You’re Late, You’re Late, For A Very Important Date

Via text…

Athol: I’m going to Big Steve’s for lunch. Free?

Jennifer:  OMG yes. Meet you there in 20? You can order for me if you want.

Athol: What do you want?

Jennifer: Lobster soup, or whatever other soup if there’s no lobster.

Athol: K

Athol: 1pm

Jennifer: Kk

Okay first things first. Big Steve’s is in Plainville, Connecticut. If you’re within striking distance, it’s worth the trip for a proper burger. Yeah, yeah I know it involves bread, sorry Paleonazi’s, but if you’re going to have a burger it’s a good, “homemade” burger and no more expensive than McDonalds. I get it with lettuce, cheese, mustard, ketchup, raw onions and a fried egg. I know the egg sounds weird, just trust me on it.

I could have been all Lord Alpha and just ordered whatever and Jennifer would have eaten it because she’s like that. I was actually thinking she wanted a burger and if she texted me what she wanted, I’d not have to remeber it because it would be on my phone. As it was… lobster soup… oh yeah… that’s her Plan B dish here. So glad I didn’t order a burger.

Anyway… I said meet at 1pm because that would have been 26 minutes after Jennifer said “Meet you there in 20?”

You know where this is going.

I was there at 12:58 and ordered the food.

At 1:02…. Jennifer: Traffic on Queen St. Coming!”

Check the GPS app as the food arrives… [Jennifer is 3.2 miles away]

Well seeing the office is 3.4 miles away, I don’t think she even left until 1pm. Meaning, yeah traffic (I believe her there was traffic), but she didn’t even leave until 1pm. Meaning she was always going to be late. Hmmm…. I’m actually mildly annoyed by that. The food is already here.


(1)  Tell her off about being late. Be grumpy.

(2) Scamper about finding a cover for her soup and just pick at my fries healthfood until she arrives because it’s rude to start eating before anyone else.

(3)  Pretend everything is fine and make her pay somehow.

(4)  Cover her soup with napkins keeping the heat in a little better. Just start eating my burger.

Jennifer arrived about 1:10… to the scene of (4) the soup a little cooled and then we had a fun lunch.

So, let’s analyze the options and why I choose (4)

Once upon a time I probably would have done something even worse than (2), as in not even order until my date arrived, even if we had agreed I would order in advance. The improvement to that anxious behavior being brave enough to order, but then freaking out like a lost minion once the food arrived. (2) Just telegraphs fear of displeasing her, a very low display of value.

(3) Is somewhat of an addition to (2). Having let myself get anxious and freaked out, now I’m just brave enough to sucker punch you somehow on something else. It’s indirect rage and very ineffective. She won’t even have a clue why I got her back either. Passive-aggressive sucks.

(1) Is almost right. It’s better than (2) and (3), at least I’m standing up for myself and demanding to be taken seriously. But it’s also just a little much… it’s a spur of the moment lunch. For all I know Jennifer had to cram 45 minutes of work into 26 minutes to make her date with me. There really was traffic. I might unwittingly punish her for making an effort to be with me. That makes everything a net negative experience = “Lunch with Athol is unfun ” = “Unsexy”

The correct answer is (4). She was late and the natural consequence of being late was that her food was slightly sub-optimal in tempature. I was on on time and my burger was great. Because it was a natural consequence, it’s not me punishing her. It’s low key, straightforward and not me taking it personally. If she had complained, I’d just parrot back, “We agreed I’d order this to be ready at 1pm, you were late, not my fault.”

Anyway… I am of course writing about all this, so it’s potentially also a pot shot at her and potential (3), but jeepers… it’s just soup and I know Jennifer well enough to know that she runs and then she hop, hop, hops and wishes she could fly and I was semi-suprised she could even make lunch in the first place.  Besides, I really only wanted a defense for eating a huge hamburger. I don’t have to watch what I eat on a date right?

Jennifer:  If I’m late, does that make you the Mad Hatter?



  1. I love the whole meta cognitive approach to this very mundane moment. You are a highly evolved specimen of the male persuasion. Kudos to you. And lucky Jennifer.

