Just the word “dating” gives many single people hives. Men and women search in earnest for their dream mate, soul-mate, or simply the “right person” – only to walk away with another story filled with humor or horror.

Someone once asked me, “Why has dating become such a dilemma?”  Well, is the dilemma dating, or is the dilemma finding the person who is right for you? Are there just too many choices, not enough quality choices, or are we just too picky?

We all have stories to tell. Women who have dated for more than a few years know that some men remain in our memory banks indefinitely, even if we only went out with them a few times, or knew them only a few short hours.

My friend Joni, for example, can never forget Costco Guy. Joni and Costco Guy met at a party. He asked her if she wanted to meet him for lunch the following weekend. She said sure. He called Saturday morning and asked if Joni could meet him at his house. She said sure.  The first problem Joni encountered was the traffic. It took her an hour and a half to get to his house.

“I’m starving,” Joni said as soon as she got out of the car.

“Not a problem,” he replied. “I just have to pick up a few things at Costco and then we’ll go straight to lunch.”

Joni, who is a very agreeable person, figured, why not? Maybe she could pick up a year’s supply of hand soap or paper towels while she was there.

As soon as Joni and Costco Guy walked into the store, he steered her in the direction of the food samples. He went from table to table, time and again fighting his way through groups of mostly white-haired shoppers to reach his goals – little cups of variously flavored instant mashed potatoes, small tidbits of cheesecake, minuscule servings of Nutella, one-inch square pieces of bread with hardened salami, and cheese – lots of cheese.

A few times, Costco Guy scored two of everything—one for him and one for Joni. But most of the time, he just stuffed his face with the one sample and moved on.

After about forty-five minutes of this, Joni said to him, “If we are going to go to lunch, shouldn’t we be leaving?”

“You want to go out to lunch now?” Costco Guy asked, surprised. “I’m stuffed. I couldn’t eat another thing. Saturdays here are always the best! My father and I have lunch here all the time.”

And therein is the dilemma. Joni had agreed to this lunch date because she assumed they would be able to sit down and talk so she could get to know more about him. But after an hour of watching him elbow the elderly to get his fair share of prized delicacies such as lime Jello with pineapple morsels, she figured that she knew enough.  “You’re right,” she said. “I don’t want anything else. I just want to leave.”

She stopped at the nearest deli on the way home.

I suppose I can understand that Costco-Guy was trying to be cute and spontaneous, and wanted to share something special that he always did with his father. But “lunch” doesn’t mean hoarding free handouts. If your date isn’t willing to create an atmosphere for the two of you to talk privately, then a relationship isn’t worth your time to pursue. And if he’s willing to forego lunch altogether and stick to Costco samples? Chances are he’s not a very generous person at all, and you should run for the hills –  or to a convenient deli.

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