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I was on a date the other day and the guy sent back our bottle of wine and made a huge display of swishing, sniffing and tasting. The whole pretentious wine guy routine was a real turn off for me. I mentioned this to my friend and she said I was being too judgmental in my decision to say no to a second date. What do you think? Otherwise he seemed like a pretty cool guy. Does wine guy deserve another shot? 

First things first, I should state my bias: Wine drinking—love it. Everything else to do with wine—no thanks.  There are few things that make my eyes roll back further than discussions of legs and full bodies and tannins and so on. Had I been on the date you describe, the poor guy may have assumed I was having a Poltergeist attack—on account of the eyes rolling back in my head, though come to think of it, projectile vomiting and head spinning would not be out of the question, depending on how groan-worthy things got. To my ears, the phrase, “I’m a bit of an oenophile,” registers similarly to “I’m a bit of a serial killer.”

I wanted to be straight about that because there are a lot of people, some that I love and respect, who care a lot about wine. And you know what those people might roll their eyes at? [Insert your own frivolous but fulfilling obsession here]. My own include the quest for the perfect two-piece men’s pajama set, or dips (as in “chips and”). Unlike oenophiles, we PJ-chip-and-dippers don’t have a (pretentious sounding) name to describe us, but the point I’m trying to make here is that all of us have our things. And they don’t need to be things that our partners share.

My own bf has no opinion on the merits of cream cheese-based dips vs. sour cream-based dips. Meanwhile he could talk about British pop bands for days (at least sometimes it feels like days). And still, somehow, we make it work. And so can you, if you want to.

Because while being mega into wine should not be a deal breaker, being a pretentious d-bag…

Since I wasn’t there, I can’t make a definitive judgment on the sending back of the wine. Technically speaking, you’re only supposed to send back wine if it has gone bad (corked, oxidized, etc.). These days though, a lot of sommeliers say that it’s also alright to send back a bottle that just isn’t to your liking (they can always sell it by the glass). Some factors to consider include how much you are spending at the establishment, whether the bottle was the waiter’s recommendation and just how much you don’t like it.

Ultimately though, I think it’s all in the delivery. There is a polite way to send back wine regardless of the reason for the rejection. If your dude was respectful and sincere (as opposed to, say, pompous and obnoxious), then there’s no problem. In fact, it’s a good sign. (Hot tip: The way a perspective bf/gf treats waiters, cab drivers, homeless people can be very helpful in determining their long-term potential slash value as a human being).

As for the swishing, the nosing, the pensive expression that should only be made by men wearing ascots…this is tricky. Because on the one hand, this is what you are “supposed to” do when receiving a bottle. But I also feel like it’s a bit of a farce. Especially if you’re “tasting” a bottle that goes for less than $20 at the liquor store. Like, calm down Frasier [or some other pop culture reference that isn’t over twenty years out of date].

Do you give him another chance? I say yes. Definitely, yes. Especially since you say he seemed otherwise “pretty cool”. Here’s why: 1) Cool guys (even pretty cool guys) are hard to come by; 2) Maybe he was just being Mr. Wine to impress you; 3) You are not powerless in this equation.

I know a couple where the guy is a total wine guy. When he spends too long with his nose in a wine glass, his wife (who is awesome) will call him out. If he starts talking about wine, she’ll make audible snoring sounds. Not that I’m suggesting this technique for a second date, but maybe a little gentle ribbing will send the right message. If not, then you can bail after the second date. The simple truth is that after just one encounter, there is no way to tell whether this behavior is a manageable quirk or an indication of more substantial incompatibility. There’s only one way to find out. At least it involves drinking wine.