Features Jan 29, 2020 at 4:00 am

The winners of our essay contest.

Rude men, drunk men, and bank-robbing men all figure prominently. Terra DeHart



Is the Ass Blower one a "horror story?" The writer never says she hated it or regretted it.


@1 Seems like the only complaint was having gas for a few days, but I've had tacos that have done that and I definitely didn't consider that meal a horror story, haha.


None of these are even that great. But 2nd date update is probably fake too right.
I expected some seriously fucked up shit Stranger, and you gave me typical douchebags.


I can’t believe Jessie Miles blabbed about our date!


This is the worst? Seriously? Here are some examples of first dates in Seattle (a select half-dozen).

Dude gets in screaming fight (on patio at Linda's) about the Iraq war. When he goes to the bathroom everyone looks at the woman and asks WHO IS THAT GUY AND WTF IS HIS PROBLEM? He actually expected her to see him again, asking if she'd be wiling to "carve out some time in her schedule." Oh and he used a profile pic that was 10 years old (when he was 22 not his actual age of 32).

Korean guy screening women as potential wives (at the original Bauhus) ~ had dates stacked like interviews, 30 minutes and then on to the next.

White stoner dude in his 30s who played video games 24/7 who could not fathom why a woman would want to hang out with a gay man when she could not have sex with him (um, because he's way more fun to be around and there's this thing called actually going out and doing things other than getting stoned and playing video games).

Actually the number of white stoner dudes in their 30s and even 40s who do nothing but get stoned and play video games is really out of proportion considering these losers expect grown women to date them and have sex with them.

The morbidly obese young guy who did NOT live in Seattle (he drove from Spokane for the date) and burned an entire library of CDs because that band was her favorite. Oh yeah and his dad died the day before, so he cried during the entire date (why not cancel?) so horrifying and sad.

The guy who invited her back to his apartment to look at photos on his computer only to have slipped in pics of his dick in the slideshow. Then assaulted her by shoving his tongue down her through like a jackhammer before she escaped. DUDE ACTUALLY EXPECTED HER TO SEE HIM AGAIN.


Incels gotta sex too -- Legalize buying it (among consenting Adults).


Are there no crazy women dates?


@8 that would be sexist. Or wait reverse sexism or something like that


@8 Of course there are.


If Julie N. didn't want to go on a date with a guy going to trial for bank robbery that's fine, but she should have simply canceled the date and left it at that. She didn't need to be a dick about it.


Where is my original comment (@1)? It wasn't dirty or trolling. I was only stating as to why I don't use online dating, and the submitted entries for this contest provided validation.


@12: Oh---okay, never mind. It was in another comment thread about the online dating horror stories contest and winner / runners up. Carry on, Montesquieu.


The fact that women continue to date men confirms 1000% that heterosexuality is sadly not a choice.


Sooooo….these were all stories by women. A bit skewed, no?


[guy here]
I was going to complain about how every single "bad date" was about a guy until I realized that if you switched pronouns for every story but ended them all with "and then we had mediocre sex", they would no longer be bad dates. Pretty sure I wouldn't be alone in that sentiment, so its probably more truth than bias that men make the worst sense.


RE the political one if you cant handle dating someone with different political views you should probably ask what their political views are before going on a date


@14 -- Touche!


@14: Heterosexuality is a sexual orientation, as is asexuality. I'm perfectly happy with the latter. :)
I guess for me, it's as Billy Crystal said in the 1991 film, City Slickers: "Women need an occasion to have sex; men just need a place."


Bank robber guy, if you're reading this: when women put "looking for my partner in crime" in their profiles, it's not to be taken literally; it just means they're basic Bettys.


Looking for my partner in crime to work hard/play hard with. You only live, laugh, love once!


I wish I’d known about, and entered, the essay competition. Though maybe it’s good I didn’t. I’m a verbose mofo.

With that in mind, I will tell my two best (worst?) bad-date stories, but be warned: the following post is LONG. Frankly, I suggest skipping it entirely. I had these stories already written out for Quora answers and I’m too lazy to do much editing. When I write, I’m pretty much talking to myself anyway.

Tale #1:

I met a guy on the bus on the way home from uni one night. Not my type - he had that cocky bad-boy juicehead thing going on, and I'm more into guys with rainbow hair and eyeliner - but I didn't know anyone in the neighbourhood so I figured, what the hell. And he seemed like a nice guy, despite the dudebro appearance.

