Daring to Date: Dealing with Dealbreakers

dating tips
Friends Having Drinks

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Update: I’m one date into the semester and I’m still alive! I’m not significantly behind in any way and I still have friends.

But let’s get to the good stuff—the stuff I know you want to hear. How did the date go? Well, it went… that’s for sure. It wasn’t a disaster but it wasn’t a success either. Let’s start from the very beginning.

I matched with a handsome, Puerto Rican UPenn student on Tinder and he began sending me messages. He was insistent that we go and get dinner some time, so I thought, “Why not? What do I have to lose?” So Friday night came and I drove my friend’s car down into Center City because 1) I hate SEPTA and 2) I have cool friends who let me use their cars.

As I walked to the restaurant, I started feeling nervous. I’ve been on a bunch of casual dates before, but it’s always a bit nerve-wracking meeting someone for the first time. So I was standing outside of the restaurant and I saw him walking up to me and I noticed one thing: he’s short.


Not ridiculously short, but noticeably shorter than me. But I let this fact slip into the back of my mind as we were shown our table.

The dinner was delicious, but the conversation wasn’t inspiring. We talked about the differences between Swarthmore and UPenn (spoiler alert: there are a lot of differences, obviously), we talked about classes (boring), and he complimented me incessantly. Overall, the conversation just had a very friendly tone. In fact, there weren’t any red flags raised during the dinner until towards the end of the meal—when we were thinking about getting dessert—he proudly said: “I don’t like sweets.


I let that slide as we passed on dessert and split the check. After all, I was a bit sexually frustrated and if I didn’t want a second date maybe I might as well have a little fun? We walk back to the car and he offered me a piece of gum. If there’s a less subtle way of suggesting a backseat makeout session without simply asking, I’d like to hear it in the comments below.

We hopped in the car, chewing on our gum as I drove him back towards UPenn. I turned on my Google Maps to direct us back as he told me, “I don’t trust those things. I can get us there faster.”


If you speak to any of my friends they will tell you that I’m a borderline technology addict. I love my phone. I love my Google Maps. I trust Google Maps to get me somewhere the quickest way possible. What mortal being thinks they can outsmart a program made by a multi-billion dollar company? Not me, that’s for sure. When I’m skeptical about a turn Google Maps is making me take, I say, “Jesus take the wheel!” and trust it.

So when my date tells me he doesn’t trust my beloved Google Maps, it’s done. But the real confirmation comes ten minutes later as we’re getting close to UPenn and he’s telling me about his family (not that I asked) and he misses his turn. Google Maps wouldn’t have missed the turn. Google Maps would have told me three times to make. the. turn.


I laugh it off, making a passive-aggressive joke about the fact that he should have trusted Google Maps but he tells me we’ll turn ahead. He keeps talking about his family, which I have no interest in because he has struck out in my book and—wait for it—he misses another turn. I am frustrated now. I want to get back to Swat. I want to write about this experience. I want to turn on Google fucking Maps. He laughs it off and we make the next turn to drop him off.

I give him a side hug in the car and send him on his way, no kiss, no hookup, no anything. He says we should do this again and I tell him to text me, but I have no intention of actually meeting him again.

But the fact that I didn’t have a good time doesn’t mean it was a bad date. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about what I want during this semester of dates. First, I want a guy who likes desserts and Google Maps. Second, I learned that I respond with “interesting” a lot during dates even when things are not interesting at all. Example: he told me that the bathrooms in his dorm were disgusting and I said, “Interesting.” I couldn’t think of anything less interesting than that.

This semester is not only about entertaining you with fun stories of dating, but about pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. Dating shows you what you really want and how you want to present yourself to potential suitors, so every flop is just as valuable as every success story.

Moving forward on this semester of dating, engaging in meaningful conversation is something I’m going to try and work on. Think of it as a homework assignment, of sorts. And speaking of my next date, this time I’ll be focusing on the “we hooked up a few times but I want to make something more happen” date. This past week I was feeling a bit sexually frustrated (sue me) so I texted one of my old flings from around the area and invited him over to “catch up.” We obviously hooked up, but we also lay in my bed for four hours talking about some really deep things. As he left he told me he wanted to take me out on a real date, so we set a date for this weekend and are going to do the cliche movie and dinner date.

Can what started as a hookup turn into something meaningful? I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

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