Chapter 32: One Hit Blunders, Part V – The Joker

Creepy clown makeup not included.

The first guy that I actually went out with after getting back on Tinder and Bumble upon my return to Boston was a guy that I’ve decided to call Clark. 

Clark opened up by asking me something about robbing a bank – I don’t remember exactly what the situation was, but in any case it was a good ice breaker and I thought it was funny and original to start planning a bank robbery (which I’ve never done and will never do), so I went along with it. This is also why I’ve decided to refer to him as “The Joker,” because The Joker from Batman robs banks, plus, this was clearly a joke that we should rob a bank – right?

Clark isn’t really what I usually go for physically, but he was cute and at this time I was just looking to meet new people so I wasn’t being very picky. He was funny, though, and he has a good job and seemed decent so after a bit of back and forth, he asked me out and I said yes. 

We made plans to get drinks at a bar near Quincy Market on a Sunday night, and then about 45 minutes before we were meant to meet he told me he would be running a little bit late. He was having some car issues but he’d let me know when he was leaving. So, at this point I figured it was something fixable but he’d just be late, so I kept getting ready. 

When it was getting closer to our meeting time, though, I texted him again (got to love that Google Voice number) and told him to let me know when he was leaving so I knew when to leave my place. At this time I was completely ready – hair, makeup, all that – since he had never made it sound like the date wouldn’t be happening. Then, a few minutes later after we were scheduled to be meeting, he texted me that he was very sorry but he had to cancel because to fix his car he needed to go get a piece from his mom’s house, and he wanted to get it fixed before he went away at the end of the week.

Honestly I was probably more understanding than I should have been, but he said he was sorry and offered to make it up to me another night that week, but I did think it was a little weird that he didn’t at least offer to get an Uber or something, and that he HAD to fix it at that very moment when he knew I was ready to go. But, because I’m nice I gave him a second chance and we decided to go out to the same bar later that week. 

On the night of our date (for real), I ended up getting there before him, but not having to wait too long. When he showed up he was a bit shorter than I expected, but cute. It was weird because of COVID times we couldn’t hug or anything, so we just kind of walked in and found a table. I got a hard cider, and he got a vodka soda. 

We ended up also ordering an appetizer to split, just some buffalo wings, which were pretty good, and the date itself was decent. Nothing to write home about – I definitely wasn’t feeling a major spark or romantic chemistry or anything –  but he was funny and I was having a good time just being out of my apartment. 

After a bit, though, I could tell that I was ready to go home because it was way past my bedtime and I knew that this wasn’t really going to go anywhere, but it just felt very weird trying to find a way to nicely tell him I was ready to wrap this up and go home. 

Photo by Akshay Anand on

Finally I found a way to get that message across, and this is where the biggest problem with Clark came to be. As I’m sure y’all know by now, I’m old-fashioned and expect to be paid for on a first date. So when the bill came and I did my customary offer of splitting and he said, “Yes,” I was not pleased. But not just because I’m traditional. Because he also said, “Let’s do 50/50,” despite the fact that my hard cider was nearly $4 cheaper than his vodka soda, and he’d had two of them. And the wings we ‘split’? I ate maybe two or three, while he ate more like six or seven. 

And on top of that, he was telling me how his company and industry have been “thriving” during all of this while then listening to me talk about being unemployed and trying to survive off of unemployment. I’m a big believer that if you can’t afford to eat out you shouldn’t eat out, which is why I ordered a cheaper drink so that if he did say we should split it I wasn’t paying for overpriced liquor. He was the one who suggested the appetizer, too, and he ate so much more of it. Plus, the fact that he was basically gloating about now having to experience the stress that millions of people have had to experience lately… it was a major turnoff that essentially, he was letting me pay for him since his drinks were more expensive. 

Also let me just remind you that he basically stood me up just a few nights before, and promised to “make it up to me.” So his idea of making it up to me was letting me pay for part of his vodka and wings on a first date? I just think that’s tacky. 

However, he did offer to walk me home so I was almost willing to give him just ONE more pass. That is, until we started to get close to my place. When I told him I was right across the street so we could part there, and I could clearly see the look on his face that showed he was very much expecting me to invite him up. Even though I really don’t think any of our conversations had been very flirty, and he didn’t even attempt to woo me, so this felt very weird to me. I was very unimpressed with this and even though I lied and said we could hang out again, I knew we would not be. 

When I got back to my apartment, I brushed my teeth and got into bed. A bit later he messaged me that, “I’m cute and we should hang out again soon.” Yes, I am cute, but I just said thanks and good night. And, luckily, I never heard from Clark again.

Chapter 31: The Werewolf

I know what you are…

After only a few days on Tinder, I matched with a guy that I’ll call Jacob. Just before matching with him, though, my friend Mary had sent me a funny story about a girl who only talked to her matches in “Twilight” quotes. Given that I was reading “Midnight Sun” (please tell me I’m not the only one) and have been reliving my high school days of being obsessed with the books and movies, I thought that this was hilarious. So we decided that the next match I had, I would try that.

Jacob was the next guy I matched with, so he was the lucky man that got to be on the receiving end of some weird messages. 

I opened with the classic, “You don’t know how long I’ve waited for you.” And it went from there. Jacob was a very good sport about it, and when he asked where I lived and I replied, “Forks, Washington,” he got instant bonus points for answering with an amazing pun and saying, “Get the Fork out of here with that.” 

Finally, I told him what I’d been doing and he thought it was pretty funny. Apparently, it didn’t scare him off at all that I was quoting a book I read when I was 16, and he was still into me, so we continued talking. 

After a couple of days, Jacob asked me when we could get together and I said I wasn’t sure, but maybe that night if he was around. He had a different idea and wanted to meet earlier. He offered to come over and hang out on his lunch break in just a little bit. But, me being the crime junkie I am, I don’t let random people come over so I asked if we could meet in public first. Apparently, he was very anxious to meet with me so he suggested that we FaceTime instead. 

So, right after I got back from my run that morning, we FaceTimed and talked for a little bit before I took a shower and he got ready to come over on his lunch break that day. I decided that he wasn’t giving off serial killer vibes or any other kind of red flag, so I sent him my address. He came over, we hung out for a bit, and then he left. It was probably one of the weirdest and most random “first meetings” I’ve had – except for when I met The Bartender at a Best Buy parking lot, but it was also very enjoyable.

He told me that he’d always wanted a friend with a swanky apartment, so we should hang out again soon, and I agreed. It was also good timing because I’d just made my apple cider cakes and needed someone to share them with so they didn’t go bad. However, part of my plan with sharing them with him was that I was hoping he’d put the cake pans back up for me because they go in a cabinet that I can’t reach without a step ladder, and he’s very tall, but of course I forgot to ask him. I’m not going to lie and say that I haven’t put a couple of tasks aside because I’m definitely hoping I can charm him to help me with them next time he comes over. 

Photo by Vincent Peters on

Honestly, he’s a really fun guy and extremely funny. He seems very genuine, too. We took turns showing off pictures of our nieces and bragging about them, and anyone who loves their nieces/nephews as much as I love mine is good in my book. He’s smart, has a good job, and kind of seems like a big teddy bear which is why I went with calling him Jacob over Edward – he definitely gives off more of a werewolf vibe than a vampire vibe. Considering that back in the height of my “Twilight” phase I was mostly Team Jacob, I’m perfectly happy with this. 

