Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Never Cry on a First Date

The clues were all there -- the biggest clue being that this was someone I met on THE BUS. I gave him the benefit of the doubt since I, too, was on the bus, and therefore there must occasionally be some normal people on the bus.
We chat, and when we get back to town he suggests we meet for a beer. I didn't have anything else to do, so I thought, what the hell, I'll just stay for a little while.

He proceeded to get maudlin-drunk on just two beers, and started telling me all these horrible stories. Like how his 7-years-older brother used to break his bones ON PURPOSE, including a compound fracture of his right leg, which of course he wanted me to feel. Then he starts telling me that his brother finally stopped doing this when he started doing it back. I'm thinking, "completely demented, but some kids are," but then he says, "so that was about five years ago," meaning that he and his brother were still beating the crap out of each other at ages 24 and 31, respectively!

His next heartwarming story is about the girl he was engaged to, who aborted their child and broke off the engagement one month before the wedding. By this point he's sobbing, I'm horrified to the point of speechlessness, and he decides to take offense and get nasty when I try to find something to say to express sympathy. Freaky, especially when I'm dealing with a guy who seems to think that breaking his brother's arm is an appropriate response to an adult argument.

Oh, but wait -- apparently thinking that he's on a roll or that we are making an emotional connection or something, he next tells me about trying to save an entire family whose car has fallen into a frozen lake. After his psycho-brother has saved the mother, he goes down to save two kids and finally the baby, who dies in his arms from being in the lake too long, and he blacks out and wakes up in the hospital with a bunch of broken ribs from psycho-brother trying to restart his heart, since he almost died too. Now he's crying really hard, and tells me that he goes to sleep every night still seeing the face of the baby he couldn't save. (Um, maybe some therapy is in order?)

Interspersed with these charming stories were moments where he took great offense at my saying "wow," or "oh my God," and he would shoot nastily back with, "Is that all you have to say?!?" And then there were the really random sexual comments, like when he asked me if I had dated anyone since my last big relationship. I said, "yeah, I've been on a few dates," and he says, "oh, so that's what we're calling it now, dates," implying that what he really wanted to know was if I had gotten LAID recently. And he managed to say this with a scary, drunken leer. Right after crying over dead babies.

When I finally decided that as fascinating as this car wreck was to watch I wanted to go home, he proceeds to tell me that he thinks he's too drunk to drive home, and to stare at me expectantly. My response? "Wow, that sucks. Good luck!" and I quickly bolted from the bar.


What a Pig!

I had been dating a guy for a few weeks when he called me at work. I picked up the phone and said, "hello" only to hear pig snorting noises on the other side. I didn't know who it was, and so I hung up the phone. He called right back and admitted it was him, but never gave any explanation as to why he was snorting.

I should have known something was weird with this guy right then, but I kind of ignored it. But the animal noise thing continued. He started leaving messages with just barking or meowing on them. No explanation. I only called him back if he left me a real voice message, since I didn't want to encourage this odd behavior. But it continued.

Then he started doing it in person too. I realized that any time I brought up any subject which made him uncomfortable he'd "change the subject" by imitating some animal. But in general he was a good guy, and I enjoyed his company, so I tried to ignore this weird trait which he seemed to think I'd find endearing.

This culminated about two months into the relationship when I asked him if he'd like for us to be dating exclusively.

"Moo!" He said. "Moo! Moo!"

"I guess not." I said.

And that was the end of that relationship.


Temptations of the Flesh

A nice guy paid for my tickets into a local ball game, and, after I had written to reimburse him, he asked me if I wanted to go out. I wasn't particularly attracted to him, but he'd done me a favor and I figured a night out couldn't hurt. He made a point of telling me over the phone that he was Christian, which I was okay with. I didn't realize just how into his faith he was, however, until we got into his car (which was so old it had a button ignition!) and he popped a tape of ancient hymns on the stereo . . .

So, we went to the beach listening to Georgic chants. Once we were there, he began talking about how dedicated he was to his faith and about how he didn't want a girlfriend, as he was planning on joining a monastery as soon as his SON turned eighteen -- more things I didn't know about.

Finally I asked him, "If you don't want a girlfriend, why did you ask me out?"

He confessed he thought that having female friends would benefit him in his "quest" and that I would be perfect for helping him resist "the temptations of the flesh," as he put it. That was about it for me, I had him take me home. Now when a guy says he's Christian, I try to make sure what he's interested in before I go out with him. . .

--Name Withheld

Police Action

My dating disaster dates back a Zillion years: my graduation party. I ended up with the man of my dreams in the back of my Volkswagen beetle. He was wearing whatever; I was wearing my left boot. The latter had gotten stuck under the drivers seat with my foot in it -- don't ask me why -- and I was trying to free myself, giggling hysterically, when the door of my car opened and a cop jovially said "Goooood Morning!!"

I jumped, kicked out, and knocked the driver's seat of the rail. Meanwhile the cop was heaving the time of his life, as I was naked AND spreadeagled, pinned under the seat. My friend was grinning, as he miraculously was wearing all his clothes and was only slightly disarrayed.

It took us ten minutes to convince the cop to leave, and another twenty minutes to get the seat back on the track. . .


Dating Officer Friendly

I am a law enforcement officer. So, I don't take much nonsense from men. So I knew it was bad news when I agreed to go out for a date with a guy I met... on the job. Actually, on the job as I arrested him! As if that's not ominous enough, he was arrested by me . . . for indecent exposure.

It is a very small town, and I have known this guy by name for a while, so I really felt obliged to take him up on the offer. We met at a local diner two days after I nabbed him. One of the first things that suggested he was a little kooky was that he was wearing a clown suit. I asked him why and he said it was because he was working at a party. But this was totally false, I later learned, he had just worn it because he was too broke to get any other clothes after we released him. He had gone straight to the Salvation Army in his county jail suit and the clown costume was all they could offer him.

The next thing I realized was crazed was that he ordered 2 dinners, at the same time. At this point I seriously questioned if he had any money to pay... I asked, not to be rude, and he just opened his mouth and told me his gold fillings were worth at least 34 bucks.

I had gotten about enough, and I was ready to leave cash on the table and run out when I realized he had defecated in my food while I was in the restroom. Really. This was certainly grounds for arrest. I stood up and told him that the date was over and he was to address me not by my first name but as an officer.

