The following is the transcript of this podcast episode.:
Jodi: Laurie, welcome to the podcast. I’m really delighted to have you on today.
Laurie: Thank you, Jodi. It is such a pleasure to be here.
Jodi: We’re going to talk about your first date with Peter!
Laurie: Oh, thank you.
Jodi: But first, let’s talk a bit about you.
Laurie: I’m 47 years old and I have two boys. Their ages are 14 and 15. I am a fashion stylist. I am a divorcee. I’ve been divorced for, well, actually separated from my ex-husband, for five years. We got divorced four years ago. And three years ago, I started dating my now boyfriend. And as of two months ago, we started living together and have blended our families. That was after several months of dating and trying to sift through to find the one.
Jodi: The date we’re going to talk about today is not a date you had with your boyfriend.
Jodi: It’s a date you had with someone who did not become your boyfriend.
Laurie: That’s right.
Jodi: How did you meet Peter?
Laurie: I met Peter on Match.com.
Jodi: Were you on Match for a while before you met him?
Laurie: I was on Match for about maybe six months.
Jodi: Did you contact Peter? Did Peter contact you?
Laurie: Peter contacted me. I was pretty shy about reaching out to men, in the beginning anyway.
Jodi: How did he approach you? Did he like you? Did he email you? What did he do?
Laurie: Well, he liked one or two of my photos and then he emailed me directly. He said that he thought my profile was interesting and would I be interested in getting together and going on a date? I think he first proposed a coffee or a drink or something.
Jodi: You checked out his profile.
Laurie: I checked out his profile.
Jodi: And what did you think?
Laurie: I thought he had a great profile. He had a nice smile in his face. He seemed like he was just a good quality person. I wanted to get to know him a little better. But I felt more comfortable if we had a phone conversation first. So, we did that.
Jodi: How did that conversation go?
Laurie: It went really well! I kept it short. I learned over time to not talk too long on the phone, or have too much texting going on. We kept that phone conversation short and then we agreed actually to go for a walk.
Jodi: A walk?
Jodi: No coffee? No drinks? Just let’s do something outdoors?
Laurie: It was something different. We went for a walk along the beach.
Jodi: Do you remember how you were feeling before you met him at the beach that day?
Laurie: I was excited. I thought, “He seems like a real quality guy. He was sincere. He was kind.” He actually suggested the walk, which was great. I was excited, probably a little bit nervous, of course, and not sure what to expect. A lot of times, talking with somebody over the phone, or viewing the profile doesn’t give you a full view of who they really are.
Jodi: Were you nervous? Did you tell people where you were going to go?
Laurie: Yes. I always told people where I was going to go, for sure, and I never let anybody pick me up for the first date.
Jodi: That’s very wise, very wise.
Laurie: And I never let them know where I lived either.
Jodi: Also very wise. You met him at the beach at a parking lot? How did you two rendezvous?
Laurie: It was in a certain area of the parking lot where we met up. I recognized him from his profile picture. But what I didn’t recognize was that he had a dog with him! I didn’t recognize his dog because the dog was not on his profile pictures. He actually showed up on the date with his dog! I’m like, “Okay.”
Laurie: So here we go!
Jodi: Three of you on a date.
Laurie: There was company. That’s right. His dog was there and it was a little bit of a surprise. The dog ended up being a distraction.
Jodi: Are you a dog person?
Laurie: I feel bad saying that I’m not. It’s not only because I didn’t have a dog growing up, because I like dogs, but I don’t relate to dogs the same way that dog people do.
Jodi: I get that.
Laurie: It was a little tough. I was nervous because here I’m meeting this guy and then I’m thinking, “Well, I have to make a good impression because he has a dog,” and, “How do I juggle that and meeting him and being myself,” et cetera. It definitely threw things off a bit.
Jodi: That’s a lot!
Jodi: You’re thinking…How do I get along with him? How do I get along with the dog?
Laurie: Exactly! How do I keep the dog away from me because it just wants to lick me. It was a surprise.
Jodi: How did you handle it ultimately?
Laurie: I tried to give the dog as much attention as I could. But I was really more focused on meeting him (Peter) and talking with him and getting to know him. The dog was a distraction, but I tried to be polite.
Jodi: What did Peter do? How did he handle the fact that he was with you but also had his dog?
Laurie: Because he obviously was such a dog person, he started talking to me through the dog.
Jodi: Talking to you through the dog? Laurie, I don’t understand what you mean by that.
Laurie: I know. Isn’t that kind of crazy? He’d say, “Laurie, Muffy wants to know if you’re doing okay, or if you have enough room over there where you’re walking?” He chose to ask me questions through the dog!
Jodi: You’re kidding! (Laughter)
Laurie: I was thinking, “Oh gosh! How do I answer? Do I answer through the dog, or do I answer directly? Am I talking to the dog?” It got to be a little crazy!
Jodi: Oh my goodness! (Laughter)
Laurie: I know! I was so bummed because he seemed like such a good catch. He had all the credentials I was looking for on paper. I’m going to say credentials – he seems like he had really good values. He was polite. He was well read. He was attractive. I thought, “Gosh, this guy seems like a good catch.” But then, he was attached to his dog and it was just a distraction. Because I’m not like that — a dog person, I just had a hard time relating.
Jodi: Did he look at the dog and ask the question to the dog? Or did he look at you and ask questions?
Laurie: He would look at the dog first and then he would look at me.
Jodi: He was channeling the question through the dog, so he wasn’t asking what he wanted to know. It was what the dog wanted to know?
