Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Ambush Date

I just experienced one of the most awkward, cringe-inducing, sweet-baby-Jesus-get-me-the-FUCK-outta-here moments of my entire life: 

I was ambush dated.

My inclination is to believe that most women already know what an "ambush date" is, having been mercilessly subjected to one at some point in their lives. But just in case you don't, here's a handy definition:

am●bush date 
(ambush date) n.
1. When you agree to meet someone under non-date circumstances only to find yourself an active participant in a romantic outing that you did not, nor would not, ever consent to. Highly socially awkward.
   — to ambush date
   — ambush dating; ambush dated

My tale of woe unfolds thusly:

You've all seen my e-mail address at the top of this page, right? Ever since I put that up, I've gotten messages at a pretty frequent clip that basically take the form of a Mad Lib:

My name is [First Name]. I found your blog through [Website], and I [Positive Adjective] it! Dating in this city is [Negative Adjective], and I totally relate to your experiences. Would you be interested in getting a drink sometime?

It's for that reason that I started throwing happy hours; it seemed to me that there were a lot of people out there looking for an excuse to drink on a school night, and I was overjoyed to provide one.

And regarding that subject, you've also probably noticed I haven't put together a happy hour in a while. It's because my life took a turn for the emotionally turbulent (cough entrepreneur cough) and, bottom line, I simply hadn't felt up to faking a smile and organizing one.*

It's the confluence of those issues (the e-mails, the lack of a happy hour) that led to my agreeing to meet a gentleman -- let's just call him That Guy -- at PS7's in Chinatown for their incredible Monday happy hour deals (half-price burgers and drink specials until closing time -- it's hard to get a seat, but seriously, you gotta check that out!).

I'd checked my e-mail one day last month, and, lo and behold, a message not unlike the one composed above was waiting for me. That Guy told me he wanted to meet me, framing it in the context of commiserating about dating being a necessary evil in this world. Knowing I wasn't going to throw a happy hour and therefore wouldn't have a ready-made opportunity to meet him otherwise, I said sure.

Now, to clarify: In no way did this man actually ask me on a date. Nor did he use wording that could ever be construed as such on a second reading. I have a dating blog. At this point, when guys e-mail me, they immediately clarify whether it will be romantic or platonic. And adamantly so, in most cases.

Nay, That Guy wrote that he was dating again after a painful breakup, and that he had questions to ask me about the process. If anything, the relationship with me he was cultivating was Teacher-Student.

And, oddly enough, the hour that I spent with him can be summed up as a manual for what not to do on a date.

So, That Guy was already waiting for me at the bar when I got there. I sidled up next to him and introduced myself, preparing for a chat. That Guy immediately hugged me.

In and of itself, that's not a horrible affront. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend a hug as a greeting on a first meeting, many people I've met are of the "huggy" variety and are comfortable with that level of physicality with perfect strangers.

However, That Guy hugged me for an inordinately long amount of time. Like, a solid 30 seconds of a hug. And I realize that 30 seconds doesn't seem like it's that long... but trust me, when you've just met somebody and you haven't even gotten your purse situated and you're half on/half off your barstool and the busy bartender is side-eyeing you, 30 seconds feels like 30 hours.

Obviously, the hug threw me off a little bit. But as That Guy had expressed his emotions over a recent breakup to me, I wasn't about to lambaste him for it. I figured he needed the hug. I merely shook it off, took my seat and ordered a cocktail while asking him how his day was.

Our initial small talk made it seem that this would be an evening like any other. But then, it took a turn for the weird again! As we finally delved into the subject of dating, That Guy began asking me questions as promised.

"So, what is the best first date?" That Guy inquired.

"Well, in my experience, it's usu --"

There's a reason that sentence stops so abruptly.

"I'll tell you, my best first date was with my ex," That Guy began.

He may as well have started with "Call me Ishmael." What followed was the longest, most rambling monologue I have ever been witness to.

It struck me as odd that he'd ask me a question, and then interrupt me to provide his own answer. But what was even WEIRDER about it was how precisely detailed That Guy got in his description of the date. How they'd gone to dinner at Rasika. How she'd laughed at his cheesy jokes. That she was wearing a pink strapless top that "really showed off her breasts."

