My first vanilla date

His introductory email was thoughtful and articulate. He’d not only read my profile, but he had also looked through my many Q&A responses and his note referenced both.

He was 6’2, a little younger than me, no photos.

I suggested we meet after a few exchanges. This must be a new record for me. My new strategy: ‘Dating immersion’. I didn’t ask for a photo. To be honest, I forgot.

He was nervous he said (I do love it when they say that out loud, I do), and half an hour before our date he texted that he was going to be about 15 minutes late: “Pls wait for me?”

I was liking him more and more.

I knew he was tall, had a beard, blue eyes, that his hair needed a trim. He described his body type as ‘average’.

I was worried that I didn’t know how to do vanilla dating any more. “Go and get me some water please” is not the flirty request to vanilla men that it is to submissive men. I vaguely worried about how we would connect.

I was there first, sent him a photo to show him what I was wearing so he could find me more easily. When he approached me, the first thing I saw was his beard. I’m not one for beards, and he had said in an email that he didn’t like his beard and was intending to remove it. I had expected that someone who didn’t like his beard would have maybe a month’s growth. But no, it was a *serious* beard. 8 months worth, he told me later. He suggested it was like the beard of a pirate, or bush ranger (as a note, I thought this photo was a hoax: nope. Checkit: Ned Kelly, the original hipster). The latter. definitely the latter. He had pretty eyes though, bright blue.

We spent 3 hours together and despite the discovery that we had both worked for the same small software company way back when, and had work acquaintances in common, I struggled to make a connection with him. His eyes skittered away when I was talking, he didn’t laugh or smile at things I thought were funny, and if I was quiet to see if he would pick up the conversation, he didn’t. I don’t think it’s because he wasn’t engaged and trying, he was just shy and awkward.

In short: it was hard work.

It was clear that he liked me, that he was trying. But it was also clear that we were struggling.

In the last half hour, I brought up D/s. He’d seen my references to dominance in my online profile only that morning, he said. I’ve not had much experience explaining it to vanilla men, but I used ‘selfishness’ to explain it. I could have gone many ways, but I didn’t want to ‘sell’ the idea to him. If anything, I wanted to scare him off. It’s too easy to present it in a hot-sexy-romantic light, but the harsh reality is that I want to be selfish and for my partner to appreciate that I expect to get my way and to enjoy taking opportunities to make me happy. ‘Selfishness’ and ‘unfairness’ are the easiest ways to explain that.

He started to say ‘Oh, that’s why my previous partners…’ which broke my heart a little. I was insistent that it wasn’t the same thing. That being selfish in a vanilla relationship where nothing is agreed is just being an arsehole.

He was curious, surprised that there was more than ‘bedroom stuff’. Not turned off, but also not really getting it (of course not!). But after we talked about it, he seemed contemplative in a ‘maybe I could’ kind of way. But to be honest, my experience is that men who like me will say things like that. Soon after, he went to a lot of trouble to get a chair for me to put my bag on because it was getting wet where it was. “To show you I can do it,” he said. He’s sweet.

Before we parted ways, I grabbed him by the beard and pulled him towards me across the table. He resisted.

I said, “Come here.”

He did.

I kissed him. Drew him forward twice more with his beard in my clenched fist. Soft, exploratory kisses, lightly dancing tongues. He smiled at me. He has a lovely smile.

“I’m going to go,” I said.

He stood up to follow me out.

The first time I got to see his height. I was wearing wedge heels. He was still a bit taller than me. I do love that.

Outside we looked at each other. I grabbed his beard again, twisted it, pulled his face to me. More kissing. Holding him back by his beard when he reached for me. His slight confusion when I did this was lovely. He reached to pull my body against him. I like it when men do that. It’s instinct, that desire for more contact. Makes me feel snake-like and fluid.

He sent me a sweet text about an hour after he left (seriously, polite boys: so good!). In part it said:

“I have this great picture you sent (I think you’re gorgeous) and pleasant memory of the too short/few kisses… Let me know if you want to meet again, post beard, or wish to give me casual instruction in your lifestyle ;)”

So, all up, I liked him well enough, I think he *would* be cute underneath his beard, he was a lovely kisser, and he’s willing to consider D/s. BUT (there’s always a ‘but’) he’s only one month out of his last relationship, I don’t *really* think D/s is going to be for him, and we didn’t have that easy conversational banter that makes for connection.

I’m tempted to suggest a kissing date because his kissing had promise, and you know I’m a complete sucker for kissing. I’ll have a think about that.

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  1. First and foremost – I know that “get me some water” thing had meaning behind it. Twice, twice I “fell” for it (awwwww).