A disastrous date, yes, but another criminal off the streets.

--Name Withheld

Kid Stuff

I met a guy online, and we decided to meet so we made a date at a nearby theater. Besides that fact that his picture looked NOTHING like him. . . he was odd. Reminded me of the guy in the movie Sling Blade.

So, we go into the movie, sitting near the back. He talked the WHOLE time. About 30 minutes into it, he leans over and says, "So, you wanna have kids, right?" And he wasn't even attempting to whisper. I just nodded. So then he wants to know if I want them "at this age, like, real soon."

I spent the whole rest of the movie thinking of ways to get in my car without his touching me. It was awful. Luckily, I got away with just a handshake. Never again. . .

--Name Withheld

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

The neighbor who lived in the apartment behind me had been lurking around my place for weeks, trying to get me to go out for a drink with him. Finally, I relented. I mean, the guy seemed normal: was a cyclist, worked as an animal specialist at the zoo, was pretty cute... Plus, I hadn't dated since I broke up with my boyfriend a year ago and it was time to get back out there. I figured, what could possibly go wrong?

I walked over to his apartment before the date, and he asked me if I would mind driving, since he'd just had a couple of beers. He didn't seem soused or anything, but I though that was pretty responsible of him.

So, we went to dinner, chatted for a while, and generally had a nice time. During the conversation, he confessed that for the last few years he'd been suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and hadn't gone out much socially because he simply didn't have the energy. He'd really been looking forward to going out with me, and getting reintroduced to social life. The telling of this painful story required consumption of another 2 or 3 beers.

After dinner, we went to a club to dance and listen to music. He downed still more beer, and later whispered to me conspiratorially, "Want a Valium? I brought extras!" I politely refused, but he insisted, so I smiled and slipped it into my pocket saying, "I'll take it later."

After a while he started to look a little green, so I suggest that we step outside for some air. He agreed and grabbed my hand and headed for the door. Just as he pushed the outside door open with his free hand, he passed out stone cold and fell forward onto the bouncer like a ton of bricks, dragging me forward with the vise-like grip of his other hand!

The bouncer managed to lay him down on the ground and pry his hand off of my wrist. A guest who was an off duty paramedic checked him out and suggested that we call an ambulance. We were close enough to the hospital that I decided to drive him myself, so I pulled up the car and they poured him into the passenger seat. He came to a few seconds later and protested madly when I told him that we were en route to the ER.

He said that he just needed to sleep it off, and that I should take him home. I reluctantly agreed, but told him that I would just wait with him for awhile, feed him coffee and make sure he didn't expire or something! Finally I got him home, hauled him up the stairs, plunked him down on the couch and took a good look at the place where this character lived.

Now picture this: at least 13 tropical birds flying all over the place, crapping on the furniture and squawking like crazy; a sink containing at least a month's worth of dirty dishes; and two recycling bins -- one full of Mountain Dew cans, and the other full of empty Schaefer's beer cans. I perched on the arm of a chair and talked to him for about an hour, until I was convinced that he wasn't going to die, and then gathered myself to go home.

It was at that moment that he moved toward me, licked his lips, and said the unthinkable: "Gosh, I was hoping that you would spend the night. We were hitting it off so well..."

Can I pick them or what????

-- Julie

Close Encounters of the Bad Date Kind

My Junior year of High School I agreed to go out with a friend of mine - he should have remained just that and nothing more. I really didn't want to go, but was polite and gave him a chance. We decided to go the relatively tame route and just go see a movie.

We got to the movie theater where 99.9% of the movies actually sounded good and worth seeing. The date, though, wanted to see the one movie that just made my stomach turn. No negotiations, case closed. As we got up to the window, my date paid for his ticket and walked away, leaving me to pay for a ticket to a movie that I don?t want to see. For the first time in my life, I actually brought along enough money for cab fare should I truly need an escape. The thought of leaving was pretty attractive.

But I paid anyway and entered the theater to find him standing at the concession waiting for me. He asked me what I wanted to eat, to which I replied that I wasn't hungry. He then said, "Oh, all girls eat at movies." So, to shut him up, I told him I'd have a box of raisinettes. He told the guy at the concession stand that I wanted raisinettes and walked away.

So I paid for the candy that I don't want to eat, and went off to find him in the theater playing the movie I don't want to watch, calculating in my head how much money I had left for cab fare.

Thank goodness they play those memorable movie scene slides before the previews start. Otherwise we would have had to come up with conversation on our own ? not that his conversation was much better. A scene from some Star Trek movie flashed up and he proceeded to relay the entire ridiculous plot. Then they showed an ad for a movie about alien abduction.

He spilled his guts about how he's been abducted by aliens.

You know, at that point, I sort of believed him.

After the movie the guy actually suggested going parking! I mumbled an excuse about having to be up early and that I should really get home. Back at my house, I tried to make a quick and painless escape but he stopped me with, "Don't I at least get a hug good-bye?" I hugged him and said I had an "interesting time."

"Oh admit it, it sucked," he replied.

Ok, I admit it.


A Man in Uniform

Years ago, I agreed to go on a blind date to the movies with one of my brother's old friends. When he showed up at my house, I opened the door to what seemed like a time warp. He was wearing his Army dress uniform. I couldn't believe it I mean, these aren't the 1950s!

Maybe I was being dramatic, but I just thought it was strange. He asked if I wanted to go to a theater or a drive-in. To avoid being seen (or to give him the opportunity to live out his 1950s fantasy) I opted for the drive-in. On the way there he sang he favorite tune - the Green Beret theme.

At the drive in, I kid you not, he whistled at the girls walking by the car. I sat so close to the car door, Ford was imprinted on my arm for weeks after. I don't even remember the movie.

My brother had the last laugh, he knew this guy was a creep. He just didn't tell me till later. Never date your brother's friends.

--Name Withheld

Dr. Dolittle

I am an avid dater and am quite familiar with generally accepted norms of dating protocol. My choices of whom I date however, show a lack of common sense -- or psychic intuition!

So it's 20 minutes into the New Year and we arrived back at his place after attending two parties. I met this guy on an Internet dating service two days prior and things seemed to be just great!

