Dating Etiquette & Breaking the First Date Barrier: Angels, Kings and White Hartes
It’s not often that I find myself being excited about dating a guy that I’ve met at a bar. As a matter of fact, after giving my phone number out at a bar many times in my life, and going on that exciting first date– I find myself feeling more apprehensive than if I had set the date online with a guy whose dating profile featured a one-liner “about me” description and zero photos. It’s a setup for a potentially cantankerous, humiliating, disastrous evening.
Maybe that’s being a little bit dramatic– disastrous would be getting a drink thrown at you, or having the guy suddenly get aggressive or crazy- you know like being kidnapped or abandoned in a remote location without a cell phone. I’m not so shallow as to worry only about appearance alone, vapidness also can cause disastrous outcomes. But I’ll take my description, from disastrous, down to a more appropriate level: Sometimes these post-bar meetups can be disappointing. Often, these dates produce “Roadblocks” or worse, “Dealbreakers” as quickly and effectively as Nicki Minaj changes her wigs.
Dealbreakers are those little actions that your date takes during the night, that are so innocently revolting, that you will never go on a second date. They often, in my experience happen towards the end of the date and range from physical advances, to verbal vomit, or post-date text messages. You often walk away thinking… why would you do that? Are you the least bit self aware or socially coherent?
So I walked into a bar… (so many good stories have started this way!) To be more specific, I walked into Angels and Kings in Hollywood, CA. The bar is loud, and dark, and attracts the strangest of personalities- picture Marilyn Manson goth kids galore! And we love it for that reason. If you’re looking to date a hot Emo guy, or maybe exchange black lipstick with a goth hottie, then this is the place to go. Surprisingly enough, I often get approached by the few-and-far between “normal” guys in the bar (if there is such a thing as “normal” in Hollywood).
When I go to a bar with my girlfriends, half of me is there to hang out with my pals, the other half is on the prowl looking for that next good thing- so it’s my policy to be open to talking, and going out with a guy, even if maybe the initial attraction isn’t immediate and earth shattering. (There are exceptions to that rule.)
An unassuming, nice guy approached myself and my friend as we stood people watching by the bar at Angels and Kings. It’s best for people watching, because the music is so damn loud, it’s near impossible to hold a conversation that doesn’t strain your vocal chords and leave you hoarse by the end of your night. He was polite, he introduced himself to the both of us, displayed that he was with a group of friends to ensure his credibility and then made it very clear that he was interested in specifically talking to me. Cue the questions about career, the ever popular- “do you come here often?” and then the final goal of the conversation is approached, “Can I get your number? It’d be great to go out sometime.”
I really wasn’t sure. But that is what dating is for- so you can find out if your idea of fun, if your values, if your goals- match up with this guy’s aspirations.
So I took the leap and I gave the guy my phone number. He sent me a text the next day reminding me of how we met. A little back and forth lead up to a decision to meet up the following Wednesday for a drink at a local bar in the SFV. He lived in Sherman Oaks and I lived in Woodland Hills. I am guilty of demanding that first dates be on my terms, at my choice of location, nearby me- especially if I’m not head over heels excited for the date. So I chose, my personal local favorite, The White Harte Pub.
This place has a pretty regular clientele that shows up, almost every night of the week. This is supported by the pub’s excellent menu featuring the best of British pub food, a great selection of drinks on tap, and weekly special events including a karaoke night in the back patio on Wednesdays.
We sat outside on the front patio at The White Harte, he paid for my drinks, he told me some funny stories about a taser experience in Alabama and ordered some fries cause he was hungry. I ordered my favorite drink from the pub- a pint of Blackthorn cider. Delicious! But it’s a sweet dry drink, make sure you can handle it.
Here’s a few mid-date issues I had. Roadblocks, really.
Roadblock #1: Food choices…We ordered the fries because he explicitly said that he was hungry. So we decided to share a basket. After the fries were set out in front us– fries that I would not have eaten at 10pm at night (the drinks are vicious enough on a lady’s figure)– he proceeded to sit, drink, and eat maybe two or three fries. So now we have a basket of salty delicious, unhealthy, (and eventually stinky, stale) fries in front of us. I don’t know about you– but me– that’s going to take a bit of effort not to pick at the food in front of me for the rest of the night. So my mind is now no longer at ease on our date, because, I’m eating more fries than you are, and you’re the one who ordered them! What are you trying to do make me fat? We live in Los Angeles- the pressure is already there to be fit, be a little more considerate!
Roadblock #2:Topics of conversation.. work is a good starter, but eventually it’s important to talk about something else, something silly, maybe even something pointless. And guys– watch out how many stories you tell about being arrested. Sometime there is a funny story, but sometimes, you’re making yourself look like a dumb criminal.
