Date Lab gets stood up (and what to do when it happens to you)


(Courtesy of the dater)
October 6, 2011
About the dater ...
Your type ...

Dawn: Tall, dark and handsome with an athletic build. This gentleman visibly takes care of himself, is well-groomed. He is down-to-earth, well rounded, adventurous and has an active lifestyle. My type of guy is social and can mix in any type of crowd. His friends and family are equally important to him, but his love interest is priority.

Brag a little ...

Dawn: I’m honest, sincere and sexy. I’m well grounded, and I try to do the right thing. My friends will tell you I have a kind heart and I mean well.

Interests to share ...

Dawn: My current hobbies are bowling, riding my motorcycle and hanging out with my friends, exercising, and trying new things — and not in that order. I’d love to share the adventurous side with my date. I love trying new things at least once.

About the date ...
7:30 p.m., Grillfish, Foggy Bottom

Dawn: I was a little excited. I got there about 20 minutes after 7 and introduced myself to the girl, who went and got the manager.

Grillfish owner David Winer: Her table had been reserved — a nice corner table — and I suggested she have a drink at the bar until her blind date arrived.

Dawn: I ordered a drink and sat and talked to the lady next to me. I said, “I’m here for a blind date,” and she says, “Are you really?” And she told me about her blind date years ago. We had a good laugh about it.

David: At about 10 of 8, she got fairly frustrated. [But] she was very pleasant, very nice. I had walked up to her to make sure she was all right, and she was, at that point, saying, “Perhaps we missed each other, or he got the night wrong, or maybe he walked in and saw me and walked out.” I assured her that had someone walked in, he wouldn’t have escaped our attention. And she’s quite a pretty lady.

Dawn: Then five minutes after 8 came, and I said, “He’s not coming.” I wasn’t annoyed, frustrated, angry, sad or anything negative. I was engaged in great conversation with the lady sitting next to me. I truly enjoyed myself.

***

If you’ve dated long enough, you can probably relate. The anticipation, the waiting (and waiting) and then, finally, the ego-flattening realization: You’ve been stood up.

The guy we’d picked out for Dawn seemed enthusiastic and confirmed that morning that he’d be at the restaurant at 7:30 sharp. Since his no-show, he has not responded to multiple phone calls and e-mails. Needless to say, we are ... well, this is a family paper, so we can’t adequately describe our feelings here.

Dawn ended up on a date without a date — a first for her and for Date Lab — and she’s hardly alone. “Flaking happens so often these days. It’s become something that just happens as part of the process,” says dating consultant Thomas Edwards. “It’s not like just guys are doing it or just women are doing it — they’re both doing it,” says Edwards, who in 2009 founded the Professional Wingman (and whose mostly male client base has its share of stood-up stories).

Don’t take it personally, says Karen Shanor, a Washington area clinical and neuropsychologist. “Remember, we haven’t done a whole lot to make them not show up; they don’t know that much about us. We can pretty much assume that most of it is something going on with the other person.”

What’s going on might be anything from a bout of forgetfulness to profound insensitivity, but “the biggest reason is that they’re scared,” Shanor says. Of putting themselves out there, of being rejected, of feeling inadequate.

So what next? “You already look great. Go hit a happy hour,” suggests Michelle Jacoby, owner of D.C. Matchmaking & Coaching. “If you have the courage to go out by yourself, it’s a fantastic way to meet people, because women who are alone are very approachable.” (Her tip: If you’re on your own, sit facing slightly away from the bar — the better to invite conversation.)

If your no-show date has a solid excuse and seems sincerely apologetic, you might want to forgive and forget, Jacoby says. But if you don’t get a call or are offered a lame explanation, “that’s someone you delete, delete, delete.” Whether you initiate additional contact is up to you, but, Jacoby says, “Why even put your energy into that?”

In the end, a thank you might even be in order; your date has “done you a favor by giving you information about his [or her] character, and you didn’t have to waste an evening,” she says. “They’ve freed you up to meet other people.”

Says Dawn: “I just made the best of it. I enjoyed my evening — that’s what I came to do.” She tucked into a delicious meal (shrimp scampi followed by a decadent brownie sundae), sipped a margarita and made a friend chatting at the bar.

Not what she’d hoped for on her first blind date, but, she says, “I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.” As for her date? He “just wasn’t the person meant to enjoy my company. He missed out on a very nice evening.”

UPDATE: Dawn wasn’t exactly excited to be our dating disaster poster girl, but she’s been an amazingly good sport and says she’s still up for a second try with Date Lab. Think you or someone you know might be her match? E-mail us at datelab@washpost.com.

Got your own stood-up story? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter @datelab.

Curious?

Tell us what past Washington Post story or person in the news you want us to update. E-mail trents@washpost.com or call 202-334-4208.

UPDATE:

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