When Tom called to confirm our coffee date, he asked one last question that in retrospect should have raised my eyebrow…
“What are your thoughts on PDA?”
Public Displays of Affection, as I told Tom, were fine. A little hand holding while walking down the street is totally in bounds. A simple kiss after a first date is appropriate. I told Tom that when PDA inspires public feedback of “Get a room!” you know you’ve gone too far.
I really didn’t think much about his question, but within five minutes of our date PDA reared it’s head. As I sat down with my Venti Dark Roast, Tom leaned forward and started rubbing my arm.
“Wow- you are so gorgeous! Even better in person!” exclaimed Tom, as his hands left my arm and went straight to my knee.
“Thank you- so are you.” I responded. Even though I was a little dumbfounded that he was now rubbing my leg, my response was totally true. Tom was 6’4”, mid 40’s and definitely no stranger to the gym. He’s a player in a rugby league- enough said.
As our conversation continued, Tom made it clear that he really wants a relationship. He’s been single for three years, and doesn’t want to be alone. He told me about a health scare he had recently experienced, and he had to face it by himself. He was tired of being a solo act. All the while explaining this, Tom’s hand never once left my body. An arm, an ankle, a knee… if the NYPD dusted me for prints I’d look like a sloppy crime scene. I knew I had to address this, and I did it the best way I knew… I made a joke.
“You know, Tom, I’m starting to feel like one of those radio contests that if you take your hand off me you’ll lose the chance to win the keys to a new Ford Explorer.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Too much too soon… but I really like you.”
“And I like you too, but let’s get to know each other.” I said.
Tom seemed to be very cool with that, and for the first time on our date I wasn’t being petted like a dog. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long. Tom repositioned himself on the banquette we were sitting on, asking me to lean in on him as we talked.
“Tom, I’m drinking hot coffee, and we’re not at home. No.”, was my response. Feeling a bit deflated, Tom sat up and grabbed my hand and continued the conversation.
I ended the date soon after, thanking him for meeting me and telling him that it was nice to get to know him. He came in to give me a kiss, and of course in true Tom fashion took it upon himself to recreate From Here to Eternity’s beach scene, throwing me against my car and planting one on me like the Japanese bombers were minutes away.
Twenty minutes after I got home, Tom called. He wanted to thank me for the date, and to see if I’d go out with him the next day. At this point, I thanked him and told him that the chemistry just wasn’t there to warrant a second date. I wished him luck on his own quest for 1FineD8.
I did some reading about the mating rituals of the octopus, and learned that my date was more of an octopus than he knows. Besides being all hands, what Tom wanted more than anything was a relationship. Tom was in love with the idea of a permanent relationship- so much so that getting to know a potential mate wasn’t all that important (that would come in time, once the relationship was well under way). I learned that in some species of octopi, the male actually severs his “mating arm” and gives it to his partner to allow her to reproduce at her discretion and to her scheduling needs. Like such octopi, Tom would have cut his own arm off to have that relationship.
As if the concept of “instant relationship” wasn’t unattractive enough, the excessive PDA was just way too much to handle. It was so over the top that it distracted me from getting to know anything about Tom. I’m sure there’s a really great guy somewhere in there, but the desperation of having a relationship compounded with the groping made that discovery impossible.
When on a first date, keep in mind that nobody wants to date an octopus. It’s ok to look, but spend the time getting to know your date and save the touching for a future date. Most daters have their eyes on their endgame, which is a relationship. Wearing your endgame on your sleeve on a first date is going to pressure the individual sitting across from you, which is the last thing you want to do.