Words are sometimes suggestions

If there’s one thing about job hunting and dating that I’ll rarely forget is that nothing is a sure thing until it’s a thing. Empathy is something that’s in short supply these days in just about every aspect of existence it feels like. But I’m gonna avoid massive amounts of “the world sucks” by sticking with dating. Also known as “dumpster diving for substance.”

About 5 hours ago, I was shut down for a follow-up “date” with someone I had met prior under, what was to me, casual circumstances. Clearly she thought it was a date, which struck me as odd as I never used the word “date” in any of our communication. Meetups and get togethers, folks.

Although in retrospect, I understand why she had apologized for not being perfectly put together for yesterday’s meetup, which was weird. She thought this was an episode of the Bachelor. Yeah nobody’s giving roses out here on the first encounter.

I thought I made it clear that it was very casual thing just to get a feel for one another, but when I requested the bill be split, that was the nail in the coffin I came to discover via text today. Ironically enough, I’ve gotten more flak for offering to pay the bill than splitting. When I asked why, different women cited avoiding implications for a sexual favor, just being fair, and desires to express their financial independence. All legitimate reasons. So, when homegirl said “Yeah that’s fine,” when I asked if splitting the bill was cool, I thought it was just that: cool.

Although I did ask after the fact instead of prior, so I’ll concede that I fucked up there. On top of the fact that I did not keep the same energy as on a prior date with someone else, where I paid for our snacks. But in my defense, the cashier literally closed her eyes and held out either hand to settle the payment dispute. To make it easy, I just did mine. I would have done the same for homegirl with the expectations. But I digress.

Long story short, after reviewing all the signs and aberrant behavior post-check, it all made sense. I was briefly told there would be no second date. That’s fine. I replied in kind, with a brief essay on my thought process, where I was coming from, and called out our obvious miscommunication on the expectation front. 98% of the time, first meetings are split or separate orders. That 2% was me getting drunk and feeling charitable. The common thread though is that it’s easier when the playing field is right.

I made the mistake of letting her choose the location with her expectation guiding the decision. Had we met at a coffee shop, a dive bar, or somewhere much more casual than a damn tap-house, things would have been different. So, imagine my surprise seeing that despite good chemistry and some great vibes, I was cut for a formality that made me “that fucking guy.”

I don’t know this woman’s worldview or her history. I can’t say how she or anyone should feel in such a situation, but I empathized with it. I thought back to the handful of women they did not come correct on the first meetup and how my view was skewed negatively toward them. But then I also separated what I didn’t like from everything I did and made fairer judgments. Because in all honesty, I had little hope for meeting up with this woman because her response patterns lacked interest.

Maybe my persistence made it seem like I was toeing that “date” line instead of a meetup angle. Maybe my interest should have mirrored the casual nature of meetup I wanted. That seems disingenuous though. All I can be is real.

“I really wanna meet, but I’m gonna fake like I don’t because I want to downplay the scenario for my benefit.”

At any rate, had she empathized and accepted the fact that we did in fact have differing expectations coming into this, she would find that my transgression of splitting the bill was from a place of equality, not cheapness. It’s never about the money for me. Probably would have changed the outcome, but maybe shone some light as why I did what I did.

Even still, the conversation hinted at some very assumptive and old school views that I now realize would have pissed me off eventually. So honestly, it’s for the better that my first impression only impressed until the bill came.

The last thing I need is somebody taxing my mental over dumb shit.