How Can Women End Dates Politely?

I got the vibe that he wasn’t really excited about our date.

To be fair, I wasn’t all that thrilled about it either. Maybe I was projecting. But the feeling I was having, based on his foot-dragging approach to setting up a date (“Well, email me when you’re next in the area”, “Queens? Hm. That’s far. Will you be in Staten Island maybe?”) was that he wasn’t exactly thrilled to be seeing me. Which is why I told my parents to expect me back in no more than two hours max.

And which is why I was really surprised to find myself still talking to him three hours later.

Conversation had slowed, although it had been good enough. I was game for a second date. But I also wanted to end the first. It was feeling dragged out. And I had work the next day.

I thought about how my dates ended dates. Usually they straighten up, look me in the eye, and say in a firm tone, “Well, shall we go?”

I tried to imagine how my current date would take it if I tried that now. Somehow, all I could come up with was “startled” with a tinge of “affronted.”

So with an inward sigh, I went about all the indirect (and inefficient) feminine ways of ending a date.

I shifted restlessly. I stifled a yawn and apologized, saying I’d been up early that morning—to get to work, you know. I let silences drag. I observed how empty the place was getting—everyone was going home. And slowly… oh so slowly… it took about fifteen minutes, but he asked, “Would you like me to take you home?”

Was I being too obvious?

When he declined a second date, I felt guilty. Was it because he really wasn’t interested, or was it because he’d taken my heavy-handed hinting to mean that I wasn’t interested?

Then I laughed at myself for feeling guilty. I’d been so sure it would be a 1nD from the start. Stupid girly guilt over everything. He probably hadn’t read into it at all.

Someone please tell me:

When the guy says “Well, shall we go?” after three hours, it’s not necessarily a sign of disinterest. When a girl desires to be taken home at 10:30pm on a workday, does the guy take it personally?

My Pesach Fling

Long long ago I mused about how nice it would be if men vied for our attention the way bucks vie for that of a doe. Well, over Pesach it happened to me. Sort of. Not with men, and not with bucks.

I was strolling along a creek on a damp day last week when I heard a repetitive trilling coming from the other side. A bird I’d never seen before, black capped with two white neck rings, and a brown back, was trilling, then spreading his orange fantail, and then trilling again. I watched, fascinated, wondering if there was any audience for him out there.

It became apparent that there was—me. Very shortly the young sir was on my side of the creek, strutting not two feet from my shoes. He strutted, trilled, and fanned out his orange tail for me. Like his intended bride, I was fascinated. By the tail, and by the fact that I’d never had a bird so close to my shoes before (aggressive NYC pigeons do not count as birds—they’re some kind of mutant).

Things got even more intimate. After showing off for me for a few minutes, he got impatient, and hurled himself at my shoe.

“Whoa!” I said. “Don’t rush things!” Hurt at being so repelled, he bounced back a few feet to preen his feathers. “Look, don’t take it personally,” I tried to explain. “I just don’t think I’m really your type. We’re not meant to be.”

He was clearly smitten, because he ignored me completely, and began the marching again.

“I’m sorry,” I said, stepping around him. “It’s not you—it’s me.”

There was a devastated silence behind me. I walked a few feet and then turned around.

The little bird was watching. Tri-i-i-ill? he asked hopefully.

“No, really no,” I said. And walked away.

He got over it. A few minutes later I heard him at it again, singing into the empty field.