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January 5, 2010

Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays: The road map to first dates

first date! first date! I hope, for the sake of the people involved, that the conversation near the end of Owl Meat's column didn't actually happen. But knowing this city, I have a feeling it did. Which makes it pretty freaking awesome. Read on, Midnight Sunners:

First dates are a cauldron of prospects that include the good, the bad, and the fugly.

The tentacles of expectation grip the throat of possibility as hormones, alcohol and anxiety bubble up in this awkward stew. They are also entertaining to watch in a bar or restaurant. Tragedy is when you fall down a manhole. Comedy is when someone else does.

These days people meet online through Facebook, Twitter, dating sites, or even a blog like this. It's high-tech retro Victorian. People get to know each other through writing like characters in a Jane Austen novel ...

Editor's note: It's funny -- I've often thought of Midnight Sun as a long-running, free-form Jane Austen novel.

Eventually you have to pull the trigger and meet in person. That first date determines if you have that je ne sais quoi –  chemistry. Here are ten things that I have observed to be date poison.

1) Using a coupon at a restaurant. Yeesh.
2) Texting on your date.
3) Talking about how much money you make.
4) Work talk – Nobody cares what Smithers in accounting did today.
5) Ex talk – Leave your former relationships in the dustbin of history.
6) Doing shots of Jägermeister while your date sips Pinot Grigio.
7) Expensive, formal restaurants.
8) Don't take her to the joint where your bro-hams hang.
9) Dial down the crazy. I saw someone make his date switch chairs, because he wanted the gunfighter seat.
10) The interview – Mutual Q&A that sounds like a job interview.

I saw a classic bad first date last year. Here are some highlights:

Chip: Gulps from a heady pint of Moretti La Rossa. "You're part Polish? Do you know where the term 'dumb Pollock' comes from?"

Chip recounts the history of the Poles' resistance to Nazi mechanized cavalry (tanks) with horse cavalry.

Ashley: "Oh," and sips her bottle of Michelob Ultra.

Chip: "The girl I'm gonna marry is 13 years old right now."

Ashley: Icy Michelob Ultra silence.

What? Back pedaling, Chip explains that he doesn't want to get married for at least ten years, but ew. He orders a shot of Corazón tequila to add some luster to his pervy patina.

Chip: "For a first date I like to take a girl out for wings. If she can pick a chicken wing clean, then she passes about eight different tests."

Ashley: "That's smart."

Nooooooo ... Ladies? Does the chicken wing test sound like something that would work for you?
Ashley: On her phone checking on her girl's fantasy volleyball league.

Chip: "You gotta really be into that to know anything. Uh, I just know those two chicks from the Olympics."

That's bikini beach volleyball, Chipwich.

Ashley: On volleyball tournament rules, "Because it's totally unfair to use the 1989 rule book just because no one has the current rule book. It's just not fair!"

Chip: "We like to keep the bottle caps from beer in our pockets to show how much we drank last night. Sometimes I pick them up from the street to cheat."

Chip is now talking directly to me ... as I'm typing his words.

Chip: "I heard that Mr. Rogers was a trained assassin and ex-Special Forces marine in Vietnam, who killed a lot of dudes, man. He wore cardigans to hide the sick tattoos that covered his arms."

Ashley: Not listening. Peeling the label from her beer bottle and thinking about fantasy volleyball.

Chip: "You ready to roll, baby?"

Ashley: "Uh huh."

Whether you have a personal experience or witnessed a funny train wreck, please share them with the rest of the class. Nothing warms me up on a cold January day like dating schadenfreude.

(Getty Images)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:00 AM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays


The names of the people above were were made up, but it it is 100% factual and as close to verbatim as possible. I just got my new netbook and was typing in real time. Both people were from out of town.

Nope, that is a case study in what not to do. They booth seemed like nice people, but horribly mismatched, although I don't think they thought so.

Nothing is weirder than real life in Baltimore sometimes.

