and i notice that people put less effort in the date itself as it’s rushed and feels like nothing out of the ordinary. But drinks at a nighttime venue still feels date-like enough, and people seem to open up more and relax during the date.

  2. 2

    Addition: And eat beforehand or order a few small snacks when you are at the bar. Then you don’t have to worry about a grumbling stomach.

    One guy a couple of months ago met up with me for what i thought was a couple of drinks. He then said he hadn’t eaten yet, so ordered his dinner. I ate with him to alleviate the weirdness, even though i was full from my recent meal. He then turned out to have maxed his credit card and i ended up paying for it! Never heard from him again, but it was a lesson in how men must feel on the date. I actually didn’t even mind paying 70 euro’s for the evening, seeing the amount of times men have paid my way. It was more a complete lack of thought from the other person, a ‘oh, random lady will pick up my tab’.  From now on i state clearly that i am in for drinks as i have eaten before and make a sincere offer to split the bill.

    1. 2.1

      Ugh. I bet he felt terrible. I empathize for him.

  3. 3

    Empathy is good but it won’t solve the OP’s dilemma. That said, there isn’t really anything abnormal in her situation. I don’t think it’s wise to plan a dinner in advance for the 1st date when OLD. You don’t want to be stuck with a stranger over a 2 hour dinner with no quick exit opportunities – what if they turn out to be awful in one way or another? My absolute favorite for 1st dates are wine bars. They usually serve beer (for those less ) and offer light snacks, and they’re cheap – $9 for a glass of wine is not gonna break anybody’s wallet – and have nice, quiet and romantic atmosphere. So…

    1. If a guy suggest a pub, I’d say “this place sounds fun but [it’s not really my scene]/[how about a more intimate place] or [whatever], there’s this cute wine bar on X and Y”.

    2. If a guy asks you where you’d like to go – it’s strike one but cut him some slack.. suggest the same wine bar

    3. Never suggest a dinner or be prepared to pay as the party that asks pays! Seriously you can’t expect to ask a guy buy you dinner. If by 8pm you’re getting hungry and he’s not suggesting taking it to the next level – it is NOT going as well as you think. Simply wrap it up, be nice and go home make yourself a sandwich.

    4. This guy may ask you out for dinner for the 2nd date, or may not. In my limited experience, every single serious relationship i had progressed to dinner from drinks on date one. But i never had to suggest it and went on countless 1st dates that did not progress to dinner, obviously.

    1. 3.1

      In addition: one way around this awkwardness is to schedule a date for later in the evening and eat beforehand. Be on the same page that this is drinks only..

      And, don’t out too much stock into how smoothly a guy plans a date. This is a double edge sword. You know who is great with planing romantic dates and charming you? Players. Men who do that a lot and have a lot of practice. A guy who is suggesting a pub may not be a ladies’ man but that is not necessarily a bad thing, if he turns out to be decent in other aspects

  4. 4
    Tron Swanson

    Great post, Evan! I wish that more women would look at things from the male POV.

  5. 5

    Thanks Evan for explaining it so well actually perfectly. As a man that’s been doing this since the dawn of the internet there’s a few things that go into my decision whether to make the initial meet & greet just “drinks” or now I occasionally say “let’s meet for a pizza” which still keeps things in the reasonable range. There have been a few times a long time ago I got stuck with doing dinner and spending a lot on someone I knew I’d never see again…..etc. Now I pretty much keep it by the book. Going “out to dinner” is a second/third date thing not a meet & greet thing. Sometimes a woman will return an email and say “sure we can meet for dinner” even if I’ve never asked them to dinner and when that does happen I play it by ear but it’s very rare.

  6. 6

    You can’t go wrong with after work drinks. When I was dating I *always* suggested the place because I work on the street in our city that has the best bars which were buzzy and lively, so if the conversation wasn’t flowing there was always good people watching! *I* didn’t mind choosing places because I’m more comfortable on dates in spots that I’m familiar with, and some of the guys I dated were new in town or worked in another area of the city. Evan’s spot on that there’s no guarantee the first date will turn into a second date, so this way it is a win-win. You still get to enjoy going to a place you’ll know you like.

    The bars I choose always served “small plates”/tapas so if we decided to linger we could get something to nibble on without the formality of dinner. If you’re dying of starvation you could say you’ve got dinner plans with friends at 8 or whatever. If the guy’s interested he’ll arrange a second date so again, win-win.


  7. 7

    I might suggest directly and flirtatiously suggesting he pick the place, (“I’ll let you pick ;)” ), and either suggest your own or specify your parameters if the conversation allows it. Stacy2’s wording is good.

    I’m surprised though that people prefer drinks to a reasonably cheap but not the cheapest dining. Maybe London is different, but in US cities, a nice Chinese restaurant (with table cloths) or a trendy sandwich place is a better value and atmosphere than drinks and snacks at a bar, unless you just get a Budweiser a piece. :p

  8. 8

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I’d just interpret that as ‘those guys just aren’t that into her’. Men go after what they want. If they don’t take the initiative, that’s a clear sign of disinterest. I’d listen to what they are not saying, and move on.


    1. 8.1

      I sort of agree with this. If I am having drinks with a man and he’s sticking around, 9 times out of 10 he asks, “Would you like to get something to eat?” and we make our way to a restaurant.

      I have a friend and she’s been on a succession of “grab a drink” dates that do not turn into dinner. She has never been asked to dinner in the nine or so months she has been dating. I generally have men move from drinks to dinner and/or ask me to a very romantic/expensive dinner for a first date. My friend asked what is it I’ve been doing to get this and, honestly, I have no idea why or how this is happening or what I am doing to make it happen. It’s a first for me, but it’s been consistent over the past two months. I figure it’s perhaps something I’m giving off in the conversational stage or during the first meet over drinks.

      If a man wants to take you to dinner, he’ll take you to dinner. There’s probably the “date upsell” (I can’t think of a better term for it) she’s not good at initiating. Maybe not enough flirting throughout the date or showing that she is, indeed, into the guys?

  9. 9

    ok guys, listen here… I have this figured out,,, if you’ve done your vetting and think you have a lock on a very solid target,,,, Theeee best is going to Ruth’s Chris Happy Hour, or equivalent.  Classy place, great food, very reasonable prices.  She can’t not be impressed.

  10. 10

    The other thing to bear in mind is that while all of the general principles and much of the specific advice Evan gives apply cross-culturally, there are some cultural differences which mean that there are expectations and concepts you need to modify slightly.

    England, much like Australia (where I live) has a strong drinking / pub culture. It’s where much of our socializing occurs. So it’s often the first date suggestion. You can wear heels to a pub with a pretty top and nice jeans and look lovely. Often if that goes well, dinner will come next.

    I personally will go along with any suggestion the man makes for a location and make the best of it. That encourages them to be proactive (which I love), and I understand that Australian men aren’t always as confident at dating and approaching women as I think American men are (in general). I will find something amazing about the venue and comment on it to make them feel good about their choice (which can be a nerve wracking decision). Is it possible you’re making your distaste for pubs obvious and that’s making the man feel insecure?

    Dinner is great once you get to know someone, but as a first date it’s not always ideal, for the reason other commenters have stated.

  11. 11

    Evan hit on the head — as a recently single man, I’ve had some women try and rope me into dinner on the first date and I’ll say, “Historically, dinner feels like a second date — I like to keep the first more casual, less formal — drinks / coffee” — if they balk / bail, whatever — not for me… Although I’ve had a string of ten $32 drink dates (I order a Coke, they one or two drinks or an appetizer) — which turned into no 2nd dates and I’m in hole for $320 (yeah, yeah, cost of dating, but still, the ROI is not good…)… To someone’s point here, I’ve found people go into a coffee date not giving a shit (no effort whatsoever) — I’ve yet to find that perfect balance / place, but ideally the right person won’t think of me for cheap if I suggest frozen yogurt or coffee or whatever….

    1. 11.1

      Agree 100%.  My first dates were always for coffee, and I’d say that my date wanted a 2nd date almost 90% of the time.  Seriously, what guy would even want to be with a woman who was so fussy/entitled/delusional to be irritated by a coffee date (that he’s paying for)?  The more I think about it, it serves as a good test for a serious potential character flaw in the woman.

      1. 11.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Coffee dates are the worst. The only reason anyone goes on them is because they’re expecting he worst. Make more of an investment in screening by email and phone over a week and you won’t be so afraid of doing drinks on Saturday night. Says the guy who went 300 dates, stopped doing coffee and lunch dates entirely, and did a TEDx talk called No More Bad Dates.

        1. Shaukat

           Seriously, what guy would even want to be with a woman who was so fussy/entitled/delusional to be irritated by a coffee date (that he’s paying for)?

          True, but I personally discovered over the years that coffee dates don’t at all get me excited about the date, and so I don’t put my best foot forward in that type of setting. Moreover, first dates can sometimes escalate fast physically, but that becomes very difficult if you’re just having coffee.

          So I’ve found that drinks are the best bet, but definitely not dinner. Also, if it’s clear there’s no interest on my part, or even if I’m interested but I can tell that she’s not feeling it, then I make sure to split the bill. Even if that upsets her, it doesn’t matter since we’ll never meet again.

        2. milosporos

          Hello! I ve been reading your blog religiously even though I have not subscribed. Your advice is always spot on, especially cause it helps understand the other gender’s perspective. But, as someone commented above, keep in mind your international readers; coffee dates are for instance very popular in Mediterranean countries, cause that’s where young people socialise. They don’t cost much and you can spend hours discussing- nobody thinks that’s a bad date, since it’s the norm!

        3. SparklingEmerald

          I went on a coffee date a little over 2 years ago.  (I am into letting the male lead, and that’s what he suggested, so I went with it.  And I am not anti-coffee dates anyway).

          I got there early, so I bought my own coffee.  When he showed up, we greeted each other on the patio with a hug, then he got a twinkle in his eye, leaned in and gave me a quick kiss on the lips, and  I leaned in halfway and kissed him right back.   He spotted my coffee on the table, and the twinkle in his eye faded just a tad, and a slight frown flickered across his face.  Then he said he was going to buy himself a coffee, and asked me if he could could get me a blueberry muffin.  I said yes.  So he put his arm around me, I put my arm around him and we walked inside to get his coffee and our blueberry muffins.

          We have been walking arm in arm ever since that day (and enjoying  each others muffins 🙂 ) and today that handsome man who met me for coffee is now my husband !

          That’s just my experience, obviously, YMMV.

      2. 11.1.2

        I don’t like coffee dates for the first meeting, but I don’t believe it’s bc I’m fussy/ entitled/ delusional.  Rather, in the evenings most coffee shops – at least, where I live – are brightly lit, peppered with people chatting loudly on their cell phones and study groups discussing case histories or reviewing notes…  all of which are fine, but don’t lend themselves to a cozy, intimate atmosphere which support budding romance.

        1. Chance

          Sure, but you being a decent human and all, I’m guessing you wouldn’t get mad at a guy for having the gall and temerity to buy you a cup of coffee on a first date meet-and-greet.  That’s the difference.  You don’t have to like something (kind of like how guys don’t like how they have to pay for dates solely because of what’s between their legs), but you don’t verbalize your displeasure or hold it against him.  You just pretend to like it in the same manner that the guy pretends to like having to pay.

        2. stacy2


          i wouldn’t get mad I just wouldn’t accept the date at all. I have gone on coffee dates a couple of times in the past and concluded they were simply a waste of time. Coffee shops are loud and disgusting with hipsters on their laptops and spilled coffee everywhere (where I live) and you can’t seriously expect a woman to dress up for a 30 min in that dump. If neither is brinning their A-game, Why bother at all?

        3. Tom10

          I’m with the ladies on this one – I’ve done a few coffee dates for the first time lately and concluded that they’re a waste of time.
          I don’t care about the cost of a date really, whether high or low, rather as Henriette pointed out, they don’t lend themselves to creating an atmosphere of possible romance; it feels like I’m meeting a college buddy for a catch-up.
          A date always needs to create the feeling of possibility, which coffee dates don’t. You know beforehand that there’s no chance of the date continuing into one of those wonderful, long, unplanned meandering occurrences that just happen now and again.
          Without that tension the date just feels flat. That’s why it’s hard to beat a good old-fashioned drinks date; whether in a pub, bar or wine-bar.

