Kiss and Tell: “My date got a fish bone stuck in his teeth. He insisted on calling 911”

Kiss and Tell: “My date got a fish bone stuck in his teeth. He insisted on calling 911”

Gigi, a 32-year-old design consultant, tried to help—but couldn’t prevent an unnecessary visit from the paramedics

A photo of a fish on a background of orange hearts

Welcome to Kiss and Tell, a series about the steamy, surprising and frequently absurd world of Toronto dating. Send your most memorable stories from the pursuit of love and lust in the city to .

—As told to Kirsten Fee

A mutual friend introduced me to this well-dressed personal support worker at a Halloween party. I found him attractive: he was tall, with salt-and-pepper hair and glasses. We hit it off, so we met up for a coffee soon afterward. On the date, he boasted about himself, how good he was at his job and how much he knew about Jungian analysis. But he seemed emotionally mature, plus we had good banter.

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Admittedly, there were other red flags. He was constantly complaining about his exes, saying he’d felt like “a father to them,” and he called his mom a “bitch.” But I had just ended an engagement a few months earlier, and it had been almost a decade since I’d been on a date. My self-confidence wasn’t at its highest, so I decided to ignore the warning signs.

We went out a few more times, getting coffees or drinks. It was almost New Year’s Eve, and I really didn’t want to spend the night alone. So when he suggested we spend it together, I agreed. Our plan was that I would grab ingredients for dinner, then we’d meet outside Loblaws at 5 p.m. and walk to his apartment together. His job was to prepare a cheesecake for dessert.

On the day, I arrived at our meeting spot, dinner ingredients in hand. My bags were clearly heavy, so I assumed he would offer to carry some. But he didn’t, even as we started walking. Eventually, I asked for his help. Reluctantly, he took a couple, but he didn’t seem to be able to carry much weight: he struggled for the rest of the walk back. It was pretty unattractive, but I brushed it off.

When we got to his apartment, I suggested we hang out briefly before I started cooking. He explained that we couldn’t watch TV because his Prime Video had been cut off after Amazon caught him lying multiple times about packages not showing up. We ended up skipping straight to dinner prep.

He started taking out all the ingredients for the cheesecake. He should have pre-made the dessert, I thought. Every cook knows it takes hours for cheesecake to set. But one thing was for sure: he was not a cook. His fridge consisted of cheese, salami and bread. It seemed like he was on a Lunchables-only diet.

He claimed he’d been overwhelmed by the cheesecake recipe and thought it would be fun to make it together. Reluctantly, I obliged, but then I noticed that he didn’t have all the ingredients. Unbothered, he offered to run to the closest Shoppers. I stayed back to start the strawberry sauce that we wanted to put on top.

I was excited for some peaceful time alone, but before he left, he sprayed his entire place with catnip. So I had to contend with his very high cat jumping all over everything—not super relaxing. By that point, I should have made a run for it, but I still had a sliver of hope that the night could take a turn for the better.

I tried to work on the strawberry sauce but couldn’t find a mixer, measuring cups or any baking utensils, really. When he returned with the ingredients, he explained that his ex-girlfriend had taken all the cooking tools with her when she moved out.

Making do with what was available, he started preparing the cheesecake. I instructed him to put the cream cheese on the stove at a low heat, so it could melt. Instead, he added all the ingredients into the same pot on high. After a few minutes, he had made sweet scrambled eggs. It was unsalvageable.

I shifted my attention to dinner and, after an hour of cooking, had made delicious salmon, potatoes and salad. We were both enjoying the start of our meal when, minutes in, he said he had a fish bone stuck in his teeth. I thought I’d removed all the bones from the salmon, but I must have missed one.

Related: “The first time I had sex was on a cruise ship—and my date’s grandma walked in on us”

He tried to get the bone out himself but couldn’t, so he asked me to search for it. I did not want to touch the inside of his mouth—I didn’t know him well enough for that. I said so, and in a panic, he suggested I go to the bathroom to get tweezers and dental floss. Whatever keeps my hands out of his mouth, I thought.

In the bathroom, I was met with a horrific scene: there were tiny hairs everywhere, all over the floor and bathtub. Clearly, he’d done a thorough shave before I arrived. I guess he thought he was going to get lucky. To make matters worse, I couldn’t find tweezers or dental floss anywhere.

Upon my returning and delivering the news, he asked me to call 911 so paramedics could come remove the bone. At this point, I was convinced he was out of his mind. I told him there was no way I was calling an ambulance for something so minor, so he decided to call himself. “I’m choking on a fish bone,” he told the operator. He started to make choking sounds, though in my opinion, his acting was subpar. But the operator asked that I stay with him until the paramedics arrived, so I did.

In all his panic over the bone, we missed the New Year’s countdown. By then, I had no interest in celebrating anyway. I regretted not spending the night with my family—or even going to sleep early.

When the paramedics arrived, just after midnight, he decided to cut the choking act—maybe he had a tiny bit of shame after all. He slipped into this kind of cool-guy persona while chatting with them, acting like he knew everything about their jobs because he was a personal support worker.

The paramedics were having none of it. As they easily removed the bone, they told him the situation was not an emergency and that he should have gone to a clinic instead. By this point, I was just thankful it was over so I could finally leave.

Once the paramedics left, he offered me a drink as if nothing had happened. I said no and told him all I wanted was to head home and relax with a bath. “You’re just going to leave without cleaning up the dishes?” he said. “You can’t just make dinner for somebody and leave everything out like this.” I couldn’t believe his audacity—he was the one who hadn’t held up his end of the bargain. He was acting like such a baby, but I wanted to avoid any conflict, so I compromised by putting the dishes in the sink to soak.

I was about to make a beeline for the elevator when I realized I couldn’t find my purse. While pretending to be busy cleaning up, he said it was in the closet—without specifying which closet or offering to retrieve it for me. I searched everywhere before I finally found it in his bedroom closet. I knew I hadn’t left my bag there, so I could only conclude that he’d moved it to try to keep me at his place longer. By this point, I was livid. The night had been a total bust.

He rode down the elevator with me as I left, complaining about work for the whole ride. When I finally left the building, I felt an immediate sense of freedom. I could barely believe how the night had gone. I decided to walk home to clear my mind, hoping he would at least check in to make sure I got back safe. But I didn’t hear from him that night or the following day. That was the last straw for me. I blocked him.

A couple of days later, I received a call from a private number and heard him and a friend giggling in the background. Very mature. Even though our date had been truly horrible, I’m thankful that it revealed his true colours. It was a bit of a reality check: I needed to raise my standards and take better note of early red flags. Since then, I’ve been much better off.