Looking back at dating life with fondness (and relief).
By Hannah Wallace
“Look at my bra!”
Yeah, not how I expect to be greeted when I walk into a hockey locker room. But one of my teammates, a 40-something Sarasota divorcee, recently bounded back into the dating scene (“Four dates in two weeks!”), and she was feeling especially good about herself and her wardrobe. So who was I to burst her bubble?
“It’s…shiny,” I agreed.
Ah, I remember those days, when I dressed not knowing who I was going to meet or what shiny thing he would focus on. Those days …kind of sucked, actually. But that’s just because I’m neurotic and insecure. Ironically (but not unexpectedly), being in a relationship makes dating more fun—not actually dating, of course, but watching other dating people and considering what I would do in their shoes. All the excitement and none of the risk. Plus, it’s fun to look back on some of my own dates that were full-on awkward-fests and understand that they weren’t precursors of doom but hysterical glimpses of humanity. For example:
I once dated a guy with seven toes. To his credit, he admitted this on the first date, during that “what’s interesting about you” part of the conversation. (That toe count represents a subtraction after a severe case of frostbite; he did not have, as Copy Editor Megan first assumed, seven toes on one foot.)
After one first date that absolutely should not have had a sequel, I had to return the damn DVD the guy had lent me (tricky tricky), so I suggested dinner at Hops, followed by a trip to some batting cages. He spent the meal criticizing things, including the beer sampler I’d recommended, obviously under the impression that it made him look discerning. We went to Pirates’ Cove and realized they no longer had batting cages, at which point the guy tried to hold my hand. Without making eye contact. We headed to Livingston’s instead, although I damn near drove myself home (we’d come in separate cars and he did not know where I lived). I regretted not ditching him, too, when mid-pool game he serenaded me by singing along to “I Like Big Butts.”
Doesn’t everyone have a musician boy story? This one kept a blog, which I read, because he sometimes posted dreamy ideas and original song lyrics (I was a 14-year-old well into my 20s). After several weeks of pretty good dates—I even met his parents—I read on his blog one day that he’d met this fantastic girl (awww) and he was smitten (well, of course)…and he’d spent four hours on the phone with her last night. I…hadn’t spoken to him. D’oh! (Six months later, he was married. So either they were meant to be, or, as Copy Editor Megan says, I dodged a bullet.)
One guy in question dropped me off at home after a second date and noticed my car’s (admittedly flip) decal of a line-drawn fish with “Gefilte” inside. He asked what gefilte was, and I explained that gefilte fish was a Jewish meal. “Some people would find that offensive,” he responded, and I, oblivious to his tone, fired back, “It’s on there for people who find it offensive.” Yeah, no third date there.
A charmer I met on Yahoo! Personals revealed during what seemed to be a pretty good first date that he wasn’t “looking for a relationship right now.” Then he put his hand on my thigh. Then he proceeded to get very drunk and spent the last half hour of the evening apologizing. For being drunk.
Another Internet winner, this guy was a big fan of Queen. Couldn’t stop talking about Queen, their genius, their music, best band ever, etc. Figuring I could at least hold a conversation on the topic, I offered, “And how awful that Freddie Mercury died so young. Although at least his death brought attention to AIDS.” The guy looked immediately annoyed. “Yeah, I don’t like to talk about that stuff,” he grumbled. “What, AIDS?” “Yeah, I just like their music.” But, dude, it’s…Queen. How far in denial can you be?
There’s plenty more where that came from—the Interrupting Landlord, the Foosball Incident, and of course, the famous story of Nickelbutt. But those stories are, as they say, NSFW. And seeing as how this is work, I should probably leave them be. What’s your favorite bad date story?