        4. Chance

          Evan, Shaukat, Tom10, and Henriette:  thanks for your responses.  However, I may not have been clear because it wasn’t my intent to debate the merits of coffee dates.  I was just trying to point out that guys shouldn’t be concerned about whether or not their date will like it.  I always preferred them because I like going to coffee places, and I don’t like drinking at bars/restaurants in general.  Also, contrary to Henriette’s experience, I generally find coffee places to be more quiet.  It has nothing to do with expecting the worst as I was always quite hopeful, and hey, things seemed to work out for me.  If you prefer drinks over coffee, nothing wrong with that, of course.  However, I never really cared to ask for my date’s preference, and I don’t think most women would want a man who isn’t decisive.  Finally, the fact that someone like Stacy2 wouldn’t accept a date like this just serves as the ultimate validation that I had been doing the right thing (and, besides, I’ve never really been into women who spend a lot of money and energy to ensure that they are perfectly coiffed).

        5. Malika

          I mostly don’t like coffee dates because they are rushed and take place in venues that are mostly one step up from the McDonalds. I don’t think it’s a costs thing. A couple of coffees is only a couple of Euro’s cheaper than a few beers/glasses of wine at a bar later at night. It really isn’t a hit to your wallet to go to a nighttime venue that i associate more with a date. If a guy suggests a coffee, i just suggest we meet in the evening instead. I have never had a guy call me a high maintenance diva because of it, so that shouldn’t stop people from tweaking the suggestion slightly. On the flipside, i have also had dates that wanted something slightly different than what i proposed. My reaction was always ‘that’s a cool idea’ rather than ‘Omg, difficult!’

        6. Henriette

          Thanks for assuming I’m a decent person, @Chance; no doubt there’re some here who’d beg to differ 🙂  No, I’ve never griped or complained about a guy suggesting a coffee place.  That would be horribly ungracious.  To be quite frank, I far prefer guys who pay for the first few dates but it’s not about the expense as much as the gesture; a man who takes me to a free play in the park and buys me an ice cream afterwards is showing the same thoughtful, gentlemanly behaviour as a guy who pays for an $80 meal.

          I have never been a coffee drinker but most cafes serve other drinks like tea or cocoa (just as bars serve non-alcoholic drinks for those who wish to teetotal) and that’s all fine with me.  None of my coffee dates have turned into anything beyond a first date, but perhaps with the right cafe (somewhere quiet, dark, cozy) and the right-enough guy, a relationship could develop, I just suspect it’s less likely.  Truly glad that your coffee dates have led you to a happy romance!

        7. JB

          First off I drink coffee in the morning and rarely past 10am. In all my years I’ve only ever met 1 woman for “coffee” in the evening at her suggestion and insistence because come to find out she had to return an item at the Macy’s near by. After she showed up almost 40 minutes late to the Starbucks  SHE chose. We waited in line to order and I could tell I lost huge points for not knowing the difference between a double mocha latte and an Iced Cinnamon macchiatos or whatever the fuck it is…lol. I’m sorry I’m not an expert. I have coffee at home and when I get to work. When I go out at night whether with friends or on a meet & greet I have a drinks at a bar of some sort and that’s it. Not to mention I look much better after a couple of drinks and any woman does too! 🙂

      3. 11.1.3

        Coffee dates are fine for first meets. Evan’s advice only works because most men are wanting to get sex. A lot of these men will disappear if they don’t get sex by the 3rd date and will not spend more than $40 total on a date.
        Men are tired of the wage gap nonsense which has been debunked. Its time for women to pay their own way, only then will most men take women more seriously. Women claim wanting to be equal to men but not bear the responsibility. No amount of tricks is going to fix that. Women up!

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Didn’t you go your own way?That’s what you told everyone in the manosphere.

  12. 12

    Does any woman really like pubs? The smell of stale beer that reeks there makes me want to vomit, the bar surface is always sticky from the layers of uncleaned dirt and the food is all fried stuff with like 1000 calories per bite. Not to mention screens that play sports! (personally i would rather watch the grass grow..). It’s really hard to conjure less romantic atmosphere. No, you gotta guide these poor cluless guys away from those places. This is where they should go with thier “bros”. LOL

    1. 12.1


      Are you American? That doesn’t describe all pubs in all parts of the world. I quite like pubs and completely understand why men in my culture plan dates (particularly first dates) in pubs. In countries with a pub culture, often the pubs are reasonably nice with a range of food options. The person who asked the question is dating in London, not America.

      If you nitpick the guy’s choice of dating venues, particularly early on, you can’t expect him to keep wanting to take initiative (like the question asker does). Turning your nose up at pubs may make you come across as high maintenance, which is unlikely to lead to a second date. You need to allow for cultural differences.

      1. 12.1.1

        I have visited pubs in 3 different countries (including NYC where I live) and yes, these are the common denominators. Come’on now. A pub is a pub.

        Turning your nose up at pubs may make you come across as high maintenance, which is unlikely to lead to a second date

        You know – may be, and i don’t care, and neither should you. Do you enjoy spending time at pubs? If yes, by all means go have fun. I personally find them disgusting and I do not enjoy being there, on a date or not. This is not my scene. And i am not going to pretend to be some “cool girl” who’s gonna gobble up beers and burgers with “the guys”, that’s just not me and if a guy decides to not date me based on that I am ok with it.

        1. Marika

          London has some lovely pubs, as does Sydney. As I’ve said a few times, your experience isn’t everyone’s experience.

          I absolutely don’t want to come across as high maintenance or selfish and I care as much about the guy’s feelings and preferences as my own.

          I certainly don’t have your extreme aversions to pubs, but even if the guy took me a less than amazing pub (or restaurant), which has happened, I make the best of it. That’s called being polite and a good date.

          You can tell the man what to do and what you want from the outset, and be clearly displeased if he dares to suggest somewhere you don’t like, but then you can’t also say that you want him to be proactive (and give him a strike 1).

        2. Stacy2


          I absolutely don’t want to come across as high maintenance or selfish 

          That is your prerogative, and I don’t know how old you are but you actually seem quite young. Me, personally, in my thirties, I am at a point in life when I want to come off authentic above everything else, even if my  authentic self is too “high-maintenance” to some guy’s taste. It simply meas we’re not compatible and there’s no point in trying to pretend somebody I am not. And, I am most definitely at a point where I am done pretending to be a “cool girl”. I don’t like X, Y, Z things (pubs among them) and I don’t enjoy them and I don’t do them. Period, the world and the entire male population of it just going to have to live with it. I have earned the right to do as I please and not pretend for anyone. You will get there at some point… probably when you realize that a 2nd date with just any guy isn’t that much of a prize to torture yourself for…

          …and also – how did you move from suggesting a different type of venue to being “selfish”? Makes no sense.

          You can tell the man what to do and what you want from the outset, and be clearly displeased if he dares to suggest somewhere you don’t like, but then you can’t also say that you want him to be proactive

          There’s nothing wrong with steering a man in a gentle and respecting manner and educating him about your taste. A normal guy will use this as an opportunity to learn your modus operandi, if you never voice any opinions how’s he supposed to know what you like and what you don’t? Makes zero sense.


  13. 13

    When I was online dating I absolutely expected a first date to be drinks, and if a guy had suggested dinner I wouldn’t have been keen- that’s trying too hard, plus I don’t want to commit to all that in case I didn’t like him. I also used to aim to meet latish e.g. 8.30pm and on a weeknight, so that if it was awful I could legitimately leave by about 9.45 claiming an early start. I seemed to get plenty offers of second dates, and the midweek drinks first date seemed very much the convention in my neck of the woods. I would let them pick the venue, but if they were from out of town or asked for a suggestion I had one particular classy wine bar with low lightning that I would suggest-  I used it so often for first dates the staff must have thought I was an escort! In my view, the first date is really a reconnaisence operation and the real dates start after that.

  14. 14

    The discussion here so far is interesting.  Not too long ago there was another post very similar to this where the prevailing opinion was that the guy should treat the woman to dinner on the first date.  I disagreed and took a bit of flack for it.  Some agreed with me but there was a strong contingent who didn’t.  Now it seems that most people are in agreement that dinner is not appropriate for the first date.  I even got called cheap for saying that I didn’t want to spend $30 on a first date although I’ve done it many times.  What gives?

    How Can Your 2/2/2 Rule for Online Dating Still Work When Many Don’t Use Email?

    1. 14.1

      I had a look at your comments on the above post, ScottH and the main issue seemed to be this kind of attitude: but in any case, yes, i can be cheap and don’t like wasting a dime or a minute on someone who misrepresents herself. Which related to a point about not wanting to spend $30 on a date. If you go out to a bar and have a couple of drinks and some finger food, you’re likely to spend more than $30.

      Your point seemed to indicate that you wanted to find the cheapest, quickest date you could, and were overly concerned about cost and having ‘an easy out’. That was the main issue, I think.

      1. 14.1.1
        Emily, the original


         Your point seemed to indicate that you wanted to find the cheapest, quickest date you could, and were overly concerned about cost and having ‘an easy out’.

        I don’t have a problem with that type of thinking. If you are OLD, you haven’t met your date face to face. There is no need to have more than a quick meet ‘n’ greet. One or both of you could want to bail. You need an out, and I don’t want to feel beholden to a man who’s spent a bunch of money. Going on a “proper” date is for date #2, after you’ve vetted each other. And if the man is thinking the meet ‘n’ greet is going well but wants to hold off on suggesting dinner to see if, in a few days, the woman says yes to a second date (so that he can determine her interest level before shelling out a bunch of cash), that’s also fine.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Still haven’t invested in Finding the One Online, Em?

        2. Marika

          If you want to approach dating like this: I want the easiest, low-ist risk date I can to ‘vet’ them just in case the person is a jerk, crazy, stalker etc…,go for your life.

          I’d like to approach dating like this: I’m looking forward to meeting this new person and getting to know them so that we can see if we can form a connection. If not, I will at least get a chance to practice my dating skills and we’ll both walk away feeling good about the meal/drinks & the other person.

          People aren’t commodities or job interviews. When a guy approaches dating the way you recommend, I can tell. I don’t feel like I want to be vulnerable or open with him and it’s almost impossible to tell if I want a second date when it’s clear I was scheduled in for a 1 hour meet & greet in some coffee shop where he has an easy ‘out’.

          The only thing you risk if you go on a reasonable date (not necessarily dinner) is your time and some money. I understand the money thing is a concern, particularly for men, if they keep paying for dates they never see again, but the alternative is pretty sad to me. I would venture to suggest the less you spend on a date, the more you spend in the long run, as you’re going on rushed/boring/low risk date after rushed/boring/low risk date trying to achieve chemistry over coffee.

          Yep, buy Finding the One Online.

        3. GoWiththeFlow

          Hey Marika,

          I won’t do coffee meet and greets anymore.  I was typically scheduling them between work or errands and it just always felt rushed and tense.  Not surprising because most Starbucks and other coffee places are furnished so that you don’t get too comfortable.  They want the huge majority of their customers to get their coffee and scone and leave.  They don’t make make a lot of additional sales to customers who linger.

          One thing I did this past summer was start going out with some girlfriends to some nicer bars and casual restaurants just to get out and have fun. Little did I know I was engaged in venue research.  Especially if a man is meeting me on my side of town–and my side of town is the party zone–they will almost always run a place “I heard about” by me and I’m able to give an informed answer.

          On OLD I’m running about 50:50 on being asked for meet-for-drinks vs. dinner/evening long events for first dates.  In the right place a “drinks” meet up can be close to a typical dinner date.  One thing I do and that I suggest men do is to make whatever the date is the only thing you schedule that night.  If you’re checking your watch and saying, “Sorry, i have to be somewhere at 9” you are no longer on a date, you are on someone’s time clock.

      2. 14.1.2

        My position was that I was not going to invite someone to dinner who I’ve never seen in person before.  There is a lot of false advertising and misrepresentation on the dating sites.  We’ve all seen it firsthand.  Considering the large number of people we have to meet in order to find someone we might have a chance with, it does not make sense to have dinner together on the first date.  YAG said that he typically did take women to dinner and was called classy and Evan largely agreed with his position.  I was called cheap.  Now in this thread, YAG has adjusted his position for financial reasons and Evan’s response the LW is more sympathetic to the guys.

        I had one very formative experience that I mentioned in the last thread.  I met a woman, after proper vetting, at a very nice place for happy hour.  We talked past HH hours and she kept ordering and it got kind of expensive.  She made no gesture to split.  Then we went for ice cream and I was expecting her to offer to pay the token amount but she didn’t.  The whole thing left a horrible taste in my mouth that I won’t forget.  Most classy women (IMO)  recognize that guys pay and make at least a token gesture to split, or don’t keep ordering like he’s an ATM.  Yes, I should have ended the date early with her but I was “practicing” my dating skills and didn’t want to be rude to her.  I just shouldn’t have been rude to myself and ended it early.

