The Worst Date Ever

(I’ve been waiting to use this picture forever. FOREVER!)

I mentioned some time ago that there are really a couple of subjects that I don’t want to share with the world, and number one is the specifics of my love life. This story does fall into that category, but it’s too funny to not share. Also it happened like six years ago, so the dude in question can’t be too cut up about me mentioning it now. So gather round, friends, because this is the story of…


It was summer in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago and I was 19. I was fresh out of my longest relationship to date–a full year!–and had been spending my post-breakup days loitering in a sullen fashion with my friends and not smoking in the smoking section of Denny’s. Very sexy, I KNOW.

I should explain that my group of friends was pretty insular. Everyone knew everyone else and the influx of new blood had slowed to a clot after I showed up two years prior. So please imagine my surprise when I arrive at our usual sunny day hangout and see a dude. A not unattractive dude. A not unattractive dude whom I’d never met before, and who immediately began talking to me. He didn’t even mind when I jabbered for half an hour about plane crashes and fourth dimensions (you have no idea how badly I wish I made that up). He subtly asked for my number, a cue which I didn’t pick up on. Instead of being repulsed by my social awkwardness he asked again, straight out this time, and I gave it to him, blushing.

He called two days later and asked if I liked off-roading. I answered honestly that I had no idea. He suggested that we take his Jeep to an offroading track out in the middle of nowhere, tear around for a few hours in the mud and then go have dinner. This sounded a lot more interesting than a movie, so I said sure. The date was set for the next day.

He came to my house looking really cute, complimented my hair and was sweet to my mother before we left. We got to the offroading place (a forest with some trails) and, I don’t know, we off-roaded. There was mud and light fear and laughing, and it all seemed to be going really well.


We drove up a hill and he stopped the car. “C’mere and see this,” he said, as he pushed some branches aside and walked into the woods. Not wanting to be left alone in the middle of nowhere, I followed him. Struggling to clear the wilderness from my hair, I stumbled into a clearing and walked straight into a pot plant.

You read that right, and yes, THAT kind of pot.

I looked around. There were at least two dozen marijuana plants growing in the ten-foot space. “Shocked” is not the right word. Lest I doubt where they came from, he looked at me and said “Isn’t it awesome? My brother and I planted them at the beginning of summer.”

I mumbled something and looked away, now terrified of being an accessory to illegal horticulture. He kept talking about the care and feeding of pot plants, and I kept wishing they were the OTHER kind of pot plants. Eventually I said that my neck was hurting because of all the jolting around on the track and that it was probably a good idea to take a raincheck on dinner. He was kind, concerned. Perfect, except for the weed. We walked back to Jeep and began the half-hour drive back to my suburb.

We stopped in a parking lot in downtown Naperville so we could stretch our legs. Within two minutes of bending my knees for the first time since the whole look-at-my-drugs thing, a dark car pulled up beside us. The window of the strange car rolled down and a girl stuck her head out.

“Hi ___,” she said. Pointedly.
He turned white. Literally. I had always imagined that was a figure of speech until I saw it happen then and there.
“Hel-LO?” she said.
He mumbled something and practically leapt back into the car. “Get in,” he said.
“What the fuck is going on?” I asked, always at my most charming when surprised.

I was young. I was starting to get scared. I got in the car.

What happened next is now a blur. A terrifying, white-knuckle, high-speed blur. My date FLOORED it out of the parking lot, with the mysterygirl in hot pursuit behind him. He tore through the streets of Naperville and eventually Downers Grove. He blew through red lights, he cut people off, he never once let the speedometer drop below 80. Through it all, the dark car stayed behind us.

And through it all, I was screaming at him. SCA-REEEEEEEEEAMING. We’re talking jet engine levels, people.


And so on, in that fashion.

Entering the twentieth minute of our (reluctant!) Bonnie and Clyde-esque escape, I had run out of expletives and was debating flinging myself out of the moving car when my date made his last-ditch effort to escape the maybe-pregnant ex or current girlfriend who was chasing us. He turned sharply off the road, jolting me against the door of the Jeep as we bounced over the curb.

And then, dear readers, he drove that Jeep through a park. Straight through two subdivisions he went. And lo, his maybe pregnant ex or current girlfriend in her low-slung sedan couldn’t follow us. Through the meadow we went, past the play equipment and through a shallow man-made lake, tire tracks following us like surgical scars.

I refused to talk to him as he drove me home. He tried to explain that he and the girl had been off and on for a few years and that she said she was pregnant but he didn’t believe her. He’d broken up with her but guessed she didn’t really understand. And, of course, he didn’t like her. SHE was a bitch. SHE was crazy. He really liked ME. Even though I’d been in exactly two prior relationships, I knew better than to believe that baloney. I slammed his door and ran into my house.

“How did it go?” asked my mother. She smiled as I lied to her.

He called me every day for a week. Needless to say, I didn’t take his calls.

I swore then and there to never, ever get involved with someone who had a girlfriend. Or a sort-of girlfriend. Or with someone who’d lie and say they were single, but really weren’t. It was a low standard, but it was the first one I ever developed. I still stick to that: single dudes only, no matter the circumstances.

And I still flinch whenever I see a red Jeep.


So tell me: Any nightmare date stories you want to share?

Loves you!

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