    Second, as your people say, good on you! You did it. You did not have to fall in love or even in like on the first vanilla date, so if the chemistry is not there, don’t force it. There WILL be others and on one of those you might feel such a connection that you find yourself saying things like “you know, date, when I was a child I crafted a beautiful leash so that my Barbie could attach it to Ken’s collar” and the D/s stuff will flow naturally. As I have learned, it doesn’t matter if he’s “into it” nearly as much as if he’s open minded enough to try to understand it in whatever form he can. This guy did show that potential.

    Finally, just a question, if I “hated my beard” and if it truly was eight months of shagginess, I would have SO shaved that prior to my date with you if for no other reason to have brought you a picture of it to show you what I did for a first impression.

    So, don’t rush the kissing date IF and only IF you are doing it for the sake of a date. Consider this week practice.

    1. Ha! Yes, I totally flirted with you *smile*.

      And no, I wasn’t expecting much out of this date, and he was really sweet, so it was a win.

      I thought that about the beard also BUT two things: the first is that vanilla men do NOT cater to the whims of vanilla women they haven’t even met in that way. The second is that he said he has to ‘go and get it done’ (vs just doing it himself). I didn’t ask, but that thing is big and bushy, so I imagine trying to get rid of it would be a project.

      You would have seen the kissing date decision on twitter no doubt *smile*. So we shall see.


  2. I know you often mention that a vanilla man in love/lust will show submissive qualities or otherwise on-point in a way sub men fear to in the early stages of dating. I’m curious to see if he is an example of this or genuinely interested in power exchange.

    Yay kissing! Kissing is always good.

  3. He might be shy. Not just sightly shy or “cute” shy but genuinely, deeply unable to initially be comfortable with someone regardless of interest levels. I can be that way and it’s more than introversion. I’ve had people read me wrong in both directions because what I was really showing wasn’t myself but merely that I could be brave and interact with someone new. The showing myself came later.

    I always put out the “really shy” possibility because even introverts aren’t necessarily shy. They’re just exhausted by too much of doing the people thing. It may also not be applicable but keep in mind you’ll run into us shy ones and we can come across a little odd until we’re nice and comfy

  4. Uh

    Actually I come across as really odd even when I am nice and comfy but I give others the benefit of the doubt and assume they aren’t all weirdos like me.

    1. *smile* I do understand and I think I do give leeway (I mean 3 hours is a pretty long date for a start!). My last submissive was terribly shy but there’s still ‘something’ that either works or not, regardless of shyness.

      We exchanged a few texts: he agreed with me that we weren’t a match. We’re good.


  5. Don’t expect something too easy too soon. Be prepared to fail and don’t just turn away at the first thought that things might be difficult. A “hard fail” is the ultimate test of a potential relationship.

    Replacing modular parts in an engine is easy. A relationship shouldn’t be about that. Creating something new and unique to you and someone else is massively harder. Sort of. I dunno actually I always found it hard to fix engines and normally paid a mechanic, but that analogy sounded clever and appropriate.

    Don’t go for a kissing date ffs, get out of your comfort zone and go for a real date if you have any intention of trying “vanilla dating” as means of finding someone to spend your life with.

    Crap, if a man is prepared to shed his beard to see you then you’re potentially onto something remarkable.

    1. “Don’t expect something too easy too soon. Be prepared to fail and don’t just turn away at the first thought that things might be difficult. A “hard fail” is the ultimate test of a potential relationship.”

      I’m not sure what you’re saying here. That I should continue to try with someone who I’m not that interested in? Nah, not happening.

      When you aren’t firing, you just aren’t. And I know myself well enough to know that I can’t manufacture that primal chemistry out of thin air. I used to try and do that when I was young with boys who were lovely and mad for me: it never turned out well.

      And it’s not a one sided thing: we exchanged a few texts and he agreed we weren’t a match. I’m not working on my lonesome here to determine if it feels like we have potential.

      “Don’t go for a kissing date ffs, get out of your comfort zone and go for a real date if you have any intention of trying “vanilla dating” as means of finding someone to spend your life with.”

      I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN HERE EITHER!! You seem to be saying ‘Don’t do this thing that is fun and pleasurable for both of you’ to which my retort is WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO DEPRIVE ME (AND HIM!) OF FUN AND PLEASURE?!! *laugh*

      The options are ‘kissing date’ or ‘see ya later’. Having another serious date is not on the table.

      And to finish it off: He didn’t shed his beard, it was there in full force. And he *volunteered* that he didn’t like it and was planning to get rid of it before I expressed my preference. The kissing date is conditional on it being gone, but he’s not doing that for me.

