Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dijon Mustard: A Litmus Test for Online Dating

My grade school friends and I loved quoting the Grey Poupon commercial to each other.  "Pardon me, sir. Do you have any Grey Poupon?" Always uttered in the most posh and sophisticated of voices.  Then the reply, "But of course."  As if there were any other type of mustard one would keep in the car!

I'm not sure that I ever tried Grey Poupon, or any dijon mustard for that matter, while I was a kid.  My house was more of a yellow mustard place and I would use it on just about anything.  I wouldn't come to understand the deliciousness of dijon until I was a grown-up.  I know this, however: that commercial was playground gold.


I've tried on-line dating three times.  The first time was during graduate school, when I really didn't have time to meet anyone.  It should surprise no one that no dates resulted during that hectic season.  I tended to think of this as my non-experience with on-line dating and would actually answer no if anyone asked me if I'd tried it.  Why do people seem to believe on-line dating is the cure-all for singleness? (Answer to that question: it's not.) (Also, if you're married, do not ask a single person if they've tried on-line dating. We have. It didn't work. This conversation does not help.)

I decided to give on-line dating another try about 5 years ago. This attempt actually led to dates.  As I'm still single, you will correctly surmise that these dates did not work out that well.

Case in point.

I met Norman (not his real name) at one of my favorite brunch spots one snowy December day.  I had reservations but decided it wouldn't hurt to meet him and see. 

He did not look like his pictures but I tried to keep in mind that we all tend to choose our most flattering options when putting ourselves out there.  He wasn't unattractive but he wasn't necessarily my type either. 

He was extremely nervous, which was cute.  I set to putting him at ease, falling back on my ability to have a conversation with just about anyone.  I asked questions and ended up directing the conversation.  Either he was that nervous or he didn't know how to ask me any questions about myself.  Ah, the lost art of conversation.  This didn't bode well for Norman.  

At this point, still relatively early on in the date, I was relatively sure that we would not be a good match for a few reasons.  But a date is a date and so I soldiered on.

We perused the menu, commenting on how it would be difficult to choose.  Norman was debating two options and asked for my input.

He pointed at one of the sandwich descriptions.  "Do you know what Die-john is?"


My heart sunk as I looked at the word in question. 

"You mean, dijon?" I gently asked, trying to cover my shock, trying not to giggle at his expense.

"Dijon?"  He looked utterly baffled.  "What's that?"

Oh dear Lord.  He didn't know what dijon mustard was?  Did he live under a rock?  Did he not venture down the condiment aisle when grocery shopping? What did this say about his powers of observation?

"It's mustard. Like Grey Poupon," I ventured, hoping this would spark some understanding, hoping I could then reference that most excellent commercial.

Silence.  Deafening silence.

I knew in that moment that we were not meant to be.

Now I know dijon mustard is small in the grand scheme of things.  And if Norman had been wonderful in every other way, I would have overlooked this gap in his culinary knowledge and happily taught him about the wonderful world of mustard and marketing at its finest.  

However, nice as he was, Norman was not wonderful in every other way...for me.

Some women have champaigne wishes and caviar dreams.  Apparently I'm a mustard girl.

What's your opinion of on-line dating?  Any good stories to share?


  1. Ha! This is great Leah! When you know, you know, right? We all have our deal breakers. At least one good thing came out of the date: now you've educated his culinary side just a wee bit :-)

  2. I have no experience with online dating other than the fact that my cousin and his wife met online!

    However, DIE-JON? OH. MY. See ya, Norman. In college I had HUGE crushes on the football players. I went to Penn State where football is pretty much the most important aspect of college HANDS DOWN, and the football players are celebrities. I worked in the dining commons and one day I was working the sandwich line and one of the most popular players came into the line. He was telling me what he wanted on his sandwich and at the end he said, "Can I have some JAH-LOP-NOES too?"


    He wanted jalapenos.

    I about died. And suddenly I wasn't so star struck by that particular football players!

  3. Sadly, my online dating experiences have all been of the DIE-JOHN variety, too. How are my friends meeting quality guys online while I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel??? Fingers crossed as I'm meeting a seemingly normal online guy for coffee tonight!!!

  4. You are so funny. Thanks for sharing this. I don't really have any actual on-line dating experience, but I have certaily had my share of dud dates conventionally.

  5. I have never tried online dating, my husband would probably frown on that. But my sister has and everyone of them have been scary. Not as in pschyo scary but as in hacker types that were too into their computers and thought that she would be interested to know that they can hack into anyones systems. That makes me feel safe at night. My husband and I were next door neighbors and had 3 dates before I had to go across the country, so we wrote back and forth and fell in love over letters. The old email system.

  6. I. am. rolling.

    Poor Norman {not his real name}; his childhood was certainly lacking! No Grey Poupon commercials?

    Thank you for this post. I never tried online. I made enough in-person poor choices that I knew online would be a BAD idea for me.

  7. This is a great story! I too don't have any online dating experience but kudos for trying it, I think I would've been too anxious to try! Thanks for sharing, hehe, made me laugh.

  8. Glad everyone appreciated my tale about the Die-John guy, as he is now known. Oh, if only this story was the exception and not the rule!

    @Laura, love the story about the jalapenos! Glad to hear that football players went down a notch in your estimation- it sounds just like the players at my college!

    @JJ, well I had high hopes for you after the email you posted from the Brazilian. He sounded like such a winner. Fingers crossed for your coffee date!

    @Teresa, hackers scare me! Though the fact that computer nerds would be drawn to online dating does not surprise me at all.


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