Dating Boys, Part 2 of 2: Warning Signs

Continued from Dating Boys, part 1 of 2: How to be a Boy

I go out with a lot of nerdy types. I also go out with a lot of boys. There is a direct correlation here. Nerdy people are often a little detached from reality and not exactly on top of social standards. I like to think that I’m tolerant and understanding. I have, upon occasion, firmly told a fellow that I want him to plan the date. But usually all that does is treat a single symptom. If you are a nerd of this type or know one, please read these two posts carefully. Unless, of course, you actually do want to marry a virago, in which case, keep doing what you’re doing, and please add your preference to your shidduch profile. It will save the rest of us the frustration of going out with you.

Like I said, I’ve gone out with a number of guys who exhibited these symptoms. But it wasn’t until recently that I had the little revelation that brought me to the “Mama’s Boy” classification. I had that epiphany on a slushy street corner in Brooklyn, snow drifting down gently, my toes soggy and numb, listening to my date explain why we shouldn’t go into the Starbucks two feet away from us.

Maybe it was my fault. When he’d asked where to go, I’d given my standard suggestion of a walk in the park. But since it was winter, I suggested we end the walk someplace where we could find a hot drink. I thought I had skillfully left him an opening to take charge of the date again by finding some cute boutique coffee shop for us.

Just in case, though, I googled up some local Starbucks shops.

Prospect Park was beautiful in snow drifts and flurries. I tried not to let it bother me that he let me choose the direction at every fork. It seemed to be because he had little interest in, well, anything. But maybe he was just being courteous. Conversation was pleasant, but my feet were soon frigid. I was wearing my pretty boots instead of my warm ones.

I suggested we head someplace warm, and he obligingly followed as I chose a fork that went to a park exit. There I stopped. He stopped.

“Where to?” I asked.

“Dunno,” he answered. Sparing you the back and forth: he hadn’t looked up any local coffee shops. Forget the boutique shop, he didn’t even know where the nearest Starbucks was. Luckily, I did. I didn’t want to rub in my lack of faith in him, though, so I just pointed in a direction that I knew would prove fruitful and said, “Why don’t we walk that way and see what we find?”

Wouldn’t you know, we came across a Starbucks in only a few blocks. I waited for him to suggest we go inside.

He didn’t.

My toes were sending Mayday signals that were increasingly urgent. I said, “Shall we go in?”

He peered in the window. “The line is too long.”

He was right. Every single person in Brooklyn had chosen to drop into this particular Starbucks on this particular afternoon. The line was at least a half-hour long, probably longer. But that wasn’t the point.

“My feet are cold,” I reminded him.

“Let’s walk a little further and see if there’s another,” he suggested.

His first original suggestion for the date, and it was wrong. I told my toes to hang in there. There was another Starbucks six blocks down. Their response was faint and pitiful, but they faithfully kicked into gear again.

And that was when all my illusions about him came crashing down.

You see, I’d heard wonderful things about him before we went out. About his dedication to the old lady across the street. His packaging food for Tomchei Shabbos. His helping Russian immigrant children with their Hebrew studies.

But standing out there on the slushy street corner, my toes crystallizing in my thin (but pretty!) boots, I realized that he hadn’t done any of these things. He had yet to demonstrate the thoughtfulness and initiative it would take to dream up even part of one of them. It must have been his mother. I could imagine her, a bustling woman who told her boy to do nice things like clear the table after a kiddush, who he promptly obeyed.

Well, she could keep him.