  2. That song really makes me want to watch White Christmas, he is so great in that show.

  3. I would have been irked at the time delay in her leaving the office too. At minimum, she could have told you she would be leaving the office closer to 1pm and trying to get there as fast as possible. Detail slave, here.

    *Sorry Jennifer*

    Glad it ended well. My DH does this to me too with dinner at times, and I loathe that panic of watching the food get cold, and watching the children squirm with hunger as I make them wait for the sake of politeness despite the foot being on the table at the agreed upon time for his schedule.

    Athol – how does the reverse work? If you were a MAP operating wife, how should the situation be handled to ensure points are made without looking like a grumpy bitch?

    You do (4) like I did. Eat the hot food. Cover his plate or something, but if dinner is at Xpm, it’s at Xpm and it’s a reasonable request that people are at the table at Xpm. He’ll learn.

  4. FOOD not *foot* above ^^^^^

  5. This is Jen says:

    I abhor tardiness. Even in college, a group of us would say ” okay meet to go to dinner at 5″. At five whomever was there with me was encouraged to head over with me. It would drive me nuts to wait even 2 extra minutes.
    Everyone else in the group would always want to wait for the others.
    Is that OCD? I have mellowed with age, but it still ticks me off when people are late.

    I would have eaten the burger…no bread…and loved the egg…and possibly tossed a few Ice cubes in the soup

  6. Dude I’m hip; a burger w/ a fried egg is the greatest.

  7. You definitely did the right thing Athol.
    Everything is relative. With a great first officer like Jennifer this is the only sensible approach. She’s a busy professional and almost certainly wasn’t intentionally devaluing your time.
    Other wives might require a reaction more like option one.

  8. @Duncan I agree, fried egg cheeseburger, with bacon! Definitely a sometimes food though… Pretty sure it has a day’s worth of calories.

  9. Knowing what work can be like, a spontaneous lunch like that I normally would say, “Sure, I’ll leave the office at x hour and come over so should be there around x time”. That way my arrival time is set but it allows for traffic, finding parking, etc to hold me up a little. I’ve always done this, never really thought about it. Maybe because unreliability really annoys me so I don’t want to let the other person down. If planned in advance rather than being spontaneous I’d tend to leave with the goal to be there about 15 minutes early to allow for hold ups (unless I knew the area really well and knew parking would be easy).

    For a spontaneous lunch, I think you handled it well. Getting annoyed would have just spoiled what could be a nice time together.

  10. I keep thinking of the sandwich Adam Sandler makes in ‘Spanglish’. You people are making me hungry!

  11. “(3) Is somewhat of an addition to (2). Having let myself get anxious and freaked out, now I’m just brave enough to sucker punch you somehow on something else. It’s indirect rage and very ineffective. She won’t even have a clue why I got her back either. Passive-aggressive sucks.”

    True, but it might be fun. No clue? “You know what you did!” With a smile at the turnabout, of course. A bit of non-grumpy pushback might be in order.

    Though really, who are we to give you advice? “Tiger, you’re holding that club all wrong.”

  12. Off The Grid says:

    Some people habitually arrive early, others on time, others late. My approach has always been to just accept people the way they are as long as they are an overall positive influence in your life. When someone is late habitually, I will usually adjust what I consider on time to be by around five minutes… Ie tell them 1:00, but plan for 1:05. Once 1:05 comes you start without them, regardless of who they are. My wife is late to everything, so she gets a lot of medium temperature food after I have already started, along with a big smile, make out kiss, and slap on the behind…

  13. A good ROI says:

    I find these types of shared interactions to be helpful. Because I still find that I naturally / automatically go for the non-alpha responses, some of the time. I realize that and usually catch and correct myself, but sometimes I miss it.
    I read the primer and it has been awhile, at least a year plus, of me working on the MAP and we have made a lot of good progress. But still sometimes I let my mind run and I go full on beta. Bah!!

    Then I kow I need to go lift some heavy shit. Mmmmmm, deadlifts and squats.

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