The other day, a girlfriend of mine was regaling me with the details of a horrific date she’d been on. It was so horrifying that it was funny, as is typical of a bad date – as long as you don’t take yourself too seriously, which we most certainly don’t. We always suspect that karma is sending us presents for some of the mischief we get into.
“Definitely my worst date EVER,” my friend said, decisively.
“Well,” I giggled, as I involuntarily spewed part of my martini out through my nose. “At least you got a great anecdote out of it!”
My girlfriends and I love to discuss, in painstaking detail, all drama that has ensued as a result of our dating disasters. Sometimes on a date, I’ve actually felt myself waiting impatiently for the end to come, just so that I could speed-dial whoever and recount the gory details. I’ve traditionally been greeted by disturbed gasps, followed closely by hysterical laughter.
While my friend and I discussed her disappointing rendez-vous, I started thinking back to some of my all-time greatest dating stories, and realized that some of the worst are also the most riveting – and by “riveting”, I mean “a disturbing and entertaining blend of horrifying and hilarious”.
My top three catastrophic dating memories, in no particular order, are:
1. “The Date That Refused to End” starring the Troll, a.k.a. the Mistake
2. “When the Beer Goggles Come Off” starring the Groper
3. “Once a Misogynistic Sociopath, Always a Misogynistic Sociopath” starring Kevin, a.k.a Kay-veeeen
Yeah, I can’t be bothered to grant this last loser an alias. He’s just lucky I’m not including his last name and posting his picture. Let’s begin by discussing him, shall we?
Once a Misogynistic Sociopath, Always a Misogynistic Sociopath
I will preface this tale by letting you know that I first dated Kevin when I was 16 and he was 17. What I remember about that experience is that: a) he was a bit of a blowhard, b) he bragged about having “been with” 10 girls, and c) he unceremoniously dumped me once it became clear that I would not be sleeping with him.
About a decade later, I ran into him again; he was in town visiting from Paris, where he’d been living for a few years. He made me promise we’d get together for coffee, even though I expected to have one of the busiest weeks (socially and professionally) of my entire life.
I should have known that people don’t change, not in essence. Had I known then what I do now, I’d have known that he was – and always had been – pretentious, lecherous and certifiably insane.
Red flag #1 came in the form of a late-night phone conversation early in the week, during which everything out of his mouth was either incredibly sexist, or shamelessly predatory. I spent half the time shooting his comments down indignantly, but because this guy was almost sociopathically charming (hindsight is 20/20), I was also getting my ego stroked as he laid it on thick.
I spoke to him a few more times over the course of the week, and he began to act like a neglected boyfriend (yes, that’s right: the man I hadn’t laid eyes on in 10 years) because, as I’d clearly told him from the get-go, I was busy every single night with social engagements. I ignored the nagging voice in my head that told me he was irritating and that this would end in flames.
The truth was, “irritating” was the best of his traits. If I wasn’t so tired and feeling obligated to keep my word and spend an evening catching up, I would have told this ticking time bomb where to go. But also, there was a certain satisfaction in knowing that the guy who’d ditched me way back when was now chasing me all over town.
Red flag #2 was a voice mail message on Thursday night, left at about 11:00 pm, at which point I was cozying up to a regular flirt buddy at my favorite Thursday patio/bar event:
“Hi Precious…c’est Kay-veeen. I was, uh, thinking perhaps you’d be home by now. [irritated pause, followed by sigh] Give me a call when you get in.”
Listening to this message while tipsy at one in the morning, I wondered, not for the first time, why this idiot insisted on pronouncing his name like that – he’d apparently changed the pronunciation since moving to Paris. Pity he didn’t realize that everyone in Montreal was probably laughing at his weak attempt to be posh.
I also felt supremely annoyed by the disapproving tone in his voice as he commented on the fact that I was “still not home”….seriously, delusional much? Controlling spouse in training, much? Alas, I fell into bed, not bothering to call him back, and slept a deep, Kay-veeen-less sleep.