We text a few times over the next week. He shows up at my door one night. Fine, I was just watching reruns of South Park in my jammies anyway. We go upstairs, start to get a little freaky. He takes his pants off and I start blowing him. “Don't come in my mouth,” I say.

“Oh, I wouldn't,” he says quickly.

Two minutes later, he does. I choke. I'm allergic to semen. I run to the bathroom, wash my mouth out, gargle with chlorhexidine and take an antihistamine. Go back to my bedroom and tell him that's a seriously uncool thing to do if someone says not to. He makes some excuse about he didn't mean to, I'm just too talented at giving head. Whatevs, I'm pretty average, but I figure he's embarrassed enough and let it go. We (or I) try to carry on, but he won't kiss me or have sex with me. I mentally shrug - could be he's still embarrassed, could be he's a one-orgasm guy, could be he's squicked out by kissing girls after they've given him a blowjob (an IMO idiotic but extremely prevalent viewpoint amongst a lot of younger men in England).

We don't see each other for a few months. Then he sees me walking home from the bus one night and calls to me from his garden. I go in and say hi, give him a hug. We talk a bit about setting up an exercise plan for me (he's a personal trainer). He says I can't come in and do it tonight because his mom's home and he's scared of her, but he'll come to my house one night this week.

He shows up a few days later and hurries me upstairs so he doesn't have to meet my mom. (I guess he thinks all mothers are scary?) He sort of half-assedly writes down a few exercises for me to do, and then says, “I can't concentrate, all I can think about is your mouth on my cock.”

I sort of look him up and down. “Don't even think about coming in my mouth this time,” I say.

“No, I won't,” he says. “I'm really sorry. Nothing like that has ever happened before.”

I go to kiss him, and he jumps back in horror. “I don't kiss,” he says.

“Are you joking?”

“No. I never kiss anyone that I'm not in love with.”

I'm silent for a moment. I’ve never encountered this before. Then: “Do you have sex with people you're not in love with?”


“Are we going to have sex tonight?”


My brain should be yelling at me to cut my losses and run, but hell, it's been a couple months since I had sex, and he's pretty and ripped and smells like aftershave, and I've never been with a guy who really paid attention to his body before, and I'm curious.

We get naked. He touches me, hesitantly, with one finger, on the outside. He won't slip it in or anything - it's like he's either scared, or hasn't a clue what he's doing, or both. I try to tell him what I like, but he pulls my head into his lap. “I'm just nervous. Give me a few minutes to relax and then we'll do it.”

Brain remembers what happened last time, but stupid libido is making excuses. “That was just a one-off!” “You should have told him you were allergic!” “Anyone can make a mistake once.” “Come on, you're going to be getting laid in a minute!” That overrides brain, so I start sucking him, and not ten seconds later he's shooting his load into my mouth again. This time the reaction is worse (some allergies get worse with repeated exposure) and instantaneous. My airway almost totally closes up within seconds, and I scrabble in my nightstand drawer for an Epi-pen. If I hadn't been turning blue right that moment, it would have been anyone's guess which one of us I was more inclined to stab.

I'm not sure which is more embarrassing, his lack of control / lack of caring (not sure whether he was honestly incapable of pulling out of my mouth, or just didn't give a shit) or my hideously bad judgement in giving him a second chance. (For the record, I've given plenty of blowjobs, both before and since this incident, and I've never had a problem. Most guys a) know when they're about to come; and b) respect you enough to pull out if you ask them to. I keep the Epi-pen for emergencies, but I've never needed it except with this one guy, not since I first found out I was allergic.)

TL; DR - Guy came in my mouth when I expressly asked him not to, and due to my semen allergy I nearly ended up in emergency. TWICE.

Note: eleven years later, I’m actually fairly good friends with this one. I give him the occasional BJ (he’s never come in my mouth again!), he brings me McDonalds in the middle of the night and gives me lifts to and from the gym. I think that after eleven years, he’s FINALLY ready to tell me he’s gay, which I’ve been almost certain of since the second month but never brought up with him beyond hints that I’d be in his corner if he had something he wanted to tell me, since he’s always been Narnia-levels of closeted. (Single mother whom he’s terrified of disappointing, strict Muslim upbringing. Good old religion. Sigh.)

