Few things are as anxiety producing as waiting to meet your date for the first time. First dates were bad enough, now with online dating that first date ends up being something much more stressful.

On your basic, old-timey first date, you would have already met this person, in person as it were. You would have already decided face-to-face, that this was a person you were willing to spend time with. You would have decided to give them your number, decided they were cute, or smart or both.

online-datingThat’s not how it goes with online dating. Your first date is, in fact, your first meeting. And although we all try to do things to limit the possible negatives (wasted time, interminable conversations, no shows), you just have no idea until they arrive, in person.

For many, the standby is the “coffee date.” I think it’s because people think that they can cut that meeting short should things not work out well. Plus, they can have coffee. I, personally, do not drink coffee, so for me the coffee shop date is, by it’s very nature, a waste of time for me. I like to suggest one of my favorite restaurants, because every body has to eat and I like eating there. That way even if my date spends the entire time talking about how cool he is, I still had a nice meal. Also, I know the restaurant well, so I know I’ll have a good meal, in a place I am familiar, for a reasonable price.

What’s interesting to me about this kind of dating is how many people seem completely willing to make this first contact any actual first contact. These days, people seem content with a huge number of texts back and forth, but me, I want a phone conversation first.


From a practical perspective, I can tell so much from a phone conversation. If she spends the whole time talking, for instance, or if he asks questions then interrupts me rather than letting me answer, I know not to move on to the in person meeting. I listen for language, too, how they use the language, what words they choose. Not that they have to sound like a text book, but that they can put together a nice turn of phrase, and have some variety. “Cool, man” is only cool so many times before it becomes boring background noise.

But beyond these practical matters, the voice itself is important for me. I like a nice rich voice, man or womyn. Not necessarily deep, but rich in tone. I like a voice that carries some confidence, vocal control. I’m looking for something about the way their voice rises and falls, something about its sound pattern.I like to hear their laugh, too. I don’t know that I’ve ever halted the dating process over a laugh, but I reserve the right to do so.


Even with that first phone call out of the way, though, the waiting for the first time they show up, that’s still the worst. I’m always early. I sit, one ear turned towards the door, but not looking at it directly. I don’t fiddle with my phone, because I refuse to give in to that lazy way of entertaining myself. Of course, it seems weird to bring a book to a first date, so that’s out. Instead, I’m forced to sit here and compose things in my head, try to tune in to the music, distract myself so that I don’t whip my head to the left every time the door moves in the wind. At least in my favorite restaurant there are chips to eat while you wait.

What time is it now? She’s totally late.


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