You’re two hours deep into a Cheesecake Factory appetizer rendezvous when the booth gets silent with a pause. You’ve rearranged your straw wrapper into shreds of confetti. You’ve reached your allotted two drink maximum, but continue to discuss every fun drink name on the specialty menu. You’ve been to the bathroom twice. He’s certain you for sure have the stomach flu. That, or the sweat on your brow is just your body’s way of begging you to not bring up any of those topics that always get you in trouble. Let’s be real, awkward silence’s are about as much fun as rape. I know, I know…that’s quite the comparison, but the irony is in the acronym.
I’ve been on a few dates where I hit all of these straight out of the gate. Spoiler alert: it’s hard to split a check with a hot headed republican who’s busy pulling up photos of his 2014 Christian summer camp fling. I never like to say never, but never has not making this a never, ever helped me not hate the person in front of me. Even when they agree with my political rant, or religious affiliation, we always get to that one topic that makes me want to pull their genitals through a meat tenderizer.
I read the bible once. Solid read. But this isn’t a book club, and I’m not prepared to discuss the testament I prefer with someone who probably takes the whole thing a lot more seriously than me. I’m struggling to ‘love thy neighbor’ when my neighbor, Pastor Tinder wants to know what church our child will be baptized in before I’ve even found out his astrological sign. Side note: I put the whore in horoscopes. I care more about if you are a Scorpio than a Buddhist. For myself, religion is a spiritual experience that I practice in private and not on your pedestal of judgment.
The only way to make the conversation more awkward than the silence it sits in is to bring up killing something. Avoiding extremes at all costs will keep things light which is exactly what a recent date didn’t do when he asked what I would do if he accidentally got me pregnant. Way to back me into the pro-abortion corner with one swift push moron. First of all, who said I’m letting you get close enough to scramble these eggs? Secondly, everyone knows men have no say in anything involving our bodies so needing to know my view on this is basically like holding a gun to my faux-pregnant stomach and asking if you’re allowed to pull the trigger. Neither of our opinions on abortion are relevant for a first date.
My views of the world are confusing enough without having to defend them in a partisan political rant of epic proportions. Hearing an opposing perspective is enlightening when you know the person weighing in on the issues, but when a stranger rolls his or her eyes at the party you’ve chosen, well…go fuck yourself. Hell hath no fury like a woman critiqued. I’ll inquire about your political convictions when I love you enough to tell you you’re wrong. Or maybe you’re totally right. But either way, lets not hold hands at the voting polls just yet. The only thing I’m holding is faith that our values will guide us to each other despite our political foundation.
Men, your last girlfriend is not a representation of your penis size. Whipping out the busty waitress you snapchatted for a month does not impress me. In fact avoiding your ex partner like the plague is something you might want to do not only in life, but in all first date discussions. I had a guy flat out tell me he cheated on his last girlfriend before my water even got a lemon. Cool, so much to look forward to! I get it, it’s tough to not want to establish some sort of “lesson learned” to a potential partner, but your mistakes are your mistakes to grow from, not re narrate like a bad romance novel. If you need to rehash unresolved emotions, seek therapy not Plenty of Fish.
Dating etiquette is subjective. I’ve tested a fart joke on a man in a tie before, and things went really well for the reminder of the evening. I’d say most topics are pretty safe if you just gauge your audience, but the reality of it is, some things you can’t unhear and just like that, all of your potential is snuffed to smoke. Harness your impulses and stick to things like travel, movies, and where you see yourself in five years. Spill your guts when you can trust them with life’s really big confessions.