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?