Ashley should just stick to the volleyball blog. And somebody should tell Chip about the chicken wing blog.

I think I might know where this conversation may have taken place. Especially with "His" name. lol

I've never thought of myself as terribly socially skilled, but OMG, you have made my week.

Life in Baltimore is its own cheap entertainment.. just ask the kids walking down fleet street New Years Day in pajamas with sleeping bags ( it was about 3 pm) Guess someone's mom got home a touch early.

They sound perfect for each other.

Speaking of talking about how much money you make, and talking about your job-- I saw a guy on a date at Donna's going on and on until his date got up from their outdoor table and asked to use the restroom. My wife was headed to the restroom as well, the date didn't make it-- Donna's has two exits. We had to sit around for a few more rounds to see when the guy realized she was gone. The look on that guy's face was priceless.

I was going to write about my deplorable lack of social grace in such situations, but then I found what I wrote about these two and felt much better about myself

I won't reveal the location. It could have been anywhere

I think that if you have a chicken wing test for women, you should probably keep it to yourself.

I will say that I witnessed someone bring a first date to this place and use a coupon. They clearly had met online and were doing the brutal Q&A. He cared so much about his future soul mate (barf) that he chose an inexpensive family place that had a $10 dinner night (with the coupon) but only on Mondays and only at the bar Now that' romantic.

As rule, I always have sex on the first date or try to. If it pans out, I have to pay $40, otherwise I keep looking.

I'm afraid I would have to pick them clean, if chicken wings were the only offering. I am more accustomed to a repast which includes turtle soup, a turbot with lobster and Dutch sauces, carved by an able domestic on the side-board, a portion of red mullet with cardinal sauce and cucumber, oyster or marrow pates, sweetbread au jus, lamb cutlets with peas, roast saddle of mutton, salad, beet-root, celery, vegetables, French and English mustards, plovers' eggs in aspic jelly, a mayonaise of fowl, chocolate cream, cherry-water, and two ices.

Good suggestions for what not to talk about on a first date. But what are some suitable topics of conversation? I don't follow sports all that closely, and current events can be a bit dicey because then politics comes into it.

After compiling the list of conversation don'ts, I thought, well what DO you talk about? I guess if you're compatible you find something I say try politics and religion. Why wait to find out you hate each other's beliefs? Movies and music interests can tell you a lot about a person.

I usually talk about my various rashes and the ointments that I use on them.

I was somewhere between laughing and cringing this past August sitting next to a couple at James Joyce. Your list skips fashion, but, otherwise covers all the bases comprehensively:

[X] money talk [but the ex wife got it all, see]

[X] Work talk [he had to tell her how many shares of some imaginary company he bought]

[X] Ex talk [the now-not-so-ex wife got it all again, after he made his money back]

[X] Texting [in her defense, she was just typing "HELP" over and over again]

This guy faked an accent (tried going for Australian/Kiwi but kept dropping it at random). Could have sworn he addressed the bartender in pure 'merican. Anyhow, when he went to the bathroom, she turned to me and apologized.

Great story, Dino.

I think we've all seen or met that guy. Don't be that guy.

Fashion? In Baltimore I see a huge number of mismatched couples. The guy s typically have baseball cap, untucked shirt or t-shirt, generally looking like they are going to a wings eating contest and the babe is dressed like she's going to the casino in Monte Carlo.

Fake accent? Sweet.

One of the funniest things I ever saw was an English guy in our group getting all the attention from the some girls in a Fell's Point bar (a sleazy place). They LOVED his accent. When he went to the bathroom one of his friends told the girls that it was a fake accent that he used to scam girls and that he was really from Dundalk. The best %^&* block I've ever seen. Ah, good times.

Nice one Owl Meat Gravy!!!....that's the best [ahem] block ever!!!

DaveS, yeah the more the dude tried to explain that it was his real accent the funnier it got . Genius.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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