To recap: In the last column, we met Patricia, who had just spent a looooooong Saturday with Russ, a set-up.
She told her tale of woe to her friend Christopher. In the interest of male solidarity, Christopher offers these words of advice to Russ and all the other Russes out there ...
"Your first mistake was not meeting Patricia for drinks when she invited you. There's a 50-50 chance you would have caught her feeling good and relaxed. Whenever there's alcohol, a woman and a Friday night involved, go, no matter how tired you are. [1. If you'll recall, Russ had just arrived at his hotel after a 5 hour drive. Assuming he had worked that day, it was 11 or 12 at night. And he was supposed to go out and charm a group of strangers? 2. Re: Friday, alcohol, and women: EW. Yes, Christopher, you're a real charmer]
"You don't have to dress like you're going to be on the cover of GQ, but you have to have some style. Lose the mom jeans, and lose the Old Spice. Men should never wear Old Spice unless they're over 75. [I've honestly never heard the term "mom jeans" applied to menswear, and don't even know what this looks like. And also: not fair to judge someone's appearance when you swoop down on their hotel room in the middle of the night!]
"You should've ordered a round of drinks for the table when you got there. You would've looked like someone with style and someone who has the potential to take care of a woman. At the end of the night, you should have walked Patricia to her car, given her a simple kiss on the cheek and told her you looked forward to seeing her the next day." [Indeed, this would have been classy and impressed everyone. But I'm hard pressed to believe it's OK to expect someone to drop 2 tanks of gas and two nights in a hotel on your first date, and THEN buy a round of cocktails for all your friends.]
(Says Patricia: "Wow! If he would've done that, I'd have approached Saturday with a completely different perspective.") [I bet.]
"After the Saturday morning pancakes, you should've thanked her for preparing a wonderful breakfast and said you hoped to cook breakfast for her someday. It's important to say thank you no matter how small the deed. If a woman thinks you're taking her for granted on a first date, just imagine how she thinks you'll treat her after a month. [Yes, you should always thank someone when they feed you. It's true that Russ sounds a bit awkward--this is perhaps why he is looking for a date 5 hours away from his home....?]
"You should've realized Chicago was her city and taken her suggestions.
"Even if you're not thirsty, ask your date if she needs anything. After all, she just worked up a sweat giving in to your demand. Once again, you show you care and can take care of the little things.
"You should never have let Patricia pay for the drinks. And if she ordered a beer, you should've ordered a beer. If a woman can't drink with you, she's not going to sleep with you. [Again: EW. I do not understand why both Patricia and Christopher are so appalled that Russ chose to order lemonade on a Saturday afternoon at Navy Pier. Maybe he wanted to save money (though Patricia was paying and it's not like Navy Pier Lemonade is exactly cheap--probably still $5), but maybe he just doesn't drink, or didn't FEEL like drinking if he hadn't eaten since breakfast. Jeez.]
"Pizza on Saturday night is OK if you're on a fourth or fifth date. And always offer the lady the leftovers, especially if it's pizza and she has two sons. Burping and farting should not occur for at least six months. If it accidentally does, Excuse me is appropriate. [Once again--totally not taking the situation into account. On a typical first dinner date, yes, a "nice" restaurant might have been ideal. But considering the drive, the hotel, the boat tour, Navy Pier...come on. Give the guy a break! Plus pizza is such a Chicago "thing," I think it's always appropriate to present it as a great first-dinner-in-town for visitors. The burping? Yes, manners are appropriate. Again, Russ doesn't exactly sound like George Clooney]
"You should've suggested returning to the suburbs so you'd both have time to shower before you got together later for a nice dinner. It would have given you both a chance to get ready for what might have hopefully been a long evening. [Indeed a break would have been nice, but I wonder what Patricia would have said if Russ had said he wanted to "freshen up" and meet back in a few hours. She seems to have been at the point of criticizing everything he did]
"While you were at your hotel, you should've asked the front desk to make a reservation at a nice restaurant. You would've earned some major style points. At dinner, you could've had some wine, and talked about the day and the boat tour. After dinner, you could've asked Patricia if she wanted to go for a drink. Who knows? Maybe she would have invited you to have a nightcap back at her place." [Or, you know, Patricia could have made a recommendation, even gladly picked up the tab. Yes, it's nice when a guy can be chivalrous, smooth, and show a lady around. But once again--he's already made a huge gesture by getting himself there, and he's also not on his own turf. Patricia could have stepped up a little, bringing more to the table than pancakes and lemonade].
What do you think? Who's right? Russ or Christopher? [I think Christopher and Patricia should get together, because clearly they want the same things.]
And most importantly, I think people should seek out first dates in their own areas. What would they have done if they date had gone well? Launched into a "long distance relationship" after having met only one time? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the LDR in the right circumstances. They CAN work, and they CAN be important and valuable periods of growth in a relationship. But only if there's actually a relationship there. I think this debacle just demonstrates that it's really foolish to be set up on a blind date with someone who lives so far away. Patricia and Russ gave up a weekend, and a fair amount of time and money (not to mention the 2 months they spent talking on the phone), only to learn that they're just not a great match--something that could have been discovered with much less investment, and thus much less bitterness over a coffee or two if they'd been out with people in their own neighborhoods.
And I'm going to write to Cheryl and say so.