        To say that I “wanted to find the cheapest, quickest date you could, and were overly concerned about cost and having ‘an easy out’ ” is simply not the case.  Per the theme of this thread, consider dating from the guys standpoint.  I do have a good job making a decent six figure salary but I have child support, college, and private high school on top of all the regular expenses and retirement is in the not too distant future.  I have to watch my money and buying dinner for every/most women I meet the first time is not going to happen.  The right woman for me will be very cool with that.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          We talked past HH hours and she kept ordering and it got kind of expensive. 

          That is how meeting a woman for a drink turned into a $188.00 check.  🙂

        2. ScottH

          $188 would have infuriated me.  A nice person would not have had such a sense of entitlement on a first date.

        3. Emily, the original

          Scott H,

          I have to watch my money and buying dinner for every/most women I meet the first time is not going to happen.  The right woman for me will be very cool with that.

          Yes, she will.


          People aren’t commodities or job interviews.

          I don’t think people are commodities, but scheduling an hours-long date with someone you haven’t yet met face-to-face puts a lot of pressure on both people. Then it feels like an EVENING. I suggested lunch for a recent first date with a man I had already met face-to-face, and I ‘m really glad I did. I was much more relaxed because the whole thing seemed more casual.

    2. 14.2
      Yet Another Guy

      It had nothing do with taking a woman to dinner on a first date.  You caught flak for being cheap.  I spend more than $30.00 on a drink date.  A glass of wine cost $9.00 – $12.00 where I live.  A couple of glasses of wine each and a couple of hors d’oeuvres, and the bill is magically $70.00+ with gratuity.

      With that said, I have had to re-think how I date.  Throwing away $600.00 a month on women who do not pan out is not a good use of money.  That is $7.2K per year on dates that never pan out.   There was a reason why I kept my sexies-on-standby.   If I had the money back from every date were a woman posted non-representative photos, I would be able to take a very, very nice vacation.

      1. 14.2.1
        Tron Swanson

        Holy crap, I had no idea that dating was that expensive. I knew that I was saving money by not doing it, but, wow. Do you think those numbers are about average?

        No wonder my savings account is in such good shape…

        1. Yet Another Guy

          It depends on where one lives.  I live in an expensive part of the country.   A drink date usually runs on average $75.00 with gratuity (sometimes more, sometimes less).  I  was meeting a woman on Friday evening and another one on Saturday evening.  There were weeks where I was meeting a woman on Friday evening, one on Saturday evening, and another on Sunday afternoon.  It did take long to realize that afternoon dates were a waste of time.

        2. Tron Swanson

          Good to know, thanks. I probably live in a more affordable area…but I can’t even fathom spending half that much. It just seems insane, to me. Evan has said that if a man really likes a woman, he’ll pursue her…well, I thought that I was interested in lots of women, but I must not be, because I don’t pursue all that much. Too much time and trouble.

          Good luck with your situation. Paying for dates and paying for child-support…I can’t even imagine.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @Tron Swanson

          Paying for dates and paying for child-support…I can’t even imagine.

          It is a big check every month, but my kids are worth it. 🙂

      2. 14.2.2


        A couple of glasses of wine each and a couple of hors d’oeuvres, and the bill is magically $70.00+ with gratuity.

        But you consume half of that, no? So she’s only “costing” you $35? If you weren’t meeting this woman for a date, what would you be doing instead? Likely you’d not be sitting at your apartment watching paint dry on your walls. You’d be entertaining yourself in some other way, may be going to a bar or s steak house with friends, going to the movies, or going to a game, going to a house party and bringing a bottle of wine, etc. All of these things are expensive and would cost you something.  Hell, I begin to shed money the moment I step outside of my apartment and it doesn’t stop until i fall asleep at night… It’s just what life is in expensive cities.

        My point being, that the actual cost of dating is only the incremental spend you would not have otherwise spent, which is likely much less than the headline # you’re quoting.

        1. ScottH

          If I wasn’t going on a date, I’d be going to the gym and that wouldn’t cost me anything extra.  And I would take a shower there so that would save me the cost of water and soap and dirtying a towel at home.  And I might even squirt some soap into a ziploc bag for use at home later so now I’m making money.  I’ve thought about stealing towels and selling them on ebay to pay for my dates but I haven’t gotten to that point.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Stacy 2

          You assumption is incorrect. I am not a thirty-something. I am a mid-fifty-something who wants to be able to retire comfortably in six to seven years. I do not go out when I am not on a date. While I earn a six-figure income, I am not killing it. I write a large child support check every month; therefore, I have to live on a budget. I do not go to bars. I usually play guitar, visit friends or family, go to the gym, or ride my bike when it is warm. I eat a non-conventional diet that contains very little saturated fat or salt (I am a flexitarian), so I prepare 99% of what I eat from mostly raw ingredients. I drink very little; therefore, my personal alcohol expense is very low. I do not attend sporting events because they bore me to tears. Other than the money I spend on my kids, my date-free weekends are expense-free weekends.

        3. Stacy2

          Ok gents, fair enough. So my question then is this: why invite a woman out at all? If that’s not what you enjoy on your own? I would do something I don’t myself  enjoy for a date (let along first date). As those ladies out to join you for a bike ride, bring a bottle of rose ($11) or a box of strawberries have a mini picnic. Go for a bird watching walk in a park, bring your guitar. Be creative. Be authentic. Geez. A date should be about doing something you both enjoy!

        4. ScottH

          It’s all about finding someone you have a connection with.  I love going out and doing things with a partner, even if it costs me money.  It’s an investment in the relationship which I want to do.  But to spend money on the FIRST date with someone who’s likely misrepresented herself or isn’t who I think she is, that SUCKS.  The first date is to see if a connection is possible and the second date is to step it up.  That’s my philosophy.  I’m not going to go all out on a stranger.  And your suggestions are very good.  I always prefer an activity date to sitting somewhere and drinking something.  I think moving around and getting blood flowing (endorphins too?) helps a lot.  A good date doesn’t have to be expensive.

    3. 14.3

      Hey Scott!

      I think the threads are diverging in opinion because of the nature of the LW’s question. She is getting asked out on OLD for drinks for a first date and wants to know how to get that to a dinner date.  If a man says, “So how about we meet for drinks at XBar around 6?”  there’s just no considerate way to up the ante and say “Or how about dinner at YRestaurant around 6?”

      One thing she can do with her OLD prospects is put a little more time and effort into mutual vetting.  If the man feels more sure about her and is therefore more enthused to meet her, the chances of it being asked for evening long date that involves dinner goes way up.

      In the meantime if she’s being asked out for drinks, there are ways both the man and the woman can work with it to make it something more than a quick hit and run meet up.  This tends to get presented in a binary manner:  It’s either the grimy sports bar with upholstered booths patched with duct tape and peanut shells on the floor or a 4 star restaurant that serves five courses.  In truth there are many options between the two that would be a nice venue for a date.  A place where the atmosphere is relaxed and you can easily stretch out the date to 2 or 3 hours if the rapport is good.  Just make sure  it’s easy to get a table and there are decent appetizers available.  And if your 6 pm date starts sliding into 7 or 8, do ask if she’s hungry.  I will typically offer to pay for round two of drinks or appetizers if we are this far in.

      Then it’s more of a hybrid drinks/light dinner date than a formal dinner date.  If things are disastrous you can both leave after the first round.  If they’re going good, you’re both relaxed and comfortable and can have fun talking and watching any entertainment and activity that’s going on.


      1. 14.3.1

        I think asking to meet at dinner time (6) almost implies that dinner will be involved.  I don’t like to imply or leave people to infer so I make it clear that we are meeting AFTER dinner.  I guess I do invite women to meet at happy hours without specifying dinner or no dinner but we usually do order HH food and that’s fine.

        I guess in this situation, I do like being in the position of arranging things and being somewhat in control.  Sometimes I’ll suggest something and she’ll counter-offer with something less nice and I’ve always accepted.

        And another thing to consider about us guys who make “regular” salaries:  every dollar we spend on a woman we’ll never see again is a dollar we could have spent on our kids.  I do sometimes feel guilty about my dating budget when I try to cut back on some of my expenses with my kids.  I hate that feeling.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          I had an incident where I invited a woman to meet me for drinks at 7:30  at a neat local establishment.  To my horror, she was waiting for table in the dining room when I arrived.  I should have turned around and left because her photos were easily ten years old.  However, the worse was yet to come because she was pure Melba toast from a conversation point of view.  It was two of the most painful hours of my life.  I did not order a second drink, coffee, or dessert.   I had my credit card out when the waiter brought the check.  I signed the credit card receipt and left without as much as shaking her hand.  That was the last time that I allowed a woman to talk me into dinner.

          I can empathize with you.  I pay a healthy portion of my compensation in child support, and I like to do things with my children.  Most of the women I meet who are within five years of my age have grown children, many of whom are married with their own children.  They no longer have child-related expenses; therefore, they expect a man to spend as if he no longer has child-related expenses.  That is why I started to pursue women who are closer to ten years my junior last fall.  Their lifestyles are more aligned to mine.

        2. Chance

          Hi YAG, just split the check the next time that happens.  Who cares if it pisses her off?  If she does get pissed, good riddance.

  15. 15

    I think Stacy2 had some great advice.

    Instead of trying to steer a man you haven’t met in person yet towards a formal dinner date via phone call, accept the drinks date and see what he suggests.  If he asks for input, suggest a wine bar or a place you know with a good atmosphere, tables, some finger foods available, and where you know the noise volume will be such that you can easily talk.  It won’t do you any good if the place is so happening that you have to yell to be heard.

    There is so much out there venue wise between pub/sports bar and a formal restaurant where the waiter drapes the napkin on your lap, that finding a place that has a great atmosphere shouldn’t be a problem.  I have easily spent two to three hours on a “meet for drinks” date that gave ample time to get to know someone.  Eat a snack an hour or two before if you think you may get hungry.  It will also help keep you from getting too buzzed from drinking on an empty stomach.

  16. 16

    Ahhhh @Marika, my antipodean sister! I’m glad we are both here to support this London lady – I haven’t dated in London for about 15 years (yikes!) but I think she’d be spoilt for choice for a stylish pub or wine bar 🙂 I’m glad like me you understand that men in our part of the world lack confidence and if I had waited for a man to suggest a place I’d have been waiting for the rest of my life! Luckily I’m a foodie with friends in hospitality and there are plenty of bars and pubs here in Auckland that make good date spots. It turns out that ironically I found a man who is basically teetotal and extremely health conscious (going out for him is coffee, full stop!) so if I’m going for drinks and tapas it’s with friends, but he’s so amazing in other ways that it’s a compromise I’m happy to make 🙂

    1. 16.1

      Haha, Michelle, Kia ora 🙂

      Yes! So true!! That’s why I will go pretty much wherever (other than their place) a man suggests for a first date. You made a plan? Wooohoooo. Bring it on. Hard to understand if you’re used to smooth daters.

      The pub culture is pretty ingrained in the Commonwealth. It’s not going away any time soon!

      Bring on Mr health conscious, I say. Small price to pay, I agree 🙂

  17. 17
    Yet Another Guy


    Evan, I appreciate your explaining in gory detail what it is like to be a man on the dating sites.  I spent just under $1,300.00 during my first month of online dating after separating from my ex.  I had a drink date turn into a $188.00 date that did not produce a second date.  I learned to put limits on dates fairly quickly. If women had to pay and face the amount of rejection that men face, online dating would collapse.


    Guys do not start out being serial daters.  It is the process that turns well-meaning guys into serial daters.  A guy starts out targeting specific women.  He writes a woman and waits for a reply that is never sent.  After going through that process couple of times, he starts to write two or three women at time.  When that approach does not work, he starts to write ten or more women at time, which results in one or two responses.  After a while, his messaging skills improve, and he magically gets five to ten replies for ten messages.  It is about that time that women he messaged weeks ago decide that they are going to respond, and women are start to write him out of the blue.   All of sudden, a guy is juggling conversations with 15+ women at any given time.  The only way to handle that many women simultaneously is via messaging on the site or text messaging.  Voice conversations are out of the question.  I met thirty-nine women in the first three months that I was separated.  I met five women in one weekend.  I only turned three of those thirty-nine dates into second dates.  The total cost for those three months was just shy of $2,800.00. That was total insanity.