Laurie: A the end of the day, what I realized was that he was a little shy and was feeling insecure. So he was using the dog as a way to talk to me because he was just insecure. The dog is his crutch.
Jodi: I think that was probably a very astute observation, but still…
Laurie: It was crazy! That was the only time that ever happened on any of my dates.
Jodi: You two strolled along the beach?
Laurie: We strolled along the beach.
Jodi: And he talked to you through his dog and you talked back to him directly?
Laurie: Yes. The next day, I got a text from him asking me if I want to go paddle boarding. We had talked about paddle boarding during the date and I always wanted to try it. But actually, he didn’t ask me. He asked me through his dog! His dog asked me if I want to go paddle boarding…not just paddle boarding, but paddle boarding in Hawaii!
Jodi: In Hawaii? You don’t live in Hawaii.
Laurie: I don’t live in Hawaii, right? He sent me a photo of his dog that said below it, “Oh, Muffy is wondering if you want to go paddle boarding in Hawaii?”
Jodi: Okay! He liked you so much on that first date that he wants to take you to Hawaii through his dog….
Laurie: Through his dog, to go paddle boarding.
Jodi: ….and go on vacation?
Laurie: Right! I was confused. I’m like “Either the dog, you know, either he’s so attached to his dog and the dog’s coming, or this guy is just using his dog as like the crutch and a security blanket.” So again, it was such a letdown for me because I thought this guy was such a great catch and we had had a decent conversation on the date.
I was thinking, “Okay, what’s going on here? Is it just me because I’m not a dog person and it’s hard for me to relate to it, and I should be a little bit more open-minded? Or is it him just being insecure, or something, and he doesn’t know how to talk to me maturely?” It took me a little bit to figure out just where things stood and how I felt about it and if I want to give it more time.
Jodi: What did you ultimately decide?
Laurie: I went on another date with him. We ended up going to dinner.
Jodi: Did you see him after that?
Jodi: Why didn’t you see him again?
Laurie: Because, honestly, I just wasn’t feeling the connection that I was hoping to feel. I also, in the back of my mind, was thinking, “He’s got this dog that he’s really attached to” — we talked about the dog a lot on the second date — “We’re not sharing the same common interests.” I like dogs just fine, but not to the level that he apparently does.
Jodi: What did you take away from this experience?
Laurie: I guess I took away that there’s really a lot to consider when trying to decide if there’s a person you want to continue dating and exploring a relationship with. We actually had a really good conversation. We talked about authenticity and people’s energy and how sometimes it’s not really what a person says or does, but it’s how a person makes you feel and if a person has positive energy how powerful that can be and how compelling that can be. I grew an awareness around that thanks to him. He helped me tune in when I was on other dates after him.
But I also guess I learned that for me the dog thing was a big deal. We just didn’t have enough — that was such an important part of his life that he probably needed another person — we just weren’t matching up on that. I think I learned to learn more about the person and their interests and also to make sure there’s enough common ground.
The really good news is that I have a good friend who’s actually a dog woman. I had known that she was really hoping to find and have a man in her life. So, I instantly thought of Peter. He was really a high quality person. I thought, “Perfect. I’m going to set her up with Peter.” I actually put the two of them in touch and they went out. They had a good time, but it didn’t really make the distance. But they enjoyed each other’s company and she did not find the dog factor to be a problem.
Jodi: You took goodness away from this experience! It seems like it affected your future dates because of what you and he discussed. The thoughts and insights that he shared with you were things that you internalized and you were able to grow as a person as a result.
Laurie: No question! I will say that goes for all the dates I went on. I feel like there was always something positive that I took away from them, whether it was some kind of learning; either I met a really great person, or I learned something more about myself, or I learned about what was important to me. So yeah, it was, in the end, a positive thing. It really was. We ended on good terms. I was completely honest with my feelings. He had an opportunity to meet a great woman and my friend enjoyed him and that’s it. It’s all about life and experiences and giving people opportunities and really going into things with an open mind.
Jodi: Given all the dating that you’ve done, do you have any words of wisdom, any dating tips, to share with the women who are listening?
Laurie: I do. I do. Come up with your dating protocol. For me it was before agreeing to go on a date, to have a phone conversation with the person just to make sure they’re legit. And then secondly, having the date be kind of short – not going out to dinner, but maybe meeting for a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, or a walk. I thought that was a really good idea. After you go out on a few dates, you really want to find out where the person lives. Before they go to your house, go to their house. I have run into instances, and I’ve heard of instances, where the man says he’s separated, or divorced, from his wife and in fact he’s still living with her! So, it’s important to make sure you have an idea of where they live and if they’re living by themselves, or with their kids.
Jodi: Plus, it’s always interesting to see how people live. You get a lot of learnings, a lot of insights into the guy you’re getting to know if you see where he lives and what it looks like in terms of cleanliness and other things.
Laurie: That’s right….and if he lives where he says he lives. I had guys telling me they live in different towns than where they really lived!
Laurie: Uh-hmm. Definitely have an open mind, but it’s just really prudent to do your diligence.
Jodi: Do your diligence. Excellent advice.
Jodi: Laurie, the dog story is a memorable one!
Laurie: It sure is.
Jodi: It’s great to have you share it with me and with all the listeners. I thank you for being on the podcast today and I wish you all the best.
Laurie: Thank you and I wish your listeners all the best too. Don’t be afraid and also don’t give up hope because there is that needle in the haystack. I’m really happy. It took some work, and some learning, and some experience. But I definitely got what I was looking for.
Jodi: Thanks again.
Laurie: Thanks, Jodi.