Each week, Miami dating expert Nikki Novo gives us advice on finding love in this hopeless place. Today: how not to behave on a date, direct from the mouths of three single Miamians.
Instagramming at the table. Splitting the bill. Talking about exes. Some first-date behaviors are hard to forgive -- and forget, unfortunately.
For this piece, we thought a roundtable discussion with a few of the city's most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes was in order. And after listening to their dating war stories, our fears have been confirmed: It's a wild, wild place out there.
Read on, and you'll soon discover you're not alone. Don't forget to share your own experience with annoying dating habits in the comments below.
"As far as dating pet peeves, I have to go with the chronic texter," says Julia Ford-Carther, the woman behind local relationship blog the Thinking Man's Pin-Up. "You know, the one who just completely forgot that phones were actually made for talking. If a dude doesn't get down with the dial, I have to wonder about his maturity level."
It's not that Ford-Carther isn't tech-savvy. "I get that we're in this new-media, high-tech, insta-connected world and all," she explains, "but we still need interpersonal interaction. What's he really hiding behind that smartphone of his? A fear of communicating without editing? Adult-onset ADD? A womanly, high-pitched voice, perhaps? Bottom line: A real man calls."
For Miami writer and personal trainer David Berry, flakiness is a huge turnoff. "My biggest Miami dating pet peeve is the last-minute bailout," he says. "It's a phenomenon that doesn't seem to happen in other cities, and it's true for both sexes."
According to Berry, the last-minute bailout goes like this: "You make plans with someone and they're all excited about it, even confirming just a day or two before. And then? They pull out with some phantom excuse (abuela died again?) at the last minute.
"If you really weren't interested, it would've been OK to say so," he continues. "But waiting until the last minute? Save everyone the time and just reject us the old-fashioned way."
"I have a few," local fashion blogger Annie Vazquez says when asked for the most annoying dating habits she's encountered in Miami. Her first: "Bad table manners. I went to dinner with a pretty prominent figure in Miami's music scene and a self-proclaimed foodie, so I expected it to be an amazing meal. Then I saw him lick his fingers, and I wanted to gag. I had to tell him that it was just gross, and to my astonishment he was insulted."
Vazquez also doesn't buy the commonly held theory that chivalry is dead in Miami. "If a guy doesn't hold open the door for me, he's definitely getting a strike. I experienced this recently when seeing a younger guy. After the second time, I called him out. I'm sorry, it totally annoys me and it's just rude. Apparently, his "older" ex was OK with this behavior."
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That means you're picking up the check at dinner too, guys.
"If you want to hang out as friends, then we can go Dutch. I love making new friends. Yet if you're trying to romance me and you invite me on a date, you better bring out the wallet. I had this cute musician try to sell me on the idea. Obviously, it didn't work."
Finally, when it comes to exes, Vazquez says, leave the past in the past. "Oh my God, guys, if you're not over your ex, don't invite a girl on a date. Get a therapist. Sheesh. I went out on a date with this guy who spent the whole time talking about his ex-wife and how hurt he was, and blah, blah, blah. It was so lame."