    1. 17.1
      Yet Another Guy

      *women start to

  18. 18

    I’m curious @Marika – do men in Australia shout drinks/food on first dates? My personal bias is that I’m uncomfortable for a man paying for everything so if the date’s going well and he insists on paying I pay on the second date. On  a drinks date I though I usually do rounds, (with him generally offering the first round). NZ is much more egalitarian than the US (much smaller pay gap and two female prime ministers as you may know) where I used to live so I take Evan’s advice about that with a cultural grain of salt – it would be odd here if the man was expected to pay for a woman every time. Same in Oz or no?

    1. 18.1

      Great question, Michelle,

      It varies depending on their age and income. I’ve had men pay for the whole first date, at least part of it, or none of it. The majority pay for at least part of the first date (e.g. they will buy my first drink). Definitely beyond the second date it would be unusual for a man to keep paying for everything, unless they were rich or from the older generation. Like you, I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable letting them pay for everything beyond one or two dates and I at least offer money, even on the first date. I do like at least a small gesture of buying me say a drink on the first date, I respond to that chivalry.

      Some of my friends don’t, however and would rather go dutch the whole time.

      So men, understandably, are probably a bit confused! Sorry guys! I think offering to pay on the first date is always a nice gesture, even if the woman refuses.

      On the flip side, my brother, for instance, is very old fashioned and always paid for everything for every woman he dated. He would’ve been offended if they didn’t let him. In those cases I would let the guy continue to pay, but in honesty would feel a bit awkward about it.

  19. 19


    No, it’s not an age thing at all. I’m a similar age to you, and Evan advocates being the ‘cool girl’ and he’s older than you. Remarks like these make you come across as selfish:

    “The smell of stale beer that reeks there makes me want to vomit, the bar surface is always sticky from the layers of uncleaned dirt and the food is all fried stuff with like 1000 calories per bite. Not to mention screens that play sports! (personally i would rather watch the grass grow..). It’s really hard to conjure less romantic atmosphere. No, you gotta guide these poor cluless guys away from those places. This is where they should go with thier “bros”. LOL

    And this:

    If a guy asks you where you’d like to go – it’s strike one but cut him some slack.. suggest the same wine bar

    You both have very specific views about where you will & won’t go, while simultaneously putting a strike against a man for asking you where you’d like to go (which sounds like the safe option in your case). And you can’t possibly conceive that there could be any nice pubs anywhere in the world. And any man who suggests one is ‘clueless’. Bit silly.

    You seem to be (not so subtly) suggesting that I’m immature for being nice, easygoing & accommodating to a man who’s made a plan to see me (perhaps not the best plan in the world, but a plan nonetheless). That’s not true at all. I think wanting your own way when dealing with a stranger is immature (and focusing more on the venue than the man).

    A first date is no time to ‘voice your opinions’. You’ll have plenty of time to do that down the track. You’d rather be ‘authentic’ than accommodating & easygoing, but what happens if you veto their pub, they veto your wine bar…and on and on it goes. You’ve achieved your aim of being ‘authentic’ and ‘voicing your opinions’, but you’ve made picking a venue unnecessarily hard.

    Remember the story Evan told about how easygoing his wife was when his Korean (from memory) restaurant was closed? And that was one of the things that made him want to see her again? It’s that kind of thing that is nice on first dates. Being receptive, appreciating him for his efforts, being kind & understanding. Not seeing him as clueless & telling him what you want.

    Don’t be the cool girl. Hate pubs. Think men who suggest pubs are clueless. Insist on wine bars. Voice your opinions within the first 5 minutes of meeting someone. Go for your life. I just don’t think that’s the best idea in the world and I definitely don’t think it’s appropriate when dating in a Commonwealth country, which has customs & practices that differ greatly from America & affect the dating culture.

    1. 19.1

      You and I must have been taught an alternative version of the  meaning of the word “selfish”. But ok, if having my own tastes and preferences makes me “selfish” in Australia- guilty as charged. (You also seem to miss the point that the OP lives in London and is unhappy with pubs… It’s not just me but ok whatever)

      I don’t think you are immature i think you just haven’t gotten to the point in life where you value yourself over a stranger. I hope you will. This whole argument could be generalized as follows: “should I agree to do something I don’t enjoy in order to placate a man I am meeting for the first time, cause God forbid he may think I am difficult if suggest a change”? You answer yes and I answer no. I had agreed to those things in the past and they lead to bad long term outcomes. So yes, if he vetoes my wine bar and wants to stick to his guns he can… alone… He’s not that valuable. We haven’t even met. I don’t care if a stranger thinks I am bad news for preferring a wine bar over a pub.

      1. 19.1.1
        Karl R

        Stacy2 said:

        “This whole argument could be generalized as follows: ‘should I agree to do something I don’t enjoy in order to placate a man I am meeting for the first time, cause God forbid he may think I am difficult if suggest a change’? You answer yes and I answer no.”

        “So yes, if he vetoes my wine bar and wants to stick to his guns he can… alone… He’s not that valuable.”


        So, if you want to go to a wine bar, and the man doesn’t enjoy that, should he agree to go in order to placate a woman that he’s meeting for the first time? Would you think he’s difficult if he suggests a change?

        If he vetoes your wine bar, and you want to stick to your guns, shouldn’t he make the same assumption that you do (when the situation is reversed) … that you’re not that valuable?

        Seriously, you’re trying to justify your own behavior … even though it’s the same behavior that you won’t tolerate in a man.

        1. Stacy2

          So, if you want to go to a wine bar, and the man doesn’t enjoy that, should he agree to go in order to placate a woman that he’s meeting for the first time? 

          No of course note. I mean if he like really hates wine bars (is this possible?) but lets say he does. Allergic to good things. I will accommodate some middle ground. If middle ground can’t be found wouldn’t that be a sign we’re badly not compatible and wasting each other’s time?

          Also: we are all some degree of “difficult”. May be I am more difficult than an average person. That means that a guy who’d equally difficult is NOT a good match for me. Too much fighting will ensue. Better find a guy who’s more easy going (or is on the same page as I am 98% of the time, or both). Makes logical sense.

        2. Marika

          I think she needs to type up her list of rules, both so she can hand it out to prospective dates, and so we can all keep track…

        3. KK


          You crack me up.

          I went out with someone who fits your criteria, financially. He absolutely hated wine. Only drank scotch. I’ve tried scotch on two occasions; the second time with him. Hated it both times. I love wine; although I’m very particular about which wines I like. Crazy, I know, but our alcohol preferences were never an issue. Lol.


        4. Karl R

          Stacy2 said:

          “May be I am more difficult than an average person. That means that a guy who’d equally difficult is NOT a good match for me. Too much fighting will ensue. Better find a guy who’s more easy going (or is on the same page as I am 98% of the time, or both). Makes logical sense.”

          I agree with all of this. For someone who is difficult, an easy-going partner will lead to a more harmonious relationship.

          Looking at it  from the other side:

          For someone who is easy-going, an easy-going partner will also lead to a more harmonious match. So regardless whether you’re difficult or easy-going, your best bet is to avoid dating a difficult partner.

          The problem some people face:

          If someone is a difficult person (for example, if they display two or three of John Gottman’s Four Horsemen during a discussion of pubs), then most people will find them difficult as a partner. Even the easy-going people will realize that it’s easier to find a less difficult partner, rather than enduring a marriage with a more difficult one.

  20. 20

    Too right @Marika! 🙂 The take home message from my story for the benefit of the OP is that the ability to choose a chic restaurant isn’t the most important quality of a partner.  I dated two guys who both suggested a really twee dessert place which was the kind of place you took your mum on her birthday IMHO 🙂 Yes it was cringe worthy but they were both sweet guys doing their best and I appreciated that and focused on their other attributes.  As I said my bf doesn’t like to go to restaurants at all so fortunately we met randomly when we were staying in the same hotel, as I wouldn’t have been impressed with his coffee suggestion!

  21. 21


    A first date is no time to ‘voice your opinions’. 

    OMG how did I miss this gem? So, what is it a time for then, to shut up, be pretty and do as he says? Because omigod he paid attention to me (!) and asked to to come hang out with him at his favorite pub (!) and oh horror – may think i am difficult and not ask me out again so I can’t let that happen!? Sweetie, do you even see a problem with this line of thinking or would you like for me to spell it out for you further?

    Yes, the first date is the time to voice your opinions. So is the second, and the third, and so on. This is the whole point of dating – figuring out whether you’re compatible. What dating isn’t – or at least shouldn’t be – is you doing things you do not enjoy out of fear of rubbing some stranger guy in a wrong way.

    It really is sad that even in this day and age some of us (women) feel the need to bend over backwards win an approval of and please a guy who they – wait for it – haven’t even met yet!!

    What kind of a relationship do you think this can lead to? I have an answer for you – a bad one. The one where he comes to expect you to go with whatever he says he wants to do – and will act out if you reveal your real self (assuming your real self is not all about pleasing him of course). And why – because you will have conditioned him so. Ponder on that.

    Lastly, when i use the term “cool girl” I do so in the classic definition as spelled out in a NYT bestseller “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. It is essentially a girl who pretends to like things she doesn’t in order to get win approval and attention of men. Sounds familiar? When her relationship does not work out as planned she frames her husband for her murder. It’s an excellent read (much better than the movie) for all the ruminattion of the protagonist. Highly recommend.


    1. 21.1

      Marika: and here’s also an excellent article on the subject from jezebel..

      “I don’t think this means the Cool Girl is fiction, but rather, a phase. I think she’s a perfect role to inhabit in your twenties when you’re unsure of yourself …. … But that girl also grows up and learns it’s better to be real than cool.”

      happy dating!

      1. 21.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        You’re taking your advice from Jezebel and then coming here to tell me that there is no cool girl. Sorry. There is. I married one. So did all my friends. Please look up the Love U Podcast on being the cool girl in which I cite the Jezebel piece and join Love U, rather than staying stuck with an ineffective mindset. Marika gets it. You naysaying doesn’t affect her; it does affect you.

        1. Stacy2

          Eh.. not really what I am doing. Simply explaining the cultural reference. Flynn’s definition of a “cool girl” has reached way more people than yours as evidence by google 1st page search results (no offence). What you call “cool girl” i simply think of as normal.

          Not sure what Marika “gets”, but so far it appears that she gets guys who ask her to pubs and she’s afraid to speak up in order to not spook them (apparently the Aussies are a shy bunch, i dunno, zero exposure). I, on the other hand, may not “get it” whatever “it” is, but I do get a b/f who takes me to places where I want to go… Me being not “cool” and all.

      2. 21.1.2
        Karl R


        The Jezebel article uses a rather different definition of “cool girl” than Evan. There’s still a bit of overlap (not not clingy, not jealous, not needy, understanding, laid-back, not easily angered).

        Given that my wife had all of those traits in her 50s, and still has all of those traits in her 60s, your claim that it’s “just a phase” sounds a bit hollow. Furthermore, that’s how my wife genuinely is.


        “What kind of a relationship do you think this can lead to? I have an answer for you – a bad one. The one where he comes to expect you to go with whatever he says he wants to do – and will act out if you reveal your real self (assuming your real self is not all about pleasing him of course).”

        You’re missing a critical difference. My wife doesn’t spend lots of time pleasing me. She’s a cool and laid-back because she doesn’t spend any of her time being unpleasant.

        And from what you’ve consistently displayed here, your “real self” is perpetually unpleasant. You’re so consistent about it that you come across as a caricature, not a three dimensional human being. I have to assume that you’re slightly more well-rounded than that, but I’ve really seen no evidence of it.

        Most women aren’t that extreme. They don’t have to contort themselves into their complete opposite just to avoid being unpleasant. For most women, they simply need to relax, dial it down a little, keep things in perspective, and they become the kind of person that men find more appealing.

        For someone like you, I don’t know what to recommend. If being unpleasant is the fundamental core of who you are, I don’t see a way to circumvent that when dating. You’re right. Eventually it’s going to become obvious to your date, that is who you are. I’m sorry. I don’t have any advice for that. I think you’re kind of screwed when it comes to dating.

        1. Marika

          Yep, that’s a good way of explaining it, Karl R. I certainly needed to learn to be a bit more flexible, easygoing and less of an over thinker in my dating life. Luckily, thanks to Evan’s material and my dating experiences (good and bad), I’ve been able to do that (I’m on my way, at least!). But I never had to overcome a complete lack of flexibility, extreme entitlement, strict rules – based thinking and man-hate to be a more fun, less intense date and have better experiences with men.

          Stacy2, you seem to think I have a lot to learn to come up to your ‘level’. I disagree. My dating experiences have taught me to be more flexible, less judgemental, less stuck in my own script, more able to judge what’s important (eg character) over what isn’t (eg less than perfect first date venue), yours seem to have done the opposite, which is a shame.

