I recently went on a date that left me feeling, for lack of a better word, icky.
My date with, let’s call him Jeff, was arranged by a friend. Jeff was an old buddy of her husband’s and had recently moved back into town. We texted back and forth and he seemed nice and polite, and we agreed to meet for a drink at a pub I know rather well. The date was for late in the evening as I had a work commitment and agreed to meet him afterward.
Jeff was already seated when I arrived. We ordered our drinks, and chatted while waiting for them to arrive. The conversation was odd, I’m not even sure how to describe it, but it was more like talking to a nervous fourteen year old than a man in his late thirties. I attributed it to first date jitters. He suggested a few times that we order some “entrees”, and I thought that a lot of food for so late in the evening. I eventually realized that he meant “appetizers”. I opted to stick with just a drink. He also suggested, several times, that we could go back to his place for a drink instead. Again, I declined.
When the waitress arrived with our drinks I removed my jacket to get more comfortable. Jeff very blatantly stared at my chest and said “WOW!” Now, I was not wearing anything revealing, and there was no reason (and there never should be) to make such a proclamation. I quickly pulled my jacket back on, told him that he had just made me very uncomfortable, and said a hasty good-night.
A younger me may have stuck around and finished my drink for fear of seeming impolite. I have learned that you do not need to keep yourself in an uncomfortable situation because of etiquette, and it is quite possible to exit such a situation gracefully. 0421-17
Eww! Icky is right! I think you handled it perfectly and I love that you had a polite but steely spine to take action promptly. But I disagree that etiquette requires a person to remain in an uncomfortable situation out of some perceived need to be polite. Etiquette is empowering because it is based on standards of behavior that gives freedom to remove ourselves from awkward, uncomfortable or dangerous situations while doing so with power and grace. Sitting there in misery throughout the remainder of the date or reacting with drama (“You pervert!”, said screamingly) would have not been empowering etiquette.