We were both exhausted from having stayed up together all night the night before. We sat on the couch and he turned his back to me and proceeded to talk to his cat. He apologized to the cat for not being there for it at midnight and verbalized various other sweet-nothings. I sat there for a good two or three minutes letting them have their "private time". What the hell was the matter with this guy?

I eventually felt so uncomfortable that I asked him if there was anything I could do to entertain myself. He abruptly got up, headed to the bathroom and emerged holding a box of dental floss. He broke off a long thread then handed me the box and said, "Let's floss."

He sat back down on the couch and proceeded to floss at the cat.

So I?m sitting there holding this box of floss thinking, "This is not my life. Would the real life please stand up?" I sat there in bewilderment for another couple of minutes.

Then I spoke up, "I can't let flossing be the first thing I do in the New Year even as important as I think dental hygiene is." He pow-wowed with the cat for another three minutes ? I swear he was asking advice -- and concluded that we should all call it a night.

Again, another rotten over-hyped New Year's that ends in utter disbelief of the possibility that people like this are walking amongst the unsuspecting public!


The Double Date

I have been on some truly mortifying dates but I think this one qualifies for the absolute worst.

My mother had a friend at work who always talked about her only -- and close to perfect -- child: a son, in his early twenties, handsome, smart, talented, creative and best of all available! As luck would have it, I was to be home from college on a weekend when "wonder boy" would be around and the two mothers conspired to set us up on a blind date.

We were going to dinner and I dressed in excited anticipation of our meeting. At 7:00 sharp ?Andy? pulls up in front of the house. I'm watching out the window and so far so good -- he's dressed well, on time, etc. Introductions are made all around and we leave to get in the car. As I get in the front seat, I notice a small figure sitting in the shadows in back.

Andy would like to introduce me to his close friend Chester -- who happens to be a ventriloquist's dummy.

The rest of the evening was spent with Chester acting as our go between. He came to the restaurant with us, ordered food and made lively conversation. I had to draw the line when Chester and Andy suggested dancing after dinner. The evening was a near religious experience, with me praying continually that we would not run into anyone I knew.

Arriving home, the "boys" walked me to the door and proceeded to argue over who got to kiss me goodnight while I quietly slipped into the house and slammed the door in their faces.

--Name Withheld

Got Milk?

I was recently asked out on a date by a total hunk ? I mean, this guy made me weak in the knees. I was so nervous about making conversation with him on our fist date, that I suggested we check out a visiting short film festival. At least that way, all I would have to say every so often would be, "That was good." Surely I could handle that.

Before we sat down for the films, Paul bought me a cappuccino, which I finished in about 5 minutes. After the 2 hour screening, there was a reception where we met the directors, met some of the actors, and mingled with the crowd.

Then I told my date I needed to go to the ladies room. When I got there, I nearly died of embarrassment when I looked in the mirror and saw a ring of cappuccino froth and chocolate across the bridge of my nose! I couldn't believe the #@*! let me sit through 2 hours of movie watching and crowd mingling and not tell me about it! Needless to say, I never saw him again!


Static Cling or Quickie Fling?

One night I went out to a club with a friend of my father's. He's a much older man, but I enjoy his company and we go out on the town every once in a while. Anyway, we were out having cocktails and a drink was spilled on my pants. We had planned to go out to a busy restaurant after drinking to get something to eat. I suggested that we swing by my house first so I could change.

Being a little buzzed up, I wasn't paying much attention to what I was doing. I ran into the house quickly to throw on a pair of dry pants and ran back to the car.

We finally got to the restaurant and it was packed with people I knew including parents of some of my friends. As a walked across the restaurant to our table, I noticed people kind of staring at me. I didn't know what the problem was until I got to my seat.

'Are they yours?' my father's friend asked. He pointed to a pair of underwear that were sticking to my pants on the outside.

I wanted to die as I crawled under the table. It was the most embarrassing moment of my life. I guess everyone thought I just had a quickie and forgot to put my underwear back on. I use downy in my rinse water at all times now to avoid static cling!

-- Cheryl

Three's a Crowd

I had an affair with a married man. I know, I know, it's wrong, it's a betrayal of my fellow womankind, these things only end in disaster, but nevertheless, I did it.

We worked at the same company, so we had a lot of opportunity to be together on the road. Our office was in Manhattan and I lived there, but he lived in the suburbs. So he'd come over to my place after work a lot and stayed over a fair amount, telling his wife he had to work late and was crashing at the company apartment in the city. The only person in my life who knew about us was my roommate.

From the start he told me he would leave his wife, but for one reason or another kept putting it off (she was sick, their son was having problems in school, etc., etc.) For four torturous years this went on, then, finally, he told me he was leaving her. He called me at work and asked me to meet him for a drink to talk about what this meant for us and our relationship. I couldn't have been happier, and nearly ran the few blocks to the bar. When I entered, he was sitting at a table and my roommate was there with him. In my excitement, I only thought this was a nice gesture to show how fully he was planning to join my life. When I sat down, the two of them told me that they had been together for over a year and were getting married.

He had left his wife for my roommate.

--Name Withheld

An Ex By Any Other Name

I had been dating this guy Brad for several months, when I went to visit him in Boston. (I lived an hour and a half away.) He picked me up at the bus station with two other people in the car, his roommate John whom I'd met before and a woman I'd never met named Catherine.

I got into the front seat and we drove off to dinner. Periodically throughout the night Brad would refer to Catherine as "Cathy" and she would quickly correct him: "Catherine," she'd say emphatically. As we drove home from dinner and this happened for the umpteenth time, I finally turned around to look at her and said, "Oh, Brad's just calling you Cathy because he has this ex-girlfriend named Cathy. This horrible woman who just can't get over him and still thinks that maybe they'll get married someday and so she calls up at all hours of the night crying and trying to win him back even though he's dating me. He keeps telling her he's not interested, and she just won't get the message. What a loser. I mean she's got to get on with her life!" People were pretty silent after my outburst, and a few minutes later we dropped John and Catherine off.

At which point Brad turns to me and says: "Um, that WAS Cathy."

Turns out, she'd really wanted to meet me and he'd agreed to this stupid plan of inviting her out under a "pseudonym."

Hey, she deserved it. . .