      So all in all: I know you were probably trying to be helpful, but ‘nah’ *laugh*.


      1. I’m a crap advice giver. Great with computers; *awesome* with dogs; shit with people. And I project, I guess.

        Anyway, I’m going to try my best to point out my observations based on your reflections here:

        – I don’t think anyone should pretend to be interested in anyone that they clearly aren’t. However …

        – Premature judgement is the curse of the experienced dater: the more experienced the dater the more easily they reinforce their own prejudice and create the same outcomes they’ve always known. If you’ve noticed a pattern in your dating attempts, try looking for a common factor in the dating interactions.

        – Kissing dates requires a degree of confidence and comfort with a certain type of interaction that may easily exclude certain people (for example those comfortable with their own values but not with engaging an intelligent, confident lady that they don’t know with their lips and tongue [and probably nose brushing because while somewhat ‘Eskimo’ that’s always a part of it]).

        – Seriously (srsly) don’t place some one sided arbitrary limit on the type of date you should have. “Kissing dates” might be hot (I don’t know as I’ve only ever held hands with girls and talked about politics) but a growing friendship and trust can reveal aspects of another that you never expected to find. The deepest and most lasting relationships I’ve ever seen have never been immediately apparently. This is not to say that something crappy and empty will immediately bloom into something magical, just that the addiction to the hit of (the idea of) a certain kind of relationship can be blinding.

        – And here’s the point that ties in to the above: using one “vanilla” date to try and know the inner desires and compatibilities of person that probably doesn’t even know how they’d respond to a D/s relationship is risky and prone to significant sampling errors and potentially significant assessment errors.

        – Dating is tough, especially when you’re trying to find a person and not a part

        – Yeah, I know that just because I’m trying to be helpful doesn’t mean that I am


        1. I came back here to re-read this after your comment on my NEXT post in case I was unclear. But I wasn’t.

          These are all fine and valid points to be considered *in general*. But not with this guy. There was nothing between us under which I could light a spark. And without that, I’m just not interested.

          And you’ll have to trust me (over and beyond your holding hands and politics experiences) when I say that 3 hours together is PLENTY of time to figure out if there’s a spark or not.


  6. Will that lucky guy realize on time how much he craves for the power exchange you are introducing him to? Will the seed of his surrender become noticeable to him soon enough…?

    I was told once to “go and get me a serviette” on a first date. It changed my heart rate, and it definitely left a mark. No “please” that time, though. I think it makes a big difference. Please women out there: be affectionate and playful, it somehow knocks down walls so easily…

    1. “Will that lucky guy realize on time how much he craves for the power exchange you are introducing him to? Will the seed of his surrender become noticeable to him soon enough…?”

      Um… no. Did you read my post? Is this thing on? *tap tap tap*


  7. I can’t believe you grabbed him by the beard. I’m marveling, not criticizing. You’ve have cojones the size of church bells.

    Second, I’m a little surprised he didn’t object. I’d think most vanilla men would object. Naturally, the whole incident just makes me weak in the knees. But I’m pretty dainty.

    “Stay tuned for Ferns’s next vanilla date, when she slaps his glass away and belt whips him because,”you’re cute.”


    1. This is such an interesting comment.

      It never occurred to me for one second that it was a big deal OR that he would object. I’m pretty good at reading people, we had some 3 hours together, there was mutual attraction, I literally never gave it a thought.

      The thing that makes it interesting is that I CLEARLY did not have his consent and I CLEARLY didn’t ask for it. Not to touch him, not to use his beard as a control point, not to tell him what to do, not to kiss him.

      I rely on my instincts to navigate this sort of thing. That’s probably not what I should say or do as a responsible consent-aware individual, but it’s true.

      And as I say that, I’m trying to imagine asking a vanilla man if I can do all those things when we’re out on a date, and honestly, I’d expect his reaction to be ‘wtf are you talking about?!’ And then the questions would be moot because the moment would be looonnngg gone.


      1. A vanilla guy would be going “WTF was that all about?”, but a kinkster would know exactly what just happened, and would be going “you just did that without my consent, lady, and would probably count it as a black mark!”

        1. In theory, I’d agree it’s possible that could happen.

          In practice, I’ve been dating for a long time and I’ve never had a submissive man say anything even remotely resembling that if I moved to touch or kiss him. In fact I’d go further and say I’ve never had a (submissive OR vanilla) man who wasn’t delighted that I initiated it.

          IF I make a move on someone, it means I’ve seen clear signals that it’s welcome.


      2. I truly wasn’t criticizing, but as an independent observer, it was a little surprising. Though, he was clearly entranced/bewitched, you read the situation correctly and all is cool.

