Bad Dates

BLOG: This is the Story of My Worst First Date

“Girl, I just had the Worst First Date EVER,” a girlfriend wrote to me recently, and it made me giggle. This particular friend has some of THE WORST dating stories EVER (my personal favorite is called “The Chronic Masturbator“) so this one must be insane. I haven’t heard it yet but I do think she and I have an evening of wine and story-telling in our future.

I haven’t had a first date since I met my husband 18 years ago so it’s not something I think about often. My friend’s comment, however, stirred a memory of MY Worst First Date. This one was so awful that it wasn’t even funny and when I look back on it, I wonder how close to tragedy I actually came that night.

We will just call him Fred, because I can’t remember his name and wouldn’t use it even if I could. He was a regular at the restaurant I worked at when I was 20. Fred was gorgeous, but quiet and he always made a point of sitting in my section. I thought he was just the pensive, model-type so I didn’t think twice when he asked me out. Fred wanted to take me to dinner and the other waitresses were jealous.

I was living with my Mom then, so he picked me up from her house the night of our date. Fred said he’d forgotten his wallet and had to run back to his apartment to get it. That’s where I saw the pictures of his kids. I knew he was older than me but had no idea he had children. Fred had taken black and white shots of them in panties and t-shirts, and in very adult poses. They disturbed me then but now, as a parent, I find them terrifying. I don’t know why anyone would take pictures of their kids like that.

We went to Fred’s “favorite bar” where he got very drunk off two drinks. Then he took me to his “favorite restaurant,” and claimed he knew everyone there. Our waitress tried to play along but obviously had no idea who he was. I was ready to go home, by this point. It was obvious that Fred was strange and I would be happy when the date was over. I ate quickly and excused myself to the bathroom, where I hoped to stay until he finished his food. I returned, ready with a story about feeling sick and needing to go home, but Fred was waiting by the door. He said he was anxious to leave and had already paid our bill, but our plates were still on the table. Our waitress was approaching us when he grabbed my arm and pulled me out the door.

It took a few minutes of prying, but I was finally able to get Fred to admit he hadn’t paid the bill. I forced him to go back to pay, then told him to take me home. I was feeling nauseous, I said, and might even throw up. Fred wasn’t ready for the night to end, though.

No, he wanted to take me somewhere SPECIAL.

Fred ignored my complaints and drove us down a long, winding road into the woods. He finally parked in a clearing and hopped out.

“You’re gonna love this,” he said and then walked quickly away.

I didn’t move. I honestly hadn’t considered that I might be in REAL DANGER until that very moment. It was completely dark out there, with the only light coming from the moon, and I had no idea where he was. Ten minutes passed before I finally opened to door to his truck.


About 5 more minutes passed before he came back, and he was FURIOUS. Fred wouldn’t speak to me but he started driving erratically back the way we came. I didn’t know how to react so I did what I USUALLY do when I’m scared. I started screaming at him.


I know NOW that my reaction wasn’t smart but it did result in one good thing.

He kicked me out of the car.

It wasn’t a gentle pull-over-open-the-door maneuver either. He slammed on the breaks and started pushing me as hard as he could, so I just opened the door and ran. Fortunately, Fred drove away.

There was nothing around except a gas station up the street, so that’s where I headed. It was after 10pm so their doors were locked, but they had a pay phone, which I used to call my Mom. I remember how calm she sounded as I described my surroundings. She knew exactly where I was and was on her way.

I was so relieved, but headlights came up behind me as soon as I hung up. Fred had come back and I was leaving with him, whether I liked it or not. He grabbed me by the waist and started furiously dragging me to his truck. Luckily, I was able to grab onto the sides of the payphone and held on for dear life. That’s when Fred picked me up by the ankles and I started screaming as loud as I could.

Headlights shone on the two of us and everything stopped. A passing motorist had seen our struggle and pulled over.

“What’s going on here? Lady, are you OK?”

“Get out of here,” Fred yelled. “This is none of your business!”

“Whatever man,” the guy said. “Just know that I’m witnessing everything you’re doing…and I’m not leaving.”

There was a moment of silence, and then Fred said to me, “I guess I’ll be reading about you in the papers tomorrow.”

Then he stormed off.

I have no idea what he meant by that comment, but I assumed at the time that he was going to kill me. I realized that he knew where my mother lived and would probably come back to murder both of us. I felt that he was completely capable of it, too.

They still wouldn’t let me inside the gas station, but gave me keys to the bathroom instead. That’s where I stayed until my Mom came. The man who’d stopped to help collected my purse and it’s contents, which had been dumped during the struggle. He sat it by the bathroom door and spoke calmly to me through it while I waited. I wouldn’t open the door until I heard Mom’s voice on the other side, though.

I didn’t get that man’s name, but I wish I could tell him thank you. There’s no telling what he saved me from that night.

Fred never came back to my restaurant and disappeared entirely from sight. I didn’t feel safe for ages afterwards though, and blamed myself for the incident. I went out ALONE with someone I didn’t really know, after all, which was something I had never considered to be dangerous.

It was though…and it still is.

Fred’s face is the one I see when I think about my own daughters dating one day. How can I protect them from awful first dates, or even worse? How do I tell them about the men who hide their demons or that pretty faces can conceal ugly hearts. I WILL tell them though, repeatedly and pray that they will learn from my own mistakes.
I’ll wait until they’re much older though, to tell them about the Chronic Masturbator. They’ll need a giant glass of wine to go with THAT one.


  1. Holy crow that’s not one bit funny. I even got teary-eyed reading it. Thank goodness for the kindness of the man that intervened!

    1. You know Marjorie, I’d kinda forgotten about that night until I wrote this blog. It WAS scary tho! Isn’t it weird that we can sweep stuff like that under the rug and forget about it? And thanks for the feedback!

  2. Daang…. thank God you got out alive! Are you sure those were his kids in the pictures….? That’s beyond sketchy. I wonder where he is now… no telling what could have happened!!

    1. No I’m NOT sure those were his kids and you’re not the first person to ask me that. It never even occurred to me until I wrote that blog! So scary!

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