          You seem to equate ‘valuing yourself’ with how many inflexible rules you have. Again, I disagree. The people I know who value themselves the most understand that they can be warm, receptive and understanding towards others, as not only is that how they treat themselves, they also know that letting the small things go (pubs vs wine bars) to be kind to others is no threat to them and their self worth.

          That’s what I hope you come to understand one day. And don’t worry, I’m not about to kill my husband because he took me to a pub on our first date (as per your Gone Girl reference)…;)

        2. Stacy2


          I am not sure how your wife enters the picture here. The term “cool girl” was coined by Flynn in her bestseller and became widely known and referenced – sort of. If you google “cool girl” that is the only thing that will come up on page one. So, this is what i mean when I say “cool girl”. Sorry to not adhere to Evan’s definition.

          As far as your other comments – nobody who knows me would characterize me as unpleasant LOL. Literally the only person who would say that is my ex/h and even he would admit that i only became extremely unpleasant after he became extremely disappointing and stayed that way for a while (he was given a rather long grace period to correct his act during which time i played the “cool girl”). Clearly he found me pleasant enough to date for 2 years and marry. So, a major lesson I drew from that failed relationship is that there’re certain things and behaviors that a man can do that will cause me to be extremely unpleasant and miserable and will lead to a destruction of a relationship – even if I pretend for a while to be a “cool girl” bout it (my definition! lol). So there’re certain things I lay out very early on. I will not do X. I have no interest in Y. etc. not small potatoes like wine bar vs. a pub. Big stuff, important stuff… They can take it or leave it. Those who leave it i wish them well, those who take it can be pleasantly surprised 🙂

        3. Karl R

          Stacy2 said:

          “The term ‘cool girl’ was coined by Flynn in her bestseller and became widely known and referenced – sort of.”

          I love your revisionist history. Evan was using the term on his blog years before “Gone Girl” was published, and the term is much, much older than that.

          Not the first time you’ve invented facts to support your point … but whatever.


          Stacy2 said:

          “So, a major lesson I drew from that failed relationship is that there’re certain things and behaviors that a man can do that will cause me to be extremely unpleasant and miserable and will lead to a destruction of a relationship”

          So, based on your experience, what behaviors can you do (since you can only control your own behavior) which has led to successful long-term relationships?

          You seem to have a long list of inflexible rules (applied to the men’s behavior) based on things that don’t work. What are your rules (governing your own behavior) based on what does work?


          Anecdote and lesson for everyone … except Stacy2:

          Back when I was 32, I dated a woman who was 23. The relationship didn’t go well. In many ways, it was worst relationship I’ve had. After we broke up, I decided that the 9 year age gap was just too much, and I’d never date anyone that much younger.

          When I was 38, I started dating an amazing woman. On the second date I found out that I’d misjudged her age. She was 11 years younger than me. She was incredibly mature for someone of any age, however. If it hadn’t been for irreconcilable goals (she wanted lots of kids, I wanted none), then we might have ended up married.

          That forced me to reconsider my previous rule. I had misunderstood the causes of the demise of my previous relationship. Until I realized my mistake, I was avoiding women who were perfectly fine. More importantly, I wasn’t watching out for the correct fatal flaw.


          When I met my wife, she wasn’t interested in a serious relationship with someone 16 years younger. A previous boyfriend of hers was 14 years younger, and that relationship had been rather bad. Like me, she blamed the age gap as the cause of the failure.

          As my wife and I were having our casual fling, she started to realize that I had none of the fatal flaws of the previous boyfriend. (In several key ways, I was the opposite.) She managed to finally come to the realization that her rule had been based on a mistake about what caused the demise of that relationship.


          This kind of error is easy to make. I’m betting Evan made that mistake at least once. A large number of men and women have posted (and then defended) their mistaken beliefs here over the years. In each case, the mantra is always the same: “I tried it before, and it didn’t work. Therefore, I know I’m right.”

          And until someone considers the possibility that they may be wrong, they’re unable to correct their mistake. (And that’s why this lesson is for “everyone else” … it’s for the people who are capable of learning it.)


          Even though almost everyone makes this mistake (sometimes multiple times), you can only fix it for one person … yourself.

        4. Stacy2

          I love your revisionist history. Evan was using the term on his blog years before “Gone Girl” was published, and the term is much, much older than that.
          Not the first time you’ve invented facts to support your point … but whatever.
          My revisionist history? Sorry I wasn’t reading Evan’s blog in 2011 (GG was published in 2012 – FYI) so I wouldn’t know. Oh horror. Fact checkers are here. LOL. In any case i am sure some people have used this term long, long before that but it didn’t become a “thing” until Flynn. Sorry to offend your sensibilities by using the term in a non-canonical way 🙂

          So, based on your experience, what behaviors can you do (since you can only control your own behavior) which has led to successful long-term relationships
          Choose more wisely, make my expectations unequivocally clear from the start, enforce boundaries swiftly, be mellow about everything else. I am way more mellow but far less cool these days (no bullshit flies, period) – if you can conjure that combination. For example, when i was younger I once had a massive fight with my then husband (#1) when he said he’d ski for an extra 30 minutes and showed up 1.5 hours later. These days I’d just be sitting at a bar sipping mulled wine and chilling. However I also in the past allowed my then husband (#2) to move us to an area that was cheaper so that he could quit his job, because i was a “cool girl” so understanding and so supportive (idiot) – now that bullshit does not fly at all anymore. So there you go. More mellow, less cool. Imagine that.

        5. KK


          I scrolled through the comments on the blog post Evan provided the link to and your comments were all over it saying how cool you are. Lol. I don’t know the date of that particular post, but apparently your views have changed??

        6. Stacy2


          no i don’t believe so, i think you misread my comments. And that was in 2016, not 2011/2012

        7. KK


          “I think you misread my comments”.

          Don’t think so. You said that you were cool and being cool never benefited you.

        8. Callie

          I responded to Stacy2’s cool comment back in the other thread and I remember being surprised that she thought the only reason for being “cool” was to get praise for it. I said that that wasn’t the reason to do it, it was to help make the relationship as smooth and lovely as possible, not to get brownie points.

          But I have to say going back and re-reading that thread, and then putting it in context with this one, I think it’s very possible a semantic mistake was made by Stacy. The way she talks about “cool” in the other thread sounds like something you put on for someone else’s benefit, hence desiring praise, and not a behaviour that is a positive natural one that one does regardless of outcome. And to me this suggests that in that other thread Stacy misinterpreted the meaning of Evan’s version of cool as the Flynn version of “cool girl”. Because the latter most certainly IS an act put on just to please men. So maybe it is possible that she was discussing the wrong “cool”, hence why it sounded so strange at least to me that she would not see any point in behaving that way.

          I also have to agree that currently “cool girl” really DOES have the connotation Stacy says it does in general these days, even if others have used it to mean other things in the past. So the confusion of the terms is not so unexpected. That being said, I think Evan has also made it very clear what he means by it and seeing as this is his blog and his advice, we really ought to use his definitions for these terms and not assume he is suggesting women do things that he clearly is not.

        9. AllHeart81

          I will be honest, the whole “be the cool girl” , throws me off too. Most of us have dated men or heard men talk about women describing this concept of what a “cool” women is. And usually men define it on the back of what a woman does that best pleases him and his own personal desires. It usually comes from a selfish, self-motivated, manipulative place -convincing women it’s more important she be seen as cool by him and not setting up any personal boundaries because then he is free to behave anyway he wants. Telling women to be the “cool” girl is infact a term used to praise the girls who are “cool” and make sure the ones who are arent know they aren’t. Conveying the message for women to relax a little on a date, to not get hung up on certain things, conveys a complelety different message to me compared to telling me to be the “cool” girl. One makes me feel naturally defensive due to cultural ties, the other is just a good reminder to relax. While I don’t think Evan is telling women not to have any boundaries, we can not ignore the cultural reference that is more we’ll known as “the cool girl”. Women with self respect don’t want to be the “cool girl”. When I was in my teens and early 20s, I played that game and it was not good. But if you give advice for women to go with the flow a little more, to relax…that’s advice most women will take. The term “cool girl” is just bad…we shouldn’t even use it. Different words are needed here.

        10. Evan Marc Katz

          AllHeart, you seem to think “cool” is swallowing things that are unacceptable, denying your own feelings and self-worth.

          I’m defining it as largely accepting your partner as he is without complaining, nagging, micromanaging, emasculating, insulting or trying to “fix” him. If that’s “selfish” of a man to want that from the person who ostensibly loves him the most, then I will proudly wear the selfish badge for all men. I married my wife BECAUSE she’s cool – and guess what? – she’s really happy with her choice, too!

        11. Malika

          Cool girl as how it’s used as a term outside Evan’s dating advice is a way of behaving i associate with the teen years. I was part of the ‘cool’ alternative group with girls vying for the attention of the most popular guys within that group. The girls would dress in a certain sexy-yet-alternative way, make out with anyone they could get and create Drama with a D in order to get attention. They pretended to like certain music, take drugs and do all round ‘one of the guys’, all for validation. In later years i met up with one of the dudes who all this was done for and asked him who he had a crush on. His answer? The one girl who was part of the group but who at that age already had the class to be herself and set healthy boundaries, not one of the drama queens. That was an almighty a-ha moment for me. Her name was Jasmin and in modern dating situations i ask myself ‘what would not cool girl Jasmin do?’

        12. Stacy2


          you seem to think “cool” is swallowing things that are unacceptable, denying your own feelings and self-worth

          What me and other women are saying is, that the actual term “cool girl” has a strong negative connotation at this point culturally. You can check it yourself, just google it… it’s a negative term widely used to describe certain type of female behavior/personality. A “cool girl” is trying to morph herself in every guy’s dream – hot, never ever angry, likes everything he likes – in order to snag a guy.

          You can create your own definition but perhaps a different, more suitable word would go over better.

        13. Evan Marc Katz

          I’m not letting Gillian Flynn and Jezebel ruin the term cool girl for womankind. Men want a cool, easygoing, supportive, fun, accepting, positive partner. I will not waver on that. By the way, neither should you in your quest for lasting love. All of these qualities mean much more than a seven figure job in determining your future happiness.

    2. 21.2
      Yet Another Guy

      @Stacy 2

      Has a man ever told you that you are not worth the effort required to keep you happy?  My philosophy is if she picks, she pays.   If she expects me to select a venue and then vetoes my decision, I “next” her.  There are way too many fish in the sea to deal with that kind of nonsense.  It is that simple.

      You are a stranger to the men you meet.  Why should they bend over to please you if all you are going to do is be a demanding pain in the backside?  You appear to be FemiType #1 (

      1. 21.2.1

        LOL YAG. Not in so many words, but yes I am assuming a lot of men consider me not worth their effort. The key is, i think, to not lower the price but to wait for the right buyer.

        You are a stranger to the men you meet.  Why should they bend over to please you if all you are going to do is be a demanding pain in the backside? 

        Oh this is simple. Because they want and need sex more than I do. Sorry guys, blame the mother nature for saddling you with this biology. But generally that is the answer why men do what they do, isn’t it?

        On a side note, i personally don’t view going to a wine bar vs. a pub as bending over backwards unless said guy has the same aversion to wine bars as I do to pubs. In which case I’d always be open to meeting him mid-way. At a rooftop lounge or a park for instance. Nobody needs to suffer, but everybody should show some degree of malleability.

        1. Marika

          Good luck with all your rules, Stacy2!

        2. Yet Another Guy

          Oh this is simple. Because they want and need sex more than I do. Sorry guys, blame the mother nature for saddling you with this biology. But generally that is the answer why men do what they do, isn’t it?

          I can assure you that I do not need sex more than the women I meet. 🙂  I am the one who says “no” these days.  I went a decade without it.    My libido no longer controls my actions, so a woman has to offer more than sex to get my attention.

        3. KK

          To me, “cool” is just another way of saying easy going, flexible. You can be cool and simultaneously maintain your boundaries. The opposite of cool is high maintenance.

          From what I’ve seen, men who get involved with high maintenance women do so in spite of the fact that she’s high maintenance, not because of it. The opposite sex equivalent are women who get involved with a-holes. They tolerate bad behavior because of chemistry. Both types of relationships are doomed.

          Men can be high maintenance too. It just shows up much differently. When someone is high maintenance, they place unreasonable demands on others and are only satisfied when those demands are met. I don’t think it’s the hallmark of a healthy or happy relationship.

