Kiss and Tell: “I thought my first-ever date would be romantic. Instead, the guy fetishized my lack of experience”
Bree, a 24-year-old office administrator, was thrilled when someone finally asked her out. Unfortunately, Mark did not deliver on her rom-com fantasies
Welcome to Kiss and Tell, a new 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 [email protected].
—As told to Chiara Greco
I met Mark at my old job as a cashier at a big-box store. I was the new girl and he had been working there for a while. Initially, I didn’t really think about him at all. He seemed nice and friendly, but he wasn’t really my type. He was on the shorter side and had long dark hair and a patchy beard. I usually like guys who are a bit more put together.
At the time, I was inexperienced. I had never been on a date before, and I hadn’t even had my first kiss. No one had ever really shown interest in me in that way, and I was always too shy to make the first move. It was starting to make me pretty anxious. All of my friends were hooking up with guys or had boyfriends. I’d stay up late crying because I didn’t have any prospects—it made me feel unwanted, like being picked last in gym class. I was scared of diving into the dating world, and the longer it went on, the more scared I got. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to figure out that part of my life.
After a few months on the job, I noticed that I always saw Mark around, which was a bit unusual since we worked in different parts of the store. He started to pay me more and more attention. He’d come to check in on me and give me compliments. Eventually, he asked if I wanted hang out. He didn’t make it super clear if it was a date or not, but I wasn’t really thinking clearly. I practically jumped at the idea of being asked out at all and said yes right away.
We exchanged numbers and made plans to meet up the following weekend. I was so flattered that a guy had shown interest in me that I kind of forced myself to find Mark attractive. I convinced myself that his patchy beard was hot. I truly thought this might be my only shot at love. I started picturing what our date would be like. Maybe it wasn’t super realistic, but I was hoping for something out of a cheesy rom-com.
We texted a bit beforehand but it was pretty superficial: our favourite TV shows, that sort of thing. I told him I had never been on a date before and he seemed to be okay with that, which I was relieved to hear because I’d worried it would turn him off. Mark kept saying that he was looking forward to seeing me, which felt nice. Everything seemed to be going in the right direction.
On the night of our date, we planned to meet up at a chill coffee lounge downtown. I don’t drink and can be pretty shy, so it seemed like it would be a comfortable place to get to know each other on a deeper level. Mark suggested we meet up at Bathurst Station and head to our chosen spot together. I don’t often travel downtown, and was a bit about nervous using the TTC and streetcars. I had trusted that Mark would take over once we met up, but when I arrived at the station he was nowhere to be found. I started getting anxious.
When he did show up, it took me a while to spot him because he looked a little run down. He was wearing baggy loungewear and when he hugged me I smelled weed on him. He didn’t talk to me much off the bat, which I thought was odd, but we quietly headed to the coffee shop. When we got there, there was a huge line. Mark immediately seemed exasperated and said he didn’t want to wait.
He brought me to Sneaky Dee’s on College. As soon as we set foot in the place, I knew it wasn’t for me. It was dingy and gross and the music was too loud. I didn’t say anything because I wanted to seem cool, like I’d been to places like this before. Mark got us a booth and insisted that we sit on the same side.
As we got settled, he blurted out: “You’re so sexy.” We’d barely even talked yet. Then, he ordered two beers. At first, I thought he’d ordered one for me, so I reiterated that I didn’t drink. But it turns out he’d ordered them both for himself. “You can just have water or something,” he said. But he badgered me about why I didn’t drink and asked more than once what would happen if I had just one sip. He must’ve noticed I was getting uncomfortable, because he started caressing my arm and said, “You’re so tense, are you scared or something?” It was definitely off-putting, but I tried to not think about it.
I tried changing the subject, but every conversation devolved into weirdly sexualized questions about my lack of experience. When I said I hadn’t had my first kiss, he responded by saying “really?” over and over again with a smirk. He kept pressing me about my non-existent sexual history. He seemed more interested in my lack of experienced than he in actually getting to know me.
After he downed a few more beers, we went to find some food. We stopped at a cheap pizza place where Mark kept asking the employees if they sold beer. As he was shovelling back his pizza, he started to boast about how many older women he’d been with. He said he’d recently hooked-up with a woman who was 20 years his senior.
Around 1 a.m., we started heading home. At this point, I knew I didn’t want to do anything with this guy, but he kept trying to snuggle into me on the streetcar. I didn’t reciprocate and I think he eventually realized that I wasn’t going to go home with him. When we got off at our stop it was really awkward—he wouldn’t look me in the eyes. He told me he needed to catch a bus and left me on the side of the road. I ended up calling someone to pick me up.
After that, we never really talked again. I avoided him at work and if we did cross paths, we’d just exchange a polite nod. Later, I found out from other co-workers that he tried his luck with most of the new girls. I’m relieved nothing happened between us, but going out with him made me realize that with dating, it’s okay to go at your own pace. You definitely don’t have to settle for the first guy that shows interest. Trust me, it’s not worth it.