The second time we hung out, it was equally brief, but still fun. We’ve talked about our love of true crime and Netflix documentaries, another bonus in my book, and I think I might have finally found a man who loves pizza the way that I do. We actually have a good amount in common, too.

He sends me funny and actually kind of sweet snap chats. He’s been good so far about remembering details about me, and so far he hasn’t done anything to piss me off. All good signs. 

We have some of the weirdest hang outs, honestly. The most recent time I saw him was right after I took the LSAT. I was too tired to go out and I just wanted to enjoy not having anything to do, but I was bored and kind of lonely in the hotel I was staying at (I took the test in a hotel room and figured I’d stay the night), so he came over. He was so excited for me that I was done because he knows how hard I’ve been studying. He wished me luck and told me I was going to kill it like every day for the three days leading up to the test, which is a lot more than I can say for a good amount of people who’ve known me for way longer. 

We hung out and talked and enjoyed how comfy the hotel bed was, and it’s kind of funny too because I feel like he’s one of the few guys where I haven’t felt like I had to know EVERYTHING about him after a week, so I feel like every time I see him I learn more about him and he learns more about me, which is probably how it should be. This time we talked about our sometimes crazy families and how much we both love Thanksgiving. He also saw my stuffed sloth that I have and had brought with me (I just like cuddling, okay?) and got me to tell him all about my slightly-obsessive fascination with sloths. And he STILL wasn’t scared off. He actually seems very into my weirdness. I’m a fan. 

He actually did tell me that last time. When he saw the sloth and teased me about it for a second and I let it slip that I really love sloths, and still have sentimental stuffed animals, and admitted that that’s a little weird, he replied that he knows I’m kind of weird, he could tell right away, but that’s part of why he likes me. It’s nice to feel like I don’t have to hide my weirdness around him and I can just be myself and not be worried that my quirks will scare him off.

My old roommate in Orlando, Chelsea, is fascinated by this and is convinced we’re going to get married. She also thinks it’s amazing and a classic “only Madeline” thing that I would end up actually having some sort of thing with a guy that I started off with talking to only in “Twilight” quotes, and honestly I agree with her. Considering I recently had a guy from Tinder stop talking to me because I wouldn’t send him pictures of my vagina (true story) and another from Bumble tried to bait me into a political debate, I’ve obviously had guys ghost me for less weird things – or no reason at all. 

So, we shall see what happens with Jacob. I’m hoping I have more stories with him soon because he seems cool and like he could give me some more fun material. For now, I’m just hoping he doesn’t imprint on my unborn child. 

Chapter 29: Best & Worst Dates

the best of times and the worst of times

I have been on some good dates and some bad dates, clearly, but recently, someone asked me what the best day I’ve ever been on was. So, I thought that I’d do a quick little post about the best and worst dates I’ve ever been on – the top three for each – and go into a bit more detail about each of them, even for the ones that you might think you already know everything about. 

For the record, these dates are not about the person, necessarily. I’m strictly going off of the date itself. The person will definitely play a part in it in some instances, but even if the person turned out to be an asshole AFTER the date discussed, it could still be considered a good date. It’s based only off of that particular date. 

Let’s start off with the bad, shall we? I mean, I am an optimist so I do have to end on a good note.

While I have certainly had my share of bad dates ( I mean, I had to create a whole “One Hit Blunders” series to talk about them) the following three stand out as being the top three worst ones.

Top 3 Worst Dates

3. Brunch with The Cancer

After our first date, which as a reminder was drinks at Tavern in the Square and then around Faneuil Hall, PJ invited me to brunch at Rosebud. While the food was good, the date was not. 

I remember being a minute or two late, as I usually am, because I was having trouble getting an Uber and the way he made me feel about it was like I had just held up his entire day. I fully get being annoyed when someone is late – it drives me crazy when my friends are constantly very late for things – but it was just a minute or two, and I told him right away. So, that kind of bothered me but I tried to let it go.

As the date went on, I remember realizing that we just weren’t very compatible. He kept talking about really weird things, and then would just kind of give me this borderline creepy stare as he waited to see my reaction to it. He also told me that he sleeps with the temperature on 60 DEGREES. How is that even possible? I like it a bit chilly but I think I’d actually freeze to death if I did that. 

But, really I just think that in general “eating” dates are overrated and not what I enjoy. I don’t like having to feel like I need to be super conscious of what I’m eating, and if I’m being a messy eater, and it’s hard to have a conversation over food. Even though I’m not a big drinker, I’d rather do drinks first because at least it’s easier to talk. 

Also, after brunch was over I was talking about what else I needed to do that day clearly sending the hint that I was done with this date and ready to go home, yet he convinced me to go on a walk even though it was starting to rain, and then insisted on driving me back even though I was perfectly fine calling an Uber. Sometimes things cross the line between polite and possessive, and this was one of those times. 

Overall, it was just very weird and why I agreed to a third date after that, I don’t know. It was just weird, and when I think about some of the worst dates I’ve been on one definitely makes the list.

2. Japanese with The Dollar Man

Not only was this a food-related first date, which I’ve already said I’m not into, it also involved us sitting next to each other which is one of my biggest pet peeves with couples in general – how do you talk like that? 

Obviously, it’s required at a Japanese steakhouse, and I do love Japanese food, but still, it just makes for a very awkward first date when you’re half talking, half watching someone cook your food. Overall, it’s just not the ideal situation for a first date. 

Add this is with how much he talked about me offering to split the bill, and how intimidated he seemed to be by me the whole night, and it just turned out to not be one of my favorite dates. Plus, he took my leftovers which I think is kind of weird, and I just never heard from him again afterwards, so why spend so much money on a first date if there was never going to be a second one?

  1. “Hot chocolate” with The Creepy Catfish

Did y’all really have any doubt that this would be the worst date I’ve ever been on? I’m not sure if it was the part where he tried to hold my hand and yelled at me when I didn’t want him to, or when he literally backed me against a tree and got in my face, or the whole bit where he told me I was “too fucked up” to love, or when he basically insinuated that I couldn’t make him leave my apartment because he’s bigger than me that sealed the deal, but no matter what, he definitely takes the cake. 

And that’s not even including the whole part that he – one, showed up over an hour late to the date that he planned and, two, changed the date from bowling to hot chocolate and wouldn’t even bother to take me to a legitimate place for a hot chocolate. I like to be at least somewhat courted, and Starbucks is not going to cut it.

Top 3 Best Dates

3. Halloween Horror Nights with The Vegan

As I’ve said before, I really like doing activities or going to special events on dates, and this one stands out to me because Halloween Horror Nights is not something you can do just anywhere. 

As I said in his chapter, I am a huge scaredy-cat. I scream like I’m being murdered at the slightest jump scare, but he sucked it up and powered through the night. He went first into EVERY single house, let me hold his hand and bury my head into his back while he pulled me through certain parts, and was so sweet. Even though I definitely almost ditched him at one point running from guys with chainsaws, this was just a really fun first date activity if you’re into spooky things which, despite how scared I get, I do like.  

It’s also a really great way to weed people out – if he told me to suck it up and didn’t care that I was scared half to death, I wouldn’t have liked it, and if he decided that my swearing like a sailor wasn’t his thing, then at least we figured that out right away, right?

2. Hiking with The Rollercoaster

I liked this date because it was the first time I’d ever done a big hike (which I totally lied about to both impress him and make him not feel like we couldn’t go hiking because I wasn’t that experienced) and it was such a beautiful place to have been my first “big” hike.

