At Last! Monday Night’s Non-Date

Okay, all the evidence would suggest that Monday night’s “date” was not a “date.”

Exhibit A: He put our names on the waiting list at Tria then escorted me to another bar (Valanni) for what I assumed would comprise a quick “pre-dinner drink.”

Turns out this “pre-dinner drink” was it.  There was no dinner.  No return to Tria, and no wine and cheese pairings, which I’d been really looking forward to, I might add.

Exhibit B: He did not pay for my drink.

Exhibit C: He did not offer to walk me home, hail me a cab, accompany me to the bus stop or even give me the usual, “Be safe, okay?  Send me a text to let me know you got home alright.”

I know the whole concern for one’s safety thing usually comes in a bit later in the dating process—say a third or fourth date, not a second, or a first-and-a-half in our case—but still, his demeanor, his manner of dress and his entire lack of decorum would suggest that it was a not a date.

And he should know better.

I’m still waiting for his consent to explain exactly why he should know better (it has to do with what he used to do for a living and I’ve always tried to respect my dates’ privacy in this regard) so I’m hoping he’ll get back to me soon because trust me on this one, folks: you’re never going to believe it.

In the meantime, I am still nursing my ankle (can I just say that trekking across town in heels for a date, only to discover that said date is once again wearing sneakers is so not cool?  Granted, no one told me to wear heels, or to try on 63 different outfits beforehand, but it was the first day of real spring weather here in Philadelphia.  I’m only human.  Surely my female readers will understand).

Also, today is already a bad day and it’s not even 8:00am.  Why?  Well, I received a rather disturbing email this morning from the “Content Compliance Program Director” over at AOL’s City Best.  It took me a while to sort through all of the corporate mumbo-jumbo (especially because I was checking my email on my Droid, still in bed and half asleep) but once I got through it, I understood the following: my column (and those of all other AOL freelancers) is being cut, effective today.

I might have to break my “no chocolate before noon” rule because this is going to require some very strategic thinking on my part and even if chocolate won’t help me think, it will at least help me stay awake long enough to figure out what to do.

25 Responses to “At Last! Monday Night’s Non-Date”

  1. Digger

    Chocolate, for sure. And whatever happens with AOL, it was still a gig to go on your resume for getting another gig. More chocolate.

  2. Nicole

    This is not good news on either account. Its hard for the American men to know that sneakers aren’t ok for dates. Its the European fellows who know this rule, so unfortunately, you will probably have many future dates who wear sneakers. But this might just be my biased judgement. Your future posts hopefully, will prove me wrong.

    I’m sorry to hear about your column. Thats a real bummer! But your “public” wont skrink, at least you don’t have to worry about that.

    P.S. Find some Belgian chocolate for today! It will help.

  3. Debbie

    I think this is a sign that the show needs to go on the road… How about “Single in Southwest London!” With your trusty wing girl…ME!
    And trust me…I ALWAYS have chocolate!

  4. Kathryn Craft

    Oh no about the column! But Kat, you eat drama for breakfast–it fortifies you for the day’s musings! You will emerge triumphant!

  5. Rachel

    I’m sure there’s an even better opportunity for you right around the corner!

  6. Grey Goose, Dirty

    Well gee, Kat. Sounds like a craptastic way to start the day. I’m sorry. Mainly for the AOL thing, but also for that idiot from Monday. Guys are just….well, weird. Enjoy your chocolate – you certainly deserve it.

  7. Katie

    Aw, such a bummer, Kat! That is definitely awful news. I would feel even worse, except I highly doubt this will be your last column. So I’m going to tell you what a GOOD date might have told you: stay safe, keep faith, and don’t let ’em drag you down. 🙂

  8. robfreund

    I’m sorry about the column being dropped – did they give a reason for why, or is it just one of those brutal ‘corporate guillotine’ type of things? Either way, I would suggest definitely indulging in some of the chocolate comfort. 😦 Never give up! (on the column writing, or the deadbeat dates 🙂 )

    • Kat Richter

      Yeah, they’re phasing out all of the freelancers and moving towards staff writers as part of their integration with Huffington Post 😦

  9. Taylor Harvey

    I think you’re better off without AOL. To be honest, I had no idea the company still existed. I remember getting their cd-roms sent in the mail and immediately throwing them away. Because of that, I’ve always associated AOL with people who don’t know how to use the internet and are too lazy to find out how — in other words, my father. That aside, it’s a shame you’ll no longer be paid by some faceless conglomerate…

    But that’s not really why I stopped by to comment. I want to talk about the dating!

