“My Date Went Up In Flames!”

Sooner or later, it’s bound to happen: You’ll have a really bad date. When it’s your turn to take one for the single team, read these tales—and then count your blessings!

By Dave Singleton

opefully, Murphy’s Law won’t apply to you. Maybe you’ll avoid the date from hell that most of us endure at some point. But those who’ve been around the dating block know that unless you’re single or in seclusion, the chances of that are slim. To reach Mr. Right, you have to date several Mr. Maybes and occasionally Mr. Horrendous.

Can you avoid bad dates completely? I don’t think so. But these gay and lesbian
“I skipped dessert and fled home.”
daters found out that, when disaster and disappointment strike, you can survive Mr. Blowhard, Mr. Stalker-Lite, Mr. Brick Wall and Ms. Drama Queen—and maybe even meet someone special along the way. Here are their true tales of dates gone wrong.

Mr. All-About-Me
“About a half hour into my date with Chad, the waiter asked if I wanted another glass of wine. I wanted to say, ‘Yes, if it will make listening to this narcissist easier,’” Joshua, 32, of Washington, D.C., told me. “I kid you not, at dinner, he named-dropped nonstop about his social-climbing life, the fabulous places and parties he went to, and his incredible friends. When I mentioned my friends, he yawned and said, ‘They don’t exactly sound A-list.’ It was painful to endure. You could tell Chad that there’s no I in the word team, and he’d probably say, ‘but there’s an M and an E in there, man.’ As soon as possible after dinner, I skipped dessert and fled home.”

Whining and Dining…
Usually, people try to present their best possible selves on dates. That wasn’t the case when Jane, 42, of Santa Monica, arranged to meet Lisa. “She was 40 minutes late and acted like an idiot. After calling to tell me she’d be a few minutes late, she finally showed up, and for almost an hour, she unloaded a litany of complaints, occasionally nodding at me as if we were having a conversation, rather than a monologue. Her work ‘sucked.’ Traffic was a ‘nightmare.’ She ‘hates’ her ex. When we said our goodbyes, I let her know I didn’t sense a connection and she stormed off. But that wasn’t the end of it. She wrote me a long email the next day, accusing me of being ‘unforgiving and emotionally unavailable.’ Unbelievable!”

Going Out with a Googler
Sure, we all want the inside story on our dates — what they are all about — but digging
“He’d crossed a line, and we ended the date in under an hour.”
for details online is something that it’s best not to broadcast. Says Jason, 37, of Baltimore, “Google all you want, but keep the search results to yourself at first. I had a date with a guy named Kevin, who I’d met online. Before I could even take a few sips of my drink, he told me that, after he learned my last name, he headed straight to Google, where he searched for information about me. With an obnoxious smirk on his face, he revealed that he had ‘found out plenty,’ like I ran in 5K races and worked in PR. I felt like I was being investigated. But the creepiest was yet to come. He told me that his online digging had helped him figure out my address and my gym membership. He knew where and when I worked out and, in fact, watched me through the gym window. That’s not a date. That’s a stalker. He’d crossed a line, and we ended the date in under an hour.”

Dating and Its Discontents
Ever dated a person who seemed happy enough to accept your invitation to go out and then was a total buzzkill all night? Terry, 37, of Virginia, sure has. “There are times when I’ve felt like hanging out a shingle that reads, ‘Frogs with little potential to become princes, sign up here and form a queue.’ But even I was dumbfounded by John, who sounded like an active, fun guy in his profile and during our pre-date call. But sharing a meal with him was like having dinner with a zombie, and a mean one at that. When I asked him about current events, he looked down at his food and said flatly, ‘I don’t read books or watch movies,’” recalls Terry. “The only time he made eye-to-eye contact about anything was to insult my profession. I told him I worked for the government and he looked at me and snarled, ‘You work with a bunch of crooks and liars.’ After an hour, I couldn’t take anymore and got the check.”

Up in Flames?
And every now and then, there’s an awful date that occurs not due to any personality clash but simply due to unfortunate circumstances of the nth degree: Brian, 34, of New York, experienced one of those. “My date didn’t literally go up in flames, but my eyes did,” he says. “All was going great. We were at a cool restaurant in Chelsea, and our waiter brought us ground pepper for our meal. He couldn’t get the pepper mill to work so he hit it, and pepper went into my eyes, which then began tearing up like crazy! I went to the men’s room where my left contact lens popped out and went down the sink. I returned to the table red-eyed, half-blind, and embarrassed. Instead of ending the date at my place with a cocktail, we walked in the cold rain to a smelly all-night drug store to get eye drops. His good-natured attitude made me like him more, and we’re still seeing each other. Thank God we kept our senses of humor.”

See? Some dates can defy Murphy’s Law. Despite everything that can go wrong on a date, sometimes things turn out just right.

Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Send your dating questions and comments to him at
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