The second is reeeeeally long, so be warned.

Tale #2:

We’d been friends online for about five years, and I’d always had a crush on him (which he apparently reciprocated), and had a vague idea that “one day” we’d meet, but no real plans to do so. I wasn’t scared that he was a catfish, because I have a good (in person) friend who dated him for a while (in person!).

For about four years, he’d been saying he wanted to meet me, and for the last year he’d been pretty forward about it, and then for a couple months he’d been saying he was going to come to England to spend Christmas with me. (He lives in Washington, D.C. I live near London.) That we’d stay in London in a fancy hotel for a few days and go Christmas shopping and see a show, and then we’d go stay in a romantic cabin in Scotland, somewhere with a hot tub and a four-poster bed and champagne and matching bathrobes, and snuggle up for a few days. So I figured, we’d better meet first, just in case we hate each other, because at Christmas we’d be stuck together and wouldn’t be able to get an extra room anywhere.

So I flew out to see him in late September, not exactly on a whim, but with a week or two’s notice. Which meant I paid a high price for my flight - £600-ish, which is usually what I pay to go to Hong Kong (twice the distance) and about twice the price I usually pay to fly anywhere in the US. But I tell myself it’s worth it. (Money wasn’t quite as tight as it is now, though it was still about a month’s income - I care for my mother full-time, and at the time I was also doing part-time crisis work. This isn’t really important to the story, it just lets you know my finances were pretty dire, and seeing this guy was a huge financial commitment, but he was really important to me.)

I land at the airport, and there’s some mix-up with the flights and I can’t use my phone for some reason, so I can’t find him and think he’s stood me up, and he can’t find me, but eventually we do find each other. I’m hot and sweaty and out of sorts, but it’s so good to see him. Until the second thing he says to me, after greeting me, is “My girlfriend really wants to meet you.”

Um, excuse me, what? Girlfriend?

To be clear, neither of us is strictly monogamous. I date guys who have girlfriends sometimes. I’ve dated guys with wives before. It would not have been an issue for me, if he’d told me beforehand. But the fact that he didn’t mention that he had a girlfriend, up until this moment, is sketchy af.

A couple minutes later, out of the blue, he says, “I’m sorry, I won’t be coming for Christmas.”

What?! The entire reason for this last-minute trip was to prepare for his Christmas visit.

Despite not currently having a job, he’s miraculously busy for the next few days. (He’s an actor, and has rehearsals.) He invites me out at night, to a regular karaoke thing that he goes to two or three times a week with a group of friends. The karaoke thing starts at 10:30pm, and the Metro shuts at midnight. (Not sure if it still does, this is a few years back.) I deliberately booked a hotel in Alexandria, where he told me he lived, rather than the city - where the karaoke is. And I had my throat crushed several years ago (which he knows about) and I can’t sing. I do not go to karaoke.

I amuse myself for several days. Luckily, there’s plenty to see, and I wish I booked more time off work and could stay longer. He seems, by turns, concerned about me and totally uninterested. I wonder if he has a split personality. He sends me a text message asking if I’m OK, and says he just wants to make sure I’m doing something. I tell him I’ve toured the Capitol Building, spent a couple hours in the Library of Congress, seen the outside of the Treasury Building and the Supreme Court, watched a guy get arrested for jumping the White House fence with a knife to apparently assassinate Obama (though later reports say it wasn’t an assassination attempt), played a pickup baseball game in front of the Washington Monument, learned how to skateboard (badly), got invited to two parties, eaten dinner in a bar, watched a football game, and gone dancing - and that was the first day. I did not fly all this way for four days to sit in my hotel room. This seems to startle and annoy him.

I meet a guy who works at Arlington Cemetery and agree to have dinner with him. D.C. Guy seems a bit upset about this. I have no idea why. I also go to a party with some guys I meet at 7–11, and a second one that’s being held in the hotel suite opposite mine.

