I was recently visiting my new-found love, the online bookstore, and something caught my eye just as I was about to hand over my credit-card details. Admittedly, I do know them off by heart, so there's not a lot of time between punching in the numbers, hitting confirm and high-fiving myself for organising the speedy (and free!) delivery of yet another selection of books I don't have the time to read.
But there it was, causing a rare pause in my Pavlovian book-purchase response – a hardcover called Crap Dates. Just like the Summer Roll impulse buy at the checkout, I knew this baby had to be mine. And so it was.
It arrived a few days later and I found myself stirring my chicken soup while chuckling over succinct recollections of the worst dates in history. Succinct because they come from an idea from Twitter to convey the most appalling date stories in history in just 140 characters. Irresistible. Here's what I would have contributed. (All names have been changed to protect the unhinged.)
He thought saying he killed a robber with his own boot would impress me. So I agreed to another date because my friends begged me.
I'd met Kade through a friend and he seemed okay. A bit ruddy and greasy looking, which I liked at the time because it indicated he had a fondness for wine, and in my late 20s this was as important as an ability to breathe. He was kind of annoying but his compulsive lying was so entertaining, and I had no one else on the radar, so I saw him three or four times. Dates would start at a restaurant and usually end up at my place so he could lie to me uninterrupted while I frantically tried to remember all the ridiculous things he'd say. My friends would religiously call me the next morning for a debrief.
My gran always used to say, "Every pot has its lid", and as pots, we have to enjoy trying on as many lids as we can
The lies were fairly standard: he was the adopted son of the Ansell condom king, he was dropped on their doorstep with a $10 note attached to his romper suit. You know, Fibs 101. He had also been an SAS soldier, which came in really handy, as it turned out, when he had to pin down a robber at his local milk bar with his army-issue boot until the thief expired. I'm sure it would have been spooky if it wasn't so darn HILARIOUS.
What he didn't count on, though, was that I was really listening. He mentioned the milk bar where this heinous (and strangely unreported) crime was committed and, to his horror, I knew the place. I get my milk and Helga's from Dave, the owner, every day. "What are the odds!?" I said. "I'll bring it up next time I see him!"
At this, Pinocchio got twitchy. He quickly suggested I shouldn't mention it because it was so traumatic that Dave's memory would have deleted any recollection of it for his own good. Really, Kade? Or here's another theory, Kade. Maybe Dave wouldn't recall the fact that someone had died in front of his mixed-lollies cabinet from a boot to the throat because, I don't know ... it didn't happen.
That was the last time I saw him, much to my friends' great sadness. The best news about this "relationship" ending, though, was that it put the next one into perspective.
Knowing I was vegetarian, he took me to a meat-pie shop. But not before visiting a bank to apply for a loan for a motorbike. While I waited.
This one was a ripper! Jimmy looked like Tim Finn, a look I'd long admired. He had a nervous habit of twirling his curly fringe into something resembling the hair that plumbers have to extract in one long piece from shower drainpipes. He picked me up and said he just had to pop into the bank. "Score!" I thought. "We're not going Dutch!" I waited, fixing my hair and readjusting the pale-blue Wayfarer knock-offs I'd bought from Target.
After an hour, I started to empathise with those dogs you sometimes see tied to trolley barriers while their owners do the supermarket shopping. Will he ever come back? Why are all these people patting my head? Where is my water bowl?
After 90 full minutes, he returned to the car thrilled to the back teeth because he'd been approved for a motorbike loan. By that stage, I was too busy snapping at my itchy bits like a flea-ridden dog to care.
It's easy to pass these off as what they undeniably are: crap dates. They stink of disrespect and deceit. But are bad dates a waste of time? Not at all. I'd go on them all again (and, dear reader, there are MANY more stories where these come from). They're funny. I love that the world is full of people not like me. And sometimes we have them in our living room and, yes, even in our bed.
My gran always used to say, "Every pot has its lid", and it's true. And as pots, we have to enjoy trying on as many lids as we can, even if sometimes they're square and we're round, or we're teapots and they're, well ... crackpots. I have no doubt that both Kade and Jimmy have found the loves of their lives now. Though I suspect Jimmy may have to register his one true love with the council.
This article first appeared in Sunday Life.
Did you have any bad dates before meeting your partner? Share your stories below!