  22. 22

    Hi Evan,

    thanks so much for this! It does put things into perspective…

    And thank you everyone for your comments and support, it was definitely interesting to get some insights and to learn from your experiences!

    And yes, I too have found a couple of wine bars where I’m comfortable in case there is no plan… but I feel that going with their plan gives me a better idea of who the person is… and I think I will stop suggesting to have dinner after drinks dates, thanks guys;)

    It seems like money is the main issue, predictably, even if I offer to split the bill, which I do most of the time, they usually end up paying it anyway…

    1. 22.1


      but I feel that going with their plan gives me a better idea of who the person is…

      No, hearing what their plan is gives you an idea of who they are, you don’t actually need to go along with it (that’s zero incremental info). I do too “judge” men by their suggestions, but not in a negative sense – more like i categorize them mentally into buckets based on what they’re suggesting. Hip restaurant? Conservative piano bar? Wine bar? Neighborhood dive bar? Different kind of men, it tells me something about their personalities and how they operate.

      However, suggesting a change and seeing how he reacts will give your an incremental insight: is he open to suggestions? Is he willing to please you? To go outside of his comfort zone? Etc. These are important



  23. 23

    After reading the letter, Evan’s response, and the comments, I thought about my own dating experiences and relationships. I’ve found it helpful to think in terms of patterns by asking myself if there are any and if so, what’s the common denominator? For me, every relationship has started with a great first date.

    One example was a guy I had met at a friend’s birthday party. We exchanged numbers, started talking and made plans to get together in a couple of weeks because we each had plans the following weekend. In that two week time period, we actually got to know a little bit about each other, develop a great rapport, and build anticipation for our first date. During one of those conversations, he had asked what my favorite restaurant was. I mentioned a trendy Asian place he also happened to like. Unbeknownst to me, he asked my friend for my address, so I was surprised to find a card from him in my mailbox. It was a card with a sweet, but lighthearted hand written note and chopsticks inside, which he had written on asking me to go with him to the place I had mentioned.

    I know some people might think that it’s kinda cheesy, but I was impressed with the thoughtfulness and effort. We lived about 45 minutes from each other. He insisted on picking me up instead of meeting. We had a really great date. Dinner and drinks after with lots of laughs and great conversation. WHERE we went didn’t matter. He made me feel valued and that was key.

    Contrast that with dates where I felt like I was one of many being tested to see if I was potential booty call material, maybe more, depending on the guy. Sorry, not sorry. Not interested.

    Women are pretty good at reading a man’s interest level. A coffee date isn’t going to tell me any more about someone than a 20 minute phone conversation.

    I realize and completely understand that men don’t want to spend a lot of money going on an endless string of first dates, which is why I really think if both men and women would spend a little time building a rapport before that first date, everyone would benefit.

    1. 23.1

      Surely the purpose of a first date is to establish if there is any rapport in the first place? An inexpensive first date is ideal for this, including the apparently dreaded “coffee date”. As Evan and other guys here point out, making every first date into a relatively expensive dinner and drinks arrangement is just prohibitively expensive for many (probably most) guys.

      Perhaps women should appreciate whatever effort men have put into the first date (arranging and paying, even if its not much), and then if you like him give him a chance to spend more money on you in later dates. Your solution is having the man spend one or two weeks vetting the women prior to the first date by frequent phone calls, text messages, etc?

      This sounds like its just shifting the first date into this first one or two week period. If this is the case then the man should be making an effort to ascertain over this pre-date period whether he actually wants to go to dinner with her or whether he should call the date off ahead of time.

      1. 23.1.1

        “If this is the case then the man should be making an effort to ascertain over this pre-date period whether he actually wants to go to dinner with her or whether he should call the date off ahead of time”.


      2. 23.1.2
        Yet Another Guy


        If this is the case then the man should be making an effort to ascertain over this pre-date period whether he actually wants to go to dinner with her or whether he should call the date off ahead of time.

        Absolutely!  If a man meets enough women, he will arrive at Evan’s 2/2/2 rule on his own.  That is what I did before I found this site.  My rule is even more strict.  A twenty-minute telephone call does not cut it with me.  I only meet women with whom I can hold at least a one-hour effortless telephone conversation.   I have discovered that the desire to remain engaged with each other on the telephone translates directly to quality of the first date.   I have had first telephone calls that lasted several hours.  Those dates were well worth the time, effort, and money because we had fun.  All of the dates where I did the hurry up and meet thing have left a lot to be desired.  I would not have met a single one of these women had I taken the time to make a connection with them before hand.


        1. CSI

          It doesn’t sound like it would be for everyone though. Actually I see some problems with this idea. It takes a lot more effort than organizing a quick, cheap date with someone. You have to be able to talk with a stranger for an hour or more.

          And beyond that, say you decide early on you really don’t want to go on this dinner date with them. Its going to be hard to call off the date without coming across as an asshole. Its much easier to go on a cheap first date and then simply not go on a second one.

        2. Yet Another Guy


          It only takes more time than a coffee date if a man is a casual slob. It takes me at least an hour to get ready for date. If I am going to show up, I am going to do my best to make a good impression, which means that I have to iron clothes, groom my facial hair (I keep a very short, professional beard), shave my neck, manscape, shower, and get dressed. I then have to get in my car and drive to the place where we are meeting for coffee. I am not going to go through all of that for a 30-minute coffee date.

          With that said, I use my process for every type of first date, not just dinner dates. I am not meeting a woman in person unless I know that I can hold a conversation with her. I learned that lesson the hard way.

          I rarely do dinner on a first date these days. I almost always do wine evening dates because I want to know if there is mutual desire to break the touch barrier, and wine is the right social lubricant for the job. I am not looking for a friend. I am looking for a lover who I can turn into a girlfriend. If mutual desire to break the touch barrier is not there on the first date, mutual attraction is not strong enough to warrant a second date.

        3. KK


          I know you probably think I like giving you a hard time, but I remember when you first started commenting on here you were really upset that your potential dates were turning you down because you were recently separated (or divorced). Several of us tried explaining it to you to no avail. But your comments change rapidly and that’s what we were trying to get you to see. Yesterday (?) you said you didn’t want a relationship and that it wasn’t worth the effort. You could take care of your own sexual needs like you did for 10 years. Now, you’re saying you want a lover you can turn into a girlfriend.

          Do you see now why we don’t want to get involved with recently separated / divorced men. You’re not even sure what you want from one day to the next. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, by the way. But maybe some casual dating until you get clear on what you really want could save you and others time and grief.

        4. Yet Another Guy


          I believe that the problem lies in the difference between how men and women view dating. Men can be exclusive with a woman without the emotional component. That is the part in which I have zero interest. By that, I am not referring to the emotions we share when we are together. It means that I have zero interest in being the guy on which she unloads when her day has not gone as she had planned. I do not want to sit there for hours and listen to a woman “talk out” her problems. I did that for the better part of two decades, and I no longer have the stomach for it. It is annoying to guys. We do not want to be heard. We want to find a way to eliminate the source of what is causing us discomfort and move on. It is like women just want to wallow in it. I would rather be celibate for the rest of my life than to have to deal with this part of being with a woman.

          Here is the problem as I see it when it comes to dating. The few women that I have dated more than a couple of weeks seem to be believe that is okay to do what I discussed above. It is an immediate turnoff. Professional women tend to internalize everything that is said or done to them at work as being the result of being a woman in the workplace. Most guys see being treated unfairly in the workplace as part of the game. We may not like it, but we suck it up and move on. We do not need to talk about it for hours on end.

  24. 24

    As a woman, I generally prefer after work drinks.  This way if there is no connection, small time investment.  If we like each other, then we can order apps at the bar and turn it into a light dinner.  Also, if I know there won’t be a second date, i will generally pay for half the bill.  I have no desire for a guy I’m not interested in to buy my drinks.  Lunch works too – it is cheaper than dinner – but you have to work near each other.

    That said, my current boyfriend took me to dinner at an upscale restaurant.  I definitely appreciated the thought and planning that went into it – and all of our subsequent dates.  I think a guy who takes you to dinner is, generally speaking, more confident and less likely to be a player/more likely to be looking for a relationship.

    1. 24.1

      L said, “That said, my current boyfriend took me to dinner at an upscale restaurant.  I definitely appreciated the thought and planning that went into it – and all of our subsequent dates”.

      I’m glad you said that, L! : )

      Part of the point I was trying to make is that if we look at what first dates resulted in relationships, what was the common denominator. If a man is looking for a relationship, it’s to his benefit to make more of an effort.

      YAG, I think your strategy has been ineffective because you’ve been dating like someone looking for a relationship when you’re not. The simplest way to solve this, is to put it right there on your profile. Say what you are and aren’t looking for. Some of your comments contradict each other but from what I can tell, you’re looking for someone to date casually, possibly exclusively if sex is involved, but have no desire for anything serious or long term. Although it will narrow your search, it will help you to ultimately get what you want from someone open to the same thing.

      1. 24.1.1

        is that if we look at what first dates resulted in relationships, what was the common denominator

        My experience has been exactly the same. Every single relationship.

      2. 24.1.2

        KK, yes it is so worth reflecting on.  I have never had a coffee date result in a relationship.  Too little effort, too much of the “next” mentality.  And as a woman, I have found that men who don’t pay (often) are also not looking for anything serious.  I also am less likely to give a non-payer a second date – especially if it is an inexpensive bill.

        Of my longer term relationships post divorce, three started with drinks at a nice place, 1 started with lunch at a nice place and my most recent started with dinner.  I prefer to drive (with OLD it is safer, plus no expectations of coming inside).  The trend I have been watching out for though is planning.  Men who are emotionally unavailable and non commital – even if you are exclusive – don’t spend much time planning and don’t keep weekends open for you in the same way.  A well planned date tells you volumes.  So, if dates #2 and 3 aren’t showing planning and effort, no matter how attractive the guy is or how good on paper he looks, I lose interest.

        Right before i met my boyfriend, I had met a guy who seemed nice, very attractive, very fit, similar background.  He did not plan dates and expected me to split the bill and kept suggesting places convenient for him and not me.  Texted and didn’t call.  While he kept in contact, effort was lacking.  Around then, I met my boyfriend who is not as physically attractive (but handsome) but he planned dates, paid, went out of his way for me and it was so clear to me that he was a great partner.  He was also cconsistent – called in addition to texts etc.    If men make an effort and show it, he stands out.  ultimately, this letter is about effort.  Why don’t enough men show effort?

        1. Yet Another Guy


          You do know that some men can be completely into you and not plan dates very well? To judge a man’s commitment or emotional availability based on his ability to plan and execute dates is a fool’s errand. I have never been much of a planner. In fact, I hate planning. I plan enough to give a date structure, and let the rest get happen. I do not have an itinerary when I go on vacation. I prefer to be spontaneous. It is part of my personality type. You need to spend time reading about the 16 Myers-Briggs personalities. It will be an eye-opening experience for you.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          By the way, the guys who you assume are emotional available because they can plan and execute dates generally have personality types that end in the letter “J,” which stands for judging. I have personality type that ends in the letter “P.” I am a perceiver, and perceivers like things to be much more fluid than judgers.

      3. 24.1.3
        Yet Another Guy


        I actually had language in my profile stating that I am looking to date a woman exclusively without the emotional heaviness of a long-term commitment. I grew tired of fielding questions as to how one can be exclusive without wanting a long-term commitment. They are not synonymous; however, most women assume that exclusivity only occurs as part of a long-term commitment.

        With that said, yes, I am looking to be exclusive, so I that I can have an activity partner with whom I can have STD/head-trip-free sex. What is so wrong with that arrangement?

        1. L

          YAG, planning dates is one of several indicstors of emotional availability, not the only one.  In general though, a man who is excited to see you and impress you will have a basic plan for a date.   I don’t expect every second to be planned – just show me you are thinking about it and make a reservation ahead of time and think about what you want to do afterwards.  If we are going to the movies, buy the tickets ahead of time and pick seats.  Choose a restaurant early so you can get a reservation at a great place on Saturday night.  It isn’t hard but it shows effort and that you’re thinking about me.

        2. Yet Another Guy


          That makes more senses. It is difficult being a guy in the dating world. Our needs are primitive compared to what women need to feel desired. KK is a on a tear about my sending mixed signals. I do not see what I am doing as sending mixed signals. I see what I am doing as being a guy.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          *more sense

        4. KK


          I would know exactly what you meant. Maybe a better way to say it would be, “Looking for a friend with benefits to be exclusive with”.

        5. Yet Another Guy


          “Looking for a friend with benefits to be exclusive with”.

