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Monday, 21 September 2009

The Worst Date I Ever Had

By Mark Sherman

In a writing class I took recently, one of the topics suggested was "the worst date I ever had." Having not had a date, in the usual sense, in more than 40 years - I've been tempted, but I don't think it would have gone over well with my wife -- it was hard to remember a worst date. Besides, I had had so many bad ones that trying to choose a "worst" was a nearly impossible task.

But I did give it a try.

Some blind dates would certainly be up there since, by their very nature, like it or not, looks play a major role in determining how such a date goes, and the excitement, intimidation or disappointment one feels upon first seeing your date can color the entire evening.

Actually, an extreme on either end can cause problems. One of my worst dates was one of my first dates. I was not quite 17 and had just arrived in Philadelphia from Queens, New York to start my freshman year in college. Before I left, my best friend's girlfriend gave me the name and number of a friend of hers who lived in a suburb just outside of Philadelphia.

I was excited by the date before I even met her because of her name - Leslie Liebman. Even at a young age, I was delighted by alliteration, eventually marrying a Sherry and then a Shelley, which filled the bill for my surname, Sherman.

When Leslie opened the door, my immediate reaction was, "Omigod, she's stunning!" Highly experienced at fantasizing about beautiful girls, but almost totally inexperienced at talking to them, I was simultaneously delighted to see this beautiful, dark-haired high school senior greeting me, but terrified at the prospect of trying to impress her.

For Leslie it was, I am sure, an "Omigod" experience as well, but in her case, as she looked at the 16-year-old skinny and pimply kid from New York standing at her doorway, it was probably, Omigod, how could Diane have fixed me up with this?

It was not a great evening.

I, of course, do remember the date because she was so beautiful. I suspect that she doesn't remember me at all except perhaps when I come back in an occasional nightmare.

But for sheer discomfort, few dates can compare with Ellen, a Radcliffe College undergraduate I went out with during my brief window of opportunity between marriages.

This was not a blind date, though I can't remember how I knew Ellen; I do remember that she was pretty and smart. By now 24, I was no longer so intimidated by attractive women, but still - left over from my younger years - I could never quite believe my good fortune when one of them went out with me.

We went to a first-run movie in downtown Boston where my evaluation of her attractiveness was reinforced by the clicking and sucking noises made by some of the local men sitting in doorways as we walked by.  Feeling somewhat nervous about this, Ellen took my arm possibly believing, with no good reason, that if any of these men started trouble, I could protect either of us.

But nothing happened and we got to the theater to see the highly acclaimed comedy, The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming starring Carl Reiner and Alan Arkin. Everyone was saying what a funny film it was, and they were right – unfortunately.

Soon after the film began, I realized that I should have taken Ellen either to a drama or a scary film, for it turned out that she had a loud and ridiculous laugh that sounded like a combination of a donkey and a hyena.

What would happen after each funny moment in the film and, tragically, there were many, is that the entire audience would erupt in laughter, followed immediately by a second wave of laughter clearly in reaction to Ellen's laugh. I say "clearly" because the only people in the theater who weren't engaging in this second laugh wave were Ellen and me.

I, in fact, was close to tears thinking fondly back on my ex-wife and the fact that, whatever our problems, at least she didn't have a laugh that made her a laughingstock.

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


May I be the first to say it's always great to read your posts, Mark.

Great post!
Now you have me trying to remember the worst date I ever had. It might be tricky to narrow it down to just one though..

Hi Mark,

What a great story. I really enjoyed it. How is this for a bad first date?

FERNDALE, Mich. — Police in Michigan say a first date went from bad to worse when a Detroit man skipped out on the restaurant bill, then stole his date's car.

Police say a 23-year-old had dinner with a woman April 24 at Buffalo Wild Wings in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale. The woman says the two met a week earlier at a Detroit casino and she knew him only as "Chris."

The woman told police that he said he left his wallet in her car and asked for keys. He then sped away in the 2000 Chevrolet Impala.

The Daily Tribune of Royal Oak reports that police identified him by a photo he'd sent to the woman's cell phone, and his phone number.

He is charged with unlawfully taking the car, a five-year felony. He waived a preliminary exam and was bound over for trial Thursday.

This is an amusing story. Your character reminds me of Woody Allan.
Celia J.

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