It was a good first date. He’d kissed me at the wine bar in Chelsea where we shared drinks and a cheese plate. “Thanks for buying me cheese,” I’d said. “I know how you can thank me,” he’d replied, and then kissed me. Which was cheesy, but as I’d just thanked him for cheese, cheesy was appropriate!
First kiss out of the way, we were safe from the all too familiar first date New York cliché: the Subway First Kiss. This is a staple of the NYC dating scene: he’s going down town, you’re going up town and you say goodbye before descending to your perspective platforms. It’s a shitty place for a first kiss.
People who are pissed they had to stay late at work give you the stink-eye for obstructing their path. Millennials giggle to their friends and try to guess which dating app you met on. I go out of my way to avoid the Subway First Kiss. I encourage all New Yorkers to do the same.
At the end of this first date, I said goodbye to my date before jumping on the C train. It was happily brief: a quick kiss, a “See you this weekend?” and I turned to go. Then he said,
“Text me when you get home.”
I flinched. This sweet request hit my ears and my face involuntarily contorted into a grimace.
A fleeting expression, but it was long and weird enough that I know my date saw it. I wear my heart not on my sleeve but on my face…especially after two drinks on a Tuesday night.
What the fuck is my problem? He just wants to make sure you get home safe, you ingrate! Wow, men just can’t do anything right, in your judgmental, watery blue eyes, now can they! No wonder you’re single!
I know! I know I’m ridiculous! I asked my friends on Twitter and Facebook how they feel about a simple “Text me when you get home,” and absolutely ALL of them were in favor! None of them mentioned anything even remotely in the realm of my flinching reaction.
When someone who was nothing but sweet to you all evening (he really was) says something nice, and your response is an involuntary grimace? Um…I have to start asking questions.
What is my problem with a good old, “Text me when you get home” request after a first date?
“How would you know you weren’t being a phony? The trouble
is, you wouldn’t.” – Catcher in the Rye
Maybe I’m such a New York Cliche that Holden Caulfield is my spirit animal. See, when I hear, “Text me when you get home,” I get all the urges to wear a red hunting hat and rail against phonies.
Because, dude I just met, if I don’t text you when I get home, would you actually do anything about it? No! Don’t even pretend you would! You’d assume I got home fine and that I’d ghosted. I guarantee it. Cross my heart. In this day and age, it would be ridiculous to think anything else. That’s just the truth.
“I ain’t no damsel in distress, and I don’t need to be rescued.” – Ani Difranco
I get home all by myself every single day. At all hours. Literally every day without ever texting anyone to tell them I’m safe. I guess I could draw toddler or teenage comparisons in my attitude here…I’M A BIG GIRL! I CAN TAKE CARE OF MYSELF! But unlike a toddler, it’s the truth…I mean, I even chased down the mugger who stole my phone. I’m not only a big girl, I’ve got STREET CRED!
I couldn’t help but wonder, would I have flinched pre-November 8th? I’ve been so hyped up on girl power this past week and admittedly feeling a bit of resentment toward straight white cis males… I’ve been furious about men in power thinking they can tell me what to do with my body, was I taking this anxiety out on my straight-white-cis-male of a date?
“Text me when you get home.”
“DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!”
“It’s the way they raised me. It’s the way I was raised.” – E-40
Hey! I could go with the ultimate cliché and blame this on my parents! I wasn’t raised in a “Call me to let me know you’re ok” home. I didn’t have a cell phone all through high school. I’d sit twiddling my thumbs, feeling smug, while all my friends had to call their folks to check in. My folks? They take 10 day long road trips across the entire country without cellphones to this day. Driving 8 hours a day, never once checking in to let me, or anyone else, know that they’re safe. I know that’s hella weird. I was raised by weirdos. This is their fault. (Hi mom! If you’re reading this, thanks for raising me a weirdo! I love you!)
When I said my date was really sweet all night, he really was. His response to my flinch was pretty perfect:
Maybe when “Text me when you get home” makes you flinch is the moment to realize you’ve been single too long…
Or the moment to realize you’ve become the ultimate New York Cliché: jaded.
I’ll work on that. And to stop flinching when people say nice things to me and show regard for my safety. Hopefully writing this will already have helped my face settle down.
At first I thought this was going to be a post making a case to stop sending these texts after first dates. But that’s not my conclusion. I think you should keep sending your texts. But only if you really mean them. Don’t be a creep. Don’t be a phony.