It was an activity, always a good thing, and it was also something you can’t do everywhere (you can’t go hiking in Florida, really) and something that was also a good challenge for me. It was fun experiencing something new with someone I cared about, and I just really like to be outside.

The views made it even better for sure, and I liked that at some parts we talked but at other parts, we just let each other enjoy the whole situation and have some silence that wasn’t awkward or weird at all – I feel like that’s always a big thing if you can be quiet with someone and it’s not weird. 

Overall, this was just a really fun and exciting and adventurous date and it’ll always be one to beat in my eyes.

  1. Bowling with The Cheater

The absolute best date I’ve ever been on was bowling with Al. It was the perfect mix of time talking and time doing something fun together. It was the right idea to have a drink or two first to get to know each other and loosen up a bit (and have the bartender comment on the fact that this was our first date) before moving into the next portion of the date.

I definitely liked that I beat him at bowling, and I’m also just weird and love bowling. The conversation flowed, which is important to me, and we had a great time at every part of the date. It is kind of weird looking back and thinking about how much chemistry we had right off the bat knowing what he was really doing. 

It doesn’t hurt that the date ended with us going to Trader Joe’s so he could buy me wine and guacamole, and then him making me tacos while I pet his cat, but I think that even without the tacos this would still be my favorite date I’ve been on. It’s also the longest first date I’ve ever been on – I think we met at Lucky Strike at about 3:30pm and he drove me home from his place at like 2:30am. I only remember that because we almost got Tasty Burger but then we realized it was closed. But I was still hungry, and I also needed something from the drugstore, and for whatever reason at nearly 3am it seemed like THE most important thing to get, so after he dropped me off I immediately called an Uber and went to a 24 hour CVS near me to get it… and some frozen mozzarella sticks because it was too late for Domino’s delivery.

So there you have it – my top three best and worst dates! Tell me about yours – what are your best and worst dates you’ve been on?

Chapter 28: The High School Crush

Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

Everyone remembers their first real crush, and I’m no exception. Of course, my high school crush also ended up being my first big disappointment with men, so maybe that’s why. 

For those of you who don’t know, I went to boarding school. My older brother went, so it just kind of made sense that I’d go, too. The school we went to was in Boca Raton, Florida, which, let’s just say, has a very particular vibe to it that really didn’t fit me, and is why I ended up transferring to another boarding school in Asheville, North Carolina after my sophomore year, when my brother graduated. 

I was a bit boy-crazy in my youth, and this definitely started for me in high school (okay, middle school). My freshman year, I mostly focused on my brother’s friends because I thought that I was SO cool because Junior boys knew who I was. But of course, being an older brother, he probably told all of them I was off-limits, plus I’m pretty sure that dating your friend’s little sister violates some kind of bro code rules, so I knew none of them were going to work out. But a girl can dream, right

My sophomore year, I decided to set my sights on the boys my own age, figuring that maybe I’d have better luck with them since they didn’t know my brother very well. This meant they couldn’t be deterred by him or know to be afraid of him. 

While there were a few boys who caught my eye and I certainly wouldn’t have been opposed to any of them being part of my little high school romance fantasies, there was one that I was particularly interested in. He was tall, had dark hair, and was French-Candian, which to me at the age of 15, was pretty exotic (despite the fact that I literally went to a boarding school with dozens of international students). You know that he’s French-Canadian because he has two names, and the first name is a common name that’s spelled differently. For the sake of the story, I’ll call him Luc-Arthur, or just Luc.

Luc-Arthur was technically part of the “popular” crowd, but I was a floater in high school, so that didn’t really make a difference in my mind. I had at least one or two friends in just about every clique, plus a few girls that I was very close with and were my best friends. I’ll call the three of them Betsy, Emma, and Alanna. 

Luc and I had a couple of classes either together, or in the classrooms next to each other, so we did interact on occasion. I’ll be totally honest and admit that I am absolutely not one of those girls who peaked in high school, I very much went through an awkward phase (like when I read in Seventeen magazine that it was “so cool” to wear two different color metallic eyeliners, so I did that for way longer than I care to remember) but luckily, I had mostly grown out of at least that part of it by this point. I definitely didn’t have very high self-esteem, but I was cute. Not gorgeous (yet!) but pretty enough, and luckily for me despite puberty being absolutely awful to me in every other way, it did help me have much bigger boobs than most of my female classmates. So, at least I had that going for me. 

In any case, I’m saying this because I want it to be clear that it was not delusional of me to think that he could maybe have a crush on me, too. And the more we talked outside of class, the more I thought that he did, and also, the more my crush on him grew. 

(A few photos of baby Madeline – I still have and fit into that first dress!)

One day, my roommate Melanie was in our room with a friend of hers, Kelly, when I came back after class. I had a class or two with Kelly, too, so I knew her and I liked her, so we all talked for a bit. It’s important to note, though, that Melanie and Kelly – especially Kelly – were very much part of the “popular” crowd. In any case, as we talked I mentioned something about having a crush on someone and after lots of pleading on their part, I finally gave in and told them that it was on Luc-Arthur. They both swore they wouldn’t tell a soul, and, because I thought we were at least friendly, I believed them. 

Not too long after that, I got a Facebook (or maybe even MySpace or AIM, I don’t even remember) message from Luc’s best friend, Aidan, basically just telling me that he knew that Luc really liked me, and that he was planning on asking me out pretty soon. I wasn’t dumb, so I refused to believe him for quite awhile until he could give me some sort of solid proof that he wasn’t lying, and basically begging him to please not be fucking with me. I refused to admit that I had a crush on Luc, too, until the next time that he messaged me, which I think was later that week. He passed it all off as basically being a good wingman and making sure that if Luc asked me out I’d say yes so that he didn’t embarrass himself. 

After this, I was pretty excited, obviously, but still wanted to play it cool. I remember that after that there were a couple of times when I’d be outside a classroom waiting to go in, and Luc would be in the class next to me and he’d go drop off his backpack and then go back outside and talk to me while I waited to be able to go in, which I thought was a sure sign that he was going to ask me out soon.

You also need to keep in mind that at this time in my life, I was VERY innocent. I think it was the end of my freshman year that I heard people gossiping about one of the girls in our class giving a boy a blowjob at someone’s Bar Mitzvah, and I didn’t know what that was so I had to ask Emma. That’s how little I knew. I had to use UrbanDictionary SO much in high school. I was very much the sweet and innocent one, thinking that even if I got to make out with a boy that would be a big deal. Times have definitely changed, but at fifteen/sixteen, that was absolutely where I was at. 

At this point, Luc-Arthur still hadn’t asked me out, but I felt like it was coming because Aidan, and some of his other friends, kept telling me that it was. I remember we all had History together, and one day, this kid Jack F., went up and whispered into our teacher’s ear trying to get him to say something that our teacher refused to say, which made me think it was about me. It made me even more sure when throughout the rest of class, Jack F., Aidan, and Jack R. would randomly get up and walk behind our teacher to “throw something away” while holding up a piece of paper that said ‘Luc likes Madeline.’ I was mortified, but also figured they wouldn’t be embarrassing their friend like that if it wasn’t true, right? 

Wrong. A while after all of this started, my roommate Melanie somehow heard through her friend group that all of this – everything Aidan and Jack F. and Jack R. and Luc had been saying and doing to me for the past several weeks – was a joke, and she immediately ran to Emma and Alanna to tell them that they needed to tell me because she didn’t know what they were going to do, or when.

