The following is the transcript of this podcast episode.:
Jodi: Hi, Vanessa. Welcome back to the podcast!
Vanessa: Thank you.
Jodi: You have another story to share with us! I’m happy that you’ve come back to tell it to me and the rest of the listening audience today.
Vanessa: I do. There’s always something interesting that comes out of each of these first dates.
Jodi: In case the listeners have not heard about your date with Tony, let’s take a moment and please share with them a little bit about yourself.
Vanessa: I’m 60 years old. I’ve been divorced for about six years now. I’ve been in the dating world ever since. I am a mother of two grown boys and I’m actually now a grandmother.
Vanessa: Thank you. A little baby boy. And that’s interesting…dating and telling men that you’re a grandmother. That’s a whole other story!
Jodi: Is this is a newer thing you are sharing with them?
Vanessa: It is. It’s a little scary to some men.
Jodi: I was going to ask.
Jodi: How are they reacting to it?
Vanessa: For the most part, well. There are some men who see themselves with younger women and when you start to tell them you’re a grandmother, I think that conjures up in their head an image of someone who is not what they want to date. I think they worry, just like you worry when you’re dating someone who has children, that there’s going to be other obligations and things that take you away from the relationship, which to a certain extent is true.
Jodi: Has that caused any men to decide not to date you, not to meet you even?
Vanessa: Nobody has been that honest.
Vanessa: But I suspect that it could be an influencer.
Jodi: I guess that’s really, really superficial.
Vanessa: Yeah. It is, but it’s a reality. There are so many things that people look at and they know I have my yes and my no columns and something like that puts you in the no column, and if it does, then they’re not right for you anyway.
Jodi: If that does puts you in no column for them, they’re fools.
Vanessa: Yeah. Thank you.
Jodi: Clearly, Liam is not a fool.
Jodi: He went out with you. Let’s hear a bit about him.
Vanessa: Well, the Liam story is really interesting because he almost didn’t go out with me. He is a little bit older than me. We met on Match. I went out with him at a time where I was kind of in a frantic stage, having ended a relationship. I was starting to get out in the world again of dating. So I’d actually lined up a bunch of Match dates all in a row.
Jodi: On the same day, or the same weekend?
Vanessa: Same week. I kind of had Date 1, Date 2, and Date 3.
Jodi: Way to go girl!
Vanessa: Well, it was “get on that horse and ride!” I didn’t want to sit there and pine over the last relationship. Date 1 was off after the first date. It was that obligatory, he came towards me and gave me a kiss, and I was like, “Oh, what do I do?” And Date 2, when he came towards me, I turned my cheek because I knew from Date 1 that that was… I was done with him as well. It ended up that he was living with his parents and that was just something I couldn’t deal with. I put him in the “No” category.
Jodi: Those were the first two men that you met on your bonanza week of dating?
Vanessa: Yes. So I planned to go on Date 3, the third evening, and I happened to be in an area that was not too far from where Liam worked. So I texted him. We have been talking for three days on Match. He was very articulate and interesting and insightful. He seemed to be a step above some of these other guys, I thought. And yet, he hadn’t asked me out.
So I texted him and said, “I’m in the area, but I have to get home soon.” I didn’t explain to him that I had to get home for Date #3….and is there any chance that he might meet me for lunch, or if he had any free time? I wrote a text to him, “I don’t know what the frantic urgency is in us getting together, but I just want to know if you’re around.”
Jodi: You made the first move.
Vanessa: I did.
Jodi: I think that’s wonderful.
Vanessa: And he responded with, “I’m not sure what the frantic urgency is either, but I am available until 2:00pm today if that works for you. But after 2:00pm, I need to pick up my kids from school and take them home.” So we met.
Jodi: How were you feeling then? You must have been thinking about this as you were driving wherever you were heading, and you must have had this in your mind before. Or was it completely spontaneous?
Vanessa: It was a little bit of both because I thought in my head, “Oh, I should have mentioned to him that I was going to be in the city.” But the spontaneous part was like, “I am in the city and I’m really close to you so maybe we can get together.” I think he thought I was a little bit over the top because I said, “According to my Google Maps I can be there at 12:38pm,” to which he responded, “You’re very efficient.” But it gave me an exact time, so I told him the exact time I could be there.
Yeah, I think I was pushing it a little and then I think my whole frantic nature just came through during our lunch because I was shoving Date 3A in between 3A and 3B and I was a little manic. I mean, I was. I was on this “master date-a-thon” to try and find the next man. I knew it was a number’s game, unfortunately, on Match and I was going to get my numbers going. It was interesting. Liam is a very good conversationalist, so he asked a lot of questions. What I found out after an hour of being there with him was that I spoke the entire time and I learned very little about him.
Jodi: But you realize this before the date was over.
Vanessa: Just towards the end I was like, “How do I turn this thing around?” So I did talk to him a little bit about college and it turned out that we both went to the same college. Then it turned out that we both lived in the same dorm, or he lived in the sister dorm at college while I was there.
Jodi: Small world!
Vanessa: Small world. So I thought I was starting to get a little bit out of him about him until I learned that he actually had had a crush on my college roommate!
Vanessa: Yes, on my college roommate! And had no recollection of me.
Jodi: Oh my gosh!
Jodi: So he’d been to your dorm room then?
