A Case of the Larry Lingertons

I’ve been in LA for work the past couple of days. The best part about taking a trip out to California—aside from the weather, which has been only ok and apparently Chicago’s been glorious, of course—is getting to see the West Coast branch of my family.

We went to dinner last night and spent a good amount of time discussing the friendship discoveries I’ve made during my search. It was an enlightening chat. In fact, the whole affair was so much fun that I announced I was going to do whatever I could to make the meal last longer. In the end this merely meant ordering tea.

I was so determined to drag out the meal that my lingering became one of the most heated topics of dinner conversation. On a date (friend or romantic), lingering is both your best friend and your enemy. In a situation like last night, the option to linger was necessary. We needed ample catch-up time.

But then there are those not-so-great dates when all you want to do is go home and your potential friend wants to take a look at the dessert menu and maybe order a frappucino.

My aunt told the story of a friend who used to give her a ride home every week after PTA. Each time they arrived at my aunt’s house, she sat with her hand on the door handle trying to escape while her friend went on and on about nothing. It was all she could do not to stop, drop and roll right out the passenger side door.

I’ve had the same experience after my own girl-dates. We’ll stand on the corner finishing up a chat, and even though I’m ready to go home I can’t figure out a delicate way to say so. “I need to get home to catch up on Desperate Housewives,” just doesn’t seem good enough.

On a friend-date, there are three ways to handle the Larry Lingertons of the world (term coined by my cousin, clearly):

1. Indulge her, because isn’t that all anyone’s looking for? A little company?

2. Explain that you have to be somewhere at a certain time so you can use the watch glance as your getaway route.

3. Take the Chandler Bing approach. “We should do this again sometime!” says the date is over, even when you’d rather shoot yourself than do it again. (Not the classiest approach, but effective.)

The linger really can go both ways. When I’m out with a PBFF who I think could be the one, I want to hug the waiters for letting us sit and chat long after the plates are cleared. But when I’m on a bad girl-date…Oh my gosh it’s like watching water boil. It’s another one of those “I thought I stopped dating when I got married” moments.

Are you a Larry Lingerton? Have you ever been out with someone who was? Any tricks for squashing the linger and cutting a friend-date short when you know there’s no future?


Filed under The Search

11 responses to “A Case of the Larry Lingertons

  1. JenD

    Sure, it’s happened to me – both on date-dates and girl-dates. This is why I always used to make sure I took my own car, just in case a quick getaway was needed. If the Lingerton just wouldn’t stop talking or take any of my obvious cues (checking my watch several times, yawning, staring off into space), I would suddenly say, “Look, I’ve got to run. This has been great. Thanks!” And then I’d run away, knowing I’d never call the person again. It may seem rude, but so could their lingering – particularly when the lingering was brought about by their incessant need to blather on while not letting me get a word in and/or completely ignoring anything I’d said during the whole date.

  2. Ana

    I hope I haven’t been Larry before, I’m now going to be paranoid about it! But I’ve definitely met my share of them. Usually the watch glance, or simply stating “I’ve really gotta get home…” and then honestly stating WHY I’ve gotta get home (early day, dog needs walking, kid needs playing with, chores). I haven’t been on a “friend date” yet , so usually it is someone who I do generally like or tolerate (or have to have repeated contact with, like a co-worker) so I have to be polite. Definitely a social etiquette conundrum…

  3. Suzannah

    ok what is the worst thing though, is when you have said your need to go statement, and the person just keeps on and on…putting me in a position where I have to be rude to get away…..that is a person I will void at all costs…

    • Lorrie Paige

      “I’m sorry. I REALLY have to go now. Nice meeting you. Take care”. Saying this apologetically but firmly, as you are backing off.

      Not so rude.

      • Suzannah

        I prolly more mean lie, than rude….saying ” o I sense my home is on fire! I must immediately alert the fire department…have a nice evening now!”
        I definitely prefer giving the subtle clues, that the evening is over….so I get real uncomfortable when someone doesn’t get those…we have couple friends, we will not invite to anything cuz they will stay HOURS past everyone…but we really like them!…just not tucking us in our beds!

        • JB

          This is the one I struggle with–what to do about Larry Lingertons when the party is at my house! I have had several awkward situations where husband and I have both given the signals (i.e. gotten up, cleared up dishes, put leftovers in fridge, etc.) and the people just stay and stay. I’ll even pull out the old “Thank you guys so much for coming! It’s been great” card. But on a couple of instances, people have thanked us for hosting and then continued chatting with each other/us. I don’t want to be rude, but after a long party, I just want to do a quick clean up and then curl up with my hubby/DVR or go to bed!

  4. Oh, I love that episode of Friends, “we should do this again sometime!”

  5. Janna

    Depending on who it is, I will definitely say I have to get home to my dog – or have an early day the next day.

    However, I also find it EXTREMELY effective to either say or add to the previous statement(s) about dog, et al something to the effect of “Well, I better let you get going – I know you have a long drive…” or “I really should get home to check on the dog *pause* Aren’t you going to love being able to end your day before midnight after your exhausting week?!” The key is to base it on YOU being considerate of THEIR time and if possible, combining it was something they’ve already told you/vented to you (i.e. “I’m so exhausted – I haven’t been able to get much sleep this week because of work, baby, etc.). That being said, I don’t often want to cut my one-on-one friend evenings short, but I have been there every once in a while – usually at work events or larger parties or something. 🙂

  6. JP

    If you’re the victim of a Larry Lingerton and this is not the future girl you’re going to be boppin down the street next to pushing a stroller with a starbucks in hand in the next few years then don’t feel bad and just book it. You’re not obligated to these dates and if you don’t like the PBFF you don’t need to be too nice. Just end it on the corner and say you have a 7:00am meeting in the morning!

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