That day, I came out of History class to find Emma and Alanna waiting outside the door. I smiled and said hi, and they both just very calmly but sternly told me to go back to my room and they’d be there soon. I could tell something was up, so I went.

The second I got a few feet away, all I heard was yelling. I clearly heard Emma and Alanna’s voices, but I couldn’t really understand what they were saying. But I was smart enough to figure out that they were yelling at all of the boys, since that was the one class we all had together. I found out later that they both got in the face of this one kid who is actually now a pro-boxer and at the time towered over pretty much everyone, so he was pretty big, but apparently they got so angry when he tried to defend all of them that even he just kind of slid away to escape their wrath. 

After that amazing verbal smackdown, they came back to the dorm and told me what Melanie had told them. Emma also told me that after Melanie had told her, she had Chemistry with another guy kind of in their “group,” but that was actually a decent guy, so she asked him if he knew what was going on and he said yes. He told her that he’d only found out what was happening a day or two before, but he did think they were going to embarrass me publicly at some point, and told her to tell me before they did. He and I had a class or something together, so he knew that I was a very nice person who definitely didn’t deserve that, and he told her pretty much everything that he knew so she could yell at them all on my behalf, but also have answers so that I believed her when she told me. 

We literally had fireworks at our Homecoming game.

When they told me, I cried. I was really disappointed, like most sixteen-year old girls would be. I had been bullied when I was younger for my weight, but I’d never had someone basically just choose to basically bully me for no reason at all. I wasn’t close with Aidan or either of the Jacks or anything, but we talked in class before all of this happened, so I always thought we would at least be decent to each other because I’d never given them a reason not to be. I was also upset that Luc had let all of this happen, and didn’t really understand why he’d go along with something like that. And I was just mad that he didn’t like me back like I thought I did.

Then, Emma made it even better by telling me that she’d also found out that apparently, Aidan was going around telling everyone that I not only liked Luc, but also that I liked Aidan, too. Which was absolutely not true. This pissed me off even more, and I decided I was too emotionally distraught (aka dramatic) to go to my next class, so I skipped it and stayed with Betsy for my next period. Later, I went to the Dean (who loved me) and told her what had happened and she wrote off my absence as “Excused” and told me she’d never liked any of those boys, anyway.

Chapter 27: The Runaway, Part II

Sometimes people come back into your life…

Sometimes men come back into your life right when you need a new story, and that’s what Elijah, The Runaway, did for me. 

If you don’t remember, Elijah was the guy from Orlando that I went out with last year, had a great time with at the arcade bar, but then on our second hangout he literally got up and walked out of my apartment without a word when he realized that I wasn’t going to put out that night. Here’s a refresher if you need it.

So, are you ready to hear about his reappearance into my life? Good, because I’m ready to tell you.

Not too long ago, I woke up to a text from Elijah simply saying, “Hey.” I was bored, so I responded, and he asked me if I was in Boston still, and I said yes. We started talking a bit, and eventually when I had the perfect moment to do so, I called him out on what he’d done to me a year before and asked if he was going to do that again. He said no, and he apologized for the way that he’d left things that night.  

We talked for a bit, and he really seemed to have changed. He seemed genuinely sorry for what had happened, and kept saying that he was surprised but very happy that I had even responded to him. I told him that while it sometimes bites me in the butt, I do try to give people two chances most of the time. But, after those two chances, you’re done. 

Ultimately, after talking for a bit and catching up, we made plans to hang out. Elijah is not the biggest movie buff, apparently, and he has a whole list of movies he’s never seen and was asking me for my favorite Halloween movie so he could add it to the list. Mine is the original “Friday the 13th,” and he said he’d never seen it. So, we decided that he’d come over and we’d watch it together and maybe I could help him cross some more movies off the list as time went on. 

He kept telling me how excited he was, and honestly, I was, too! I had really enjoyed my first date with him, and while in the moment I was too drunk and too focused on my hash browns, I was disappointed when he walked out on me. He was funny, we had a good time, and it wasn’t fun to have him disappear like that. I was really looking forward to getting together again. 

He came over a few nights later, and pretty quickly we picked things right back up where we left off. It wasn’t weird at all, and even though just to be safe I had my pepper spray in my pocket, I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t need it. I felt comfortable and safe, and it was really fun to just have someone to hang out with, joke around with, and cuddle. 

I made a bunch of chocolate chip cookies for him and opened up a bottle of wine, and after catching up for a bit, we started the movie. After a bit of watching, we ended up cuddling, which was totally fine with me. I’d told him going into the night not to expect anything, and he kept saying that he’d be happy even if he got to hold my hand. When I got scared, he hugged me, when he got scared, I hugged him, we laughed at the amazing fashion featured in the movie (apparently I have a thing for jorts?), and he got to cross a movie off of his list.

My cookies are better than these.
Photo by Oleg Magni on

While we were talking before the movie started, he was telling me a bit about some things he’s been working on in therapy, and explained how something they’d spoken about recently made him think of me, which is why he reached out. I don’t want to violate HIPAA and tell you what that is, but I thought it was sweet that he still thought about me and that I was the one that came to mind when he realized he needed to take some responsibility for things. He kept saying he was grateful I’d answered and that I’d invited him over, and I said there were no hard feelings – it was in the past, we can’t change it, we were both drunk, and it was okay. Let’s move on. 

After the movie, he started to give me a massage. He’d offered beforehand, and I’m never one to turn down a free massage, and he said like how I bake for people to show affection and appreciation, he offers massages. Plus, he wanted to show that he really did appreciate me forgiving him. The massage was amazing, and it definitely relaxed me even more, and it was just really nice to be close to someone again after almost 7 months of social distancing. After a bit, he asked if it was okay if he kissed me, and I said yes. 

We kissed, and after a bit, we decided to go into my room. I made it explicitly clear that we would NOT be having sex that night – I wasn’t ready, and it was not an option – and he kept saying that even by kissing me he’d already gotten to do more than he expected. We kept things pretty PG-13/high school for the most part, but it was actually kind of fun and very different from what I’m used to with guys trying to go straight to third base. 

We realized that the T was not running that late, and I didn’t want to make him get an Uber, and honestly I was happy to be borrowing some body heat from a human body and not my pillow so I said he could stay. He ended up spending the night, which was nice for me, the cuddle queen, and in the morning, I made waffles, we ate, and then he left.

While we were eating, I told him about my blog and that he was on it and he thought it was cool, and pretty funny, though I’m not sure he’s going to think it’s very funny now.

Over the next few days, we talked a bit via text and actually, a few times, he even called me on the phone just to say hi, or because he missed my voice. It was so sweet and given how some guys I’ve dealt with make me feel like asking for a phone call is like asking for a marriage proposal, again, it was just nice. A breath of fresh air. 

Even though we had already made out and everything, I did try to keep the talks not too flirty. I didn’t want him getting the wrong idea, but at the same time, I’d said multiple times at this point that I wasn’t ready to have sex, and wanted to take things slow right now, and he’d agreed. But, I felt like it was okay to be kind of flirty from time to time, and I just made sure to reiterate that this was an “if/when” kind of thing, not a “next time I see you” thing. 

Photo by Maria Lindsey Multimedia Creator on

We made plans to hang out a few nights later, the night of the NBA semi-finals, because I have access to cable and he wanted to watch. We also decided to play Never Have I Ever, and since I’d recently been apple picking and had so many apples still, I made us mini apple cobblers and apple cider moscow mules (which were amazing). He did come over with a backpack, which I thought was kind of presumptuous, but I brushed it off. 

