Late date wait

Stand by your values regarding being kept waiting or stood up.

Jdate cartoon (photo credit: Pepe Feinberg)
Jdate cartoon
(photo credit: Pepe Feinberg)
My friend Jonah is a successful lawyer for a big firm in the city. He is tall, handsome, educated, funny and close to his mom. Sounds like the perfect guy, right? Alas, he is 36 and still looking for his beshert and has some of the most confusing and complex dating issues. He is on JDate (I helped him choose his photos and edited his “About Me” paragraph) and goes out on the weekends, actively seeking a nice Jewish girl.
Sunday nights I routinely receive phone calls from Jonah complaining about what went wrong on his latest date, and I am always asked to contribute my two cents.
This past Sunday night’s phone call reminded me of many dates that I had been on, and I was immediately pulled to my computer to write about it.
Jonah had asked out a girl from JDate named Amanda, whom he had been communicating with and was ready to meet. It was Saturday night and they decided to meet at a dive bar, where it wouldn’t be too crowded and the music wouldn’t be too loud. Jonah arrived promptly at 9 p.m., and almost immediately his cell phone rang. Amanda was calling to say she was running really late; she was coming from dinner at her parents’ and not only underestimated how long it would take to drive across town but had also run into traffic.
She was apologetic and called a few more times to update him as to her whereabouts and her estimated time of arrival. After 30 minutes of waiting, Jonah left.
As harsh as it sounds, I agreed with his actions. Thirty minutes was sufficient waiting time, even though she was calling, since at that point it was rude and a waste of his time. I told him, though, that if she were to call and continue to be apologetic and wanted to reschedule, he should give her a second chance, and then mercilessly tease her about taking advantage of Jewish Standard Time (JST).
While I told Jonah that it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if he had shelved his pride and impatience and waited 15 more minutes, it was understandable that he left.
I remember sitting at a bar waiting for a date who never showed… or called. I waited the customary half hour, at which point I figured enough was enough. Of course, he called later with some lame excuse, but I let it go to my voicemail and never returned the call. Had he called while I was sitting there, it would have been a different story. We all have cell phones nowadays, so there is absolutely no excuse why he couldn’t call and inform me earlier. Since he didn’t respect me enough, he didn’t deserve – nor did he get – a second chance. Whenever I know I’m going to be late, I immediately whip out my cell phone and call my date – whether it is a romantic or a platonic date. Keeping people waiting without explanation is inexcusable.
I’m trying to remember what we did before the advent of cell phones. Besides using a pay phone to check our answering machine, did we just sit there for an eternity without any apps to play with on our phone? No. Barring any unforeseen circumstance, we arrived as punctually as possible out of respect for the other person. When possible, we called the restaurant to try to relay the message to our awaiting date, but for the most part we went on the date whether we felt like it or not – and tried as hard as possible to get there on time.
In the end, Amanda did call Jonah when she arrived 30 minutes later (so even had he waited another 15 minutes, she still wouldn’t have been there yet!). She understood why he left, although she was disappointed. They made plans for the next day, Sunday, to keep up the momentum. Even though it wasn’t prime-time date night, they didn’t hold that against each other and ended up having a really great time.
The upshot: Stand by your values regarding being kept waiting or stood up.
But if there’s been fair communication, then it can’t hurt to give it one more shot.