Jenny was smitten. She met Romantic Ronnie on a popular dating site. His photos, funny observations and pictures of his new Porsche overshadowed the fact that he lived two time zones away. She said she loved his writing and all his pictures. She shared many of his passions (movies, Madmen and 600 count sheets) Truth be told: she was hot to trot.
Jenny had been in an out of too many sour relationships and was ready for fun, romance, and passion.
After a handful of emails, they spoke on the phone. He was a big flirt, and he said, “Come to Atlanta, Sugar – I’ll show you the town.” (He didn’t say, “Let me buy you an airline ticket and I will graciously pay for your hotel room.”) Her friends told her to slow down, to ask more questions, to Google the guy, get to know him – more than via text messages, emails and a few phone calls.
She wanted to go the distance
She had tons of frequent flyer miles, her cousin lived outside of Atlanta, and she was confident that Ronnie was all that he claimed to be: single, a long distance runner, a gourmet, a CPA, and a Tulane graduate.
Jenny’s expensive lesson is a lesson for one and all. She threw caution to the wind and flew to Atlanta against all advice from friends and colleagues. Romantic Ronnie met her at the airport with flowers, which didn’t disguise the fact that he was much heavier than his photos; he drove a Ford truck (the Porsche was in the shop) and took her to TGIF for dinner.
He drank two Long Island Teas while she sipped a Diet Coke. Initially, Ronnie was a charming Southern gentleman, by the second drink he was a boor. His active flirting with the waitress was the crowning blow. She excused herself, and on the way to the ladies room, asked hostess to call a cab to take her to her hotel.
She graciously informed Ronnie that she was going to her hotel and she would call in the morning. He protested. He suggested she stay at his house. He wanted know the name of her hotel. She kissed him on the cheek and left. The long, expensive cab ride to her hotel gave her plenty of time to dissect her experience with Ronnie. Her friends had been right. She had moved too quickly and made an expensive mistake. She called her cousin and arranged to see her the following day. She would send a polite “Dear John” email to Ronnie and end that chapter.
Long distance dates are rife with challenges. Be safe, be smart and plan ahead.
- Always stay in a hotel. Can’t afford a hotel? Don’t go.
- Never, ever stay in the other person’s home.
- Upon Arrival: Take taxi /rental car to get to and from the airport. Never, ever get into a car with someone you’ve never met. Can you say Ted Bundy?
- I’ve got a secret: be sane: There is no reason to reveal the name of your hotel until you are 100% certain your date is a Boy Scout. (Trustworthy, loyal, honest…)
- Keep Safe: It’s a date, not a fashion show. No jewelry required. Keep your valuables in the hotel safe. Or at home.
Tell All: on every first date – in San Francisco – or out of state – be sure to inform several friends/family where you are going, staying, and the name and address of the person you are meeting. Yes, even coffee dates. Tell a friend.
Can you Afford this Date? You do the math. Figure it out: roundtrip plane ticket, taxi to and from hotel, meals, and hotel charges. Then tabulate how much time are you willing to spend on a long distance romance?
Jenny used to say all the good men in San Francisco were taken.
She changed her mind before she landed at SFO. Lesson learned.