Joshua Jackson and his lady love, actress Diane Kruger, have been together for seven years -- a lifetime in Hollywood. They are obviously madly in love. But it wasn't always that way. In fact, their first date was so disastrous that Diane confessed she wondered whether she should slap him. Geez, was Joshua that bad of a date? Diane told Conan O'Brien that Joshua basically "tricked" her into going to dinner with him, chose a restaurant that was way too romantic for a first date and was filled with flowers that she was massively allergic to, spent the entire dinner talking about himself, had a car that smelled like dog poo, and then expected a kiss. Diane was so put off she thought she'd never see him again -- but the next day, he sent flowers and a box of Kleenex. The couple haven't been apart since. This story was a good reminder that first dates shouldn't necessarily be judged so harshly. Here are seven reasons you should give a disastrous date a second chance.
1. Are you attracted? Diane and Josh's date was disastrous but Diane admitted that "he was pretty cute." And that's probably why she agreed to go out with him again -- she was attracted to him. Sometimes that can backfire badly -- and you keep seeing a guy that isn't going to work out because of sexual attraction. On the other hand, if that is there, the guy might be worth another looksee even if he blabbed about himself all evening and his car smells like dog poop.
2. Are your expectations too high? A friend of mine once came to me and started complaining about her date, who didn't open doors for her, pull out her chair, or put on her coat for her -- all things that, "as a Southern woman," she had come to expect. "What's wrong with your arms?" I asked her. She looked shocked and then suddenly realized that, yes, as a woman with two arms, she could indeed do all of those things for herself and maybe they weren't that important. She went out with him again, and now they're married with two children.
3. Is he a good person? He may be a stingy tipper, have picked the wrong restaurant, and have worn tacky clothes, but is he a good guy? Does he feed the homeless, walk rescue dogs, care about the planet, visit his elderly mother, etc.? Superficial things like whether he ordered the right wine or didn't have a stain on his shirt won't matter when you're deep into a relationship and really just want and need someone who is a genuinely good guy who doesn't lie, cheat, or steal and is there for you.
4. Are you ready to date? If you've had a recent breakup or some other major life upheaval, you may simply not be in the mind frame to date, no matter how great the guy might be. In that case, don't excuse, but explain that you're going through a lot right now and aren't feeling romantic, but would he be open to dating in the future or even being friends? You never know where friendship might lead.
5. Was the dating disaster no one's fault? Sometimes things go all wrong, but for no particular reason. I remember a date in college when the guy's car broke down, and I simultaneously locked myself out of my apartment. It was our first date, and yet we spent it sleeping in his freezing car until we could get help. The horrible circumstances so totally overwhelmed the date that I couldn't focus at all on whether or not I even liked him. A date like that could very well mean you should give the guy another chance -- or it could mean the universe is telling you to RUN. I'll let you be the judge.
6. He's "off." Is he staring at his cellphone screen instead of talking to you? Is he quiet and hardly asks you anything about yourself? Does he seem far away and uninterested? Could mean he's aloof and cold -- or it could mean his faithful dog is dying or he just got laid off. Try to get to the bottom of it. But remember, you're not his therapist. If he doesn't want to open up, then so be it. You're not a mind reader, either.
7. Did he apologize or give a reasonable explanation why the date went wrong? Does it make sense to you on a gut level? You don't have to go out with a guy who was rude or otherwise a bad date just because he apologizes -- in fact, I don't recommend that at all -- but does his explanation sound sincere and strike you as reasonable? If so he might be worth a second date, though you certainly don't owe him a third if he hasn't shaped up.
Have you ever given a bad date a second chance? How'd it go?
Image via EpSos.de/Flickr