Vanessa: Probably. I didn’t even think about that. Probably.
Jodi: He probably met you. You probably met him.
Jodi: You have no recollection of him?
Vanessa: No, but I also didn’t have a crush on his college roommate. (Laughter)
Jodi: It’s a crazy, small world!
Vanessa: It was a crazy, small world and it was this frantic short lunch. He had to leave and I had to leave to get to my date and he had to get to his kids. The date ended and I realized that I had just gone “blah, blah, blah.” You get nervous. I guess I was frantic and manic and just a little over the top during my dating frenzy.
Jodi: And that was all coming from you in your head.
Vanessa: Absolutely! But it was my own self-assessment, right? We do that to ourselves. I looked at my watch and it was 1:38pm, so we had had an hour, and I said, “You got to go.” I’m a Mom and I respect that if your kids are waiting for you, you need to go. You can’t be out on some first date and be late for your kids because that’s just not right.
He offered to walk me to my car and my car was in one parking lot and his car was close to his office and I said, “That’s okay. You need to go.” Frankly, I needed to go. I said, “Thanks, it was fun.” I kind of leaned in. Now that I had gotten back into dating, I knew that you lean in for your kiss, or your hug, or something. Instead, he reached out and shook my hand.
Jodi: Okay? That was not what you expected.
Vanessa: Well, it was not I was hoping for and certainly not what I expected.
Jodi: But you were giving off these signals, “Got to go.” “My car is over there or your car is over there.” “Don’t worry about me.”
Vanessa: I didn’t realize that was any of the things I was giving off. I was just trying to be a concerned Mom. I was just trying to respect his schedule. I was in my head in a different place and maybe he was in his, or maybe he was just reading all of my cues in the way that you’ve just described.
Jodi: Isn’t it fascinating? Where you were coming from, it made total sense to you.
Jodi: And it makes sense to me too. But, your actions and your words could easily be construed another way by him.
Jodi: Not as thoughtful, but as not interested.
Vanessa: Well, and likewise, the handshake was then construed and, “Well, that was a disaster,” right?
Jodi: Exactly. Right.
Jodi: It is so confusing sometimes.
Vanessa: It is. It is. You know, I think that the point of this first date story is that we totally misinterpreted each other. I had a girlfriend who’s in Chicago who wants to know all about my love life and what’s happening. She knew that I was going on these three dates. And she said, “Tell me about them and send me pictures of each of them,” and I said, “Well, I don’t, I’d have to go back on their sites and screen capture their photos and send them to you.” She said, “Do it.” So I did. But I guess when you’re on Match.com and you go in and you screen capture and you look at someone’s site, it shows that you’ve been on their site looking at them.
Jodi: They know you’ve read their profile.
Vanessa: Again. Yes. You visited again. So, Liam contacted me and said, “I see you were looking at my profile.” I replied, “Yeah.” And he said, “Would you like to maybe get together another time and have dinner or something?” I just was honest and said, “You shook my hand. I didn’t think you liked me.” And he said, “Well, I didn’t think you liked me because you kept telling me not to walk to your car and all of that.”
We had a good laugh over the fact that we both misread each other. I kind of had justified in my head why he shouldn’t like me. I was over talkative and I wasn’t inquisitive about him. I was in a rush and I was so exact in my timing. I’d given all these crazy Type A impressions that I’m really not.
Jodi: But what was the impression that he was taking away? Did he share that with you?
Vanessa: Well, he said he liked our time together. He liked my enthusiasm, which was his interpretation of what I thought was over-talkativeness. We laughed at how we could so misread each other because I thought he was confident and he had kind of a boyish charm. There were a lot of things about him that initially I was attracted to. But I felt like I had totally blown it.
And yeah, we’re still at this together and we’ve learned to communicate a little bit better than we had. In fact, he’s a great communicator. We just learned that we can’t read each other quite that way. We just have to be open in our communications. But I have to thank my friend in Chicago for asking me to send photos, or that would have been the end and I would have had self-doubt. I would have questioned myself and I wouldn’t have wondered what happened and for the longest time I referred to him as “Mr. Handshake.”
Jodi: Mr. Handshake! (Laughter)
Vanessa: We have all our Match names for all the guys to remember. To this day, he’s Mr. Handshake. (Laughter)
Jodi: Does he know that he’s Mr. Handshake?
Vanessa: He does.
Jodi: Does he give you great handshakes now?
Vanessa: The best! (Laughter)
Jodi: There are real valuable learnings in this story, Vanessa.
Vanessa: Yeah. I really think so. As women, we are always evaluating ourselves and trying to figure out what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong. I think what it comes down to is, we have to be honest. I probably should have just reached out to him afterwards and said, “I sense that you weren’t interested in going out again. Is that true? I kind of like you.” There’s nothing wrong with being a little assertive.
Jodi: And making yourself vulnerable in the process.
Vanessa: Yes. Because you know what? If the answer is no, the answer is no, but you won’t know unless you asked, and I didn’t ask. But I guess I did in my own way by screen capturing his picture for my girlfriend.
Jodi: I guess you have Match.com to thank that it notifies people when you go check out their profile. Otherwise you and Liam would not be in a relationship right now.
Vanessa: That’s right!
Jodi: Thank you for coming back and sharing this story. I wish you and Liam all the best.
Vanessa: Thank you so much.