    Based on your writing, education, and travel experience, I’m a little surprised to see you so caught up in gender roles and the social conventions of dating. Most everything you’ve said your date didn’t do–which he apparently should have done for it to be considered a ‘date’– could fall under the banner of chivalry. Chivalry operates on the assumption that women are incapable of, or in need of assistance to, buying their own drinks, hailing their own cabs, opening their own doors etc. etc. I think you can do all of those things, and I’ll bet your date did too.

    Or maybe he’s just an a**hole. This is entirely possible too.
    But, and i’m not entirely sure why, I doubt he is.

    Perhaps he didn’t wear dress shoes because he didn’t want to nurse his sore ankle/feet/whatever for the next few day. Can you blame him? Maybe he didn’t dress up because he was doing that rare thing: being himself as opposed to some sort of lie with which you later regret believing. In other words, maybe this guy isn’t right for you, but at least you know what kind of a person he is from the beginning, a quality that, within dating world, seems rather refreshing to me.

    From what I’ve read of your dating experiences, it seems as though your suitors, for the most part, take the reigns of the date, so to speak. Perhaps on your next date you should exercise some agency and choose the local, pay for the drinks, and maybe even mention that you’re going to dress up, if you’re wanting your date to do the same. Who knows, you might have a bit more fun.

    • Nick from Late Round

      First and foremost, your statement that “Chivalry operates on the assumption that women are incapable of, or in need of assistance to…” do anything is incorrect and as a whole wrong. The definition of chivalry actually states that behavior deemed as “chivalrous” is akin to being gentlemanly/knightly (1. the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.)

      Additionally, your reasoning behind his choice in footwear and clothing is kind of lame too. I love wearing sneakers and do so often, however when I am out on a date, I will put on a decent pair of shoes. And if you own shoes that hurt your feet you either need to a) buy a shoe that fits, or b) not be the type of guy that wears heels (its just not attractive). I just dont think there is any shoe that will hurt your feet so bad it effects your work the next day, and if you own said shoes, thats a personal problem you should probably fix, prior to attempting dating.

      Additionally, just because I own and wear dozens of pairs of sneakers and chose to wear a pair of dress shoes on dates doesnt mean I’m not “being myself” or living “some sort of lie”. It shows that Im an adult and can put together a decent wardrobe before meeting someone out on town and gives indications that I might actually be an adult…

      • Taylor Harvey

        Thanks for your thoughts, Nick.

        Let’s address your first point. Dictionaries are usually good places to develop a simplistic understanding of a term, like chivalry for instance. However, dictionaries are extremely lacking when it comes to understanding the broader concerns associated with a word. Looking up the word hermeneutics in a dictionary will not give you the same breadth of knowledge that one would gain from reading Gadamer, for instance.

        Now, when I say Chivalry I’m not talking about Sir Gawain or Arthur’s court. Surely, when someone uses the term in the 21st century they don’t mean someone is adhering to 11th century conceptions of knighthood and morality? Well, I’ll concede and say that, given the etymology of the word, one might indeed have to be simultaneously referring to that historical moment and our present context at the same time. Indeed, this is what I’m getting at. If we accept your argument that chivalrous behavior is knightly behavior, the fact is that, given the dominant conceptions of gender in the 11th century–that is, women were thought to be inferior to men– we can begin to understand how chivalrous behavior, in respect to the treatment of women, might be problematic. Indeed, one of the impulses to be chivalrous was because women were thought to be incapable of doing anything themselves, they were, in effect, thought to be big-children. So, to endorse chivalry is, in essence, by very nature of the tradition associated with chivalry, endorsing the subjugation of women; chivalry denies women agency. That’s what I’m getting at here.

        This might also help you out:

        If the word chivalry is still a problem for you, don’t stress it. The point that I’m trying to make is that gender roles are, as we know, damaging. So, to assume that a man must adhere to some archaic gender/social convention is indeed damaging. In other words, a date can still be a date, even if the couple goes dutch.