Vegetarians and Beefy Guys

I woke up recently after a night out drinking with the girls with a bit of a headache and not much memory of the evening. But I found all of my receipts and bar tabs and chalked it up to a good night -- until 5:00 o'clock rolled around and my phone rang. "Carl? Ummmm . . .yes . . . I met you last night? We talked? I gave you my number? Hmm?" My dilemma was this: was he in fact some hot stud I had been eyeballing or was he just some guy I wanted off my back and so I gave him my number to make him go away? If it was the latter I would have probably given him my digits with a wrong number or two thrown into the mix, so that leaves the former. I guess I really dug this stud. I went with it and set up a date.

The week went along and Friday night we were to meet. I met him there since I like to have my own get-away car. I was early and had the host seat me somewhere I could keep the whole bar and restaurant in view and assess the situation. About five minutes later in walks a very buff, beefy-like character. Like he had ham hocks strapped on his thighs. Let's just say I am a vegetarian, both in my food consumption and in my taste for men. This was surely the wrong guy! There must be some mistake! The man dwarfed Arnold and made a mockery of Sylvester! I mean, this man was huge. He sat down and I tried to be pleasant and not stare because his tree trunk neck is bigger than my waist.

We order food and he orders the T-bone. I usually don't care when people eat meat in front of me, but for some reason it did this time. Maybe it's because this Carl ended up being a total perv. With every bite of carnage, out spewed some sexual comment. "So, where do you like to have sex?" Bite. "What's your favorite thing to do to a guy?" Bite. Was this guy really asking me this? I tried to laugh it off and told him I didn't think it was appropriate to be talking this candidly about sex on a first date. He said he thought people were too conservative about sex and it would be best if people just opened up. Bite. In with the carnage, out with the garbage. This was the date from hell. I ate my pasta primavera as fast as I could and told him I was feeling ill and had to go home.

"Oh, I forgot to ask you. My car broke down yesterday, so I had my roommate drop me off here. Would you mind taking me home?" What the hell is the purpose of the get-away car if you have to drive them home? Fine, Fine I said, but we must leave NOW.

But the drive home was the worst part. On the 15 minute drive home he just stared at my breasts and told me I was blessed with "great curves" -- and he thought he could get away with it because he had a drippy smile on face when he said it. We finally arrived at his house but Paul Bunyon wouldn't leave my car. He just kept staring. "I had a great time . . ." Stare. "Do you think I can have a kiss?" Stare. Is he for real? Why don't guys read body language? My whole body is facing the driver-side door and he wants a freaking kiss? After 20 minutes of telling him he had to leave, I finally got the oaf out of my car.

A lesson to you girls . . . a 10 at 2, is a 2 at 10.

--Name Withheld

Boyfriend Brings Back More Than a Ring From Exotic Vacation

A friend of mine, whom we'll call Kristin, moved to Boston with her boyfriend from college, Jim. After a few years of living together she started hinting around that it was time to make a bigger commitment. So it was that she was very psyched when Jim came back from a two week vacation to Venezuela with a beautiful diamond ring. He asked her to marry him and she said yes. Called up her parents, told them, the whole shebang.

Several days later, Kristin gets a phone call at home. A woman with a heavy Spanish accent asks for Jim. Kristin said he wasn't there, and Miss Spanish Accent asks who she is.

"I'm his girlfriend," said Kristin. "NO!" came back the answer. "I'M his girlfriend."

Turns out, Jim had brought back from South America a diamond ring AND a 17 year old Venezuelan girl he had holed up in a motel down the street.

Jim came home that day to find both women sitting in the living room waiting for him. What he was thinking nobody knows to this day, since Kristin only spoke to him long enough to run outside and throw her new ring into the depths of the Charles river.

Postscript: Jim married the Venezuelan, and Kristin has found someone she adores who's a lot more trustworthy. . .


A trip to a transvestite club wasn't the first date our heroine had in mind.

I met this guy in a bar and had a great time talking all night. When he called for a date, I was pretty excited. He told me to think of something I'd like to do, and I decided that either the movies or a comedy show would be a good idea for a first date. Apparently, my guy had other ideas . . . He said movies "suck" and that comedy shows are "stupid". He had ME pick HIM up and said we were going to grab something to eat. Where we ended up was at a sub shop where, instead of letting me get my own sub, he offered me a bite of his ham and cheese. I declined. I was thinking that this really wasn't going well, but I couldn't possibly have had an idea of how much worse it was going to get. He told me I would absolutely LOVE the place he was taking me.

We arrived in front of a bar that is infamous for it's Goth interior and transsexual clientèle. Suddenly, a man in fishnets and a mini-skirt approached me for a dance, which my date got very excited about. At that point, Mr. Mini-Skirt was more appealing than my date, but I turned down the dance, and just wanted to go home. My date then wanted to take me to eat again, and we went to a little diner. He told me he wanted steak tips & eggs, but didn't want to order them both, so he wanted ME to order steak tips, and he'd just pick them off my plate. Which he did with fervor when the food arrived. Finally, I dropped him off, and laughed the whole way home about what a comedy of horrors had occurred.

He called just yesterday looking to take me out again . . . I didn't pick up the phone.


Speedy Getaway

After the "drought" -- a time during which I decided not to play the field -- I agreed rather reluctantly to let two work friends of mine, Mary and Sean, set me up with Sean's roommate. The only thing I knew about him was that he was 5'11", and I'm 6'1" -- that didn't make me too happy, but hey. For the man of my dreams we could work around it.

One fateful Sunday, I answered the phone only to find Mary saying, "Enough of your foolishness. This is Tony, now talk." After a bit of awkwardness, something of a conversation emerged. Tony seemed a bit unrefined, but a genuinely nice guy.

When he asked me how old I was, I replied truthfully that I was 18. When I asked him, he said he was between 22 and 30. Um, OK. He claimed to be a semi-tall Italian type, with a slightly receding hairline, although not quite as receding as, say, Nicolas Cage.

I agreed to meet him out (mostly to stop the harassment from my friends) a couple days later. His car was in the shop, so I had to pick him up (in hindsight, this was a good thing). As I drove to his house on the night of our date, I had visions of a 5'11 Nic Cage -- not bad.

