11 horrible dates that remind me why I'm happy alone on Singles' Day
So Here's The Thing
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Dating is not a sprint, it's a marathon. And like all marathons, experience makes you stronger. But once in a while, you're going to face injuries which may slow you down (code word: heartbreak) or you'll be tempted to tap out when your faith has chipped a little, because there's no knowing where and how far ahead the finish line is.
Two years, one month, and seven days ago, my ex-boyfriend Preston and I broke up. And approximately two months and seven days ago, I started dating again. To simply say I've seen it all is to do the colourful stories I've amassed injustice; to deny being sick of the first date routine (awkward ass-out hug hellos, a variation of our life stories condensed into two-hour conversations, then a slightly better but still awkward ass-out hugs goodbye) is a lie.
So here's the thing: Apart from the handful of uneventful companies — for which I am now grateful — most of my plus ones have been the cause of many a "OMG", "WTF" and "LOL" texts I've rapidly sent to my girlfriends immediately after the rendezvous. Ergo, on the spirit of Singles' Day, join me as I recount the most memorable f*ck ups neither my friends nor I will forget anytime soon.
Turn your volume on and pick a good wine, my friends — you're going to need a bottleful for this one.
THE GUY WHO LIKED MY FRIENDS MORE THAN HE LIKED ME
Those who have been following So Here's The Thing would remember *Steven, the guy who showed up late to our first meet. I serendipitously bumped into my friends at our bar of choice, and was in the middle of a bustling conversation and my cocktail when he walked in. At the encouragement of my friends, we stayed on. One drink became three and at the end of the evening, not only did he fail to walk me to my Uber (or offer to buy me my light supper), he lingered around my friend's boyfriend and buddy after I left, hoping to turn our not-quite-date into a boys’ night out instead. #Lame.
THE GUY WHO HAD A FOOT FETISH
Here's how association works: When someone tells you that he's going for a game of tennis after your coffee date, you picture him in sports gear, maybe even allowing yourself to think he's going to show up sexy in all white everything if you're feeling indulgent. *Andy fell far from my imagination. Not only did he look noticeably older than his profile picture, he arrived in a crinkled green polo shirt that had seen better days, cargo shorts and flip flops. Before you jump into conclusions, it wasn't his outfit that sealed his fate. The fact that he checked his phone mere minutes after our drinks were served was a nuisance, but the sight of him rubbing his naked toes on the linen couch was something I can never excuse.
THE GUY WHO TALKED AT ME, NOT WITH ME
*Victor had immense promise — he was smart, cute and knew how to banter on Whatsapp. However, during the actual date, he somehow forgot that it takes two to converse. Having never met anyone who liked the sound of his own voice as much as Victor did (and not possessing the courage to tell him off), I endured his droning for three whole hours. I chimed in when I could get a word in edgewise, and when time came for him to respond to a matter I took seriously, he brushed me off with a, "Oh you're cute." My girlfriend *Chloe responded to my SOS and saved me with a classic faux our-friend-is-in-trouble-I-need-to-go phone call. When Victor asked for round two the next day, I mustered the cojones to kindly tell him why I'm declining his invitation. Five points to the chap — he took my feedback like a gentleman.
THE GUY WHO REFUSED TO LEAVE HIS HOUSE
I was only supposed to meet *Wyatt, an INSEAD grad student at his apartment for a drink before we went out — he lured me with talk of a new bottle of tequila he's been itching to open — but let's just say that we never made it to the bar. My only defence was that I was safe (in every sense of the word) and gave Chloe all the information she needed if she didn't hear from me every hour on the hour. The sex, what I remember of it, was rather unremarkable. The reason he made it onto this list is because I woke up in the middle of the night to him studying his laptop intently. Turns out, he had an exam at 8am the next morning, and didn't want to risk flunking. I guess I should be thankful it wasn't porn.
THE GUY WHO DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THE WORD 'NO'
"No means no" wasn't quite the popular phrase during the time I met *Oliver who was in town on a holiday. He asked to kiss me when we reached the pick-up point of our vehicles; we weren't vibing (to me) so I expressed my flattery but ultimately, I wasn’t keen. He relented when his ride showed up and I bid him adieu — until he got back to his hostel, where he continued to persuade me to "come over" because he could "make me feel really good." No means no, Oliver. No means no.