We played Never Have I Ever, which was fun to spend more time getting to know each other after playing the question game last time, my moscow mules and apple cobblers were delicious and gone very quickly, and it was nice to just hang out. We cuddled and he gave me another massage, and just like last time, he asked me if he could kiss me, and I said yes. 

After a minute, he asked if we could go into the kitchen. I said yes, because I figured a change of scenery is nice, plus this way, none of the neighbors in opposite corner units from me could see me like I’m sure they’ve caught me having solo dance parties before. On the way there, I said again that we wouldn’t be having sex, and it wasn’t personal. He basically scolded me for saying that, saying that saying “it’s not personal” makes it sound like it is personal, so I apologized. I think that was the moment when it started to really kill my vibe. 

Once we were in there, though, I could tell even with that there was something he wanted me to do. While I did consider doing so for a minute, just to get it over with, honestly, I realized that I didn’t want to, and just because in the past I’ve given into things because it was easier than causing a scene or having a fight, I didn’t want to do that anymore. I wasn’t in the mood, and I still wasn’t ready. 

He could tell I wasn’t in the mood, but instead of reading the room and being like, “Hey, let’s just not do anything tonight,” he then directed me back to the couch and asked if I wanted to show him the kind of porn I watch. Honestly, I don’t watch porn, it’s just not my thing, but I’m not naive enough to not know where to find it or what the types of categories are, and I figured that this was a much more hands-off approach and more my speed at the time, so it was a better alternative. Then things got weird in a way I don’t even want to write about, and AGAIN he could tell I was not feeling it, but AGAIN he tried to steer the night into the opposite direction from where I wanted. 

This time, he asked me if I could show him my toys, and I just went with it because I figured if I did this right and made some juvenile jokes or something, maybe I could kill his mood. I did not succeed in my mission, unfortunately, and we ended up getting into my bed.

Chapter 26: I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost

Just because it’s spooky season…

How to survive being ghosted, and why I don’t ghost

You meet someone, most likely on a dating app, you go out and have a great time, talk a bit after, and then as soon as you ask them to hang out again, they seem to have suddenly disappeared into a deep abyss, never to be seen again.

We’ve all had it happen to us. And worse, a lot of people have done it completely unintentionally.

So, how do I survive being ghosted, and why do I not ghost myself? I’m glad you asked. Since quarantine has kind of put a damper on my dating life and I’m currently working with a small pool of stories I haven’t already told (don’t worry, I’m working on getting more soon), I figured that this would be a good time to address the one aspect of modern dating that is probably the absolute worst. 

I honestly would love to know who was the first person to ghost someone and make all of this a thing, because I’d like to have a serious talking-to with them. Let’s all establish right now that ghosting someone, whether you’ve been on a first date or not, is rude, inconsiderate, and unnecessary.

I have been ghosted – and trust me, it’s happened a lot – and at every stage of a relationship (including the infamous ghosting by The Cheater at literally the most cruel moment a girl could ever be ghosted) so I know that it sucks and sometimes it hurts, a lot, at first. 

But then I just tell myself that clearly this person was just way too intimidated by my beauty and general amazingness and that’s why he disappeared.

Just kidding, that’s not what I do. 

First of all, I give myself one day to have a mini pity party. Even if you haven’t been out yet, or you’ve only been out once, it is still definitely a blow to your ego and confidence to have someone that you really thought you were vibing with just disappear. Also, just throwing it out there, that most of the time when I give myself a day to just be sad about it and focus on making myself feel better – wine, bubble baths, face masks, the works – they usually end up texting me the next day.

But for those who don’t, I move on to stage two. I do like to give people second chances – clearly this is a pattern of mine, and it’s up for debate whether or not this is a good quality – but after my pity party day, when most of my negative emotions have already been drained, I reach out to them one more time. Here’s the key, though, you have to reach out CALMLY. Listen, I have gone from my slow simmering level 2 of craziness to a straight up 10 in about 30 seconds flat before, I get it, it’s hard not to, but again, this is why I give myself a day to just feel the feels so that when I try one more time, I’m not going full on psycho. Also, sometimes people do have genuine reasons to disappear for a bit – family emergencies, work, etc. 

Photo by Ryan Miguel Capili on

First of all, if the person is extremely rude, makes you uncomfortable, or this is not the first time you’ve tried to break things off, then I give you permission to go full on ghost mode. However, if none of those things are true, then I recommend using my line.

Usually, I’d say something like, “Hey [name], I really don’t want to assume anything, but I haven’t heard from you in [insert general time frame, we don’t need the seconds]. I hope everything is okay with you, but also, if you’ve just lost interest I would appreciate it if you could just be upfront with me about it.”

I do tailor this to the person a bit if needed, and let me just say this – while I have not had the misfortune of being ghosted by someone just after sleeping with them for the first time, if that happens to you – DO NOT TEXT THEM. At all. I don’t care if he/she was the hottest person ever, best sex ever, or had amazing Ninja Turtles bed sheets. Sorry, but anyone who does that is scum and doesn’t deserve even one more ounce of your attention or energy. No excuses. In that case, call your best friend to come over, eat lots of comfort food, and watch some good movies until you feel better. 

Overall, the point is not to be rude. You know the phrase, “You kill more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”? This applies to being ghosted, too. I get it – you want to be a bit sassy/petty/bitchy, and of course I have felt the same way on occasion. But they are not worth it. Not at all. And people who ghost like that probably want a reaction and when you give them any level of sass they’re just going to be like, “Wow, glad I ghosted that one.” Think of Juan Pablo after Clare told his ass off on the finale of “The Bachelor.” While that was amazing, this is not the time to do that. Just be the bigger person and let it go. Say something, and don’t be a doormat, but be nice enough that they feel a little guilty about what they’ve done.

This is something I used a lot at Disney, actually. When guests were yelling at me about how I ruined their vacation, I would just give them my best Bambi-eyes and then smile and put on my super over the top customer service voice and it was hilarious how quickly they would start being nice to me. People don’t like being mean to nice people. 

The next step is to remember the most important of all of this – it is nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. You didn’t do anything wrong, and even if you did, adults should be able to talk about that sort of stuff, not just storm off and disappear. It doesn’t mean you’re unworthy, or unlovable, or that you aren’t good enough. In fact, it means the opposite. Why would you want to be with someone who ghosts people? Personally, good communication skills are a major turn-on and I can’t imagine a relationship with someone who’s unable to talk about and work through issues, so someone who ghosts really isn’t worth my time. Lacking the courage and decency to tell you that they lost interest is a them problem, not a you problem. I promise. 

So, after you remind yourself of all of these things while you wait for the text back from them that in all honesty, will probably never come, it’s time for the last couple of steps. First, get your girl or guy friends together and hang out – I don’t care if you just watch Netflix or if you go out to a club (remember when we could do that?), or if you just Facetime your best friend while drinking a glass of wine, the important thing is to not spend too much time alone with yourself and be in your own head. Let your friends build you up and tell you how great you are (you are pretty great) and just have fun with them.

And finally, get back to dating. Don’t ever let someone who’s too immature to use their words get to you or keep you from finding someone who does deserve you. They’re out there, I promise. 

I feel like it’s pretty easy to sum up why I don’t ghost people unless I have a safety concern or I’ve tried to tell them to back off and they haven’t so I was left with no choice – I’m just not a crappy person. 

