Midwestern Sensibilities

The extent of Cindy and my flirting skills.
Getting back into dating after 5 years of being "taken" taught me that the movies are all wrong.  Dating is the most awkward, terrifying, and nerve wracking thing.  Maybe after a couple dozen of dates with a couple dozen of guys, I could understand how people would get off on the mystery and nervous energy of a first date.  But I kinda doubt a first date could ever be fun.

But that's not the point of this post.  

I hadn't been on a first date in 5 year when I headed out the door at 9pm on a Monday night to meet this guy I had barely even talked to.  Essentially, I had never been on a real first date, because whatever happens on a date when you're 15 simply does not count.

I agonized over what to wear, how to present myself.  I was about to meet up with a 24 year old engineer who had an MA from Columbia.  And I was a sophomore undergrad who felt like I was diving head first into a new world for which I was completely unprepared.  

He had asked me out for drinks, but he knew I was only 20.  We were meeting at 9pm on a school night, on a Monday night!  For drinks!  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  

I had suggested a restaurant two blocks from  my dorm and only ten from his apartment.  I walked over in my carefully picked outfit--trying to look more mature than I probably sounded on paper.  I was terrified.  I didn't know if I even wanted to go.  He wasn't that charming over text, and from the facebook creeping I did...he wasn't even that handsome. But if I didn't start now, if I didn't suck it up and go on this date, what if I never gathered up enough courage to go on a date with anyone?  

I got to the restaurant just late enough so that he would have to be the one who waited for me--because I"m an awkward human being who would just shyly stand in the corner and not say a word.  We met, he went in for a hug and headed down to the lounge.  

He knew I wasn't 21, and asked if I would be able to order drinks there.  Why would he invite me for drinks if I couldn't order them?  It was strange.

But to avoid that problem he ordered for me.  Over the course of the night he got me 4 mango margaritas.  And I hate tequila, but how could I tell him that?  How could I tell him that I didn't want to drink 4 mango margaritas at 9pm on a Monday night when I had class at 9am the next day for which I had yet to do the reading?

Dating is awkward.  Especially when you're trying to not feel like an infant.  Especially when it's your first first date and you don't really know how to tell if you're interested in someone or not.  Especially when you don't know how to get out of a date with someone who keeps buying you drinks that you don't want and with whom the conversation is awkward and stilted and boring.  Especially when the guy says that he doesn't like to read books (#dealbreaker).  

So we left and he walked a block with me towards my dorm--making some awful comment about me still living in a dorm, and the time came to say goodbye.  

This is where my midwestern sensibility kicked in.

Although he had gotten me to drink too many drinks in only 2 hours, I was not about to go in for a goodbye kiss.  I hadn't necessarily set this rule before the date, but my midwestern sensibilities told me that kissing on the first date-- especially while tipsy-- is not a classy thing to do.  And I was trying to give off the classy and mature vibe, right?  

Well he had a different idea.  I went to hug him goodbye and tell him I had a lot of fun and that we should do this again (because I didn't realize at the time how awful of a date it had been).  Well he went in for the kiss.  It was basically the worst possible situation.  Not only was it an awkward interaction because of the miscommunication, it just felt wrong.  I didn't like that he had taken me on a date, bought me drinks, then tried to kiss me goodbye.

At the time I thought that it was just him that gave me the wrong sense.  But then I went on another, much better date at the end of which the guy went in for the goodbye kiss.  What had previous been a promising date, all of a sudden turned sour in my memories.  

But eventually I went on a date with guy who ended the date with a hug.  And when the kiss did happen on a later date, it didn't feel obligatory or rushed.  It didn't leave a weird taste in my mouth, figuratively or literally.  

So maybe I'm not cool enough for New York's men who like to end the date with a kiss.  Perhaps I'm just too wholesome for that.  But I'm okay with that, and while I'm still completely clueless about the rules of dating, I know that for me, a kiss on the first date means you won't get a second.  


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Meet The Author

I'm Madysen, born and raised in Nebraska but now living out my dreams in New York City. I moved here to go to Columbia, but living in New York has become so much more to me. This blog is a space where I can share my experiences of reconciling my midwestern upbringing with the life I live in the city. But even bigger than that, this blog serves as a space where I can try to understand where I fit into the larger social world, where I want to go in life, and how I want to go about pursuing all of these endeavors.

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