Dates From Hell:                             Plume

True Stories From Survivors

Chapter 2   Night of the Living Dud:

                   Your Dream Date Becomes a Nightmare

If your date is a knockout, a success, a charmer, if things seem too good to be true--they probably are. What you see is not always what you get, because this is the mixed-up world of dating.

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Hang out at a country-western dance hall long enough and you know who everyone is.

    So in walks a new guy one night who even puts Tim McGraw to shame he’s so good-looking. Tall, well-buit, great cowboy hat. Naturally all the girls start buzzing about him.

    He leans on the bar all night and doesn’t ask anyone to dance. My girlfriends are saying that when the ladies’ choice comes on, there’s going to be a stampede of perfume running his way. I decide to take matters into my own hands and not wait for ladies’ choice.

    I ask him to dance, and I know the whole place is watching me. In particular,

I know that several women who are annoyed at me for flirting with their boyfriends are watching, and so are three or four other guys I keep refusing to dance with.

    This new guy says, “Sure,” and takes my hand. After this dance, the unwritten code is that he’s as good as mine. I’ve staked a claim.

    When I lead him onto the dance floor, the deejay hits us with his spotlight--I guess the word has traveled, and, everybody knows the deejay has a thing for me. I am ready to make all the men and women in the joint die with jealousy: He’s good-looking, and I’m one of the best women dancers-- I’m more than ready for my few minutes of fame.

    He slams me against him, and I feel the breath get knocked out of my lungs. Sexy. He has my hand scrunched into a contorted death grip. A fast-paced Kenny Chesney song starts up, which calls for a jitterbug-swing dance. Next thing I know, he’s spinning me so hard I feel my neck snap. Then he twirls me right into a concrete pole that everybody else always dodges, and I wonder if my nose has been pushed through my head and is now attached to the top of my neck.

    He is, quite frankly, your classic bad dancer, your supreme klutz.

    He’s taking steps that are three feet wide, so I’m frantically hopping and runnng to keep up and follow him. The song is almost over, and I wish the deejay would kill the spotlight. But my partner isn’t through.

    As the song comes to a big finish, he tosses me back, pulls me close, then lets go of one of my hands and tosses me back again, which might have been his one good move. Except that he lets go of the hand he’s supposed to hang onto, and he flings me so hard I swerve off the dance floor and crash onto a table, sending beers flying, the right side of my face flat on the table.

    I look up, and, uh-oh, there’s one of the women I know who would like to skin me alive.

    She folds her arms across her chest and eyeballs me calmly and says, “All the women in here are real glad that you’re stuck with that spaz and we’re not. And we all sure feel more secure now that there’s not one guy in this joint who’d be seen with you, not even the ones you turned down all night. Here comes your cowboy now. Maybe ya’ll dance another one for us.”

    That’s when the deejay finally kills the spot.

                                                                — Dierdre, 27, singer, San Antonio