100 Bad Dates: #93

Date #93 was a carny. Ok, not a carny in the literal sense, but we DID meet at an amusement park where he was manning the admission booth so can we just say “carny”? Good.

Date #93 was a carny. Ok, not a carny in the literal sense, but we DID meet at an amusement park where he was manning the admission booth so can we just say “carny”? Good.

He flirted with me through bullet-proof glass and a speaker. SEXY! I bent over slightly to confirm what I thought was eye-to-tatertot contact. Bingo. I sassed him a little and walked away, saying, “You know where to find me.” Yeah, there was only an amusement park full of people to wade through.

Finally, my friends and I were tired and hungry from running around the park like children and collapsed at a table near the main food stand. After all, what’s a carnival (see what I did there?) without junk food? Date #93 walked out of a side building and looked not at all surprised to see me.

“Uh, fancy meeting you here?” I said, hiding the fact that I was thrilled he had made the effort to find me.

“The whole park has cameras,” he laughed.


But I was flattered. Date #93 sat down with us and was an instant hit. I could tell he was the kind of person who could entertain any crowd. Like a clown (oh, god, I am so good at this!). I was totally charmed, so when he said we should hang out sometime, I nearly tattooed my phone number on his arm.

He said his favorite poet was reading at a local bookstore a few days later, and he asked me to accompany him. The man had a favorite poet! I said yes and suggested we get coffee first.

He picked me up in his VW Van, and we went to get coffee. He said he lived nearby and hung out there all the time (these boots are made for stalking!), which was confirmed by the fact that the staff there seemed to know him. But I couldn’t figure out why I was getting such strange looks from them. I convinced myself that they were jealous of my being on a date with the greatest guy ever.

We finished our coffee and walked down to the bookstore for the reading. We stood at the back as a female poet painted a picture with words and rhythm. I could see why he loved her. And when he grabbed my hand, I tried not to squee.

We stayed to meet the poet and have her sign a CD. Date #93’s excitement was adorable. He was talking a mile a minute while we walked back to his van and he never let go of my hand. We were both on cloud nine.

We climbed into the van and he leaned in for a kiss. He was a good kisser, too! I wanted to sleep with him then and there (it was a VAN!) but decided to wait until I could suss out his long-term dateability. I asked him to take me home.

“Only if you say I can see you again,” he said, and my heart fluttered.

I agreed, and he started the van and began to drive. We had only gotten a few yards when he shouted, “OH SHIT!”

“What? Is everything okay? WHAT?”

“It’s my girlfriend,” he said, looking in the rear view mirror.

I peeked into the side mirror and saw a girl running behind the vehicle. Literally. Running.

“Oh my god, what is she doing?” I asked, as we slowly made our way down the crowded city street. She was gaining on us. In heels.

“We just broke up, and she’s not really okay with it,” he said as we came to the highway onramp. He got on, speeding away from the girl running behind us.

My heart was racing. I couldn’t help but wonder out loud what her plan would have been, had she caught us.

“She would have kicked both of our asses. That’s what she said when I texted her that it was over.”


“When was this?” I had to ask.

“Today,” he said casually, “But it’s been over for a long time.”

“Not for her,” I said, totally feeling her.

I told Date #93 that I couldn’t date someone who sent a breakup text to a girl who was obviously crazy about him. Or just crazy. Whichever.

He said he hoped I would think about it and possibly change my mind, but I knew that I wouldn’t be winning this carny’s giant stuffed prize. To this day I still can’t get the image of the girl desperately barreling down the street full-tilt-boogie. He was really great but something in my head told me I could be that girl one day…and I can’t run for shit in heels.

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

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