          The problem with the term FWB is that there is very little friendship in most FWB arrangements.  They are more like steady booty call arrangements.  That is not what I want.  I want most of a relationship minus having to pretend that I am a hairy woman when she needs to “talk it out.”  I do not want to have to listen to a woman talk for hours about her feelings or whatever nonsense occurred during the day that she did not like.  I guess that this state is what women refer to as being “emotionally unavailable.”  Women always complain that men do not listen when they talk.  They are absolutely correct. The only way for a man to survive in a long-term relationship without going insane is to learn to nod his head and pretend that he is listening; otherwise, he will just end up with his stomach in knots.  Men are not wired to sit there and let a woman talk it out.  Quite frankly, if given the choice between celibacy and having to listen to a woman talk it out, I will choose celibacy. Sex is not worth my mental and physical health.

        6. Stacy


          Sorry to tell you….dating a woman exclusively cannot come without the ’emotional heaviness’ of a long term commitment.  I don’t think you like the phrasing, but what you are really looking for is a Friends with Benefits situation but you would just like her to only have sex with you.

          I think a better strategy is for you to find a woman you can be exclusive with who is not primarily emotional. There are lots of women like that (including myself).  I do not ‘unload’ emotionally on my boyfriend and I certainly don’t go on for hours on emotional rants. However, like every other woman (more or less), I have my moments when I need him to listen for whatever reason.

          You can’t expect to get what you want without giving something in return. Why would a woman see you worthy of having sex with just you if you find it beneath you to be a sympathetic ear? And most women I know do not go to the extremes (talking off your head for hours about emotional issues) and I know a lot of women. So it’s unrealistic if you expect to date a woman (exclusively) and expect her to be satisfied with just you if you basically don’t want her talking to you about any of her problems/issues/challenges/hopes/dreams, etc.

          And as an aside, I saw you told Stacy2 earlier that you don’t want sex more than the women you meet. I guarantee you that really GREAT and fulfilling sex will change your mind.:) I think your past marriage has tainted you more than you realize.



      4. 24.1.4


        I’m gonna disagree with you slightly. When I was doing the online thing, I always  viewed that initial meet-up as a part of the getting acquainted process, rather than as a proper date. Even with the email to phone to meet up evolution, there were two problems that couldn’t be solved without meeting face to face. One obviously, was the women who deliberately misrepresented their appearance; there’s no way to be sure short of meeting. In fairness, these were a small minority (less than 10% of meet ups) but still annoying, if you’re then paying for drinks for someone you’d have had ZERO interest in, had she been honest). The greater problem, with the ones who looked like their pictures, were who they represented themselves to be, etc. was chemistry (or more specifically lack of it, on one side, the other or both). There was simply no way,(from a male point of view anyway), to ascertain whether there was any chemistry on either side without meeting in person. My experience with that was close to Evan’s figure; only about 25 %, maybe a little less, of meet ups revealed enough mutual chemistry to try for a second date. What I usually did was set a meeting for drinks before the dinner hour, at a place that had an atmosphere suitable for conversation, and served appetizers/dinner, but leave the rest of my evening open. If it didn’t work out either party could have an early (and easy) out by simply looking at a watch and “Look at the time! Gotta run!” I found I usually knew within 15 minutes of a first meet up if it was headed that way. On the lesser number where everything was going well, it was easy enough to simply ask, “Would you like to continue over some appetizers/dinner?”.  I found this worked smoothly and well, in most cases where my new acquaintance and I found each other suitable dinner companions, as well as saving some awkwardness on both sides if we didn’t hit it off. I wasn’t as worried about the expense (don’t have to be) but I can see where that part of it is a concern for guys who have to spend money from their limited dating budget buying dinner for a meet up “date” only to find there isn’t any mutual chemistry and then having to endure two or so miserable hours with a woman they have no interest in ever seeing again. So no, in general, I don’t think we guys owe any woman we met online  a dinner on a first meet up, unless things just click to the extent we wish to offer it after drinks. I don’t think that’s “lack of effort”; I think it’s common sense, especially in the majority of instances that don’t really go well, while permitting us to offer her dinner if it does. After all, should the timing not work out (perhaps she had other plans), we can still make it up to her on date number 2 (which to me, is the first “real date” anyway.)

        1. Nissa

          I’m with Buck25 on this one.  Seeing a person face to face is vastly different than what one gets from a picture or over the phone. The guy wants to know if the woman’s pictures were from 10 years ago and if she really is physically appealing. Women want to see if the man is dressed appropriately, makes effort and get a feel for his personality. I’ve never gotten as much information from a phone call as I do in five minutes in person. I might enjoy a phone call, but if I’m not minimally interested in a man physically, it will never translate into something more.

  25. 25


    Congrats on finding and choosing a great guy! I hope to be in your shoes soon!

    Why don’t enough men show effort?

    I’ve learned from Evan that men show effort when they really want to be with you and they know they will lose you unless they step up.

    From my point of view as a woman, it’s not a man’s job to show me effort. It’s my job to refuse to date men who don’t.

    1. 25.1

      Barbara, I think that is right – a man who wants to be with oh will show effort.  However, with OLD a lot of decent people get jaded and as EMK notes, the incentives are to not put in a lot of effort for a woman at first.  I think effort should be obvious for date #2.

      It honestly took me a while to really develop the confidence to send a man packing if he wasn’t showing me enough effort.  At my age (38) and my status as a single parent, it was hard to meet decent guys.  A lot of men my age are married.  If they are single, they want a younger women to start a family.  Men a bit older than me are perpetual bachelors (generally emotionally unavailable commitment phobes with spotty relationship histories) or recently divorced (emotionally unavailable and financially stretched).  So finding an emotionally available man  looking for a relationship with enough resources and energy to plan dates is like finding a needle in a haystack.

      Good guys are out there – I didn’t believe it until I swiped right and met my guy.  Reading this blog plus the book The Case For Settling (I think that’s the title) were very eye opening and even then, it took me years to find someone who was worthy of being my partner.  (I don’t say that from the sense of entitlement – I mean that it took a long time to find a kind, intelligent, emotionally available, financially secure, relationship oriented man in his 40s).

      1. 25.1.1


        So finding an emotionally available man  looking for a relationship with enough resources and energy to plan dates is like finding a needle in a haystack.

        Agreed. I’m 55 and divorced after a 22-year marriage. I’ve dated several men since I left my ex in 2014. Our divorce came through in 2015.

        After going out on more dates than I can count and having a few unhealthy relationships, I’ve found a man like you describe–except we’ve only been dating six weeks; so it’s too soon to tell if he will claim be as his significant other.

        However, our relationship is different than any I’ve ever had, thanks to following Evan’s advice. I met him one of the few times I decided not to use the 2/2/2 rule–we went on our first date after a single phone call and he took me to dinner, not out for drinks.

        For me, he is a 7 in chemistry/looks and a 10 in compatibility, as Evan suggests. Through following Evan’s advice and that of an article ( by the author of “Deeper Dating,” Ken Page, I’m learning to be attracted to a person who has beautiful inner qualities and to avoid “hot” charismatic men.

        The man I’m dating is not jumping into a committed relationship with me. When he wanted to have sex, I asked him if he’d keep seeing me if  we did and he said “I can’t promise that.” I thanked him for his honestly and we’ve just continued to hang out, joke around, make out, and get to know one another.

        Again following Evan’s advice, I never call him or make plans. He calls me the day after each date, calls a few times during the week just to talk, and has made plans for every weekend since we met–except the weekend that occurred after I told him to stop contacting me because he wasn’t looking for a serious relationship  like I was.

        Fortunately, he kept texting me anyway. I finally realized my old pattern of instant-commitment has never worked; so I needed to learn to take it slow and judge this man on his efforts–something I’d never done before. So I agreed to see him again.

        He’s never been married, which I could have sees as a red flag. But the way I look at it, I’ve been married twice–once for a few months when I was very young and once for 22 years. Overall, both were unhappy experiences. So being married is no guarantee of being wise in love.

        I was the opposite–clueless in love, until I found Evan’s blog and read “Why He Disappeared” and “Finding the One Online.” In fact, the man I’m dating wondered why I hadn’t been able to make a 22 year marriage work. So we could both judge each other based on our past love lives but have decided, instead, to get to know the people we are today. When I asked why he kept pursuing me when I’d told him to to, he said he figured since I’d been married for 22 years, I just didn’t know how dating works.

        Without telling him, I’m giving him eight weeks to claim me. If he doesn’t, I’m cutting him off for good. But, even in that case, because of him, I know I’m capable of meeting a man like him–someone who matches the type of person I am and who’s confident, sensitive, gentle, self-reflective, masculine, humble, mentally healthy, and who sees me as I am and likes the real me, not a person I’m pretending to be so he’ll keep liking me.

        I had to become the person I am now to find a man like him attractive and to treat him the way he deserves to be treated. In turn, even though he hasn’t claimed me yet, he treats me like meeting me was one of the best things that has ever happened to him.

        He still asks for sex whenever we make out, however, and I keep saying no because we’re not a couple yet, and he keeps asking for another date anyway.

        Stay tuned.

        1. ScottH

          Barbara-  Sounds very promising.  Thanks for sharing.  If I may suggest, since he seems to be doing so many things right, maybe be a little flexible on your 8 week goal, like 8.5-9 weeks.

        2. Barbara

          Barbara-  Sounds very promising.  Thanks for sharing.  If I may suggest, since he seems to be doing so many things right, maybe be a little flexible on your 8 week goal, like 8.5-9 weeks.

          Thanks. Since you’re a guy, I’ll take your suggestion because what can it hurt. I feel like such a grown up dating a man for as long as I have this one without jumping into a crash and burn short-lived relationship or, worse, marriage.

        3. Buck25

          Barbara, I’m gonna co-sign with Scott on this one.  It might not fit anybody’s preconceived time frame but given all the circumstances you describe, I say give him a bit longer to finish coming around to claiming you as a girlfriend (I assume he wouldn’t keep dating you, knowing where your boundaries are, for this long if he wasn’t leaning pretty far that way). I’m assuming you two are already exclusive, of course.

          By the way, someone who waits until later in life to get married for the first time isn’t necessarily afraid of commitment. For example, I had a woman friend, who was in her late forties and had never married. Wasn’t for lack of opportunity; she was an extremely attractive woman with a great personality, who never lacked for eligible men to date, yet she rarely kept one for more than a couple of months, before dropping him. It’s telling that several of her female friends were quite delighted to marry some of her “cast-offs”. She’s tell every close friend who inquired, that she knew exactly what she wanted, she wasn’t going to settle down, let alone get married, until she found the right guy, and she’d know it when she met him…and she did! She finally met the right guy, and this time, everything clicked. They got engaged in less than six months, married within a year, and some 20 years later are still happily married. Makes me wonder if some of those who wait for what they know they want (provided they actually do know), aren’t smarter that some of us who try committing one, two, three (or more) times, and screw it up each time.

        4. Barbara


           I’m assuming you two are already exclusive, of course.

          No we aren’t–at least I’m not. I don’t know what he’s doing.

          I’m following Evan’s advice to not take down my dating profile and to keep going on dates with other men until this one claims me. Until he does that, he’s not my significant other; we’re just two people dating.

          This is not how I operated when other online dating men seems promising. I hid or took down my profile and acted like he was “the one” and, in every case, I soon found out he wasn’t.

          So, since meeting the current man, I’ve continued to message a minimum of two men per day. I haven’t asked him whether or not he’s actively dating other women but I do know his profile is still up. When he goes a day or two without calling, he tells me what he’s been up to, but I never ask him to do that.

          Also, the week when I told him to stop contacting me, after texting me a couple of times, he noticed that I’d viewed his profile on Our Time, a.k.a. Senior People Meet. I’d done it totally by mistake because the way that crazy site and other People Media sites are set up is really confusing. So it appeared that an old message by him was a new one and when I tried to open it, the site took me to his profile. That’s when he wrote me on the site and said “I see you viewed my profile. Do you want to meet?” and I agreed.

          Since then, I haven’t viewed his profile again because I don’t want to appear that I’m checking up on him. Based on his run down of his daily affairs, I suspect he’s not seeing any one else because he doesn’t have the time to–unless he’s been lying about his activities, which is highly doubtful.

          I haven’t gone on any other dates (except a 30 minute regrettable one last night). But I have been in conversations with other men online. So, once again, regarding your assumption, no we’re not exclusive. But, if I he asked me to be his and took down his profile, I’d gladly say yes and take down mine.

        5. Barbara


          I said: 

          I haven’t gone on any other dates (except a 30 minute regrettable one last night). 

