Online Dating Will Break The Bank (And Maybe Your Belief In Love)

According to the Better Business Bureau, complaints about online dating services are on the rise. Writes Kimberly Palmer of U.S. News & World Report: "Consumers said they were set up with people who did not meet their criteria, including some who were already married or who smoked despite their request for a nonsmoker." As an online dating veteran, I've had some great dates and some bad dates. But it is my distinct pleasure to share with you now the story of My Worst Date Ever™, made possible by a popular online dating site last winter. My communications via the internet with this unnamed gentleman were all fine and good. And when we spoke on the phone on a Tuesday evening to make plans for a Friday, that was alright, too. He called again on Thursday night to say how excited/nervous he was to meet me. Then he called again on Friday, during the day. Three times.

You know what? I met up with him anyway. We were headed to watch some amateur boxing matches — the Friday Night Fights — and I figured even if he was weird or annoying I'd just focus on the fighters instead. We arranged to meet at a bar first, and he showed up late, greasy-haired, sweaty and reeking of booze. And wearing a leather jacket. Things managed to go downhill from there: "You're so pretty," he said to me as we waited to enter the boxing venue (the basement of a church in uptown Manhattan). "Thank you," I replied. Silence for a moment. Then I started explaining how a friend turned me on to boxing and how it was great to see the swift, badass female kickboxers. "You're like, really pretty," he said again. "You already said that," I reminded him. Once inside, we seated ourselves and he bought beer and hot dogs for us. The first bout began and when the ring girl, clad in a micro mini skirt, made a lap around the ring, four guys sitting in front of us stood up and applauded her. "They love that ring girl," I noted. The boxing resumed. At the next break in action, when the ring girl came back for another lap, the four guys stood to applaud her again. My date also stood. And yelled, "Sit down, ya fucking whore!"

"What the hell is wrong with you?" I asked when he sat down. He turned to me, wounded: "She's not prettier than you are," he said by way of explanation. I'm pretty sure I turned my entire body away from him. If I could have moved chairs, I would have; the event was sold out and we were in the middle of a row; I'd have to squeeze past him to get out.

I started scheming a plan of escape: The bathroom? The bar? Before I could get away, he announced that he was headed to the bar, did I want anything? "A beer," I said, and then he asked me to watch his bag while he was gone. I could have left, but it just seemed too cruel, even under the circumstances. I pulled out my cell phone and tried texting and calling friends — but the reception in the basement was so bad I couldn't get through. I considered asking one of the guys in front of me to act like he was a long-lost friend and help me rescue myself and that's when I caught sight of my date, across the room, opening his leather jacket, taking out a bottle of Malibu rum and chugging from it. Stunned, I watched him return to his seat empty-handed. "They're out of beer," he announced. They most certainly were not out of beer, but I'll never know if he was refused service since he was already drunk or if he never attempted to get me a beer. In any case, I made up my mind to leave as soon as the fight in progress was over. The match was between a black guy and a white guy; my date saw me watching intently and asked who I was rooting for. "The black guy," I said, not taking my eyes off of the fighters, refusing to look at him. My date took a deep breath and hollered at the black boxer, "Come on, Cassius Clay!" That was the last straw; I stood and announced I was leaving. My date followed me outside, clueless, asking if I wanted to share a cab. "No, thank you," I said. I never saw him again, though I did receive two voicemails from him the next day. The first? "Sorry if I was a little crazy yesterday, my grandmother died and I might have had a lot to drink." The second: "Hey, I hope you give me another chance and call me back. You're really pretty."

Report: Online Dating's Bad For The Wallet [U.S. News & World Report]