I spotted Sean outside and he waved me over to their apartment, which was in the middle of the "hood." We went inside and there was Tony, dressed to the nines (or so he thought) in thick gold chains and clothes that only look good worn by Will Smith in 'Men In Black'. Then I noticed his rather large bald spot (he must be closer to the 30 end of the age range he gave me). He wasn't exactly 5'11 either, more like 5'9 in platform sneakers.

We left his apartment and got on the road. Rather abruptly, he told me to turn. Somewhat surprised I found myself in the parking lot of a sports bar. Inside, we talked a bit before he ordered the special, meat loaf, for the both of us. We ate in silence, except for the sound of Tony shoveling food in his mouth.

He literally bent his head over his plate, giving me a full frontal bald spot view, and shoved the food in his mouth. After complaining about everything from the food, to the place, to the waiter, to the guys who held the door open for me, Tony decided we needed ice-cream. (Please, no more!) He directed us to an ice cream parlor where he ridiculed a large woman who came in for ice-cream, the pimply guy-behind-the-counter, and pretty much everything else. (Someone save me!)

I finally asked why he had moved back to Florida. Turns out he had spent two years in jail for drug dealing, plus doing some illegal financial work. He was not 22 or even 30. He was 34. And he hadn't had a car in years. He had moved down here because his old finance buddies offered him his old job back. "The Feds are watching us," he confided.

After dropping him off and enduring another 15 minutes of excruciating small talk, I pleaded an early morning meeting and told him I'd call him if I decided the age thing wasn't a factor (read: jerk factor). An evening like that is enough to make any girl glad to be single, with a car for a speedy getaway.

-- J

The Gaydar Experiment

Back in college, I met this guy who had gone to high school with one of my friends at a party. We spent a lot of time together talking that night and hit it off pretty well -- he seemed nice, smart and together. After going out on several dates, I respected the fact that he had never once tried to kiss me or even hold my hand, but a little alarm went off in my mind.

One night, we were talking on the phone and told me about the guy at the CD store who had flirted with him earlier that day. At first, I didn't see anything wrong with that; he's an attractive guy. But, then he proceeded to tell me that this sort of thing happened all the time. I started to get a bit suspicious.

Then he asked me, "When you first met me, did you think I was gay?" a Of course, I didn't think he was gay! Why would I have agreed to go out with him in the first place? Then he tells me that he's been trying to figure out whether or not he's gay and that I had been a test for him.

I was in such shock that I avoided his phone calls for months. As a matter of fact, I never talked to him again. I know it's not the most mature thing to do, but I felt used and a bit hurt. Dating me helps a guy figure out that he doesn't like women?

My friend who introduced us lived across the hall from me and when I asked her about it, her response was that she'd been wondering for years if he was gay. It took me a while to talk to her again, too.

Turns out his little experiment worked. The guy now exclusively dates men.

-- Name Withheld

It's a Dog's Life

He was the quintessential American guy: tent, truck, dog and a beer. Traveling through the Rockies alone, I couldn't do anything but appreciate it when he drove up with those unbelievable blue eyes, parked in the campsite next to mine and offered an evening of fire-roasted corn, stars and a cold Sierra Nevada. When morning came, we hiked to a series of hot springs with his little white mutt prancing up and down the trail, ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and skinny-dipped.

For the next three days we knocked around the wilderness playing. Alas, we had to get back into town and headed toward Salt Lake City. The drive was interrupted every 50 minutes to "let Max stretch his legs." We could only stop at McDonalds for lunch and dinner because "Max" liked Quarter Pounders better than Whoppers or Wendy's, never mind I detest McDonald's almost as much as I detest mayonnaise. Oh, Max, of course, is the dog.

After making a 6-hour drive a 12-hour ordeal, we finally found ourselves smuggling Max into a Best Western. When the dog decided he would get my bed and started pushing and nipping, I'd had enough and picked the dog up and tossed him into the bathroom. At which point, American blue eyes howled and demanded to know what was wrong with me. "I'm sorry, but I can't hang with you any more . . . this is over . . . you're jealous of my dog!"

So, at four am, I found myself packing up, getting my own room and vowing to supply my own fire roasted corn and beer in the future. I guess psychos can lurk behind blue eyes.


And the Bride Wore White

I've had plenty of my own dating disasters, but I think I caused the best one after I got engaged. It was my bachelorette party, and I was out with a bunch of friends. As is the way with such things we proceeded to get pretty hammered and I was tackling a long list of "tasks" I'd been assigned for the evening. I'd already tackled the easy things such as getting a kiss from our waiter, getting some guy to hand over his underwear, and getting someone at the bar to sing "here comes the bride." Now it was on to the tough stuff. I had a handful of things to do that needed a willing male participant. We saw two guys standing next to each other and the lot of us approached them.

They're psyched to see all these women and start joking around with us. Then two women walk over, scowl at us, and the guys snap to attention--turns out they're with these two. The guys go back to talking to their dates, and we walked away. A little bit later one of the guys comes over and talks to us some more.

"I'm sorry we made you get in a fight with your girlfriend," I said.

"Oh, she's not a girlfriend. It's a first date," he answers. "It's also our last." Right then, his date walks over and says, "If you even care, I'm going to the bathroom." The moment she's gone he announces he's willing to be the guinea pig for some of the tasks. He volunteered for the tough job of using his navel as a holder for a body shot. Two of my girlfriends support him as he leans backwards, another friend pours some tequila into his belly button and I lap it up.

It is, of course, at exactly this point that our hero's woman comes back from the ladies room. He jumps up and starts wiping alcohol off his bare stomach. He looked like someone who'd been caught in the act of cheating--which, ok, he kind of was--and stammers what was clearly the first thing he could think of: "Where've you been? I've been looking for you everywhere!" Yeah, "everywhere," like the ceiling his eyes focused on as he lay back for a body shot.

"I told you I was going to the bathroom!" she said. She grabbed her purse, and walked out of the bar. He tried to follow her . . . but um, I couldn't get the key out to un-handcuff him from my arm fast enough. Hey, it was on my list--I had to be handcuffed to him for ten minutes. It's not my fault their date didn't work out. Really.


Deficit Points

I had just moved to Brooklyn when a friend set me up on a blind date. I scheduled a date with this guy, but he canceled on me because he sprained his ankle. Once it was healed he called and we set up an afternoon to meet. He drove over to my house, and said that since he was doing rehab on his ankle, he wanted to strengthen it up, and he'd like to walk into Manhattan. Now it's a good long walk over the bridge into Manhattan from my house, but it was a nice day, so I figured what the hell.