        Now, on to your comments on clothing. I’m a little fuzzy as to what your point is. So, you like to wear sneakers, it actually seems that you prefer it; however, you will wear dress shoes to tell the world: “I am an adult”? I don’t think that being able to “put together a decent wardrobe” indicates that someone “might actually be an adult.” I wasn’t aware that being an adult hinged upon one’s wardrobe. Does that mean those half-naked fully grown people in Papua New Guinea may never actually be considered adults? What a shame.

        No, i don’t think that wearing dress shoes is an indication of anything other than your ability to conform to certain standards and expectations.

      • Nick from Late Round

        As it would not let me reply to your specific comment (wordpress must hate triple tier leveled discussions) I figured I would reply here, hope it doesn’t confuse anyone.

        I understand your points when it comes to chivalry, however you might have taken my argument in the wrong context. I was definitely not stating that to be chivalrous means that you must don suits of armor, sit upon horses, and participate in playing with lances akin to attending a local renaissance festival. I feel that although we are talking about chivalry, we (society) are getting caught up on the actual word.

        But to your point about the date itself, if HE invited her out to get a drink there is the expectation that HE is the host, and therefore he should at a minimum ante up for the first round of said drinks. However, there is no rule (written or unwritten) stating that he must do so, which also means that there is no rule stating that she should ever give him the time of day again.

        If there are men out there who decide to put their foot down on such issues as gender roles by boycotting buying a girl that they invited out a drink, then so be it. There are far better ways to express your views on gender roles/equality, and far better platforms for you to take, besides NOT paying $5-10 for a cocktail for someone that YOU invited out. Sorry if that is demeaning to anyone’s gender.

        Additionally the points you pulled from my comments were obviously taken out of context. Yes I love wearing sneakers, buying them and even prefer wearing them. However I am capable of understanding social situations where sneakers, however comfortable they may be, might not be an appropriate wardrobe choice. I won’t wear sneakers to a wedding, to Easter Mass, at a black tie affair, on a job interview or when going out on a “date” for drinks. If I were going bowling, to ride go-karts, feeding pigeons at the park, throwing rocks at car or any of a number of other activities that could be defined as casual, and upon the initial invitation casualty is implied, then sneakers would be an acceptable choice.

        As to your comment about “being an adult”. That distinction doesn’t come from actually wearing the shoes, but having the ability and mental capacity to understand which social situations one should chose to wear sneakers or not. Point in reference: as a child, one would wear the same clothes to go to school, play outside, go to church, go to a funeral. However parents are there to give the child direction on when it is appropriate or not to wear your play clothes to an event where more proper dress is expected. To take the argument that “I can wear sneakers wherever I want” is more akin to adolescence and maybe even childhood/teenage defiance, than making an informed decision. But then again as you pointed out previously, this could be seen as conformity I guess?

        Lastly, comparing my statements of the Western world, with our industrialized nation and modern systems, with that of Papua New Guinea, a mostly rural population with only around 18% living in urban areas (I can use Google as well), is a lame attempt at making your argument stick. Of course you can’t compare the two societies and our views on adulthood, and one would not expect you to. Doing as such is pulling the extreme out to try and give merit to your arguments to which most rational people would agree is bad form.

      • Taylor Harvey

        This replying business is a bit confusing. WordPress could definitely do a better job with it.

        I think we’ve exhausted the topic of chivalry. I don’t think I’ve misinterpreted your arguments or taken what you’ve said out of context. In either case, it is undeniable that chivalry has a tradition which is rooted in sexism.

        Moving on. You say that “there is no rule (written or unwritten) stating that he [the date] must” pay for the drinks, whether he invited her out or not. I would actually disagree with you here, considering that, above that comment, you state that it is “EXPECTED” that he should pay for the drinks if he invites her out. Wouldn’t that be an unwritten rule?

