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The Date from Hell

Or, just say no to that guy in the video store

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Women are forever searching for hot new places to meet single men. What are the best places to meet a man who might be a good partner in a relationship? It's up for debate. Is it the public library? Harris Teeter? City Tavern? One friend of mine says she isn't sure, but she knows she wouldn't particularly recommend Blockbuster Video. "April," a recent graduate of Wingate University, and a member of the Tri-Sigma sorority, sat down to lunch with me one day to describe the worst date of her life. Looking for something to do on a cold winter night, she decided to rent a video and shuffled down to the local video store. April is about five-feet-six, has a head full of blonde curls, big doe eyes, and had no other plans that night but to check out a drama she could curl up on the couch and cry with. She threw on her Tri-Sigma sweatshirt for the fieldtrip, made her selection, and proceeded to the checkout when the guy behind the counter said, "You're name's April, isn't it?"

Originally thinking it was kinda creepy that a guy working in a video store would know her name, she dismissed the thought -- he'd probably seen her name on her rental card before. "Yes," she smiled, "that's me."

"I'm Mitch, by the way," he said, looking back at her. "I'm a Pi Kap at Wingate, and I've seen you around campus."

April nodded in agreement, but she had no clue who this guy was and had never seen him before on campus, or even at the video store.

Mitch asked my friend April out, but she declined, and went home to watch her movies in solitary confinement. However, when she took the videos back, Mitch insisted that he take her out for dinner and a movie.

April reluctantly agreed, thinking it might be fun to have a date with a guy instead of a videotape. They exchanged phone numbers and directions, and made plans for the following night. He was to pick her up promptly at 7pm.

The shock came when Mitch rang the doorbell and April answered the door, looked straight ahead and didn't see anything. She quickly looked down and saw that this guy was no more than five feet tall. She also discovered that his Blockbuster uniform in no way represented how he normally dressed for a date.

She was dressed in velvet pants, boots, and a lace top, and he showed up in jeans that were pulled halfway up his chest and a shirt that was over-tucked in, with buttons all the way up to his neck. She looked down at his shoes and thought, "Dear God, please tell me he didn't leave the house with his pants rolled up." One overall description came to her mind: Urkel.

April knew she was stuck, and unless she could conjure up a bad case of hives, she was going out on this date, like it or not. Mitch escorted her to the car and announced that they were headed to dinner at Trio's. Mozzarella sticks were ordered as the appetizer, and they proceeded to dine and discuss. The discussion was interrupted 15 minutes into the meal when April looked up to witness, hanging down from Mitch's chin, a peculiar five-inch-long string of cheese that dangled like a bungee cord back and forth with every word he spoke.

Trying not to embarrass her date, she discreetly informed him of the stray cheese, he attempted to wipe it away -- and he missed. She told him again -- he missed again. Then their waitress came over and said, "Honey, I don't mean to make you turn red in front of your girl, but you have some cheese on your chin," and she took a napkin out of her apron and wiped it off for him.

"Got it!" she announced triumphantly. Mitch managed to finish the rest of his dinner without further flings of food on his face.

April rode in Mitch's car further contemplating how she could ditch her date. She really didn't want to head to the movie theater and sit in the dark for two hours with this guy. He was nice enough, but just not her type.

Again, there was no way out, so April just buckled down, folded her arms tightly across her chest, and started talking as much as possible in hopes of irritating her date so much, he would choose to end it early and just take her home.

No such luck. The torturous date continued through the longest movie that was playing that night, Lord of the Rings. She was hoping he would offer to purchase soda and popcorn so she could have something to keep her hands occupied. She didn't want any moist and clammy hands grabbing hers in the dark. He waltzed by the concession stand and they took their seats. All she remembers from the movie is her slithering from one side of the seat to the other to avoid any stray hands or arms that violated her personal space.

On the way home, she thanked him graciously for the dinner and movie -- and was determined to avoid any midnight kisses. April was armed with her purse and keys ready, already had the door open, and was stepping out of the car before he even braked, when she said goodnight. Without warning, Mitch said, "April?" and as soon as she turned around, she got nailed with two unwelcome overly wet lips. By reflex, she winced and went, "Ewwww!" before she realized what she had said.

Well, the date did have a good ending. Neither one wanted a second.

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