We start walking and he asks me where we're going to go for dinner. I say that I hadn't really thought about it, but we could just stop and find a place when we got hungry.

Conversation stopped. In a dramatic movement that would have been accompanied by a trumpet fanfare in the movies, he swings his head up to the heavens and says to the sky: "Has trouble making plans. Disorganized. Negative points." I couldn't believe he'd just said this and I couldn't tell if he was serious or joking or what. For all I know the guy has Tourette Syndrome, right? So I ignore it and keep talking.

A little later I comment on the weather and say, "Wow, it's sure hot as hell out here." Ok maybe I cursed slightly more. Again, he swings his head up to the sky and says: "Inappropriate use of the English language. Unnecessary swearing. Negative points." Now, I'm beginning to think he's a bit freaky.

Over dinner (yes, I managed to be organized enough to get us to a restaurant) it happens again. I turned down his suggestion of ordering a bottle of red wine, and ordered a beer instead. He looked up at the restaurant ceiling: "Doesn't drink wine. Negative points."

"What are you doing?" I asked. "I mean are you trying to joke, or are you being serious or what?? Because if you're serious I'm just going to leave right now." We ended up getting in a huge argument, and in the cab ride home he commented that the evening hadn't quite gone as planned and perhaps we should just shake hands and go our separate ways. I agreed and we rode in silence for a while.

"Except I brought you a gift." He said. "I brought you this incredibly romantic and creative gift. The most creative thing I've ever come up with, and so I think I should probably just give it to you."

"Fine." I said. When we got back to my house, he goes to the trunk of his car and pulls out his phenomenally creative gift: a box made out of chocolates with chocolate candies inside. Some creativity, huh?

I said good night, walked over to the trashcan where I threw out his chocolates as he watched, and went into my house. I never heard from him again.


The Three Hour Tour

OK, so last summer I was kind of having a dry spell. I hadn't been on a date in quite a while and always the good friend that she is, when a college friend of Jessica's mentioned that he needed a date to his annual summer office party, she volunteered me. I had once seen a picture of him in one of those silly sorority collages of hers and said he was cute. All hail to Jessica for remembering.

So the next thing I know I'm on the phone making plans with Jake the Dream Date. In his company's attempt to be culturally neutral, their big annual bash takes place in the summer rather than during the "year end holiday season" (or whatever). That year they rented a big awesome party boat that was going to take us on an all night dinner and dancing floating fiesta. It sounded fun and out of the ordinary. It sounded like it had romantic potential. I was psyched.

The party was on a Friday night, and cruise was to leave the port promptly at 8:00 p.m. Jake the Dream Date said he'd pick me up at my office around 6:30 so that we could have a drink before hand and then head to the docks. At about 4:30 he called from somewhere so loud I could barely make out what he was saying.

"KYLIE," yelled a male voice.

"Um, yeah?" I answered, shielding the receiver from the guy in the next cube.


"Doesn't after work usually start around 5:00 or so?"

"KYLIE, CAN YOU COME AND PICK ME UP? I'VE HAD A COUPLE BEERS." Mind you that I'm giving the condensed version of the conversation here. The real conversation used up a whole lot more "Huh?"s. To make our long conversation short, I'm a work, he's drunk and a half a city away, and no I can't come and pick him up.

We finally decided that I would meet Jake the Dream Date at the docks at 7:30 so we'd be on time to make the cruise. When I got to the pier I waited and waited and saw no sign of Jake the Dream Date. I started thinking . . . were we supposed to meet on the boat? At our table? On the dock? Where the heck had we decided to meet? I had been running a little bit late, so maybe he went on board to look for me. So I decided to board to see if I could find any sign of him. As I was trying to make my way to the seating chart I heard a loud horn sounding.

Yes. Jake the Dream Date or no, we were shoving off.

So here I am sequestered with boat full of strangers for the rest of the night. Always the one to look on the bright side of things, I realized I was also on a boat full of free liquor and I headed to the bar. I figured if Jake the Dream Date were on the boat, sooner or later he'd show up there.

Jake the Dream Date did not show up there, but let me tell you who did.

As I was making friends with the bartender (and his friend Jose Cuervo) a hot guy saddles up next to me. To make another long story short (actually this is convenient seeing how I don't remember most of the story), this hot guy who obviously had interest in me was some young computer whiz kid and founder of the company. Jake the Dream Date's boss.

Many drinks and dances later we arrive at the port to dock for the night. As Boss Man and I were getting off the boat together, I noticed a mass of human passed out on the dock. It was Jake the Dream Date. What a trouper -- he made it after all. Boss Man, being responsible for his benefits package and all, had some guys get him home. In the mean time, Boss Man offered me some benefits, too. He asked met out again, and we've been dating ever since.

Jake Schmake.

Last Fling Before the Ring

This guy that I actually liked called me up one afternoon and invited me to go out with him to a coffee house and then a nightclub after.

I got all excited and rushed around looking for something good to wear and went to meet him. We spent the early evening drinking coffee and chatting with the various other people in the coffee house who he knew already because this place was his regular hangout.

A girl was sitting on the other side of the room and he threw a little rubber band at her to get her attention. She smiled and giggled and came over and joined us. The three of us were talking for a good while and he invited her to come out to the nightclub with us. She said yes but went home to change and would meet us again in an hour or so.

After she left I asked him how long he'd known her, and he said he didn't know her at all . . . just met her just then.

Hmm. He's a friendly guy, isn't he?

Well, the three of us went out to the club where she and I sat ourselves down on barstools. He proceeded to spend the rest of the evening groping her on the barstool right next to me.

I probably should have got up and moved, but hey . . . I sat there first. So instead of politely excusing myself, I called strangers over and told them my story so they could witness it as it was going on.

I pretty much figured by this time that I was no longer on a date and had written this guy off in my mind. But just before the club closed he somehow ditched the other girl and as we were both exiting the building, he motioned to me as if I was supposed to be going home with him.

I told him there's no way in hell I'd go home with him after that and he gave me the big sad puppy dog eyes and acted as if he honestly didn't know what he had done to make me so angry with him. I went home without looking back.

