So it turns out after an amazing date #2, I've been declined a third date. Such is the way of life - and now I have to look into the possibility of getting a different date for this week.
I am not in any way crushed, or emotionally impacted by her decision to not pursue things further. In fact, I'm a bit relieved that it was her and not me who made the call to end the shidduch. I haven't really had to make that decision when there wasn't anything overtly negative (IE Red Flags), so it was kind of nice that I didn't have to make a difficult choice (though presumably, something may have come up on a later date, at any rate - hey that rhymed).
What is interesting to note is that I had been listening to a shiur on dating given by Rabbi Avraham Braun where he mentioned this specific point about being rejected. I'm not sure where I got these shiurim from, since they seemed to have been on my iPod for a while - but after a quick search I found them on the Ohr Somayach website - which makes sense given that I figured out by listening that he was an Ohr Somayach Rav. The shiurim are geared toward guys and have a yeshivish slant, but he presents a lot of good advice in general, and the shiurim are certainly worth a listen for any guy who is dating. I'm not sure shiur it wherein he discussed the notion I'm about to mention - the categorization of these shiurim on my iPod is a bit wonky - they're not in order or labelled specifically by number in the series... So I guess you'll have to liste to them all, which I can assure you is not a waste of time by any means.
Anyway, the point he mentioned specifically (which I had never heard before, and found quite unique and interesting) was regarding what one should daven for in reference to a shidduch. Specifically, he made mention how one should continue to daven during the shidduch dating, that the outcome should be good, etc (this I had heard before). However, he then remarked that one should request that if someone is going to say "No" at some point (thus ending the shidduch dating) a guy should ask G-d that it be the girl who says "No" and not him.
He gave two reasons for this: 1) It removes the guy from a possible slight against the girl with regard to bein adam l'chaveiro in hurting her feelings for rejecting her and 2) The guy can take the rejection better. I'm not going to discuss the nature of how true #2 is, since some guys may be more sensitive than others. Nor am I going to elaborate on #1 since there might be a few feminist readers out there who think the reverse bein adam l'chaveiro issue from the girl toward the guy is just as equally valid. No offense to either group intended.
I can definitely say it was a relief for me not to have to turn her down for another date (I was actually hoping for a third one), so I do believe that Rabbi Braun's advice was correct. The timing of me having just listened to the shiur is quite coincidental, or rather has a hashgacha pratis aura to it. I'm a big fan of hashgacha pratis in general, and find it very neat to see it manifested in my life. Either way, I'm glad I was aware of this point, and can appreciate the rejection that much more because of it.
I still maintain that the most recent dates I've been out with have only increased in quality of middos and general overall amazing-ness. So hopefully my next shidduch suggestion will be even better than this one was... as I recently read on another blog (forget which) and recall having heard from one of the kollel rabbeim in my hometown, each successive shidduch brings you one step closer to your real bashert.
I hope I don't have too many more steps to go...
PS - I also mean no harm in using the designation "girls" referring to the female of our species. I just find the terminology "men" and "women" to be a little too academic at times - and while I like the term "guys" in reference to males, I don't know of a similar, neutral term for females. And no, I don't think "Guys and Dolls" really works. If anyone has a suggestion for the female equivalent to the term "guy," then by all means post a response and let me know.
PPS - I've seen that the hit counter has been going up a bit lately (in a modest fashion), so I know someone is reading this thing. I would very much appreciate any and all comments, including those of a constructive critical nature (but not bashing). So comment away!