On my last full day there, we spend the day together. We were supposed to start early, but he’s hungover and doesn’t haul himself out of bed until 1pm. It was a semi-nice day. He wanted to check out this bacon festival, so we go and spend $30 apiece for entry, which gives us three tokens for bacon samples. I give one of mine to him, since he’s twice my size and likes bacon more than I do. The entire festival consists of a handful of stalls cooking bacon in various ways and a stage with a college band - fine for stopping in for a few minutes, not so great to pay $30 for. But I’m used to making the best of things, so I talk one of the vendors out of their recipe for (amazing!) brown sugar bacon, and we share a funnel cake, which has always been on my list of things to try, so that’s cool. We also run into some friends of his, and he talks to them. He either forgets or doesn’t bother to introduce me, and they don’t realise I’m with him until they’ve been talking for a few minutes. Finally he introduces me…by the wrong name. We’ve been friends for five years.

We go back to his car. We talk about what to do next. I’d previously said that the big thing I wanted to do was a riverboat tour where I get to see the monuments - we’d talked about doing that together years ago, before any real plans had been made for me to visit - but the sunset cruise isn’t for a few hours, so I ask if there’s anything in particular that he wants to do. He says, and this isn’t verbatim but it’s very close: “I don’t want to be here at all. I’d rather be with my girlfriend, and I resent having to show you around.”

I ask him to drop me at the nearest Metro, but he convinces me that we can still salvage something from the day, plus his girlfriend’s at work anyway. I’m not sure why I agree, but I think I’m just trying to focus on getting through it. We decide to wander around and look at some of the monuments that I hadn’t seen, and this is actually a really nice part of the day. We see the Lincoln Memorial and reenact the Forrest Gump scene. We nod solemnly to the Vietnam Memorial, and bathe our feet in the water at the World War 2 Memorial (you’re not supposed to, but literally everyone there is doing it).

I mention how much I love the water and how disappointed I was that my hotel’s swimming pool was closed, despite the temperature being in the high 80s-low 90s. I never stay anywhere without a pool, and I picked that hotel specifically because they had an outdoor swimming pool, but apparently all public and hotel outdoor pools close on September 1st. He tells me he knows a guy with a pool, and that even though he doesn’t really like the guy, he could call him up and we could go swimming. I point out that it’s not very nice to use someone you don’t like for their pool, and he agrees. I silently wonder if I ever knew him at all.

We wander back towards the car, via the Martin Luther King Memorial. He buys a small cup of beer from somewhere and proceeds to get drunk. I have no idea how 200ml of beer could get this man drunk - he’s 6’5” and built like a powerlifter - but it does, and he starts talking about how he’s been in a terrible mood for weeks and how he really wants to start a fight with someone. I offer to fight him. This is probably not smart - he’s got eight inches and sixty pounds on me, and he’s an ex-Marine, and I just got out of hospital a few days ago and am still weak from the infection I had - but frankly, I’m ready to beat the crap out of him.

He looks at me and actually smiles for the first time. We don’t fight. He sobers up while we walk back to the car.
We drive to Old Town Alexandria, which is absolutely gorgeous. I contemplate moving here for a few months next autumn. We get frozen yoghurt with a stupid amount of toppings, and buy tickets for the boat cruise. The boat cruise is amazing, and he really loosens up. We sit on the top deck and cuddle a bit, and we see the monuments - it’s still light outside, so they’re not lit up yet - and he points out interesting things that I don’t recognise or know about, like the Watergate Hotel, and an old fireworks factory. If our date had started here, it would have been a wonderful date.

We come into Georgetown just as it’s getting dark. The boats and the restaurants remind me of home in Spain, and the atmosphere is full of energy. I love Georgetown, probably more than anything else I’ve seen. We wander a bit and consider getting dinner, but he says his girlfriend wants to do a barbecue later. I laughingly pull him into a psychic shop - palm readers and other fortunetellers are everywhere - and the woman in there is thrilled to see me and asks if she can read my palm for $5, which I accept. We walk a little more, but he’s getting moody again. He keeps pointing out women who look like his girlfriend and asking me if I find them attractive. In hindsight, I think he was sizing me up for a threesome, but he never said anything outright. This isn’t fun for me, so I suggest we go back to the boat. We wait for the boat for about twenty minutes and it doesn’t show up. Some guys on a private yacht that costs more than my house ask us if we want to come to an all-night party, and I’m tempted to bail on him and go alone, but ultimately demur. After another ten minutes, fearing that we’ve missed the last boat that returns to Alexandria, I ask a crew member of another boat if they know when ours will be along. Turns out, this is our boat, and we’ve been staring at it for a half hour. To be fair, it’s very different from the one we came out on.