        I believe you recently wrote a post on your many “rule” violations. Some of the nags on FL would try to lecture buy you clearly have good instincts and trust your own judgment. Rules are made to be broken, by the wise and the foolish. It’s up to the individual to decide in which category they fall.

        I’d rather cut off my thumb then discuss gender politics, but I think it would be far more threatening if a man did that to a woman (full bushy beard notwithstanding, which would make it weird and unusual.)

        1. No it’s good: it has prompted some interesting discussions with friends about consent and where the line is.

          It’s good for me to articulate my approach clearly and so far I’ve got something like this:

          If there is no power imbalance, I navigate normal social interactions (like dating) using implicit consent signals.

          I might make a mistake, but IF I do, the cost of that is low (e.g. if I got it wrong and he didn’t want me touching his beard or didn’t want to kiss me, he is unlikely to be significantly impacted that experience. It’s a bit awkward, we’re both a bit embarrassed, we move on).

          The words to explain it might need more refinement yet, but you get the gist.


    2. > Second, I’m a little surprised he didn’t object. I’d think most vanilla men would object.

      Ehh; not sure I agree with this. I think most vanilla men would be fine with a woman who they’ve been having an anywhere from decent to great time with reaching out and grabbing them for a kiss.

      When you’re talking vanilla interactions, as this was, consent *likely* isn’t understood as well. And explaining it would totally kill the mood. “Hey, so.. I was about to kiss you, but uh, I’m from a .. er… culture? I guess a culture, yeah, where consent is super important. So let me explain what I mean by that.. wait, why are you staring at your phone?”


      In any case, I think this is all fine and I see zero consent issues here. The equivalent for a vanilla dude going to kiss a vanilla girl might be him gently pulling her towards him with his hand on the small of her back as she leans in for an obviously consensual, mutually wanted kiss.

  8. I think that approach hits the highlights. Seems to me that “mplied consent signals” are mostly how the entire “civilized” gets through just about every social interaction, with occasional awkwardness, embarrassment and maybe even hurt feelings (oh, you wanted the last piece of cake?? I’m sorry, I just finished it!). Do, seems like a good starting point.

    Though, it raises another question, what is the goal of vanilla dating? Is it the idea that you begin with s broader dating pool, then hope fo find a convertible vanilla? Do you hope to find a vanilla so fabulous as to convert you?

    Or, as so many women do, are you just duping men so you can score free coffee. Cuz that’s how women are, right???

    Perhaps none of those applies. Idle thoughts.

    1. “I think that approach hits the highlights. Seems to me that “mplied consent signals” are mostly how the entire “civilized” gets through just about every social interaction, with occasional awkwardness, embarrassment and maybe even hurt feelings”

      I agree yes.

      And I’ve already amended it since writing that after further discussion with a friend because part of that is that I want to SEE that he welcomes it:

      If there is no power imbalance, I navigate normal social interactions (like dating) using implicit consent signals to make sure my partner is clearly receptive.

      Getting closer to a description I’m happy with.

      “Though, it raises another question, what is the goal of vanilla dating?”

      My longest and most successful relationship so far has been with a vanilla man who had (and has) a genuine desire to please the people he loves (a ‘vanilla submissive‘). He puts most self identified submissives to shame with how he is in a relationship.

      So amazing vanilla men ARE out there, my D/s interests are in my profile, and yes, the pool is much bigger. So why not?

      (though secretly, I’m just after the free drinks… dammit, we went turnabout to the bar this date… ONE DAY I WILL GET THIS RIGHT AND BE A REAL WOMAN! :P).


  9. And thanks for your thoughtful, interesting reply. Your posts and comments have been above even your usual high standards! Greatly enjoying all.

  10. I think Vanilla dating is a fine idea. Just like kink dating you get your fair share of wasted times but I found the man who gave me my first seriously kinky experiences on a VERY vanilla dating site and there is a lot to be be said for, awakening something in someone. As for his shyness, maybe being so freshly out of a relationship meant he has not practiced his dating skills in a while and well know what practice makes


    1. For me, kinky play is the easy part with any man. The trickier part in the vanilla world is the ‘desire to please’, and then even trickier is to take it a step further into ‘a desire to do what I say (even if he doesn’t really want to)’ where any reasonable person will start tit-for-tatting because it feels unfair.

      The latter is a step too far for most vanilla men (and fair enough too).

      IF he’s amazing with an innate desire to please, I can probably do with a ‘lite’ version of the latter. I’m willing to see, anyway.


  11. “‘Go and get me some water please’ is not the flirty request to vanilla men that it is to submissive men.”

    haha I have literally never thought of that. kinky flirting must be so layered and intense. sounds fun.

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