I wouldn’t say impressions are every-everything, but they’re damn well important, regardless of societal norms. Influencing people’s perception of me is an auxiliary benefit of putting my best foot forward earnestly. The real reason first impressions matter is because it’s a reflection of self-respect and the valuation of my own time. Granted, this just my opinion, but I feel there an unspoken allegiance to first impressions that’s inherent in any first-time engagement. Or so I thought.
Look, I’m all about being comfortable and hammering home the “what you see, is what you get,” mantra, but I don’t think most would show up to a job interview severely under-dressed regarding the dress code. I’m dancing here, but suffice to say, I was not too keen my latest dating encounter. I’m not saying a meetup at Starbucks warrants a 3-piece-suit or a formal dress, but at least look like you give a damn. But it was a combination of things that really made me highlight my date’s wardrobe decision in the post-date hangover stage.
If there’s one thing that bothers me more than showing up in “I overslept” attire is having to carry a conversation, for the most part, by myself. I get it, the first meetup can be awkward. I understand reservations people have on these things. That’s why I put my whole ass out there initially to dispel those feelings of “why did I even decide to do this?” To some degree it worked and we did have a nice conversation about various topics, but to be completely honest, there was 0 chemistry. It happens. We got along just fine and she would be a dope friend to have in my corner at most. Overall, it was chill to get to know somebody that’s also making moves like myself.
Impressions though, that’s all we have when it comes to a lot of things. It’s low-key unfair in a lot of ways. Sometimes people (myself included) fuck up those initial stages then get type-casted forever until there’s another opportunity to correct the narrative. I would go for a second date if there was real chemistry and a tangible connection, but there wasn’t. I’m not going to lie to myself about it.
That, on top of telling me preemptively that punctuality is not your strong suit despite working diligently towards being better about, yeah that’s a wrap. I wouldn’t say these are non-negotiables, but if they’re bothering me in some way now, they’ll be a problem later on. It’s no one’s fault that attraction left as fast as it came. Welcome to the game, as they say.
So I don’t know, maybe I’m being an insufferable dick and railing on someone unfairly. Possible. But I’ve never had a first-date where I or the woman in question did not dress cleanly. And by cleanly, I mean have some flair in our appearance to communicate that we give a damn about carving out time to share with one another. If I’m an inconvenience, tell me as much and I’ll let it be.
Again, I feel like I’m over-analyzing and I highly doubt my date showed up out of charity, but I cannot deny my feelings on the matter as I would never show up that casual unless there’s a firm rapport that’s been built (long term friendship or relationship). This has little to do with gender expectations either. I’ve seen plenty a tomboy clean up nice for the first-date-meetup-whatever-the-fuck, because effort was evident. Looking good is a matter of taste, execution and confidence.
Although that calls into question, was it really a “date” or was it just a “meetup?” The former precludes certain rules, the latter does as well. I actually don’t know what to call the first meeting these days because most times they’re at a coffee shop or something super casual. So it’s a date in the loosest sense because it’s a one on one interaction from two people with dating intent. It’s also a meetup because it’s a lower stakes scenario, putting comfortability at the forefront. I don’t know man. The nebulousness of the first meeting makes it hard to gauge how invested one should be.
Then again, this may be exclusive to the advent of online dating because when meeting someone the wild, you are as you are. After agreeing to meet in a more intimate setting, that’s grounds to call it an official “date,” where it’s assumed we now prepare to do our best to look like a snack to each other. Or bail at the last minute, whatever the fates decide. Where it gets murky is if chatting someone online prior to asking them to meet could be considered the dialogue akin to real-world pre-date interactions.
I don’t have a definitive answer on this, but I think online dating/chatting precludes a more casual atmosphere, therefore it carries with it less of an onus for things to be a “date” in the purest sense. Mainly because meeting someone in real life versus talking to them through a phone screen changes the game significantly in some cases. Only one dimension of attraction is achieve through pure text communication whereas the whole gamut of attraction is consumed within real-life encounters.
At the end of the day, I guess it’s really about managing expectations for myself and the situation. I feel the best coming in casual cool so that’s how things are going to be for the first time. But that’s why we sleep on things instead of jumping dat dere gun. It’s only the start of week 2 in this clown fiesta called dating and admittedly, it’s not so bad. At least it makes for good stories. Or I’m gonna show up here in a few days bitching. THE SUSPENSE!