        Anyways, aside from your argument, there is indeed an assumed ‘unwritten rule’ at play here: that is, the man should buy the women the drink, if we’re to consider their outing a date. Hence the evidence which Kat presents: “Exhibit B: He did not pay for my drink.” This statement ultimately suggests that, in order for a date to be considered a date, the man should buy the drink. This was coupled with other reasons why it wasn’t considered a date: “He did not offer to walk me home, hail me a cab, accompany me to the bus stop.” In general, the evidence that kat provides are all behaviors which are commonly deemed chivalrous. (I’m not saying its bad for people to do kind things for others, I’m just questioning what the motivational impulse is for one to desire others to do such things. Should he do those things because Kat is a women, or should he do those things because that’s what all generous people should do for others. If it’s the former, that’s kind of problematic, hence my argument associated with chivalry).

        Just so we’re clear, I’m not suggesting that men should stop purchasing women drinks as a way to express gender equality. Far from it. I think it’s fine for a man to purchase a women a drink. I find it questionable when one expects the man to purchase the drink because it is a social convention associated with dating (again, back to the point on chivalry). We can think about this another way by reversing the roles of the situation: if a women invites a man out, is it assumed that she, the apparent ‘host’ will purchase the drinks? I would think no, but perhaps the societies with which we’ve grown are completely different.

        I, like you, will dress for specific occasions as well. I would still insist that all that indicates is one’s ability to conform to certain standards and expectations (whether they’re one’s own or based on society [but in all likelihood, it is probably a combination of the two]). And in those instances, I always feel a bit uncomfortable; I always feel a little less like myself. This is what i mean by lie, which is perhaps too strong a word. Maybe, a false front, or a facade if you will. This is why I enjoy defying such expectations when I can, when I feel it is appropriate (defying those expectations might mean dressing up for something casual). Not out of some childhood or teenage desire to rebel, just for the sake of defying the rules, but because i don’t want the rules to shape me into someone who i’m not.

        Lastly, i apologize for my Papua New Guinea comment. I kind of expected you to jump on it, but i was being a bit hyperbolic. To keep it in a Western context, your conceptions on ‘being an adult’ would exclude the majority of homeless people, or Larry David for instance — and I would really like to believe that both many homeless people and Larry David are adults. If you think it’s unfair to compare our Western world to other cultures, I would still disagree. When you make statements about people it should hold true for all people, whether they live in the south pacific, or whether they’ve been subjected to unfortunate disadvantages: be it lack of education, mental or physical disabilities, and things of that sort.

        I just found your conception of adulthood to be rather narrow, as it excludes a whole lot of people, both within the West and abroad. The social outings with which you have the pleasure of attending, like “black tie” events, are, in most all instances, exclusive to people who have led a rather privileged life. Just because someone hasn’t had the same social training that you’ve had does not mean they’re not an adult, it just means that they’re different from you.

        On that note, I’m just going to throw a quote out there from the Great Gatsby. It’s on the opening pages, and, although it’s not perfectly applicable at the moment, i think it might be of some use: “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since”

        “‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had. ”

        I suppose that we could replace “whenever you feel like criticizing anyone” with “whenever you’re devising a conception of adulthood…” it could work. Now, if you were to say that’s lame, I would agree.

        Anyways, I think we’ve both gone a little, or a lot, off-track from where this all began.

        I wish we could all just throw on some nice dress, lace up our oxfords (and do it for ourselves, because when we do, it really can be enjoyable) and talk about this over a few drinks that we all bought for each other. Sheesh. This getting to be rather serious.

  10. Jackie

    I am picking through my brain to try to imagine what this guy used to do for a living that would make him even more accountable for being a gentleman. Aside from professional call guy, I’m stumped.

    Don’t bother for an explanation – that was a poor excuse for a date.

    Also – this post is very well written. Thanks for that 🙂

  11. stevesw

    Liked your post a lot and have put a link to it on my find humor in dating Blog. Since this is my first visit, I am not sure why you agreed to go out with this guy. As for proper attire, no excuse. (Actually, there is no excuse for his entire performance.) In the past I never gave much thought about telling my date what I planned to wear; as appropriate dress for the planned adventure (dates are adventures) was understood in the big city (and in response to one comment above, in the US and Europe). Now I live in a small town environment, and there is not much to dress up for locally; so I mentioned to a date what I would be wearing when we went to a music venue in D.C.. She was very pleased I said something. Now I always say ‘nice jeans and shirt,’ or whatever. Sorry about the job situation.


    • Kat Richter

      Thanks for the shout out 🙂 I like the idea of discussing outfits before a date… maybe I’ll give it a try next time!


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