I'd like to say the story ended here. But it doesn't.

He spent the next two weeks turning up everywhere I went and looking at me with the sad eyes until I actually felt sorry enough for him I agreed to go out with him again (Yes, I know, I know. Not the smartest thing). We went out another time and all went well. After our date (like an hour AFTER OUR DATE), he publicly announced his engagement to yet another girl!

I didn't go out with him again after that.

-- Name Withheld

West Coast Rap

I had been corresponding with a guy on the West Coast for about five months before I finally made the trip to meet him. The initial pen friendship was incredibly great for the ego. He was charming, witty and seemed to be the type of guy that I couldn't seem to meet in my own city. The fact that he was a friend of a close girlfriend made it all seem safer.

But there were some hard spots that we hit. First, he mentioned that he was being stalked by an ex-girlfriend who also happened to be one of his employees. It got very dramatic--she would follow him around town, he would confide in me how upset he was about their relationship, the situation would be resolved, and he would profess his affections for me. Then he became hot and cold and I declared the ultimatum: make up your mind or let's forget about this.

He finally convinced me to book a flight to go and see him so that we could decide whether a "real" relationship could take place away from the phone and the computer.

Such a foolish, foolish girl that I was.

Of course, what he never did reveal in complete honesty to me was the fact that he was courting another women who lived in his town. On what was supposed to be one of our Friday nights together with his friends, he brought along this young girl--never once properly telling me that we were both "rivals" for his attentions. When I forced the issue, he sheepishly admitted that this other woman was someone whom he had "short-listed" as someone for dating purposes.

So what the hell was I? The pinch-hitter?

As I got to know him during my visit, I took relief in knowing that there were too many things that this guy never told me. At least I got to find out now before it was too late. He never told me that he had this gorgeous Belgium Shepherd dog that he never properly walked during the day -- poor thing was caged in the backyard all the time. He never told me that he wore brilliant white knee socks with sandals and shorts. He never told me that he liked to laugh and clap his hands like a trained seal during public dramatic performances. I got off lucky.

I never hear from this frog again and eventually forgave my girlfriend too for thinking that this was a potential Prince Charming in wait. At least I have a good story to share about meeting online blind dates.

-- Name Withheld

How To Get Out of a Date

This happened to me when I was in college, and to be honest I don't come out looking all that well in it. . . This guy Rob had asked me out and I said yes, even though I knew I didn't want to. On the night we were supposed to go out, I didn't exactly take the high road -- I couldn't bring myself to go out with him, but I couldn't tell him that either.

So instead I hid. I didn't answer the phone all day and I stayed out of my dorm room. I hung out upstairs with my friend Nicole. Sure enough, that evening he comes over to my dorm and starts asking everyone where I am. He knocked on my dorm room door and my roommate said she (truthfully) didn't know. But someone else in the hall decided to tell him I might be up at Nicole's.

He knocked on her door. It was a small room and there was nowhere to hide, so I jumped up and stood behind the door as she opened it.

"Do you know where Jane is?" Rob asked. Nicole said she didn't, maybe I was down the hall. But apparently he was no dummy: he pushed past her and looked behind the door to see me smooshed up against the wall trying to disappear. The jig was up and I felt awful.

But he just said: "Oh! There you are! Are you ready?" I said yes, told him I had to grab my purse, and went out on the date. He acted as if nothing was weird at all.

Guys just don't pick up on even the most obvious of signals do they??


The Most Romantic Thing

It was my senior year of college and I had met this guy (I can't remember his name, let's call him Chris) at a party where I think I was probably drunk. Chris was probably drunk, too, as this was college, but he managed to remember my phone number and ask me out. We went to the movies. I remember thinking that he was a little cheap because he didn't ask me if I wanted any popcorn or soda when we got into the theater. But I guess that's neither here nor there, given the rest of the story.

The movie went fine, but when we left the theater, the windows on his car were all frozen over. February in State College, PA, can be quite cold. So he proceeds to get out some sort of spray which is supposed to eliminate the ice build-up, but he sprays it on the INSIDE of the car windows. I ask him, PLEAD with him, to spray the OUTSIDE of the windows, but he insists that his way is correct. Well, we get in the car and he CRANKS up the heat, because it is cold, and because he is trying to defrost the windows so he can see. He drives half of the way back without being really able to see (luckily, I survived), and I am choking from the fumes created by the spray he put on the inside of the windows.

When we get to my place, I'm not self-confident enough to know that I can leave him in the car and go inside, so I invite him in. As soon as we get into my apartment, the cheap bastard asks if I have any microwave popcorn, and so I make him some. He eats like a regular caveman and soon there are little pieces of popcorn all over his face, his clothes, and my carpet. Eewwww.

He hangs around to watch TV and totally overstays his welcome. When he goes to the bathroom, I decide to send him a signal that it's time to leave by lying on the couch and pretending to be asleep. This is no problem for him when he returns, as he sits on the floor in front of the couch, right in front of my head, with his back resting against the couch. He talks to me and I pretend to be really sleepy.

That's when it happened. He turned around, looked up at me, and said the most romantic thing any man has ever said to me in my entire life. He said . . .

"I can see up your nose."

-- Name Withheld

Dating Etiquette

Here is my dating disaster, or more like the date from hell. I went out for the first time in a couple of years since I got divorced. My date didn't say much, but he sure had touching down to an art. I asked him to keep his hands to himself until we knew each other better, but he took it badly. He told me I was from the stone ages because I wouldn't let him touch me as much as he wanted to.

He then came back by telling me I talked too much and laughed too much. I always thought a first date was for getting to know one another and talk was, you know, necessary. Obviously, Mr. Octopus didn't agree.

We weren't made for each other, but I figured I'd make it through the date and never talk to him again. No such luck -- half way through dinner, he went to the bathroom and never came back.

Now, I am a little rough around the edges when it comes to dating, but I've got to think that wasn't exactly polite . . .

-- Name Withheld

The Prom from Hell

I wasn't going to go to my senior prom. But then, a few weeks before the prom, I started dating Tom (a/k/a "Tom the Prom Date"). Tom seemed really nice at first and I had a lot of fun with him, so I decided to ask him to the prom. Unfortunately, in the ensuing weeks, my feelings for Tom grew less and less amorous and more and more nauseous. But I was committed to going with him (i.e., I had already paid for the tickets), so go I would.