          This is in defense of 2/2/2: On here, I’ve talked about making the most out of every date and that is my standard modus operandi. But last night’s date showed up reeking of alcohol, creepily invaded my personal space, and spent 20 minutes reciting a monologue about his late wife of 38 years and how, because of her, he would forever be attracted to black women (he was white).

          It was one of the few times I didn’t put a man through the 2/2/2 rule vetting process. Unlike what happened with the man I’ve been seeing for the past six weeks, last night’s non-2/2/2 date turned out to be a disaster. It was, hands down, my worst date ever. I threw caution to the wind and met the man at a restaurant after a few messages the same day. Big mistake. I had to duck into the bathroom to call my teenage daughter and ask her to call me and act like a major emergency had happened so I’d have an excuse to run out of the restaurant. I kid you not.

          I hope the guy gets the help he needs but I was under no obligation to endure him last night.

        6. Barbara

          Well, six weeks and done and not down about it because I’ve followed Evan’s advice. The guy I’d been dating uncharacteristically texted me last night:

          “How are you?”

          Wondering why he’d reverted to texting instead of his usual phone call and not wanting to engage in a conversation by text, I kept my reply brief:


          “Anything else?” he asked.

          “Too much to text.”

          Then I pulled up an article by Evan that I’ve bookmarked for just such occasions ( and reread this:

          There’s a huge difference between giving a guy six weeks to choose you over the other women he’s dating… and to be a sucker for hanging around when you’re merely (and clearly) his “once a week” girl.

          So, realizing, that the guy was suddenly deescalating his efforts in our relationship instead of escalating them like Evan says a man does when he wants to be your boyfriend, I called the guy and basically said, as Evan suggests in the article (and while I stood at my computer literally reading these lines from the article):

          “Hey, it’s been fun getting to know you, but I get the sense that we’re not on the same page. I need a man who is looking for a relationship and you don’t seem to be that guy. No hard feelings, but I’m going to go find that guy. Best of luck in your search. Take care of yourself.” I told him that this time was really it.

          The guy replied that he was looking for someone to hang out with to replace friends he’d lost and that I had been very important to him at a time in his life when he needed to meet me and couldn’t we still be friends since that’s what he wanted.

          “No,” I said, “Because that’s not what I want. I’m looking for a lover and friend to spend the rest of my life with. ” I could clearly hear Evan saying, from the same article:

          If he expresses no interest in escalating the intensity of the relationship… That’s EXACTLY the relationship that HE wants! Low-intensity. Low-pressure. Low commitment. Low drama. He wins. You lose. He’s content. You’re not.

          The guy asked me if I was angry (as if the idea that I would be was strange). I said I was (because I was, although I wasn’t loud or bitter about it). But, I said, I wasn’t angry at him. I was angry at me for mismanaging my expectations. This was true. He wasn’t a bad person, I realized. He just had different goals than me, which was the conclusion I’d come to when I broke it off with him the first time.

          I told him that, this time, if he contacted me, I didn’t want to be rude, but I just would not reply.

          Basically, we ended at that. I deleted him from my contacts. Put him on my phone’s auto-reject list. Blocked him on Our Time/Senior People Meet.

          To me, encountering him has been a victory on many levels: I’m not depressed about THE END. I cut him loose after giving the almost-relationship a reasonable time. I saw the signs that we were going nowhere, paid attention to them, and, for the most part, made a graceful exit.

        7. CaliforniaGirl

          Good luck with that!!

          I had to end a 5 months relationship with a man who couldn’t commit. He behaved like a boyfriend but never called me his gf and I never met his friends or family (he met my friends). For the last couple of months he would make plans with his friends and would tell me last minute that he is busy this weekend or he has a dinner with a friend.  He stopped planning any dates and only wanted me to come over. When I broke up with him, he swore he doesn’t see anyone else but cannot let me into his life because of his previous bad relationships. I just stopped answering his texts and calls and they ceased after few weeks. Still painful and disappointing..Don’t wait more than 2 months, I made a mistake to make it to 5!

      2. 25.1.2
        Yet Another Guy


        So finding an emotionally available man  looking for a relationship with enough resources and energy to plan dates is like finding a needle in a haystack.


        I find this attitude among single mothers to be perplexing.  Guys who are divorced and stretched financially are stretched because a single mother is receiving a huge chunk of their after tax compensation every month.  I would think that a single mother who is receiving child support and possibly alimony would understand this predicament.  Just because a man does not have a ton of money to pay for dates does not mean that he is not a good man.  Most divorced men who do not have a lot of money to spend on dates do not have money specifically because they are good men who pay child support and alimony religiously.  The check is always there before the 1st.  I pay a sizable percentage of my after tax income per month in child support and other associated costs such as health insurance coverage and medical co-pays.  Thankfully, my ex also earns a good salary or the amount would be even larger.  States do not base child support on what a couple spends every month.  They base child support on what a couple earns every month.  That penalizes men like me who came out of marriages where we lived on fraction of our income.


        1. L

          YAG – I have expenses too as a single parent.  I contribute the lions share of my kids’ support.  But if a guy invites me out he should pay.  If I invite out I pay.  I am happy to do so.  But doing the uncomfortable check dance is awkward.  I doubt an extra $25 or so breaks the bank.  No need to pick anywhere fancy – pick an affordable place.  I don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu.  I follow your cues.  I only order an appetizer if you suggest one.  I stick to one glass of one unless you suggest a second.  But I do want to feel special on a date and I am happy to reciprocate if we go out for drinks afterwards or go out again.

          My current boyfriend is a single dad, by the way, he pays sometimes and I pay sometimes.

  26. 26

    The fellas seem to really be angry that women look somewhat different from photos. I’ve had it happen several times when meeting men, to the point I struggled to pick them out of the crowd when arriving to the date. I think people generally don’t realize they’re that much balder, older or heavier than their photos. I stick around to see if there’s a connection and we have things in common. This whole vibe of “I spend money therefore I deserve hot person” really creeps me out. Total cave man vibe. And ladies, if he buys drinks or dinner, insist on buying him an ice cream or coffee. Do it with a smile and make sure he understand it’s your nurturing personality driving that and not a tit for tat so you’re not beholden. Believe the best of each other and invest a little bit.

  27. 27


    When I was doing the OLD thing, I remember one woman who started her profile essay with.”If I meet you, and you don’t look like your profile photo, you agree to buy me drinks until you do!” If I ever go online again, I think I might use that one myself. I always tried to have photos no more than six months old and labeled them as to the date they were taken. It’s not hard, on any site that lets one caption photos. Believe me when I tell you that men certainly have no monopoly on using photos ten years (or more) old, and at least fifty pounds lighter. If there was any way to require all online photos to have a time and date stamp in the picture (most cameras other than cell phones have the capability, after all), I for one would be all for it. It’s the nature of the medium,; on the internet anyone can represent themselves to be almost anything they want. As long as that’s the case, there will be plenty of both genders lying to the other….and to themselves.

    1. 27.1

      I don’t know Buck25, if you put that in your profile, that might be a tough egg to unscramble lol.  I understand the desire to do so, however.

    2. 27.2


      Actually, I’m not so sure about that. Right before I quit, I had a pretty challenging, (and pretty snarky) profile out there, and I had a line in there that was a humorous  reference to “What you see is what you get” with a pretty clear implication I expected the same in return. I wiped that profile when I took it down, so  can’t remember the exact wording; but for what it’s worth, that profile, compared to everything else I used before, was money,  in terms of initial and reply contacts from women I’d actually want to date. Hands down the best results I ever had online. I think you can get away with a lot, (I know I do in real life), if you’re cocky as hell, and say  it in a funny way.

    3. 27.3
      Yet Another Guy

      My profile photos are less than a year old, but I need to shoot new ones because I am actually lighter than I was when I shot those photos.

      1. 27.3.1

        YAG, if that were me, I’d definitely get be getting some new pics up; everything helps, but nothing tops good visuals.

  28. 28

    To Karl R:

    As always I love the anecdotal lesson. I admit I look for your posts. You are a self a aware man and it shows. I remember years ago when I took a long look at my past relationships to see if I could discern why they didn’t work. I found that the one single common denominator in every relationship I had was… me. If I wanted something different then I would have to change how I did things, the choices I made, and the beliefs that I held on to that were not working. I read things about men that were written by men because I felt that men knew much more about men than women did. I seek to understand and I appreciate the clear, analytical comments that you post.

    FYI I typically just skip Stacy2’s comments because I have learned that too much eye rolling makes my head hurt.

    To Buck 25:

    That line “If I meet you and you don’t look like your profile photo, you agree to buy me drinks until you do” is a GREAT line!!! I had a friend who wrote, “If your age range does not include your own age, don’t write to me. If you won’t date someone your age, why should I?” She got a lot of comments about that and several men changed their age range because of it.


  29. 29

    I am now happily married to a man I met online after hundreds of dates over eight years. (Reading ‘Why He disappeared’ changed my mindset btw and was fantastically helpful to me). I strongly feel the ‘first date’ is not a date but a ‘meeting’ where you discover if there is  attraction/compatibility etc.  Why would you want to sit through dinner with someone who it turns out is definitely not who you are looking for? It should be a couple of drinks over a shortish time, then if he is interested and is a quality guy, he will ask you for a dinner date. If he doesn’t then both of you have lost nothing and can move on to the next person. Simples!

    1. 29.1
      Yet Another Guy

      Why should a first date/meeting by short? If a meeting is going well, why end it after a drink? I have no time limit when I meet a woman for drinks; however, I have encountered women who cut a date short after a glass of wine who were amazed that I did not contact them for a second date. They thought things were going to so well. My reply has always been, “If things were going so well, why did you leave?” To me, that is playing games.

  30. 30

    Women only have themselves to blame that men don’t want to take them on dinnerdates anymore. There are women out there that will use men to get a free meal, also known as Tinder meal tickets. No man want to risk being used like that, so they will keep it cheap and casual instead.

    1. 30.1

      Not the men I date. There will always be people who take advantage of others. This is true of men and women. You can’t blame all for the bad behavior of some.

      1. 30.1.1

        Barbara, sorry the relationship didn’t work out. :(. In my experience a lot of those guys who have been single all their lives are tough to get to commit.  Not always of course – there are always outliers – but most of them are commitment phobes and follow relationship patterns as you describe.

        A man who wants a commitment will claim you fairly early on.  If he really likes you he wants to make sure no one else will have you.  If he hasn’t done that by 3 months, it is time to cut him off.   If men like you but aren’t sure about you beyond a companion to hang out with every so often, they will reach out to you and see you when it is convenient for them, but they won’t prioritize seeing you and talking to you. After a while, they start canceling and it becomes obvious that they aren’t shifting things in their lives to make sure they have time to see you.

        Good for you for cutting your guy off and reading he signals correctly.  Don’t be mad at yourself!  You have him a chance and when it was clear that he was stringing you along, you confronted the situation rather than focus on positive signs to trick yourself into thinking he was going to commit.

        1. ScottH

          Barbara- I agree with L.  Good for you for cutting him off.  He was clearly using you.

        2. Barbara

          L and ScottH

          L: Don’t be mad at yourself!  You have him a chance and when it was clear that he was stringing you along, you confronted the situation rather than focus on positive signs to trick yourself into thinking he was going to commit.

          ScottH: Good for you for cutting him off.  He was clearly using you.

          I’m glad I cut it off too but I’m not at mad at myself or him. I don’t think he was maliciously using me. I think he just wants what he wants: a friend he could have in his life on his terms. I want the same thing: a man I can have in my life on my terms. The difference is, unlike him, a central part of my terms is having that man be my significant other. Our goals were different, that’s all. I don’t see this as a character flaw on his part.

          However, given his past experiences and his current behavior, the idea that he’s afraid of commitment isn’t far-fetched, L. But he isn’t a bad man. In fact, he’s one of the nicest and most sincere people I’ve ever met.

          Still, I am very proud of myself for moving on. Not long ago, I would have held on for who knows how long because he hit so many of the marks I was looking for in a man. I would have ignored the big one that he didn’t hit–wanting to be my significant other and showing it.

        3. L

          Barbara, your attitude is great!  I have met wonderful men who are afraid of commitment.  It is something within them that keeps them from fully attaching but I agree – they can be great guys which is why it can be so hard to let go.  I hope the next guy you find is a keeper!

      2. 30.1.2


        Sorry to hear it worked out that way, but given what he told you toward the end, it was clearly time to drop him and move on. Basically, you gave him enough of a chance; enough time and he pretty much showed his real intentions

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