THE GUY WHO WAS ROUGH IN BED
And not in a hot way. *Dominic and I was the furthest thing from official, but we enjoy each other's company enough to explore Ramadan markets and get day drunk together. Though he was never what I would call a gentle lover, nothing could have prepared me for the rude "tug of war" he launched in our post-coital bed. Read the dirty details in full here. Trust a man to out-douche himself; I would later discover that he was flirting with one of my girlfriends via text while he and I were hanging out. His response is exactly what you imagined. I can’t even.
THE GUY WHO REFUSED TO TELL ME HIS AGE
Hours before our dinner at FOC, I noticed *Rob's age wasn't on his Tinder profile. Curious, I pointed out how strange it was. He associated the missing numbers with not having Facebook — which might very well have been a lie, because I *did* do my due diligence and found his Facebook account. His response: "Someone has created that account. I'll write to Facebook and ask them to take it down." My best guy friend *Nathan works in Facebook, so naturally I went to him with the mystery of the year. In no uncertain terms, he confirmed what I already knew, that it's not possible to create a Tinder account without a Facebook account. Find out how the story unfolded here.
THE GUY WHO NEEDED HELP WITH HIS (EMOTIONAL) BAGGAGE
An unlikely love story: Mum and dad met on Valentine's Day, during which he wouldn't shut up about his then soon-to-be ex-wife. Yet, *Elijah had the profound idea that this was the way to get into my heart, and presumably my pants. So into detail he went, I left the date after one drink feeling like I needed a shower to cleanse myself from all the explicit content of their sordid romance. Unaware of his gaffe, he asked for date number two when I got home. I let it rip; sparing him none of my wrath about how he ruined what was until I met him, a perfectly good Valentine's Day alone. Instead of apologising, he insisted that he divulged his life story because we "had a connection". Elijah was in need of a serious clue — he sent me a text the following morning: "Still angry?"
THE GUY WHO LED ME ON FOR MONTHS
You think everything is going well with the guy you've been dating for six weeks. Then the morning after you let him into your social circle and introduce him to your awesome friends, he pulls the rug from under you. "I don't believe in relationships," *Brandon confessed. "I don't think there's ever such a thing as a healthy relationship. Do you know anyone who has been happy and in love for a long time?" He then proceeded to convolute his message further, by rescinding our previous agreement to be monogamous; he decreed that I was allowed to hook up with other people on my long work trip in Europe. Now that's a way of saying, "I'm just not that into you" that I haven't heard before.
THE GUY WHO CRIED FIRE
Chloe knew it was a mistake for me to go on a date on my birthday. My trivialisation of the significance of the day led me to believe it wasn't. Chloe was right and I was not. *Aaron, the firefighter and I hit if off immediately on Tinder, especially after he revealed that he had tried to connect with me on other dating apps with no success. As it would happen, he had asked to meet me for the first time on my birthday. I gave him an out from the pressure; this meant that his appetite for risks was applauded when he kept the date to Tuesday. Little did I know that the risk was mine to take, because I was going to be really bummed when it dawned on me that he ghosted me — after a good evening and after sending me (long, thoughtful, punchy) text messages the next day.
THE GUY WHO WAS WORSE THAN ALL THE OTHER GUYS COMBINED
What's worse than someone who has no personal hygiene, leads you on, and flirts with your friend? Someone who insults your job, mocks the fact that you went to therapy and steals a stranger's cab at the end of the night. Meet *Peter, the venture capitalist with no heart. On our third date, he asked to see my work online. His remark on two gorgeous women in a photoshoot I worked on: "They look like transvestites. Have they had sex change operations?" I still kick myself today for being too shocked to admonish him immediately. His next shot was equally despicable. Upon learning that I'm a mental health advocate who used to see a therapist, he retorted, "You mean you lied on a couch and talked about your feelings?" If only the horror stopped there. When we were waiting for a taxi (and I was praying for him to disappear) on a quiet street, he leaned towards me, hand resting on my lower back, and asked if he could "get some dessert." His obvious anger at my declination of his advances put into perspective how dangerous dating can actually be. I tried to diffuse the situation by keeping the conversation light-hearted, suggesting walking to the main road for better luck. I finally got into a cab, but not before witnessing him steal someone else's. There are no words.
*Names have been changed.
Read more entries from our dating column, So Here's The Thing.