Dear Luv Doc,
As a medical professional, I work a lot of long, late hours. When I get home, the first thing I want to do is go to sleep. This is really affecting my dating life. A week ago I went on a first date with a very nice guy and … I actually fell asleep while we were waiting for our after-dinner coffee. He was very kind and understanding about it and laughed it off, but he hasn’t asked me out again. Should I call him? I am mortified. What should I say?
―Sleepy and Bashful
Yes, you should call him―ideally during waking hours when you’re on top of your game. That said, I think most people would agree that other than Happy, Sleepy and Bashful are the most adorable dwarfs, so you’ve got a leg up right there. And while we’re at it, true confession: I once fell asleep during a job interview.
No, I wasn’t applying for a job, I was interviewing a young woman who was applying to be an assistant. I was working on about three hours sleep from the night before, and somehow the interview meandered into a rather extended soliloquy about her workout routine. Let me just say this: with a good night’s sleep and a couple of shots of espresso, I might be able to stay awake while someone drones on about their lats or glutes or nutrition regimen―at least for a solid 15, but if I am at all sleep-deprived, the only way I have a chance of staying conscious is if your workout routine involves being chased by a hungry bear.
I will admit, however, that regardless of how well-justified my slumber might have been, I was a little bit embarrassed about falling asleep during that interview―not that the young woman noticed. She was so engrossed in her monologue that I am not sure she knew I was in the room. In fact, she continued on without breaking stride―at least as far as I know―after I was awakened by a hard kick in the shin from my co-worker, who to this day refers back to this incident as one of her most embarrassing moments. What a charmed life, right? That wasn’t even the most embarrassing moment of my day.
And yet, somehow I managed to soldier on and make it through the rest of that day, and week, and year, and decade. Did we hire that woman? God no, and not because my co-worker was mortified, but because I couldn’t stand the thought of enduring that woman’s daily workout recaps by the office water cooler, even if I could imagine her being chased by a hungry bear.
So you fell asleep after a nice meal. This fellow should be flattered that you felt cozy enough in his presence to take a nap. Most people spend first dates either frozen in terror at a horrible mistake they just made or bouncing around like a cocker spaniel who just ate a birthday cake because they’re trying to be interesting, hilarious, and impressive when they’re clearly not.
More importantly, embarrassment is highly overrated as an emotion and highly underrated as future material for fascinating cocktail party conversation. Give this guy a call. If he is the type of person who would dismiss you simply for nodding off, even if he was right in the middle of telling you about how his childhood hamster died, it’s best to know it now so you don’t obsess for the rest of your life about the jerk who got away. My bet is that he’s self-conscious that he was boring and is too mortified to call you. Only one way to find out. Get some rest and call him in the morning.