Roadblock #3: Physical interaction… He went to go use the restroom, and on his way back, instead of sitting back down at the table, he decided to walk behind me and put his hands on my shoulders in an attempt to give me a back massage. “Wow, you’re really tense!” Cue the grimace on my face– Yeah I’m tense, some stranger out of nowhere just came up from behind me and aggressively squeezed my shoulders. Oh, that stranger is my date, and we just met at a freakin’ bar. I barely know you and you’ve just violated my personal space boundaries! Yikes!
That being said.. I was still able to laugh my way through the date, and come the end of the night, I was at a mindset where I was willing to let the roadblocks slip by and go on a second date. We decided to switch locations to the back, but unfortunately, my mood and my energy level, did not match that of the loud karaoke going on in the room. It was late, so I decided to call it a night. I thanked the guy for the drinks and the good conversation and let him know that it’d be fun to get together again. It’s the end of the date.
DEALBREAKER #1: As we were leaving, he pulled me in for a hug. No problem. I’m not a big hugger, but I’ll give you a hug. But THEN- there was an attempt to kiss me, which was absolutely uncalled for and totally regulated- I turned my face away pronto! I met you at Angels and Kings- are you nuts?! Guys, never try to kiss a girl on a first date, unless you’ve known her for a while in a comfortable setting.
If you just met her at a bar, unless you are Brad Pitt himself, unless she is throwing herself at you, unless she’s initiating an obvious form of affection and flirtation, in your face, with lots of touching– don’t try to kiss her.
He kissed my cheek, and it was creepy and lingering, and I had never wanted to escape the embrace of a man (a stranger) more in my life!
DEALBREAKER #2: I made it home. I was safe, the car was off in the driveway- when I get a text message. “I really didn’t want the evening to end so early.” I looked at my watch, it was almost 1am on a weekday, and I had work in the morning. I casually responded that I had a great night too. The next text? “I wish it could have lasted longer. I really loved looking at your smile.” Aw shucks, that’s sweet. The text message immediately after that: “I didn’t want to go home. I wish we could have watched a movie. Do you want to watch a movie and cuddle at yours?”……… Do I even have to say it?! A guy who is texting you at 1am in the morning, asking if you want to cuddle, at your house, has so many redflag dealbreaker issues, that I don’t even know where to start. I didn’t respond that night. 1. Ew, you did not just try to invite yourself over to my house when we’ve only spent one evening getting to know each other. 2. Ew, I just met you. Ew. Ew. Ew. I have not even established if you are a serial killer or not- that takes at least three dates minimum. 3. I just read that text message combo to mean the following: “You have a pretty face, I really want to have sex with it. At your house, not mine. Cause I don’t want you to be able to find me afterwards.” The intentions behind a first date cuddle request will always be read as negative guys!
Needless to say, there never was a second date, although he tried and tried for a few weeks more with some more interesting text messages. The individual I met was nice, he had a good job, he was generally respectful and able to keep the conversation going, but ultimately, his date etiquette needed a lot of work. Regardless, I still head back to Angels and Kings, and The White Harte is still the only spot that has my favorite cider on tap. They both provide great atmosphere for meeting new people and hanging out with friends!
Angels and Kings, Hollywood, CA – Good for Ages 21 – 45. Looking to rock out a little bit on a friday or saturday night? Hoping to get a little freaky? Come to this bar after 11:30pm for a good time. You’ll encounter some interesting Marilyn Manson fans, some tattooed emo kids, some excellent 80s rockers, and a few of those Sorority/Frat-types spilling over from SupperClub next door. Enjoy music that hits your top 40 favorites, from when you were going through that emo phase in high school. Drinks are not bad, for the hollywood area (price and mixology) – enjoy the plastic cups! Limited seating but, nobody will talk to you if you sit in the corner anyways.
The White Harte Public House - Woodland Hills, CA – Good for Ages 18 – 55. They do check IDs at night for 21+ only guests. Another SFV locals spot. My personal favorite, as they have a traditional fish and chips, good fries, and my favorite cider on tap. Order a pint of Blackthorn if you’re interested in tasting a favorite drink of the Brits. This place has options. Part gastro-pub, part karaoke bar, part sports bar you’ve got three different areas to choose from in a nice little package. The back covered outdoor patio hosts karaoke nights, gaming fun including darts and a foosball table, as well as local bands and a new trivia night that has just started up. Swing by for an early dinner or a late night bite. Or come to knock a few back and get silly. You can definitely meet new singles here and it’s definitely a good spot for either a quiet or wild (both?!) date night. Check out their facebook page, linked above to find who what entertainment is available on the night of your choosing!