I should have had an idea of the night to come when Tom asked me for a swatch from my dress so he could match his bow tie and cummerbund. I told him that I did not want to be Geranimals at the prom, but he insisted. Unfortunately, I had bought an ugly electric blue dress (hey -- it was the eighties!), so he had an ugly electric blue bow tie and cummerbund.

As the day of the prom approached, I was less and less excited about going. Then - it all started. It's about 3pm on the day of the prom and I get a call from Tom that goes something like this:

Me: Hello?
Him: [My name here]? It's Tom. I'm at the hospital.
Me: What are you doing at the hospital?
Him: I went through a plate glass door at school today and I have a mild concussion and I'm getting 9 stitches in my forehead.

Well, because I am a bad person, I was not worried about Tom, nor saddened by his calamity. I was overcome with joy -- here was my out! I didn't have to go to the prom with Tom the Prom Date anymore! More conversation:

Me: Oh, gee, that's too bad. I guess you won't be able to go to the prom tonight, then...
Him: No! Of COURSE I'm going to go! I wouldn't miss it for the world! I may be a little late picking you up, though. And, because I can't drive, my parents are going to drive us. That's OK, right?
Me: Oh, no, Tom. You're hurt. You need your rest. I totally understand. You should really stay home tonight.
Him: No, I told you I was going to take you to your prom and that's what I'm going to do. Oh -- I've gotta go -- they're ready to put the stitches in -- I'll call you later.

And so it begins. Tom shows up, with his parents in tow, to pick me up. He actually looks pretty good -- except for the BLOODY BAND-AID ON THE MIDDLE OF HIS FOREHEAD! I ask him about it and he says that the laceration may bleed for a while, but not to worry because he has brought an extra supply of band-aids and will be changing the bandage throughout the evening. That certainly made me feel better -- NOT!

We get to the prom which is held at the Franklin Hotel, a very nice hotel in the city. Tom immediately spies the silverware on the dinner tables and mentions he may want to bring some of it home with him. I told him in no uncertain terms that he may not steal silverware from the Franklin Hotel at my prom. What a classless jerk. It gets worse.

At some point during the evening, we are on opposite sides of the rather large dance floor, and he decides that he wants to dance with me. So he YELLS to me -- across the dance floor -- "ANDREA! COME! DANCE!" I calmly walk around the dance floor to where he is, and quietly let him know that if he EVER yells at me across a room like that, I will take one of those knives which he likes so much and use it to cut his [CENSORED] off. This quiets him for a while. But it gets worse still.

Later in the evening, in the corridor outside the ballroom, Tom the Prom Date decides, again, that he wants to dance with me. He asks. I politely decline. He then starts dragging me across the carpeted floor by my wrists. I am sliding on the heels of my shoes, protesting all the way. I tell him, numerous times, that if he does not let go of me, I am going to hit him. He proceeds to drag me. So I finally get one hand free and slap him across the face. He holds his face in surprise and asks, "What was that for?" Idiot.

The best part of all is that, on the car ride home, after I have convinced him I am too tired and he is too sick to go to any after-prom parties, he opens up his jacket pocket and asks me which one I want -- the salt or the pepper shaker from the Franklin Hotel. I guess I wasn't specific enough when I told him not to steal the SILVERWARE.

Of course, this, the most awful, horrible, night of my life is memorialized in the obligatory prom picture sitting in my parents house -- showing me in my ugly electric blue dress, and Tom in his matching Garanimal tux -- with a very bloody band-aid on his forehead.

-- Name Withheld

Planning Ahead

A guy who worked in the same building I did asked me out. He was attractive, smart, seemed like an all-around good guy. Our first date went fairly well and at the end of the date we made plans for a second date. I liked him and was looking forward to seeing him again.

We talked once over the phone that week, and then he called the day of the date to finalize plans.

Five minutes into the conversation, he said: "Look, am I going to get lucky tonight?"

"Excuse me?" I answered.

"I mean I like you and all, but if we're not going to have sex tonight we may as well forget it, because if I was just going to go to a movie I'd rather do it with a guy."

He really said this. Out loud. I mean it's one thing to think it. . . even weirder, he was genuinely surprised when I told him to just go out with his friends.


Romantic Dinner for Three

I am a 23-year-old professional women who had just gone through a rather difficult breakup with a boyfriend when a group of friends from the office found ourselves at a local bar for happy hour. Our waiter was rather cute and very charming and even sat down to chat while we were there. Feeling particularly daring (and realizing I had nothing to lose), I left my business card for the waiter with the check. Sure enough a few days later, he e-mailed me and asked if I wanted to go out sometime. I accepted. He said he wanted to make me dinner at his apartment and I thought that sounded wonderful.

The evening of the big date arrived and I swiped a bottle of wine from an office happy hour to take along to dinner. I arrived at the building and called up to have him let me in. When we entered the foyer, I noticed it was garishly decorated with lots of construction paper and posters. Then one caught my eye which read "Resident Advisor Apartment"

I asked my date if he lived in a dorm and he replied that he did -- but it was more like university-provided off-campus housing.

"Wait," I said, "How old are you anyway?"

"I'm 20," he replied, "But I'll be 21 in less than two months!"

Not knowing exactly what to do, I followed him upstairs to his apartment and found out he lived in a four-person, two-bedroom apartment. The lights were dimmed and there were lit candles on the table which was romantically set... for three. He then introduced me to his roommate and informed me he would be joining us for dinner, which consisted of that old college staple -- spaghetti with pieces of chicken in it which he called "Chicken Cacciatore."

After about an hour and a lot of wine (good thing I brought the wine since I was the only one in the room old enough to obtain it), the other two roommates arrived home, trailing along with them about six female co-eds, all wearing backpacks. They began to unload the beer cans from their backpacks and the conversation turned to how lucky they were to sneak in all that beer without the RA catching them. Stunned at immediately finding myself smack in the middle of a college frat party with beer and babes, all I could do was sit with my eyes glazed over in utter embarrassment.

Finally, I stood up and told him I was leaving and that he should call me back in about five years (or at least when he could buy me a beer at a bar).

-- Kate