I feel like one of the big lessons from 2020, for all its suckitude, is that in a dark time, your community will show up. We’ve seen this in people coming out to clap for healthcare workers, in donations to various pledge drives, in the sewing-abled among us stitching up hundreds of masks at fair-market-to-below prices, in people of all colors marching to protest the unmitigated murder of people of one particular color. One of the best things about belonging to a community in charge of looking after the Mariners is that, in a dark time, your community will show up. Tonight the Mariners got bombed out after one inning, when Yusei Kikuchi went down with neck spasms pre-game and Nestor Cortes and Bryan Shaw attempted, poorly, to staunch the bleeding, and it was a laugher before the Mariners had sent a full nine to the plate. But my community—the LL writers, specifically—showed up for me, in the way of not making me have to write tonight’s recap. So tonight instead of talking about the Mariners we’re talking about bad dates we’ve had. Feel free to add yours in the comments.
Tim: In high school I was invited to a house party. I was a well-behaved child in high school and so were all of my friends. That said, this house party was for reasons that I don’t remember completely uninteresting to me and several of my friends—two guys and two girls. So we ditched to go get Subway together (we were 17, and I had a car.) We were and are all good friends, but none of us have ever dated nor to my knowledge been romantically interested in each other. One of the four ended up in severe trouble with her mom for “going on a double date” without permission and while she was supposed to be at a party. So that’s my worst date: it wasn’t a date, I had to eat Subway, and I got my friend in trouble.
Kate’s score: 2 out of 10 oooofs
John: The summer between 7th and 8th grade, I trusted a friend. This friend had a crush on a girl I didn’t know, and ASSURED me I was a perfect match for her friend. As a doughy tween without a relationship history to his name, I could not have been a worse selection, but I was honored and excited, and we texted coordinating times to bus to the movie theater and arrive simultaneously.
Naturally, I arrived late, while my friend and our dates entered without me. Moreover, my friend decided he needed to leave 20 minutes into the film. As I arrived and purchased my tickets to see Transformers, for what would be at least the third time I saw the Shia LeBeouf vehicle in theaters, it occurred to me I had no idea what our no-doubt-elated dates looked like, much less where they were sitting in the dark theater.
Mercifully, after I entered, I identified a couple likely prospects, sat near them, and waited until they called down asking if I was their tardy new companion. After another hour and change of silence (save for the robotic thrills on screen), we left the theater, with scarcely a word, never to speak again*.
*I did end up dating the other girl three years later. Life’s weird.
Kate’s score: 1 out of 10 oooofs
Eric: I was 16 and it was the summer between 10th and 11th grade. My girlfriend at the time and I went on a big group date/hangout with friends, 8 or 9 of us piled into my friend’s early 90s Dodge minivan. The ultimate goal was going to a movie at the old drive-in theater in Auburn (RIP in Peace). For reasons I cannot recall, we drove from Puyallup to Seattle first for some shenanigans, during which we all played some kind of strip-truth or dare game so there were a bunch of teens flying down I-5 in various states of undress. At some point, my girlfriend gets understandably uncomfortable with the whole thing, which I somehow caught the blame for, and she stops talking to me for the rest of the night. We eventually make it to the drive-in sometime after 9 pm, because drive-in movies don’t start until it gets dark out obviously. But there had been a severe miscommunication between my GF and her dad, as she didn’t realize the movies (a double feature of “The Perfect Storm” and “Hollow Man,” wow) would be over much, much later than she told her dad. Since I was not driving the big group, I couldn’t exactly make everyone leave to bring her home. This was also 2000 and either no one had a cell phone or we were just too dumb to track one down and call her dad. Decisions were made, and they were poor ones. Anyways, when I finally got back to my truck and drove her home, it was sometime after 1 am. Her father was waiting in the driveway for us, fuming. He had a good 6 inches in height on me and at least 100 pounds. We got out of the truck and mid-apology, he gets about 3 inches from my face and says, “If you ever bring her home this late again, I will kick your fucking ass.” Girlfriend goes straight inside without a word. I drive home in stunned silence and try to find some sleep that never comes. Yikes.
