When I left the coffee shop with Jonathan, I had reached that moment on the date when I had to make a decision: how would I graciously end this?
We had matched on Bumble. We’d both attended Cornell and knew some of the same people. Before we met, we had a hilarious phone conversation. I had looked forward to the date, but when we met, he wasn’t exactly what I expected. He was overwhelmingly big in personality…and underwhelming in stature.
He was a former theater kid who said he’d have no problem singing in the middle of the coffee shop for me. ‘Oh God, please don’t,’ I thought, looking across the table at him wearing a loud, purple tuxedo jacket.
When we left the coffee shop near Grand Central Terminal, I said, “This was fun. I’m going to run. My train is…”
He interrupted me by turning me to face him—eye-to-eye—and planting a kiss on my lips.
‘Oh, I guess we’re doing this,’ I thought. The crowd on the corner of Park Avenue South and 42nd Street flowed around us.
“I have to go now,” I said stepping back.
“I’ll walk you.” He accompanied me to the train platform and insistently kissed me again.
While on the train, I texted him a thank you, but I wondered—why did I choose to protect Jonathan’s ego over taking control of my own agency? As a grown woman in my 50s, it was time to stop acquiescing to kisses to men I didn’t want to kiss.
The next day, I sent him a text:
Hi Jonathan! I really enjoyed our conversation. I don’t think this is a romantic match for me. I’d love to hang out, but I realize that may not be what you want.
May I ask what was off or what was missing? Or better yet, wouldn’t you like to go on a second date and explore romance in a romantic context?
I didn’t think he REALLY wanted to know all that was missing. I needed to be direct with him. I texted him back.
If only we could all articulate ‘what’s missing.’ Best way to explain it, I wasn’t having any mad desire to kiss back. I hope you understand.
Hmmm… But you did!
I won’t haunt you, but I’m not sure about giving up so easy. …bye for now.
He didn’t give up so easily, and he kept ‘haunting’ me—for two days.
Let’s go on a date, not as chummy classmates. It will be an evening you won’t ever forget.
Friday night? Tuesday night?
I didn’t reply. Then the next morning he texted:
I have a brilliant idea. Call when you can.
When I didn’t call, he wrote,
I think you’re right. Let’s just hang out for fun. That’s plenty fair.
By then, I had no interest in being friends.
He finally sent this:
I don’t care if you ignore me. I’m writing to you, I guess for closure, which may be weird after one phone call, one coffee, and one kiss. But if you want a decent man for a good time and to move some heavy objects, don’t wait too long…I’m moving on.
It was so like a man to tell ME that I’d made a bad decision, and to warn me not to ‘wait too long’ when I change my mind.
Since then, at that moment at the end of a date when I ask myself ‘how will I graciously end this?’ I think of Jonathan and put my hand out for a shake.