There are a lot of bad date stories out there. The main protagonist, a beneficent man or woman, goes on a date with an ill-mannered, tactless, inflexible or otherwise unsuitable partner. Or, in another version, there is some embarrassing or unlikely series of events that, in retrospect, seems not only highly improbable but tremendously comical.
I had a first date at a restaurant that ended up costing me upwards of $100, but I learned nothing from it. Was I being punished? Am I the ill-mannered, tactless, inflexible antagonist in some woman's dating story?
For all eternity, I will never really know. Conversation flowed well, I was -as usual -careful to be respectful, sensitive, inquisitive and to genuinely listen. Still, I was a exhausted from weeks of hard work and nights of little sleep, so I may not have been my best. Without any feedback, I can never really know what I did or didn't do right or wrong.
What is right or wrong for a particular woman? Different women have different beliefs, attitudes, preferences and each is an individual, which means that I won't know whether she'll respond positively or negatively unless she asserts herself and her preferences. In dating, my choice is to simply be myself, and see how she responds.
But I have come to realize a few things. First, that restaurants can be really expensive dates. Secondly, it is better to postpone then go out when I'm exhausted or tired. Thirdly, an expensive date or bill may not mean I'm being punished. Fourth, that an ounce of assertiveness is worth more than a thousand pounds of punishment.