The next day, he called me while I was at work, talked me into coffee later on. I was finally free, and agreed to meet him in early evening.
After the most ridiculous conversation over coffee, in which he laid every clichéd line EVER on me, and made so many infuriatingly macho remarks that I wanted to throw my drink in his face, I had finally had enough of this dickwad. It was probably, in part, because I was tired from the work week, the partying and the lack of sleep – either way, I was ready to be done with this guy.
Red flag #3: He insisted on driving me home, only to then kiss me good night, and innocently ask if I was going to invite him up for tea. I retorted that we’d just come from coffee, and that he wasn’t coming up. Last vestiges of patience slipping away. He then suddenly remembered that he needed to use the bathroom, and even though I countered that his parents’ place was minutes away, he talked me into allowing him up. So many big red flags flapping, I could hardly hear myself think.
On this week’s episode of Creepy Loser Uses Every Trick in the Book to get up to Girl’s Apartment: he used the bathroom, and then decided he wanted to “help me to bed”. I told him no.
“Oh, come on, sweetheart…I just want to tuck you in and then I’ll leave.” I told him no.
He then picked me up in a honeymooners’ embrace and attempted to make his way down the hall to my bedroom (fortunately, I’m a lot stronger than I look). After a final heated exchange in which I told him point blank, “Kevin, I am not going to sleep with you!”, he seemed to lose it. The whack job proceeded to make some bizarre, disjointed speech about how he’d just recently managed to “regain trust” in women and how I’d somehow just shot it all to hell by “screwing him up again”. By not allowing him to ravage me? This dude actually thought sex with me was his inherent right? He’d completely lost me at this point.
“Congratulations,” he screamed at me as he tried frantically and unsuccessfully to unlock my front door so he could leave. “I hope you can live with yourself!”
At this point, I wanted to burst out laughing because it was like a scene from a sitcom – but a) I wanted him out of my house more and b) I did not need him to go completely berserk, resulting in the authorities finding me in a garbage bag out by the curb. So I reached over and clicked the lock free for him, and as he rambled on angrily as he spilled into the hallway, I very calmly closed the door, locked it, and set the dead bolt.
Au revoir, Psychopath. My condolences to Paris.
When the Beer Goggles Come Off
I met the Groper at a club one night. In defence of my poor choice, he was well-dressed and acted like a gentleman. He gave me his number, begged me to call him, and kissed my hand. I’m always a sucker for a kiss on the hand.
After a short but sweet conversation over the phone (He was 28-ish, an engineer, living at home “temporarily” with his parents), we agreed to meet to go to the movies.
Upon seeing him – let’s put it this way – I wasn’t repulsed (yet), but I was not blown away. Damned beer goggles. Still, I thought, I’d try to have a nice evening. At the ticket vendor window, I was fully prepared to pay my own way, but he insisted that it was his treat. After a painfully awkward moment where he hunched over the ticket counter and told the vendor in a stage whisper that he would be paying $15 cash and the other $5 via debit card, the vendor told him with a sigh that unfortunately their computer did not allow for combined transactions. The Groper reluctantly pulled a twenty out of his wallet (probably his last for the week, poor thing) and paid for the tickets, brushing away my renewed offer to pay.
Off we went to find our theater, and this is where it gets gross. The Groper literally took my hand and made a beeline for the very back of the theatre. I immediately suspected this didn’t bode well. I was right.
The movie had barely started when he leaned over and proceeded to shove his tongue down my throat and try to guide my hand towards his pants. I know – EW, right? Since this was a younger, more polite version of Precious, I tried to remain casual about it, pulling away, laughing and saying, “What about the movie?”
The Groper said – and I quote: “I don’t give a shit about the movie.”
Me, incredulously: “Then why are we here?”
We spent the next hour and a half in silence, me trying to fuse my body to the armrest on the side opposite to him, the Groper sulking almost audibly.