Kate’s score: 5 out of 10 oooofs
Mikey: During my senior year of college, I broke up with my girlfriend mid-lease and had to ride it out with her for a few months. After a while, I figured I could get back in the dating game, and so I matched with a girl on Tinder. I didn’t plan on messaging her, but to my surprise, she messaged me. She made it really easy on me, sending me her number, and then we decided that we’d meet for coffee. The day of, she called an audible and asked for me to pick her up. That was fine, I figured, until I realized that the place she was asking me to pick her up from was her fucking dorm. I wasn’t super thrilled to be doing this, but given how aggressively passive I am, I figured that, at worst, I would be able to get a good story out of it. (How right I was!) After picking her up, I took her to a bagel place, and she offered to buy me a bagel, and we sat down. Upon eating her bagel, she immediately got cream cheese on the corner of her mouth. We chatted about various topics for 15 to 20 minutes, and then the dreaded topic of, “So how many people have you met up with from Tinder?” came up. I let her know that she was the first person I’d met up with off Tinder, since it wasn’t really my steez, and she disclosed that not only had she met up with someone, but she had sex with him! Neat-o! I laughed it off. Yeah, not exactly a good first-date topic, but I’m pretty sex positive, so, cool? Then — and I have no idea how this came up — she went out of her way to ask, “Do you know the Academy of Elf Defense?” Of course I know the Academy of Elf Defense, I said. Any true Bellinghuman knows of the Academy of Elf Defense! Well, not only did she tell me about a Super Rad Party that she attended there, but she also let me know that she extended the honor of giving a guy fellatio in the basement! Coolio! After I nervously laughed and shifted the topic to something else, we walked around a record store (which was pleasant) and ate some taco truck tortas (also pleasant!). She told me to hit her up again if I wanted to do something again. I decidedly did not want to do something again, and so I did not hit her up to hang out again.
Kate’s score: 6 out of 10 oooofs, mostly because this story forced me to learn about the Academy of Elf Defense, also there was another story of Mikey’s I cut for time, DM him about it if you really wanna know
Zach: The first (serious) date of my life, I took this girl to Stanford’s. Very classy, I know. I got chicken, and it was extremely tough and stringy. As I’m talking to her, I get extremely nauseous out of nowhere and I get the feeling that I need to throw up right now. I stand up wordlessly, run to the bathroom, spit a half-chewed ball of chicken into the toilet, flush, and come back. I didn’t explain.
Kate’s score: 1 out of 10 oooofs Gotty is clearly holding out on us, and forcing this disgusting story on us in the meantime, bad Gotty
Grant: Honestly, I don’t think I have any disastrous dates that come to mind (ignoring middle school, which was really just a disastrous few years of my own awkwardness and idiocy). But I did have one high school girlfriend break up with me over Facebook messenger, which is a rough way to be broken up with.
Kate’s score: 0 out of 10 oooofs I am beginning to realize the perils of working with a bunch of early 20s children and asking them for their bad date stories
Connor: Like Grant, nothing truly disastrous or wildly entertaining. Awkward, sure. Sad, you betcha. But outlandish page turners like Mikey’s above? Not the dude you should be asking. Any true LL veteran will recall the saga of the rose from my senior year of high school in 2013 - I think we can all have a good laugh about that now - and my relationship drama that I very publicly worked through #onhere in 2014-16, but I’m not sure one would call that “entertaining” but rather “cringe for everyone involved”. I guess at seventeen I sold my copy of Halo Reach to buy a Valentine’s Day gift for my girlfriend at the time, who I broke up with over phone call a week later? Does that count? In any case, don’t do that, folks.
Kate’s score: 3 out of 10 oooofs
Isabelle: I’m very good *at* dates, but have spent 98.2% of my life avoiding relationships and, as such, my worst dates have been centered around that wildly uncomfortable maybe-still-casually-dating-but-the-balance-of-attraction-has-shifted-and-someone-is-clearly-more-invested period. And nothing describes that better than senior year of college when an enormous rugby player appeared on our apartment fire escape and sent myself and my friends leaping three feet into the air, shrieking. It was, in fact, a boy I’d been seeing and not a stranger come to murder us all. And he was there for our date! Which I’d completely forgotten about! And, as the world’s worst liar, there was absolutely no way to hide that! So we went on a very humid, awkward hike, got completely lost, and finished the evening at Chili’s.
Kate’s score: 6 out of 10 oooofs
Amanda: I’m 21 and I’ve just broken up with my first real boyfriend. A co-worker, upon hearing that I’m now single, decides to ask me out. I say no because I have absolutely zero interest. He asks again. I say no again. He keeps asking. My answer does not change. He says, “I’m going to keep asking until you give in, so you might as well say yes.” If this had happened to me now, I would have gone right to HR. But I was 21, so I agreed to go out with him. Initially, I suggested going to a bar. He pointed out that if we went to a bar, someone might see us and then they’d know we’d gone out. This was a good point because our workplace was full of college students and there was a LOT of gossip. So, we had our date in his room at his frat house.
We’re awkwardly chatting, he suggests I do a couple shots, you know, so I could relax a bit. I agreed, stupidly. At age 21 I bought all the way into the “cool girl” persona. So, when he offered me a chaser for the shot of cheap vodka he poured, I declined. I was a cool girl. I could do a shot of liquor without a chaser. In fact, I did two shots without a chaser. It was rough. The shots hit me like a brick wall. I’d never been that drunk from that amount of alcohol before. He, arrogantly, laughingly, told me that I did not do two shots of vodka. I did two shots of everclear. Naturally, I was PISSED. And ready to leave. But we didn’t have things like Uber then and he pointed out I couldn’t drive home to Bellevue from Seattle after shots of everclear. So, I agreed to stay until I sobered up. I left while he was in the bathroom a little later and walked around the U-District for a couple hours before going home.
Kate’s score: no score given, too busy trying to find this guy to kick his ass retroactively