Worst Dates

Our editors band together to reminisce about failed courtships, soiled jackets, and how many times Fight Club can be mentioned in one night 

Joyce Chan // Illustrator

The Soiled Jacket 

Ana Maria Caicedo // Editor-in-Chief

It was my second date with this boy from Tinder. He seemed pretty perfect—he was artsy, sweet, and our politics aligned. A little lack of chemistry maybe, but nothing a few more dates wouldn’t smooth out, I thought. I bussed from my house in West Vancouver to meet him at a coffee shop downtown. From there, we walked to Crab Park, where he got out a government-manufactured joint. This weed, dude—yikes. It was strong, and awful and it lit my blood on fire. I tried to be cute, but I was sweaty underneath my winter layers, and my hair had soaked up the ashy odour of the joint. I felt gross and very ripped. 

Mid-conversation, he leaned in, about to put his arm around me, when suddenly he froze. 

“Did-did you notice that before?” he said, pointing to my arm. I followed his finger until  I saw it: shit. Shit smeared on the sleeve of my virgin-wool Aritzia Cocoon Coat, from my wrist to my elbow. Diarrheic, red-green shit. I had no idea where it came from or how it got there, but there it was. My date was more mortified than I was. 

I stripped my coat off, ran to the ocean and proceeded to rub the sleeve with rocks and water, which, to his horror, just kind of spread the poop around. I offered to go to a bathroom somewhere and try to wash it off, but he wasn’t too keen on that. It was freezing, and I needed a coat, and even though he offered me his, I knew this poop on my sleeve was just too big of an obstacle for either of us to overcome. On the way home, I dropped my coat off at the dry cleaners, and texted my horror story to the guy who would eventually become my boyfriend.

 The Over Explainer

Sarah Rose // Features Editor

A woman’s early 20’s is a fragile period. Fresh into adulthood, we’re already at the peak of the attraction curve for heterosexual men of all ages while under immense existential pressure to make major decisions about life. As William Gibson eloquently illustrates in Pattern Recognition, how do we plan for a future when the future is already over?

Wrestling with generational traumas and unable to reason meaningfully about a stolen future, the early adulthood of women is marked by leaning into a culture of eternal youth—or making a Tinder profile. At least that’s what seemed reasonable to me after coming out of a traumatic breakup. At the tender age of 22, I’d signed up for OKCupid under the impression that the algorithmic love promised by the platform couldn’t be that bad, or at least not somehow worse. Within two weeks I’d made the “hottest users” list, which vaguely translates to a symphony in my inbox of 40-year-old men asking for threesomes and messages of “Hey, do you like drum and bass? Let me lick your feet.”

At some point, I swiped right on some attractive pilot, a real Maverick in Top Gun type, who described himself as an avid reader. We agreed to meet up for a pint at my favourite haunt, The Wise Hall, and sitting across from the bar I genuinely felt excited, until he opened his mouth.

“Do you like Fight Club?”

“Sure,” I replied. Most people have encountered something by Chuck Palahniuk before. Like a friend of mine who encountered a water bottle from Palahniuk thrown at his head at a book signing, followed by ‘now you have a story about meeting Chuck Palahniuk.’ Which I should’ve taken as a sign that bringing up Fight Club on a first date is shorthand for a very particular type of guy. Afterall, the first rule of Fight Club is don’t admit to liking Fight Club.

To be fair, Fight Club grapples with the same early 20’s dilemma of empty futures, but it resolves it through toxic anger and violence. It’s the kind of story that belongs to the guys who enjoy “debating me” in class, and that’s exactly what my date decided to do—launch into a two-hour debate over whether the ending of the movie captured the essence of the book. “No, like, you just don’t get it!” he went on.

A friend of mine from across the bar felt so bad for me taking center stage in this horror movie that when my date excused himself for the bathroom, he threw me over his shoulder like an Irishman smuggling out a sack of potatoes in the 17th Century. A few hours later, I’d get a text from Fight Club man, “I assume there won’t be a second date.”

Sometimes, making decisions about the future is abundantly easy.

Numb to the Idea of Love

Megan Amato // Opinions Editor

It was Valentine’s Day and I was in a mini dress, a flimsy jacket and thin boots—shivering in the parking lot as the frigid February wind howled around me. I had spent countless hours grooming and preparing myself for the anxiety-ridden four-hour Greyhound bus south to meet my online boyfriend. Despite the pervasive anxiety, excitement lingered. A previous relationship and an unstable home had left my self-esteem and self-worth in tatters. Meeting my boyfriend for the first time brought hope and possibility as I waited in the snow.

However, as evening fell into night, my skin began to hurt to the touch, my toes numbed to the point where it hurt to stand, and fear exacerbated—I’ve always been scared of the dark. I had caught the last bus out and now I was alone, freezing, and trapped in a place where I knew no one. This was some years ago, before smartphones but during the early stages of Facebook, and I had given my boyfriend my number but had failed to ask for his. After several hours of anxiety, numb legs, and feet that hurt to walk on, I shuffled in the direction of golden arches I had seen on my way in. 

Once I made it into the warmth, I cried, and the concerned staff came to comfort me. I can’t remember how it happened, but somehow they helped me get a hold of his father, who got a hold of his mother, who came to pick me up. She was unimpressed by the stupid girl dressed inappropriately for an Ontario winter, but she was kind. She was less thrilled with her son, who had forgotten about his date on Valentine’s Day.

I would like to say that was the end of that relationship before it began, but poor self-esteem equals poor decision making. I can tell you, however, that the mother who came to pick up her son’s date danced at my wedding with my now-husband.

Sarah Rose

Features, Humour, Literature Editor

As a chronic over-sharer, this feels unfair.

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