But, it’s more than that. Admittedly, some of it is a bit selfish in that I hope that by making sure I do not ghost people, I won’t get ghosted or have my heart broken anymore. So far that has not proven to be a good tactic, but I still try to be a good person because it’s the right thing to do!

Really, most of it comes down to the fact that I know how it feels to be ghosted. It’s aggravating, frustrating, upsetting, disappointing, all of the above. It’s hard to not feel like it’s a personal attack or wonder what’s wrong with you. I know how it feels to be on that side of it, I would really never want to make someone else feel that way if I can avoid it.

I have talked about my “go to” line before, but I’ll say it again. Whenever I realize that the person I’ve been talking to isn’t the one for me – which I usually try not to do until after at least one date – I say, “Hey! I had so much fun [insert date activity or “talking to”] with you. You seem like a great guy/girl, but I wanted to be upfront and let you know that I just didn’t feel the spark that I’m looking for. Best of luck!” 

You can add more if you feel like it, but I believe that less is more and for the most part, I’ve had good success with saying just these short three sentences. Most guys have appreciated the honesty and responded pretty well. It’s just a good, concise way to send the message that you had a good time (even if you didn’t, again, just be nice) but you didn’t feel it – but still wish them luck in their future dating endeavors, because if nothing else, you can at least offer them that.

Moral of the story, be nice. Do unto others as you wish to have done to you. And whether it’s spooky season or not, don’t ghost. 

For an upcoming post, I’d love to do a Question & Answer piece! So, ask me your questions in the comments – no topic is off limits! 

Chapter 22: The [Redacted]

Every party has a pooper, and for my blog, that party pooper was the subject of this story. I’m going to call him Bruce. I did reach out to Bruce to ask him if he was okay with me sharing this story, and he said he would prefer that I not, but considering that nothing really happened, and I’m already being nice by changing names and leaving out most identifying features, and I could easily just be super vague about who he is (he needs to realize that he’s not THAT famous), I wanted to write it anyway. So with the encouragement of my friends and family who are much more fun than Bruce, I decided to go for it – I mean, you know what they say – ask for forgiveness, not permission, right? So, here we are. Ready? Me too. 

Given that Bruce is a “private” person, and I’m a nice person (mostly), I do have to be awfully vague, for which I apologize for in advance. But, I will do my best to keep this as entertaining as possible despite the fact that I can’t tell you too much information about Bruce. I’m up for the challenge!

For the sake of the story, let’s just say that Bruce is a guitarist in a very, very small band – like, two people – that comes from the land down under (sorry for getting that song stuck in your head). My parents have season tickets for the local performing arts hall near them in Sarasota, so they had tickets to see their show when they were on tour in the USA. I was at my parents’ home during that time as I was in between jobs and wanted some Florida sunshine. A day or two before the show, my dad realized that based off of the marketing of the show, and their band name, he didn’t think he would enjoy it as much as the female-crowd, so he told me I could take his ticket and go with my mom. So, I decided to go. 

My mom figured that this “band” might call people up and have some audience participation moments, as their type of performance typically involves them, so she told me to dress nicely because of course I’d get called up. Low and behold, for their first audience participation moment, when they announced that they needed a “beautiful, sexy lady” to come up and join them, guess who Bruce’s bandmate made a beeline for? Me. So, I ended up onstage with his friend, Nick, to help him out with one of the songs. 

I helped him out, was given a little memento as a thank you, went back to my seat, and enjoyed the rest of the show. Afterwards, I snapped a picture of my little memento and tagged the band, thanking them for a great night, and thought nothing else would happen. But I was incorrect. 

As I was lying in bed, I decided to take one more look at my Instagram before going to sleep and I saw that I had a new message. I was very surprised when I realized that it was Bruce. He told me that, “He heard I completely stole the show.” I responded that I hadn’t heard that, but I’d take his word for it. And then we began talking. Apparently, it was more the side view of my butt that stole the show (let’s be real, we all know it’s pretty great) and he couldn’t help but check it out from the wings of the stage. So, we talked, we flirted. He shared a revealing picture, I shared a much less revealing picture. I could tell what we both wanted the conversation to lead to, and clearly, I’m always game for a good story, so I kept egging him on a bit until he started saying things about being lonely in bed, yada yada. 

I’m not an idiot – I know that he’s like, not even D-List famous even in his home country, but because he’s a very attractive performer with an accent he could and probably does have a little bit of fun in every city. But I was willing to be part of his American tales for the sake of getting some tales of my own. He told me what hotel he was staying at, but then I got nervous. I wanted to go, but didn’t want to wake up my dogs, who would wake up my parents, and while I do sometimes feel like I missed out on the “sneaking out of the house” phase of my teens by going to boarding school, I don’t feel the need to live these moments as a 28-year old woman. To be totally honest, I also didn’t want to have to put makeup and real pants back on, either. Instead, I told him I was going to sleep but to message me in the morning and I’d come over before he left.

And that he did. He told me we wouldn’t have much time, but at least something, but only if I wanted to. I told my family that he had invited me out for coffee, hopped in my car, and drove to his hotel. I got there only for him to tell me that I had *just* missed them, they ended up leaving to go to the next city earlier than expected, and he was sorry and disappointed but we wouldn’t get to hang out. He also couldn’t believe that I actually drove over there – clearly, he doesn’t know me well. 

But, since we couldn’t hang out, I told him that actually, I lived in Boston, and I knew from looking at their tour page that they’d be up that way in a few weeks, so he could make it up to me then. He agreed, saying he’d take me out for a drink and we would hang out then. 

Totally an aside, but I find it hilarious that I told my family he had invited me out for an innocent cup of coffee and they went with it for my sake. To be fair, I think my brother (who found out about it last, because it’s my brother) was suspicious but didn’t want to know the truth because I’m his baby sister, my sister-in-law DEFINITELY did not buy it and I confirmed her thoughts that coffee was not on either of our minds later, and my mom is my mom – she knows when I’m lying (and not just because my right eye twitches when I lie – true story) so I’m about 99.9% sure that she knew I went over there for another type of pick-me-up, but again, didn’t want to push it because I’m an adult and I’m her child and there are some things you just do not want to know.

At this point, Nick (the bandmate I helped with the performance) and I had also exchanged some DMs, and he promised me that if I bought tickets to see their show in the Boston area, he’d upgrade me to VIP. I wasn’t sure if he’d remember, but figured I enjoyed the show, and the one in Boston was around my friend’s birthday, so I’d get some tickets for us as a present to her and see what happened as it got closer.

Well, Bruce got weird. He was following me on Instagram for a while and liking my pictures – even ones from a long time ago, so you KNOW he was trying to get in my pants – and then one day he was not. I tried to have a few conversations with him while he was traveling, nothing crazy but just recommending places for him to check out while he was in different cities, small talk kind of things late at night, and he got less and less responsive over time. I don’t know if he was getting nervous about meeting, if I was being too forward (very possible), if he had just changed his mind, or if something weirder was going on, but I could tell that that meant we were not going to hang out like he promised.

Photo by Monica Silvestre on

But I am very petty, so I messaged Nick again a few days before the show to ask if the offer for VIP still stood, and he said yes. With that, I made sure to pick out a very nice outfit to wear. My friend I had invited, Celia, and I met up and went to the theatre where we got our VIP bands. After getting settled into our seats, I decided to mess with Bruce a bit by snapping a photo of the stage and messaging it to him – amazingly, he responded. I told him I’d see him after the show (which would technically be our first time meeting) and he went quiet again. 

