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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, August 07, 2006

For the Guys (Meaning Ladies We Need Your Comments Too)

A buddy emailed me this afternoon about a first date he'll be going on this Friday.

He doesn't date often and is a little shy in the conversation arena, unless his date wants to talk about hard drives and RAM and sci-fi flicks and D&D.

But he's my guy, so I love him like a brother and want this date to go well for him.

As he tries to prepare himself mentally, he is curious about one thing. And I pass his question on to you:

During a first date, if a woman asks a guy to tell her about his most recent dates or his last girlfriend, how much or how little should he say?

I told my guy to keep it simple. Tell her the last date or two was nice or wasn't nice. And if she asks for more, just tell her he clicked with or just had different interests than those last dates. And if the question is about the last girlfriend, definitely don't say too much. Just tell her things didn't work out 'cause your lives were on diverging paths. Do not give her specifics like "My ex thought I slept too late in the mornings," or "she hated that I only shower twice a week" or "she thought me being a felon was a deal breaker."

I'm joking about the felon thing. But seriously, I say never reveal your flaws to your potential new love. I don't mean to suggest you should be deceptive. But what if you click better with the new person than you did with the last? Those personal flaws that plagued your last relationship may not even come to a boil in the new one. Maybe you'll be so inspired by the new person that you won't engage in your bad habits. So don't shoot yourself in the foot by being too self- deprecating.

But as always, my disclaimer is I could be wrong.

What say you?


  • I say any woman who asks about previous dates or exes and earnsetly wants an answer has ulterior motives. Insecurity being one. Self-sabotage being another. Your advice is sound - he should tell her they didn't click per se, and that lucky for him they didn't work out because otherwise he might not be sitting at dinner with her. *aww* Short, sweet, to the point, and w/o all that pathetic pandering we women sometimes beg for even when we don't really want it.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 9:41 PM  

  • Melissa,

    I like that side profile sugah. Maybe you would be interested in someone like me. Many sugahs say im cute.

    By Anonymous the self-loathing miami cuban piglet, at 10:40 PM  

  • Sheesh, Self-loathing, you don't stop. So, you leave me no choice but to stop you.

    Comment moderation has been turned on folks.

    Be disagreeable if you want, but don't be a jerk about it.

    Sorry 'bout that Melissa.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:36 PM  

  • ?????

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:37 PM  

  • I agree with Melissa. If she's that interested in previous girlfriends then she may be way too insecure.

    Of course, she may just be trying a short cut to finding out what kind of a guy has started dating her. In which case she could be looking for names to go check references!

    Sheesh! Glad I've been well, & happily, out of the dating game for over twenty-five years now.

    By Anonymous Bronchitikat, at 5:28 AM  

  • I agree with Melissa (and with you, James). On a first date in particular, you should be discussing each other's interests, not romantic resume. If you start to get a lot of "Why didn't things work out?" questions before the appetizers arrive, take it as a warning sign.

    Of course, at certain ages (especially these days), dating is very goal-oriented. Some people don't want to waste time getting to know a new person unless all their criteria have been met -- why waste time dating someone you won't eventually marry?

    Oh, and even if the subject comes up, never reveal the hourly rate you paid for your last date.

    By Blogger mkh, at 5:58 AM  

  • melissa is right, no 'normal' lady is gonna ask about previous girlfriends on a first date. And if and when a lady does ask, she really doesn't want to know the specifics.

    By Anonymous mousemom, at 3:10 PM  

  • I respectfully disagree with most of what's being said here. In particular, if you are over a certain age (let's say 35) and still (or newly) single, it's perfectly normal to wonder why. For both parties. Asking about exes can be a very efficient way to mine for data. What a person says about their ex can tell you a lot about them. Obviously, the relationship did not work out. In spite of this, is he positive about the relationship? Is he positive about her? Does he have "perpetual victim syndrome"? Is he over her? Does he think that he might have been part of the problem? Did he find lemonade in the lemons? Is he introspective? Does he have any emotional intelligence? Like this. It's all of interest, if you're trying to figure out who a person is.

    So, I believe it's appropriate to ask open-ended questions ("So tell me about your last relationship.") and to pay attention to all aspects of the answer. How you answer reciprocal questions should be up to you. And if you're uncomfortable with the line or level or amount of questioning, you should say so.

    Just my thoughts.

    By Anonymous Yvette, at 1:40 PM  

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