Modern dating can feel like a minefield, with potentially disastrous dates to dodge every time you swipe right or left.
Singleton Lucy Brown learned this the hard way when a man she rejected after one date asked for the money he’d spent buying her drinks back. Brown decided to refund him £42.50, but not without letting him know how absurd she found the request.
We asked readers for their own stories of disastrous dates. Here are a selection of the best.
Bella, 24, from Kent: ‘I went home with a receipt for £125. I lied about my tube stop and never returned his call’
I went on a first date with a friend of a friend who I’d met a few weeks before. He was charming and confident, although a bit too short for me. I made a mental note not to wear heels in his company.
So when he called I was keen to take him up on his offer of dinner. He suggested a sushi restaurant and met me at the station where we hopped in a cab, which he paid for in a nonchalant manner.
After taking our seats the waiter appeared, and my date ordered our drinks and food without even asking me what I wanted. I took it as confidence and thought “Hey, it’s nice not to have to make decisions!”
The date went well at first: the food was delicious, the wine was flowing, and my company, while a little arrogant (first-date nerves?), was charming. So when the bill arrived, the cheeky twinkle in his eye had me relaxed (and a little relieved) when he reached to pick it up. After all he had chosen the venue, the drinks and the food he’d over-ordered.
But then he said “Let’s guess how much the bill is, and whoever is closest pays.” I guessed £80 and he guessed £100. I went home with a receipt for £125.
On the way home I lied about my tube stop and afterwards never returned his call. When it comes to paying, it’s not black-and-white. If we decided on a place together, we split it. If we are having fun and he offers to pay for the bill, I’ll accept and offer to buy drinks at the next place. If it was a shocking date, I’m happy to go halves.
Kay, 30, from London: ‘My date started doing his daily meditation in the middle of the restaurant’
The last date I went on wasn’t exactly the worst I’ve ever had, but it was definitely one of the funniest. I went out with a guy I met at a singles event. We chatted a bit and he seemed nice, so we set up a date. We ended up at a restaurant, but opted for drinks and dessert rather than a full meal.
On the date it soon became clear that we were very different. He’s really into new-age philosophy and I am much more grounded. But the best part was when, about half an hour into the date, he started to meditate in the middle of the restaurant.
It was part of his daily routine and he didn’t want to skip it even though we were having dinner. He did inform me in advance and I didn’t object. I was too shocked. I tried to be very polite and withdrew to the ladies’ room when it was time for his meditation. I came back to the table in time to save our waiter who brought us dessert and clearly didn’t know what to do with a meditating guest. After dessert, he said he was available for a second date. I was left contemplating how best to tell him I wasn’t keen.
In the end we ended up going Dutch on the bill. I was glad, because that way I knew I didn’t owe him anything. He never called, and I haven’t tried to get in touch either.
Tim, 45, from Brighton: ‘My dripping nose blew out a speech bubble when I laughed’
I was out on a dinner date and had been suffering from a head cold, so breathing from my nose was a real struggle. At one point she told a funny joke and I laughed. But to my horror, my dripping nose blew its own speech bubble to go with it. We both tried to act as if nothing had happened, but I died a bit inside. Soon after that, the night ended, and I never saw her again.
Adam, 40, from Southend-on-Sea: ‘I got home at 10am after looking for my car for hours’
I went on a date with a girl who I met through work. She lived a good two hours’ drive from me. I picked her up from her house and we drove into her local town. We had a nice meal and were getting on great. I couldn’t have a drink as I had to drive home, but that was fine.
After dinner she suggested a few bars so I could see what her town had to offer. We walked from bar to bar, then at about 3am she stood up and said “Right, I’m off now”. I offered to drive her home but she said her brother was outside to pick her up.
Due to our bar crawl I had no idea how to get back to where my car was parked. I told her this and she said “I’m sure you’ll find it, bye” – and with that, she left. I ended up walking around town for hours looking for my car and eventually got home at 10am.
Amanda, 29, from London: ‘I was left feeling like I had just had a particularly harrowing job interview’
I went on a date with a man I met online, who seemed fun and interesting. We met in a city-centre bar on a weeknight for drinks. He turned up smartly dressed and with a bag containing something he’d presumably purchased from one of the fancy designer stores nearby. The whole date – which lasted exactly two hours – he kept checking his watch. As we talked I felt like I was in a particularly harrowing job interview.
It quickly became apparent that I was not ticking all the required boxes. I remember the temptation to make a run for it while this rather arrogant man visited the loo. But I remained out of courtesy and vague amusement.
I cringed as he deliberately evaded my polite questions about where he lived and even the industry he worked in. If was as if he’d identified a definite risk of me turning out to be a stalker and so had to protect himself.
Before we left he gave me the bag he’d brought with him, which it now turned out was something for me. He told me to open it on the way home, so I did – it was a box of heart-shaped chocolates. With unbelievably perfect timing it was accompanied by a text to say he wasn’t interested, but that he wished me all the best. Presumably the tacky chocolates were multi-purpose and were intended to either flatter a successful candidate or as a consolation prize for a losing candidate. I have no doubt that he was pretty chuffed with his ingenuity.
Tom, 47, from Oxfordshire: ‘I took away a feeling of relief to get away from her. She took away a loaf of bread’
I met a woman through a dating website. We decided to buy some food and have a picnic on the bank of the Thames. Leaving the supermarket with her, the alarm sounded but we walked on. A hundred yards further up the street, she told me that she had stolen a loaf of bread and hidden it in her large handbag. We had the picnic but I didn’t meet her again. I took away a feeling of relief to get away from her. She took away a loaf of bread.