Are You An Un-Dater?

A reader tipped us to a site called "My Very Worst Date," which collects reader submissions of dates gone horribly wrong. But sometimes, the worst dates are the dates you didn't realize you were on.

While the stories at "My Very Worst Date" are both sweet and hilarious, it's safe to say that the daters involved knew they were experiencing a trainwreck: one reader recalls the time she got drunk with her boyfriend when they were both 15: "When I stood up, bleary-eyed, my two front teeth were broken in half. Like a West Virginia meth addict's. I panicked—but only slightly. Then I puked. I walked out and showed my boyfriend my jagged smile ("loooooook!"), already crying. He had been fixing something on his drum set. He started crying immediately, saying, "You're gonna hate me!" Then he bent over the skeleton of his drum set, bared his front teeth, and smashed his face into the metal. Gonk. Half his two front teeth were gone. Now that's love." Ah, memories.

And yet when I tried to come up with a worst date story of my own, I was left with a pile of "oops, I un-dated you" stories that took place in late teens-early 20's.

I am, perhaps, the world's most socially oblivious person. Which is why I tend to cling to my wallflower status, as the unspoken clues that most people pick up on, in terms of human interaction, seem to float right over my head, out the window, down the street, into a rocket ship, and off to Mars. This is the reason, I believe, that I developed a reputation as an "un-dater" many years ago.

An un-dater is a person who accidentally ruins the date by not realizing that they are ON a date. For example: an adorable young man who was a good friend of mine in college asked me to go to a movie with him freshman year. I said yes, of course...and then I proceeded to invite 15 of our mutual friends. "Tom wants to go to a movie tonight," I said, "You in?" And of course, everyone was.

I didn't think much of it at the time, until another mutual friend asked me to see a film, as well. "Felix wants to go to the movies," I told everyone. "You in?" And so 15 of us headed to yet another movie together. D'oh!

I, of course, had no idea that I was "un-dating" people until I found myself at a party with both Tom and Felix, who were laughing over the fact that I had totally un-dated them. "That was cold, H," Felix said. "Next time, just say no." Of course, I had no idea what they were talking about. "I thought we were all going to the movies," I said, "I didn't know you meant just me!"

"I invited you to a French film," Tom frowned. "With subtitles. This is not generally a group activity." We were 19 and at art school. I honestly did not know that subtitled film=pretentious way of getting into someone's pants. Yet. Oh, the things you learn in college.

Perhaps it is the nature of college, wherein everything is done in group form, that led me to believe both guys were just gathering up a crew for a movie night. Or perhaps it's a self-esteem issue, or, more likely, a subconscious need to semi-sabotage dates so that they can't go bad, so that they can't end up on "My Very Worst Date," or some such; if there are 20 people at the movie instead of 2, the pressure is off. Sadly, the romance is often off, as well. Both men thought I was flat-out rejecting them, which I wasn't; it was an unlikely combination of obliviousness and fear, I think that led to such things.

So what say you, commenters? Have you ever undated someone? And if so, was it knowingly or accidentally? And are your "undating" skills helping or hurting your actual love life?

[My Very Worst Date]