We had a great time at the show and then went up for the Meet and Greet. When Bruce saw me, I could tell he was nervous. He started holding his guitar defensively in front of him, and I made a sassy comment about it not covering anything I hadn’t already seen a picture of, which actually made him laugh. We took a photo, and I went home.

We did message a bit more after that, I thanked them both for a fun night, may or may not have made some sarcastic comment to Bruce about him not following through on his promises, and carried on with my life. I decided to unfollow Bruce and their page because they were going back to another country for quite awhile and it just didn’t make sense to keep in touch. 

The last time we spoke was when I ever-so-kindly told him about this blog and asked if he was cool with me using the story and he said that “his dating life is very private” but mine clearly is very NOT private, and I didn’t actually tell you his name or what he really does, so I’m kind of meeting in the middle. Compromise, right? Plus, like I said, he’s not famous – I promise y’all it’s not someone you would ever know or who you’d be excited about. If it was Liam Hemsworth, trust me, you’d know. Anyway, I’m not trying to make him mad or throw him under the bus or anything, but, this story is funny! Really, I’m the one who looks crazy because I drove to a 3-star hotel to meet someone I’d never even spoken to in real life, and then used their bandmate against them to get my own petty revenge, so honestly I don’t even know what he’s worried about. 

But, it was still a cool story of what could have been a GREAT night but instead is just a “what if?” tale of the time I had a guy slide into my DMs after his show purely because of his view of my butt. It would have been a better story if he hadn’t chickened out, but everything happens for a reason, right? Maybe I’ll get to have a story with another “guitarist” or semi-famous person someday.

Chapter 13: The Runaway

After joining Hinge as part of my Post-Cheater Rehabilitation Program, I actually had a good amount of luck with matching with some quality guys that led to at least semi-decent dates. That’s where I’d met Roy, and PJ, and then, I met Elijah.

Elijah was a teacher who had moved to Boston from Orlando, so we immediately struck up a conversation about our lives in Orlando and what we’d done there, where we’d gone to hang out (besides Disney), who we knew, and all that fun stuff. It was nice to meet someone who knew a lot of the events and places I talked about, plus he was nice, funny, and smart. We hit it off right away. 

One of the places we talked about having been to in Orlando was an arcade bar called Player 1. It’s so fun – it has drinks, vintage video games, some modern games, too, and they host trivia nights on select evenings. Both of us had been there a few times, and Elijah told me that there’s a similar place in Cambridge called A4CADE (pronounced like “arcade”), which is connected to a grilled cheese restaurant (yum), so we made plans to meet there that weekend. 

We met up, got some drinks (of course mine was named after Princess Peach), and began playing. We had so much fun! We took turns buying buckets of tokens, which was fair because he bought my drink, and overall, we just had a great time. I beat him at Guitar Hero, I think, pretty much the only game I know I can win at, and I made him laugh at how much I jumped playing a zombie shooting game. We really clicked, so it just felt comfortable to hang out with him. We had a lot in common and were both very competitive, so I enjoyed the date a lot. 

I feel like this is where I need to mention something slightly off topic but still ties into how hilarious my dating life is. There was another guy I’d matched with on Hinge and had been talking to, but hadn’t been able to make concrete plans with yet, who texted me a few days later asking me if I’d been at A4CADE that night and when I said yes, he said he’d seen me there. So I had to tell a white lie and tell him I’d been hanging out with a friend from Orlando (which was kind of true) and didn’t even notice him, and was sorry. We still never met after that. 

After leaving there, we decided to walk down to another bar to talk someplace it was a bit quieter. We ended up at a place a couple of blocks away, where we had another drink and talked more about our lives, personalities, all the fun stuff you talk about on first dates. I actually really liked him. I decided to head home, so he told me to go ahead and grab an Uber while he settled the tab.

FYI, Skee-Ball is my FAVORITE arcade game.
Photo by Element5 Digital on

I had the best driver ever that night. I don’t remember his name, but he was hilarious. He turned out to be a huge astrology guy – so much so that he’d created an app called Signz that he told me to download – and knew all about astrology. He guessed all three of my signs correctly (Sagitarrius, Cancer, Libra) and told me that all the Sagittarius girls he had dated were crazy but the most fun. That’s accurate. Actually, first he thought I was a Cancer and I was quite upset at that so I corrected him, and that’s when he realized my Rising sign must be Cancer, which it is. I was telling him about The Cancer, and then told him that I was leaving a date and he asked if I knew Elijah’s sign. I did, he was a Taurus. 

He said that was NOT okay. Sagittarius and Taurus did not get along, he said, and we would not work out. He was giving me all sorts of dating advice, and left me with the advice that I should not continue dating this guy because long-term, we would not be compatible. Saying that I need to be with another fire sign, preferably an Aries, and telling me all about why I needed to avoid dating any other element. But, I really liked Elijah. 

Through work at Encore, I was going to get to have dinner at one of their fine dining restaurants, Sinatra’s, for free the next week, and I could bring a guest. So, I invited Elijah to join me for dinner. I thought it would be fun to get all dressed up, have a delicious free meal, and show him around the resort. 

Then came the Stanley Cup Finals. My friend from work, Celia, is very into hockey, so she got me to come out with her to watch the games every night which was fun because it was a great way for us to get to know each other, too. On the night of one of the games, I was at a bar/restaurant not too far from my place with Celia and one of her friends visiting from out of town, having a great time, and I was texting with Elijah. It turned out that he was at a bar with some friends not too far away so he asked if I wanted to meet up, and I agreed. I guess my tipsy texts were coming off quite flirtier than I intended, because he basically invited himself over to my apartment. I didn’t really think much of it, though, so I had one more drink with Celia and then left to meet him in my lobby. 

We met up, and I took him upstairs. At this point, I was a bit drunk and all I really wanted was to make some frozen hash browns from Trader Joe’s. He said hash browns sounded delicious, so I thought, great, we’ll eat some hash browns and that’s it. But he did not just want hash browns. 

As we were talking in my kitchen, waiting for the oven to preheat, he kissed me. It was at that moment that reason took over my brain and body and realized what he thought was going to happen up there, and while I may have been okay with that earlier in the night, at that point, I knew I was too drunk to know for sure that that was what I wanted, so I asked him to stop and slow down. He went to sit on my couch as I texted Celia, saying, “ABORT” and asking if she was still around because I needed an escape. She didn’t respond. I was on my own. 

After I put the hash browns in, I went and sat on the couch with him, where he was sitting on his phone. When I sat down, he asked me why I’d let him come over if nothing was going to happen. First of all, I hadn’t actually said nothing was going to happen, I’d just asked him to slow down. But I didn’t want to argue. So, I told him that earlier in the night, I might have been okay with something happening, but that the last drink I’d had hit me harder than I thought it would. I explained that I’d realized I was too drunk to fully consent and that I liked him so I didn’t want to wake up wishing it hadn’t happened, or wishing it had happened differently, or regretting something about him or it, and that I thought he should appreciate me not wanting to put him in the position of a girl feeling like she’d been taken advantage of or like she couldn’t fully enjoy it because of her state. After I finished my little spiel, he looked me dead in the eyes, told me that his Uber was there, got up, and walked out, slamming my door. 

I was pretty floored, but then I realized that’s pretty typical Orlando guy behavior, and exactly why I gave up finding something serious when I lived there pretty quickly. I texted him, “If me being too responsible to know that I’m not comfortable with putting out while drunk is a deal breaker, don’t worry about the dinner and don’t text me again.” He simply replied with a thumbs-up emoji. And you know what I did with that? I ate my hash browns, and went to bed.

