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.

He replied:

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.

When a Kiss is Easier than Saying ‘No Thank You.’ was last modified: by

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