My Worst Date Ever

Even though I'll be single for Valentine's Day this year, I think back on my date with a man seeking to check every box on the census in his conquests and know that it could be worse.

With Valentine's Day looming and seeing that I will not have a Valentine this year, I decided to look back on ghosts of dating past and determine if I really am worse off.

It reminded me of one particular date I went on a few years ago.

As a relatively young, single professional woman who spends countless hours working, I realized it had become hard to meet potential suitors.

When you work most of the day it's difficult keep in touch with friends, let alone meet new people. So at the suggestion of my sister, I decided to update a profile on an online dating site and see what happened.

It wasn't long before I was interacting with a couple of men, sending messages online and chatting on the phone. After a week or so, one man, who we will call Cleetus (this may or may not have really been his name), suggested we catch a movie. I thought, why not? This is why I joined the online dating site after all, right? To go on dates.

But do remember that I am a journalist. After getting his first and last name I ran him through the Maryland Judiciary Case Search (which came back clean) and gave his contact information as well as the time and location of my date to my sister for safety purposes.

(Shameless plug, my sister co-wrote a book about dating online and our method was highlighted in the safety chapter. Check it out if you're interested: Don't Do What We Did! A Conversation About Online Dating With an Ex-Not-Quite Couple Who Met on the Internet.)

We met about an hour before the movie was scheduled to start—it would have been an hour-and-a-half had he not been about 30 minutes late—and walked to a nearby pizza shop to grab some food. Aside from his tardiness, everything was normal.

It wasn't until we started chatting over our pizza that I started to worry. The first issue was that he didn't make eye contact with me the entire date. He would look at his hands. Or at his food. Or over my shoulder. It really lived up to the stereotype of online dating sites being filled with socially awkward people who couldn't get a date otherwise. I like to think I do well in social situations (those who know me can chime in). But with his behavior, I was concerned.

He began to tell me about himself. His most recent ex-girlfriend moved from Maryland to Boston almost a year before our meeting and cheated on him and got pregnant by another man. He, however, stood by her and it wasn't until she became addicted to cocaine that he thought it best he cut it off.


Then came the kicker. Those who know me know that I am bi-racial. My mother is black from New York (though we have many ethnicities mixed in on my mother's side, ranging from Puerto Rican to Irish) and my father is from India. Cleetus was of Portuguese descent. Cool, I thought. My cousin is married to a Portugeuse woman.

Boy was I wrong. Cleetus proceeded to tell me how it was his goal to sleep with someone from every ethnicity and had checked off quite a few boxes on his personal census form.

I was floored. How was I supposed to react to that? Did he think he would get two-for-one with me since I am bi-racial? Did he think I would say, "Hey that's a great idea, let me help you check off another box?"

All I could do was nod politely, sit through the movie—with my skin crawling through the entire thing—and thank him for the date, walking off completely mind-blown by what I'd just encountered.

I'm sure you guessed I never saw him again—I did not give him the double-census check he seemed to be hoping for.

So as single women everywhere lament the fact that they will be alone, I can honestly say it could be worse.

But now, I wonder how Cleetus is coming along with his goal?

Have you had a horrible first date experience? I can't be the only one. Tell me about it in the comments (and feel free to change the names of the innocent, or not-so-innocent).

