Field Notes from the Freshly Single


By: Mallory Eris 


I was in a long term relationship. And then I wasn’t. So I started dating. Voraciously. Having been in a relationship for so long, I wasn’t quite sure how this whole dating thing worked. As I was attempting to master a new skill, I figured I should at least take notes. What follows is a compilation of panicked texts sent to my roommates from the safety of a bathroom stall on dates that went awry, profound thoughts scratched out on cocktail napkins after my date (mercifully) left and other general nonsense.


  • One assumption that is always safe to make: The person you are on a date with has the autonomy to order their own dinner. Thank you.
  • “Tocame por favor” (Touch me, please) could (maybe?) be an appropriate come-on in the right context. That context, however, does not involve you thrusting my hand onto your crotch out of the blue.
  • When you use the following phrase on a first date “I (insert what you do for work here)” and your date instantly apologizes that your job “must be boring” and that it sucks that you “don’t have anything to talk about”, you should utilize the following phrase, with as much speed and gusto as you can muster: “We’re done here.”
  • People will surprise you. Sometimes that douchebag from the office is downright charming in a one on one setting.
  • It might be tough to find a parking spot in the city, but when you do (and you should, because you’re making a valiant effort on this first date – right?!), get out of your damn car. Firing off an “im here” text and drumming your fingers on your steering wheel is not promising.
  • When I tell you that I am not very skilled with chopsticks, please don’t assure me that it is okay because I am white.
  • “Are you one of those girls that take forever to do her hair and makeup or do you just look like that?” – This question should never be asked.
  • Well-intentioned though you may be, a first date is not the appropriate venue for sharing your so-called wisdom on how to avoid date rape. (As if this is my duty to be prepared to deal with someone else’s misogyny? Another blog post entirely.)
  • One bottle of wine will suffice for a first date at a BYOB. Period.
  • Can a sugar daddy/mama exist for one date?  I’m not sure. But I am sure that I couldn’t pay for a three course brunch with a $100 bill, so it was nice the one time someone else did.
  • Explaining why I am wrong is not a turn on; telling me about your experiences and how you approach something differently is.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to use the word “no” on a first date. You should not be offended when I do.
  • Your apartment looks like a serial killer lives there and the food is terrible, but I still find it endearing that you put the time and effort into cooking for me.
  • In retrospect, any first date that involved machine gun practice was probably a poor choice.
  • Please, tell me more about the bikini model you used to date. I’ll continue stuffing my face in the meantime.
  • While you complain to the waitress about how we were not served the proper size portion of foie gras, I’m going to look for les toilettes, because that’s clearly where this date is headed.
  • If you’re going to find a date by making out with a stranger at a bar, I don’t recommend doing it at the bar where your uncle is hosting his 60th birthday party. Oops?
  • Going for walks is highly underrated.
  • Ideally, both parties involved should know that they’re on a date. Starting off with “Oh yeah, we were going to hang out in a group, and I just didn’t invite anyone else…” is not advisable.
  • If someone asks you on a first date, goes to pick up the check, then mutters “Well damn” and tells you that they think they get paid at midnight and it’s only 10:30 – run.
  • “Stop being so self-conscious; you’re making me feel stupid for being into you.” Given the right context, this can be endearing. Given the wrong context, this can be god-awful.
  • There are two sides of the booth for a reason. No, I don’t want to share mine.
  • You’re inviting me on a picnic? Swoon.
  • Scanning the restaurant, waiting for the waiter to bring the bread basket, while trying to make small talk does not a good first impression make. I learned the hard way that I am crabby when I’m hungry. Lesson learned: Granola bars are an essential part of my pre-date ritual. And a good lesson to have learned, because clearly, at the rate I’m going, there will be many more first dates.



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