Chapter 5: The Dolphin Trainer

You know how in movies people always come up with a code word before a first date, so that if it completely sucks their friend can call with “an emergency” to help get them out of it? Well, that happened to me. 

Ash and I met through a mutual friend. A friend I made shortly after moving to Orlando, I’ll call him Cornelius, introduced me to his friend group, and we frequently hung out together within this group – dinners, escape rooms, movies, house parties, Halloween Horror Nights… you get it. He was a really nice guy, not what I thought of as my usual “type,” but I liked talking to him. He was funny, smart, seemed like a good friend to everyone in the group, and worked as a dolphin trainer at a certain well-known ocean focused theme park in Orlando. 

I don’t really remember how or when this happened, but eventually, Ash asked me out. The funny thing is that later on I found out through another friend in our little group that one guy was trying to find the right time to ask me out, but then someone else told him he thought I had a boyfriend (I didn’t) so he never did. So then Ash swooped in. Whoops. I wasn’t sure that I was really looking for anything at the time, but I figured, I’m trying to break my walls down, I need to meet more guys, he’s nice, and I’ve only ever hung out with him in group settings – I’ll give him a chance, what do I have to lose?

We met for dinner in Downtown Celebration (which is super cute, by the way). We got Chinese food, he paid, which was very polite and gentlemanly of him. We had a really good talk, it was nice to get to know him one-on-one versus the group interactions we’d had so far. I remember at one point he told me that he felt like I see the world very differently from most people, and that it’s interesting to hear me talk the way I do. In my head this makes me think like I sound like some sort of wise Buddha, but I could be wrong. Either way, I’ll never forget that. It’s still one of my favorite compliments I’ve ever received. 

After dinner, we walked around downtown for awhile before deciding to get some ice cream. He has a really severe allergy, so I don’t even remember if he was able to even get any but I was hardcore craving Kilwin’s, and he obliged. Then, we sat on a bench by the water to talk some more.

Photo by Pixabay on

We’d been talking for awhile, but it still didn’t feel like “that moment” where you know the date is about to end so you need to start wrapping things up and making plans for next time and all that. Which is why I’m still not sure why he decided to take that moment to say that he was having a good time, and did I want to go out with him again?

I panicked. I HATE turning people down. I’m that person who texts people I don’t click with after a first date to tell them, “I just didn’t feel that spark I’m looking for, but best of luck – you’re a great guy!” I refuse to ghost people, and I hate having to reject people. I knew Ash was nice, but “I just didn’t feel that spark I was looking for,” so I knew I had to tell him that. So, I told him no. “But not a hard no, a soft no,” is actually what I said. Which then I had to clarify as not meaning to ask me out again at a later date, but that we could still hang out in a group, just not one-on-one. Then I swiftly changed the subject.

Not even five minutes later, Ash got a call. I could hear panic in his voice, something was wrong. It sounded like someone, or something, was sick. He hung up and told me that there’s a dolphin at work that’s been sick lately and she just took a turn for the worse, and he has to go now because this might be his only chance to say goodbye. In my head I was thinking, this is a bit fishy (get it?), but being the nice person I am, I go with it. I like to believe the best about everyone and everything. I told him to run and that I hoped the dolphin was okay, so he said goodbye and ran off to his car. I left a little bit later.

Later that night, I got a call from him apologizing for running off. I ask how the dolphin is – she’s doing okay, they’re optimistic – we had some friendly chit chat for a bit, then we hung up. I never told anyone in our friend group about this, I didn’t think they had any reason to know we went out once, so we just acted normally next time we saw each other. It was a little awkward at first, but we got through it. I’m pretty sure he went out with someone else in our friend group shortly after, which was great for me because it meant less pressure and guilt.

Months later, I was talking to Cornelius about funny dating stories and I finally told him about my date with Ash, and he said, “Oh, yeah, I knew about that.” So I asked him if he knew that it ended when Ash had to go check on a sick dolphin, and he burst out laughing, asking me if I really believed that was a real phone call. That’s when I found out that the call about the “sick and possibly dying dolphin” was actually from Cornelius, thanks to an SOS text message he’d been sent by Ash to get him out of the awkwardness of me refusing a second date. My naiveté knows no limits sometimes.

So, that’s The Dolphin Trainer. Honestly, I think it’s pretty hilarious that I actually believed that, and I still think Ash is a good guy (if you’re reading this, no hard feelings!), but the fact that I actually had someone use an SOS text/emergency call on me is pretty classic. Especially since I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in the world whose emergency call involved a fake dolphin story. There’s a first time for everything, right? I just hope that was the only time someone has had to use that call on me.


When your therapist asks you if you’ve ever thought about doing something to potentially monetize off of your dating life, you know it’s crazy.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Madeline. I’m 28, from North Carolina, just finished grad school in Boston, unemployed because of Covid-19, and single. I’m a Sagittarius (and yes, that is important), an Enneagram Type 8, and an ENFP (formerly ENFJ). I have an amazing older brother and incredible parents, my best friend lives in Australia, and I quote movies like it’s my job.

If I’m being perfectly honest, which I always am (part of being a Sagittarius), I could go on about myself for ages. So, to make this a bit easier, and a lot easier to digest, here are some things you need to know about me before starting to read this:

  • I was a late bloomer. My first kiss was in a play – The Crucible – when I was 17. I didn’t technically kiss anyone else until I was 21, and I didn’t even go on a date until my Sophomore year of college. And let’s just say (for now, at least) that everything else was pretty delayed, too 
  • My friends call me the Queen of It’s Complicated relationships, because I somehow manage to always be in that weird middle-ground between friends-with-benefits and actual boyfriend/girlfriend (who needs labels anyway, right?).
  • Going back to my first point – growing up, I struggled with my weight a lot, and I had extremely low self-esteem. I never felt pretty or hot, and felt like I’d always just be “The Cute One” or “The Smart One” to guys I liked, because I was never the one they wanted to date. That messed with me a lot until I was in my 20s.

While some of that might seem sad, and at times, it was, now that I’m grown up, I realize that as cheesy as it sounds, all of that has made me who I am. I’ve still had some amazing experiences, and I like who I’ve become because of the fact that I did a lot of things a lot later than my friends. Even better, I think because of my delayed entry into the dating world, it’s somehow given me SO many more hilarious, crazy stories to share.

So, that’s me. Here I am. While most of these blog “chapters” will revolve around one specific guy in my life, there are times where some might overlap, and yes, you’ll learn a bit more about me along the way, too. 

As my friends already know, I tend to give every guy who has played some sort of role in my life a nickname that I use more than their actual name. I’ll tell a story and say, “The Narcissist and I went to eat pancakes,” or, “The Cheater never understood my pop culture references,” etc. It’s nothing against them, (just kidding, it is, for most of them at least) but I’ve just always found it easier and honestly, much more entertaining this way. So, each chapter will be titled after the nickname my friends and I dubbed upon that specific guy who will be the subject of that entry.

If you don’t enjoy reading about a 20-something year old girl and the sometimes mildly terrifying experiences she’s had navigating dating apps and IRL dating, then this isn’t for you. But if you find dating horror stories humorous, and want to know the best way to subtly get back at the guy who cheated on his girlfriend with you, or hear more about the time I got sent a Snapchat of a 9” dildo at 6AM, then, this blog is for you.

Hope you enjoy.

PS: All first names have been changed to protect the individual’s identity and privacy.