We board, and only find two single seats. A couple offers to move to make space for us to sit together, and I tell them, “It’s OK, I don’t think my date likes me much,” so they don’t need to move. I’m half-joking - British humour can be deadpan - but he looks shocked, almost stricken. We talk a little on the ride back, and he tells me that I wasn’t what he was expecting. Online, I’m sort of shy - particularly since I had such a crush on this guy - and he was expecting someone sweet and timid and a little clumsy, who needed to be looked after. Instead he got someone tough enough to thrive in a foreign city, all alone, just a few days out of hospital, and my competence intimidated him and made him feel - and act - tongue-tied and stupid.

This puzzled me for a couple years.

The monuments are beautiful at dusk, all lit up with the purple sky behind them. There’s nothing to compare.

When we get back to the car, he asks if I want to come to his girlfriend’s place for a barbecue, but my stomach is unhappy and I ask him to drop me at the hotel. It settles a little when we get there, and he comes up to my room for a while. While we’re there, he tells me I shouldn’t have got a hotel room at all, I should have stayed with him. Two weeks ago when I booked, he didn’t even have a fixed place to live, but he doesn’t seem to remember this. He talks mournfully about all the places he wanted to take me - Baltimore, Assateague, D.C.’s National Harbor with the big wheel - and laments the fact that I’m going home tomorrow. This is the guy I knew, the one I expected to meet on the first day. I don’t know why he’s been absent all this time.

I give him the £70 bottle of Scotch whisky I brought him, mostly because I don’t fancy schlepping it back to England, and add $50 for gas money. He falls in and out of homelessness, as a lot of veterans do, and I don’t want him to suffer financially because of driving me around. I see him out to his car and he gives me a long hug and tells me to stay in touch, and we’ll meet up again soon, either in D.C. or London, and we’ll see more of each other next time. I hug him back, knowing that this will likely be the last time we speak.

Four and a half years later, in early 2019, I hear from him again. He’s living in L.A., and has a steady job. He seems to be doing better for himself. His Facebook profile seems to hint that he’s just got out of an abusive relationship - I’m guessing this is the one he was in when I met him - and has been in therapy for his mental issues. I wish him well.

It took me a couple years to stop being angry at him, and to start understanding. It was an expensive lesson for me - in total, I spent about £1200 / $1800 (with exchange rates being what they were at the time) to ultimately spend a single day with a semi-catfish. (I’d rather have just GIVEN him the money, rather than visiting, if he’d have accepted it, but he refused me several times.) And a month or so after this trip, one of my oldest friends got one of those fast-growing brain cancers and spent his last few days at a clinic in Florida. If I hadn’t gone to D.C., I could have been there, but I’d spent all my money on visiting D.C. Guy. Of course, D.C. Guy was not to blame for this, nor was I - neither of us had any idea my friend would get sick and die - but I resented him for it nonetheless.

Two years after visiting D.C., I started dating a man, Jupiter, who reminded me a lot of him. D.C. Guy had that Jupiter personality, too: externally gregarious, confident, even bombastic, the Bringer of Jollity, but internally melancholic and full of storms. Jupiter had a sort of breakdown while we were dating, and almost overnight all his confidence vanished, and after going through that with him I understood D.C. Guy a little better. Both he and D.C. Guy were two of the strongest, most competent people I’d ever met; men who could cope with any situation. Until they couldn’t.

On the boat ride back from Georgetown, D.C. Guy said something about how he’d survived Iraq, and Afghanistan, and working as a D.C. cop, and going back to university when he was eight years older than his fellow students and feeling isolated, and now he didn’t even have the confidence to ask a crew member if this was the right boat. I thought he was joking at the time, and it was only after I started dating Jupiter, two years later, that I started to understand how fragile people can be underneath that self-assured, ostentatious veneer. Strange, given that I’ve done youth work and crisis counselling for years, and I’m usually good at seeing beneath the surface.

All I can say is, he was a REALLY good actor.

I look forward to reading other tales of mayhem.


@22 Sati: You might not have won this essay contest, but congrats on your novel / screenplay.


@15 you really think Derek Groves isn't a dude?

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