Dear Luv Doc,
I went on a first date Wednesday night with a girl I met online. I took her to a very nice restaurant and bought a nice bottle of wine. She spent most of the evening texting on her phone and occasionally looking up at me and pretending she knew what I was saying. Maybe I am old-fashioned, but this just seems to me to be the height of rude behavior. I can’t believe it, but she actually texted me this morning and is talking about what we should do on our second date. Should I go against my judgment and take her out again?
If you go against your own judgment, whose judgment will you be using? Not mine, I hope, because I have horrible judgment. That is why i am going to suggest you go with your gut. Drop this chick like a hot potato. Drop her like a wet baton. Drop her like a gunnysack full of rattlesnakes. Drop her and run.
I can totally see answering one or two texts during a first date. Your grandmother might be in ICU. You neighbor might have just found your cat in the wheel well of his pickup. Your sister might have just given birth to triplets. At most, any of those scenarios are worth about two texts on a first date. First Text: “Wow! That’s crazy!” Second text: “Hope everything works out OK. I will call you after my date.” I know what you’re thinking, but if your grandmother is in ICU, she probably shouldn’t be texting you anyway.
All other excuses are null and void. In fact, the best policy on a first date … or any date … or really any one-on-one interaction with another human being in the physical world … is to turn off your phone. Turn it off. Yes, I know that it’s a scary thing functioning without your hive mind … not being able to instantly dial up who played Ashley Olsen in the “The Olsen Twins: Passport to Paris,” but sometimes the most beautiful moments in life happen when you’re working without a net. Actually, most times.
Ideally, the person you’re with has chosen to spend time with you—not a Google search algorithm (sexy though they may be) or a heated game of Angry Birds. Much like a hand-held device, a human being … given proper input or query … will surprise/fascinate/amaze you with its response. You just have to listen.
For example, once, in a 12th-floor hotel room in South Padre Island in the middle of a heated game of quarters, a young gentleman seated next to me removed his shoe and showed me the stump of his big toe that he claimed had been blown off by a severed power line that had struck him in the shoulder. He also showed me the star-shaped scar on his sunburned shoulder where the severed power line had first made contact with his skin.
I know that sounds like an unremarkable story except for the fact that he had caused the severed power line by wrecking his T-Top Trans Am into a utility pole while drunk-driving his way to a Van Halen concert. I know. That story is more fascinating than the birth of Jesus and here’s the thing: if I had been checking my Instagram feed I would have totally missed it—not just because I heard that story in 1982 and I would have had to time-travel through some sort of wormhole to bring a smartphone to the quarters game, but because if by some miracle I had done that, I would probably have missed the entire thing because I was looking at pictures of someone’s cat.
I don’t have to explain to you what a travesty that would have been. Arguably it would have had some sort of butterfly effect that might have altered the entire course of my existence. At the very least, I wouldn’t have been given that story … a story that I have cherished and protected with the same emotional intensity as Christopher Walken’s gold watch in Pulp Fiction. Why? Because without stories people are just worthless meat puppets, emotionless drones walking around sucking up oxygen and food and water and giving nothing back but piles of excrement.
So yes, delete that woman’s number from your phone and find someone with an attention span. You owe it to yourself and to the world.