After we left the theater, I suddenly “remembered” I had to get home, and he actually had the gall to demand my number, since he still didn’t have it. I gave him a fake one, which he was clearly aware of, due to the fact that I didn’t appear to know my own phone number and faltered more than once in reciting it. We sat on the subway together, the Groper openly seething the entire way, until we came to my stop, and I cheerfully waved goodbye as I exited onto the platform, never to see his smarmy self again. I went home and took a long, scalding shower.
The Date That Refused to End
Last, but certainly not least.
So the Troll and I had several friends in common. At the beginning of our friendship, the Troll was in no way, shape or form someone I was attracted to – I saw him, through purely platonic eyes, as a really nice guy.
After a dinner party we’d both attended one night, the Troll got my phone number from the hostess and called me up to ask me out on a date. Since we’d done a little flirting the night before (blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-al-co-hol), and since I was in sort of a carefree give-a-dog-a-bone phase, I agreed to go out with him for drinks later in the week.
The evening came, and we went to a trendy hotspot, where we laughed a lot and chatted up a storm – and where I became increasingly aware that I was unwittingly playing the role of a trophy date. He wore such a self-satisfied expression, I half expected peacock feathers to bloom from his posterior. Being a red-blooded female, however, I couldn’t help but be amused and flattered – and at the time, I figured, why not see where it goes? I’d never been the type who was too shallow to look beyond a person’s looks. Plus, I had a track record of dating really hot boys, many of whom had pulled douchey moves at some point within the framework of the relationship. What did I have to lose if I gave this guy a chance to show me what he had to offer?
Fast forward to a few hours later. He drove me home after drinks, and having known him for some time prior to that evening, I trusted him enough to invite him up to my place for a cup of tea. What began as an innocuous conversation about past experiences quickly devolved into a long, tearful monologue from him about his ex-fiancée (with whom he’d split two years prior, mind you) and how she’d viciously ripped his heart from his chest, played a couple of rounds of soccer with it, set it on fire and shoved it down his throat. Or so he would have me believe. I believe the words “WTF – is this really happening?” and “Am I on some kind of candid camera show?” went through my head two or three hundred times while he told me his sorry tale. I mean who DOES this on a date? A FIRST date?! Even if you are a fortysomething divorcée who has just lost your husband of twenty years to his nineteen year old secretary, this is poor form. But a guy in his late twenties, on a date with a girl who – let’s be real – was decidedly hotter than he deserved, TWO YEARS after having his skanky fiancée cheat on him and dump his ass? Good LORD. I wanted to set my own apartment on fire just to get him the hell out.
Instead, because I was actually still a nice person at that time, I sat there and concentrated on keeping a concerned, this-isn’t-at-all-inappropriate look on my face. When he began to sob, I barely restrained myself from rolling my eyes and reluctantly leaned over to (heavy sigh) put my arms around him.
You think I’m kidding, right? You think that I’m fabricating details surrounding this evening. Listen, those who know me, know that I almost never exaggerate when telling stories. I don’t have to. This is the kind of shit that actually happens to me, guys.
Back to the sob story. When he finally got his sobbing under “control”, and was only whining and whimpering, he continued his one-man show as if he was delivering a monologue in a Shakespearian tragedy – not on Broadway, mind you – on one of those shitty little basement stages, in some zero-budget production, in a dingy old building on the wrong side of town. Pitiful from all angles.
Eventually, I must have lost consciousness from sheer boredom, because the next thing I remember, I woke up on my couch, curled up, but strangely uncomfortable. The sun was streaming into the living room. I started to smile, and then remembered. Rolled over. And froze. The dude was lying on the couch with me!!! He was already awake and was watching me with what I can only assume he intended as a seductive gaze. “Good morning, ” he purred.
Me in my head: WTF are you still doing in my house?!?!?! Thankfully, I had turned away from him, and he couldn’t see my look of dismay.
“Last night was great”, he continued, as my mind screamed, What date were you on?
He was caressing my face, trying to get romantic. I was wondering why it felt like a porcupine was spooning me. Eventually, I realized that he’d removed his dress shirt at some point overnight, and was wearing only a thin cotton t-shirt – so his freaking chest hair (more fur than anything else) was poking through, and irritating me through my top. That is correct: through two sets of clothing. Charming.
