The dirty, the itchy, and the scratchy

ring dance
Yes, we actually had our picture taken under the giant ring

I am in the throws of a nasty sinus infection this (holiday) weekend, and, for some reason, bad date memories started bouncing around in my head. A particular date brings back the dirty, the itchy, and the scratchy.

It was Spring, nineteen ninety something. I had met Mark in a College Station dance hall a few months before while in town visiting a girlfriend for the weekend. I gave him my number and we went out a few times, and then he asked me to be his date for the Texas A&M Senior Ring Dance.

The day/night of the dance, I drove to College Station to stay with my friend in her dorm. And of course I spent hours and hours getting ready.

Let me provide some highlights.

The date consisted of —

* One recycled high school prom dress (Huh hmm.. that would be the same dress I had worn a few years earlier at my high school senior prom.)

* Mark with his mud covered Bronco (Who is stupid enough to pick up their date in a mud covered truck?? I ended up having him drive us in my little Nissan Sentra.)

* One half of the couple couldn’t dance (Umm… that would be me. Why did I say ‘Yes’ to this date again?)

* One half of the couple brought a flask of alcohol to hide in his tux jacket (That would be my date, Mark. This irked me for whatever reason, but the whole date irked me so…)

* Shoes from hell (Oh but they had been dyed to match my prom dress perfectly. I’m sure they were from Payless’ now discontinued (wha??) “Dyeables” collection!)

We went to the dance and maybe stayed a whole 30 minutes, probably mainly because I was being a bitch. My feet were killing me, and I didn’t know a soul besides Mark. He started sneaking nips of whatever was in his flask and I felt he was acting a fool. I remember I just had to get out of there. At some point I stormed off and ran outside, with Mark a few steps behind me. We talked at the car and decided the dance was a bust. Mark had the idea of changing (into comfortable clothes) and going to a nearby lake (more like a small muddy watering hole) and just talk. That sounded decent, I guess. I’m not into crowds and loud music anyway (Why did I say ‘Yes’ to this date again?).

After changing at Mark’s apartment–I had stashed a change of clothes in the car for after the dance–we headed to the lake in his Bronco. The plastered mud didn’t matter so much now and my Sentra wasn’t able to drive the lake terrain anyway. We get to the lake, and I’m not sure how he did it, being in a four-wheel drive vehicle and all, but he got us stuck in a muddy field. By this point in the evening, I just wanted Mark to drop me back off at my friend’s dorm so I could call it a night. But first things first, we had to get ourselves unstuck. Any attempts at giving the Bronco more gas, the deeper the wheels dug into the mud. At one point, Mark got out and used his hands to try to “dig” the tire out.  We were in luck though. There was a large group of people close by, it appeared to be some sort of family gathering. They were watching (and I’m pretty sure laughing at) this dumb ass and his date unsuccessfully try to unbury themselves out of the mud. They came over and helped Mark push the Bronco out of the mud. Yay! Free at last.

We drove to the edge of the lake and Mark pulled some padding type material from the back of the Bronco for something to sit on. He grabbed a couple beers and we sat there and chatted. And then… and then came the ant bites. We must have sat smack dab in the middle of ant country. I was getting bit up and down my legs. I stood up and told him to just take me back to the dorm, please, just take me back to the dorm. Mark tried to salvage the evening by suggesting we move to another spot on the lake. But the damage was done, the night was irreparable. He reluctantly drove me back to the dorm.

I hardly slept, I had itchy ant bites all on my legs and ankles. The next morning, I had my friend drive me to Mark’s apartment so I could get my car. I was just wanting to jump into my Sentra and make the drive home. Here comes Mark, he must have been waiting for me. Ugh. He hadn’t slept at all and he was d-r-u-n-k. Really, dude? I was in my car and had reluctantly rolled my window down so he could give me some more of his crazy BS whatever. I seriously don’t remember any of the conversation at all. I finally got to leave, Mark had walked off all in disgust. Yes!

I drove home with one swelled foot/leg sort of up on the dash; if I could have put both feet up there, I’m sure I would have. I remembered hearing it was good to elevate swollen limbs so I thought it would help. I don’t think the advice covered “swollen caused by bug bites,” but we didn’t have Internet access like we do today, so let’s just chalk that up to an understandable misconception.

This then concludes my date from hell. I didn’t even include the part about how Mark kissed with his mouth all wide and almost swallowed my face and his teeth were all in there as well. (Why did I say ‘Yes’ to this date again?) I was baffled when, at one point, he had informed me that I was a terrible kisser. Gerald has assured me this is not true. A few weeks after this fiasco of a date, Mark had the gall to send me a long letter of apology. My mind was already made up, I had ZERO interest in him and I knew I never should have said ‘Yes’ to the date in the first place.


8 thoughts on “The dirty, the itchy, and the scratchy”

  1. So funny and we’ve all had dates from hell. Mine happened in high school when this guy I hardly knew (why did I say yes?) came to pick me up in a bright purple, jacked-up Chevy with red flames painted on the sides. The date went downhill from there. Loved your story! The ants were the final straw.

  2. I wonder where Mark is now. You know those stories you hear about how after one bad date you never see that person again and then later learn they went on to great fame and success?

    I’m pretty sure this is NOT one of those stories. I’m thinking Mark is a low-level grunt in a warehouse somewhere, but it’s generous to think he’s even employed.

    1. Funny you should say this. Mark’s last name came to me (after I had already written this post). Curiosity got the best of me so I looked on Facebook and I found him. And I laughed, but mainly because it wasn’t hard to pick him out of the other search results. Actually his family was quite well to do from what I recall. I can’t remember what Mark’s degree was in but I believe it was something “prestigious.” He looked like he still may be single though. I guess $$$ can’t buy you everything (especially when you’re a total doofus). 🙂

  3. Oh lord Karen, I felt your pain as I read through this. I had my fair share of bad dates; I guess everyone has. One of my worst is when I went on a pity date with a guy I worked with at Kroger as a cashier when I was 18 . I was in college and worked there part-time; my date was a full-time bagger. Like that was his job in life. Aaaaand he was twice my age. And he lived at home with his parents. Oh, and the icing on the cake was that after he asked me on the date, he told me he had epilepsy and I needed to drive. Um, OK. I don’t even remember what we did. A movie maybe? A restaurant? The whole evening was so awkward and horrible I faked a headache to end the date early. It was a shitty thing to do but I was desperate. What’s horrible is that his sister Arlene was also a cashier and after the bad date she was no longer nice to me. I guess because I was mean to her brother. At least I learned from that experience that it was OK to say no to men who asked me out.

    1. Sounds rough. Yeah, you don’t want to be mean so you say yes but then you end up coming across as mean anyway. It’s pretty much a lose-lose for all parties.

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