John Thomas February 08, 2012 at 01:37 PM
How long did you chat with him on the phone before you agreed to meet ? Did you chat with him on web cam before meeting ? Never do a movie on the first date.
Maya T. Prabhu February 08, 2012 at 02:07 PM
That's the extent of my personal dating life that I'm willing to share on here John/Joseph. Sorry. :) And thanks for the dating advice.
John Thomas February 08, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Maya : Why do you call me Joseph ? My name is John. The questions I asked you were pretty harmless. You need to read the book by Ralph Banks. It's titled " is Marriage for White People ? " How the African American marriage decline affects everyone. By the way, do you really care how Cleetus is coming along ? Also "Cleetus" is generally a derogatory word to describe a white country boy.
Maya T. Prabhu February 08, 2012 at 02:38 PM
I call you Joseph because you share the email same address with a previous commenter named Joseph Smith who was banned for improper use of this site. Interesting coincidence, huh? They may have been harmless but I'm allowed to choose not to share more about my personal life than I want to. No I haven't read the book. Yes, I'd be interested to know how his quest was going (which is why I said it). And his actual name is Cleetus. Have a great day!
Phillip February 08, 2012 at 02:38 PM
In high school I had a girl dump me on Valentines day. I'm sure that there are many people, men and women, that are like Cleetus. Online dating can be hit or miss. I guess your options are going to a bar, finding someone that you work with, online dating, or trying to meet someone though one of your friends.
John Thomas February 08, 2012 at 02:51 PM
I doubt his actual name is Cleetus. Why do you care about how his quest is going ? Maybe I am the " Cleetus" that you met in person.
Maya T. Prabhu February 08, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I'm not a liar. And maybe you are. It would explain a lot of things...
Phillip February 08, 2012 at 03:07 PM
John, you are very inconsiderate, boarder line racist, with your comments on this post. I find your delusional view of the world very stereotypical of a person that gets his kicks off ticking other people off. Maybe in the future you can consider using a little more compassion with your replies. With that said, why couldn't a person have a name of "Cleetus" ? I know of a child that was named "- shawn" pronounced "dash awn". People name their children how they want.
Donna J. Goldinger February 08, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Online dating is a useful tool. I have met some very nice people, and some not so nice. I agree with a previous poster that the first date should be short (for coffee?) Personally, I look at it as an opportunity to meet someone new. No pressure.
Dennis Carter February 08, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Borderline racist?! Joseph/JohnBoy/Cleetus, whatever his name is, is far beyond borderline racist. He's the full-blown variety. And as a WASPY white guy, my whitey senses are tingling, telling me that Joseph/JohnBoy/Cleetus might not actually care about African-American divorce rates. Just a hunch.
Joseph Alexander February 08, 2012 at 03:20 PM
John please move out of your mothers attic and stop writing your name on the juice..then maybe you will meet someone.. You seem lonely.. I will agree that a first date at the movies is a terrible idea. It says "Oh, nice to meet you...Know shut up the movie is about to start!" Dinner is better it either promotes conversation or awkwardness, but at the end of the date you know if you want to have another date or not..or breakfast in the AM or not...
Michelle Y. Talbert February 08, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Hey John/Cleetus/Joseph. I think that it's quite nice that you are such an avid reader of my sister's stories. However, maybe you should consider that your questions/statements/admonitions reflect poorly on both your level of intellect and social awareness with respect to race relations in our country. I'm quite sure that is not the image you wish to portray. As a twist on an old piece of sage advice--think twice, reply once. Wishing you the best.
John Thomas February 08, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Ralph Banks is an African American Stanford law professor who wrote the book , " is Marriage for White People ? " read the book before you people open your yaps...
Dennis Carter February 08, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Michelle Y. Talbert February 08, 2012 at 03:52 PM
John, I read the book. Please stop...you still sound ignorant. Just because a Black person wrote the book doesn't mean we have to agree with the premise. I see you don't take advice well. But most of us are going to ignore you now. #thatisall--back to the attic for you.
Meris Stansbury February 08, 2012 at 04:01 PM
It definitely could be worse, Maya. You could be on a date with John Thomas here, sitting across from this man telling you all about how you need to read up on your own race and personally take the fall for the “African-American marriage decline” because you didn’t profess your undying love over the first [overtly racist] man to make a pass at you. Oh yes, ladies and gents, it could be a lot worse.
Phillip February 08, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Meris, I bet Maya is displaying that same face from the photo as she read the comments from John.
Edward February 08, 2012 at 04:43 PM
As soon as you felt uncomfortable I would think it was time to say good night and get the heck away from him... No need to sit through the movie anywhere near him... I would have just said "Thanks for the datem but I am convinced we are not compatable... Then remain in a place where there are many people until he leaves... Ya might even consider taking a taxi when leaving so that he does not find out what car you drive (thus finding where you live)... Just some thoughts on the matter...
Maya T. Prabhu February 08, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Ha. You're right. I probably was too polite in this instance, Edward. But please tell me someone else has a bad date story to share. Am I really the only one who's been on a horrible date??
Stephanie Walker February 08, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Hey Maya! Great read. My awful date deals with a guy who proclaimed before we met (also an online date) that he wanted to be a comedian. When we finally went out and I asked him to share some of his material he spent 20 minutes leading up to ONE punch line that was about disgusting bodily functions (YUCK! Definitely not first date discussion!). He talked so slowly and spent so much time laughing at the jokes in his head (which he never shared), that I was finished eating before he could even get through his one joke! The date was terrible and needless to say, I'm glad to have never gone out with him again. I told him we just weren't compatible :).
Maya T. Prabhu February 08, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Thanks for sharing, Stephanie! That does sound like a pretty bad date!
Dave F November 14, 2012 at 10:06 AM
WOW .. what a "varierty" of responses!: ) Some story, but not surprised! Did the online dating thing in past and while a person might meet some people on the up and up, most have "issues" to say the least! Went to meet someone once, who wasnt ANYYHING as they said and didn't even recognize them when i got there! Lol. Knowing I wasn't going to pursue things, still stayed and was polite until I left. Oh well, better to have once lived and loved, than not to have ever loved at all they say. Hope you enjoy MB, been here two years and definitely don't miss the winters up north!! Dave F


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