For a 26 year-old, I've been on comparatively few dates (maybe? sometimes this is hard to determine). For the purposes of this blog post, I'm defining date as a one-on-one outing that happens prior to the establishment of a serious/committed romantic relationship, because it's sometimes hard to determine what a date is, too. So, with my limited experience, I don't have any real horror stories along the lines of "he got way too drunk and then vomited on me when he leaned in for a kiss" or anything. But I do have a personal best and worst--excluding from consideration my most recent experience, because that wound is still very tender--and now I will tell you about them.
I think the best dates combine chemistry with novelty or atmosphere to become fun and memorable.
I spent a lot of my first year of university with a giant crush on a boy who ultimately ended up rejecting me halfway through the year. I started my second year of university resigned to never speaking to him again, until we reconnected halfway through that year. He was the first male of the species that I met who was like me.
Both shy, and in my case having been burned before, we had to get a bit creative with our suggestions for hang out time, neither of us willing to initiate a conversation about what would turn out to be our mutual attraction. Anyway, imagine my luck when I had an English assignment that took me to the main library on campus, a place I previously hadn't visited except for internet access on my lunch breaks, but which he happened to be very familiar with!
So one way or another, we ended up meeting at the library. I arrived first and was so nervous that I almost ended up hiding and not speaking to him, except that somehow I managed to psych myself up to say hello after all (in case it's not clear yet, I was terrible at social interaction when I was 19).
Once we were talking I was glad I hadn't flaked out, but my heart was pounding the entire time that we spent wandering through the library, from the microfilm room to the place where they keep the books about Shakespeare. We teased each other, or at least I remember him teasing me. I was just generally thrilled to be surrounded by books, with the boy I liked much more than I was willing to admit yet, except to myself.
That date and a few others turned into a little spring romance and then disproportionate heartbreak. In spite of that, the time I spent with him, including our library excursion, holds pride of place in a few different categories of my past.
My worst date experience was one that I never should've agreed to in the first place, which was one of the elements that made it bad. I could've easily avoided it! I'll keep details to a minimum about the gentleman in question. He was a random dude that I had really awkward sexual tension with, but his personality put me off on the several occasions we'd been in group situations. The invitation was made under questionable circumstances, the venue was his choice (a bad one), and the conversation was lacklustre. I'm kind of a terrible conversationalist at the best of times, prone to getting distracted by anything in the vicinity that's moving, but I was in especially bad form that night, and strangely he made almost no effort to draw me out.
I spent the lead up to the date just dreading the experience, and for the only time in my life I arranged an excuse to leave early. Maybe predictably, this was much more of a learning experience for me than any date I actually enjoyed. In particular: if you really don't think you're interested in someone, don't go out with them. It's a waste of everyone's time.
He asked me out again and I turned him down, and eventually I think he gave up on me.
And now I can't help wondering whether these two dudes read this blog. Eep. My apologies to both of them, anyway.