It was Saturday, and it occurred to me that I had a date with another guy booked for mid-afternoon. Yes, a back-to-back booking. I’d love to say that I was a superstar of a player, but that happens to be one of the very few times I pulled that kind of stunt (naturally, the gods had to have their usual fun, and date #2 was only marginally less horrifying than date #1. But I digress).
I realized that I had to get this freakshow out of my apartment as soon as possible, so I suggested we go for breakfast someplace nearby. I figured I’d be done with the whole fiasco in, what, an hour? Ri-ight.
We ate at a popular brunch spot in the area. As we chowed down, we somehow got into a conversation about belief systems. The way he was prattling on extensively about his spirituality at one point made me suspect he was a bit of a religious zealot, which alarmed me, so I casually asked if he was very religious.
“Well…yes, actually, ” he said with conviction. “My religion is house music. I go to a very spiritual place when I listen to or play it – I do some DJing, you know – and I think there is extremely godly energy that surrounds it…”
He continued on for some time, while I asked myself whether it was altogether possible that this guy was completely loony tunes and I’d somehow missed it until this moment. I mean, I love house music too – not so much the commercial trancy crap posing as house – I enjoy deep garage house and its derivatives. I can understand loving the place it takes you to mentally. But I can assure you that this whack job actually thought of the genre as his religion, and not in the humorous sense. When I started to smirk as though to say, “Oh, I get it. You’re kidding”, he was quick to assure me that he was as serious as a heart attack.
I tuned back in to his sermon just in time to hear him say, “Oh, man. I hate that.”
He lifted a dark hair from within his scrambled eggs and placed it at the edge of his plate. Immediately outraged, I said, “Tell the server! That’s unacceptable.”
“Yeah, well…” he shrugged and continued to eat. “It’s always hard to tell whether it was on the plate or whether it fell off of me.”
(This is where, in a classic horror movie, the camera would zoom in on my terrorized face while the scenery receded abruptly behind me.)
If, until this point, I’d been blocking out the fact that his body was covered in hair (with the exception of a balding spot on top of his head, naturally), I could no longer do so. And the fact that he had so much of it that it was a common event for some to fall into his food, AND he wasn’t in the slightest bit embarrassed about it, was almost too much for me. Luckily I’d finished my own food centuries ago, so I didn’t have to suddenly “lose my appetite” to avoid vomiting. I wished he’d shut his trap and chew more quickly so that we could get the hell out of there.
As he lovingly buttered his last pancake and drowned it in maple syrup, he resumed his preachings about deep house music, and how it had saved his life after the evil ex-fiancée. I looked out the window and wondered how complicated it might be for me to excuse myself to go to the bathroom, and then fake my own death.
About six hundred years later, he dropped me off in front of my building.
“I’ll see you again, ” he said with a lecherous, altogether-too-confident smile, as he drove away.
Cut to me staring after him, wearing an expression that would make that of a movie character about to be savagely murdered seem downright serene.
Mercifully, these horror shows are in the overwhelming minority where my dating experiences are concerned. I’ve had many awesome experiences with many Cutie McHotties…they are memorable in their own right.
The horror shows, though, tend to stick with me in a different, yet equally important way. They have taught me what not to put up with, for example.
If I were to encounter Kay-veeen today, I’d have begun to screen for his calls early in the week – after the first telling conversation. If Thirtysomething Me were to find myself on that date with the Groper, after the first filthy move from him, I would have excused myself to visit the ladies’ room, and never would have returned. If Present-day Precious were to have the Troll sobbing on her sofa in the middle of the night during an alleged “date”, she would promptly stretch, yawn, and say, “You know what, I just remembered I have wake up early tomorrow morning to alphabetize my toiletries. Thanks for coming over!”
So remember this the next time you have a bad date: they offer great learning opportunities. And let’s face it, you grab a couple of friends, a few bottles of wine, and break out these stories…and you got yourself a PARTY.