TALES FROM THE FRONT LINES

Three ELLE Canada ed­i­tors share their most mem­o­rable first-date tales.

Elle (Canada) - - Relationship -

“I’m 30, and I’ve only been on one date... and it was in high school.” My very first—and last—date was with my now part­ner, Gray­don Craig, when we were both 18. Now that we’re 30, we laugh about the fact that we never went on more “real dates.” (When you’re 18, you only need to go on one date be­fore your friends of­fi­cially call you a couple.) Em­bar­rassed by our lack of dat­ing history, we never used to tell peo­ple our one-date tale—un­til we heard my grand­par­ents tell the story of how they met. Both are from a very small beach town in north­ern Por­tu­gal. The way they tell it, my grand­fa­ther had heard about my grand­mother from a friend. When he fi­nally spot­ted her at a fes­ti­val dance, he knew right away that she was the woman he was go­ing to marry. He walked over and asked her to dance. She had also heard

about him, so she ac­cepted. While they danced, my grand­fa­ther said, “I want to marry you, and if you don’t say yes right now I’ll leave you on the dance floor.” Both my grand­par­ents start laugh­ing when they tell this part of the story. (My grand­fa­ther is way more sweet than threat­en­ing.) She said yes (she claims it’s be­cause she didn’t want to be left on the dance floor, but we sus­pect oth­er­wise), and the next day they told their friends and fam­ily that they were en­gaged. They went on to spend the next 58 years to­gether, bliss­fully in love.

LES­SON LEARNED My grand­par­ents’ story al­ways re­minds Grady and me that some­times you only need one date—or dance—to know. Aliyah Shamsher, fea­tures ed­i­tor

“My Tin­der date ar­rived drunk... and then got into a fight with an­other woman at the bar.” When “Nick,” who I’d met on Tin­der, ar­rived, he was 25 min­utes late... to a bar on his own street. He was less at­trac­tive in per­son than in his pix and also slightly drunk as he’d spent the af­ter­noon in the dog park (with his dog) drink­ing a six-pack. Through­out the date, he kept making a lot of cheeky com­ments, try­ing to be funny, like say­ing loudly that I should not be drink­ing while preg­nant (which I was not, of course). I was try­ing to be good­na­tured, but my plan was to fin­ish my drink and make my exit. Af­ter a while, I be­came aware of the girls at the next ta­ble; they were star­ing at us—one in par­tic­u­lar was gap­ing, jaw dropped. She said to me, in­credu­lously, “Are you OKAY? I can­not be­lieve the way he is talk­ing to you!” I told her I was fine, but my date pro­ceeded to ar­gue loudly with her. It es­ca­lated. He was rude. She de­fended me. Her friends looked on sym­pa­thet­i­cally. Even­tu­ally, he turned to me and said, “You’re never go­ing to go out with me again, are you?” Cor­rect! I gath­ered my things, and we left the bar. Thank­fully, the uni­verse de­liv­ered a street­car at just that mo­ment. I jumped on, went straight home and watched The Good Wife.

LES­SON LEARNED I no longer feel com­pelled to stay for two drinks to avoid hurt­ing some­one’s feel­ings on a first date. If my in­stincts tell me it’s a waste of time, I lis­ten to them! Ciara Rickard, pro­duc­tion ed­i­tor

“Why I’ll never an­swer a Craigslist date ad again.” One night, I was aim­lessly brows­ing Craigslist when an ad piqued my in­ter­est: “Met­ric Con­cert – m4w – 25 (Toronto-ish)” posted by a fel­low fan who had no one to go with. The caveat? In or­der to see if I was “fun enough” to take to the con­cert, we had to get to­gether a few days be­fore the show on neu­tral, pub­lic ground. We de­cided to meet at the an­i­ma­tronic hippo in front of the Rain­for­est Café in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall. But when I ar­rived, I saw no such hippo. Half an hour later, my date was still a no-show, so I went up to the host­ess to ask if there was an­other semi­aquatic mam­mal some­where in the restau­rant. There was not. Then I heard “Ex­cuse me, is there a hippo around here?” I turned and gave my dirt­i­est look to my tardy, shorter-than-ad­ver­tised guy. As if on cue, the café’s sig­na­ture thun­der­storm of rain-foresty sound ef­fects came on as we awk­wardly shook hands. The en­su­ing date played out worse than an un­der-re­hearsed open­ing band. I was too out­raged by his sex­ist com­ments about the wait­resses’ uni­forms and too proud to let him pay. And I did not get that con­cert ticket.

LES­SON LEARNED There are far bet­ter on­line dat­ing op­tions than Craigslist out there now. But my blind-date jun­gle ad­ven­ture did teach me some­thing: I’m not as cyn­i­cal and de­featist as I’d like to think. I’m ca­pa­ble of risk­ing my dig­nity, my san­ity and even my per­sonal safety. Why? The an­swer can be found in a lyric from one of my favourite Met­ric songs: “Ev­ery­body just wanna fall in love.” Liz Gu­ber, as­so­ciate fash­ion ed­i­tor

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