Yeah, That Guy actually said that to me.

I didn't know how to respond to that, aside from simply smiling and softly saying, "That sounds nice."

Apparently, that response was an invitation. That Guy grinned, batted his eyelashes demurely, touched my bare shoulder (I'd been wearing a tank top -- it was muggy out) and ran his fingertips down the length of my arm.

Does this guy think this is a date? I thought to myself. In past experiences, date situations result in physical contact like that; there is an imaginary line of demarcation between two people not on a date. I wasn't sure how in one breath he could be telling me about his ex-girlfriend's breasts and in the next he'd be making flirty eyes at me and touching my arm, but I've been out with some weirdos before so I just sort of sighed and dealt with it.

I crossed my arms and hoped my body language symbol for "closed" would do the trick, and that we could keep talking without That Guy making another swipe on me.

But yet again, our conversation became a That Guy Soliloquy. The pattern was infuriating! He would ask me a question, I would start to answer, and WITHOUT FAIL, he would interrupt me to tell his own story.

That Guy: "So where did you grow up?"

Me: "I'm originally from Cincinna--"

That Guy: "I grew up in Chicago mostly, but my parents divorced so I kind of bounced between there and Waterloo, Indiana, when my dad moved there..."

(Insert long-ass story about Indiana here)

That Guy: "When did you and your second ex-boyfriend break up again?"

Me: "October Two-Thousand Ni--"

That Guy: "You know, I still can't believe Kelly dumped me."

(Insert long-ass story about being dumped here)

That Guy: "So, you lost a lot of weight, right? How do you stay fit?"

Me: "Well, I run ALL the ti--"

That Guy: "I got really into snowboarding last year."

(Insert long-ass story about snowboarding here)

***Guys reading this: If you ask a girl a question, LET HER ANSWER.

That Guy also kept laughing at his own jokes. They weren't funny. I didn't know what to do, so I just smiled and nodded.

And again, apparently, that response was an invitation: That Guy ran his fingers through my hair.

He ran his fingers through my hair.

Keep in mind -- we've only been in each other's presence for about 30 minutes at this point. And he ran his fingers though my hair.

THAT'S NOT OK. I assumed the "Don't Rape Me" pose -- I crossed my arms tighter, and crossed my legs, too.

But for SOME REASON, the "Don't Rape Me" pose represented the beginning of the deluge: As he continued talking to me, That Guy just started touching me all over my body. Running his fingers though my hair. Unhooking my arms to take my hand. Running his hands down my thigh to my knee.

He DOES think this is a date! my brain screamed. Why else would he be touching me like this? No one touches "just a friend" all over her body, do they!? WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE!??!?!

Before you ask -- no, I didn't say anything out loud to him. I realize that I probably should have told him to stop. But I figured my resolute body language -- my arms and legs were TIGHTLY CROSSED, and I wasn't returning ANY of his touches -- would suffice. And I was so shocked, I was rendered speechless anyway!!!

(Here's another tip for dudes: Learning to read body language is highly beneficial. If you see a girl doing the "Don't Rape Me" pose, she's probably not into you.)

The whole thing came to a head, literally -- after all the hair-finger-running and the arm and leg rubbing, That Guy put his head in my lap.


I excused myself, went to the restroom, then came back to pay my tab and say I needed to get going home. That Guy walked me to the Metro, gave me another uncomfortably long hug, then walked in the opposite direction.

Sweet relief was a Yellow Line train to Huntington.

It was one of the weirder hours of my life. I'm just not sure what motivated him to do all that -- why he wouldn't just tell me he wanted a date with me instead of asking me out under pretenses of learning about dating and then not really care what I had to say. And I'm not really sure in what universe it's OK to feel up someone you've only met mere minutes previously, but I'm not going to make an effort to find out.

The bottom line is this: This blog entry is a PSA.

Don't be That Guy.

*One's coming this month, though -- I promise.


  1. Aside from the general WTF. I'm having trouble conceptualizing how he put his head in your lap at a bar. I'm not sure if I should only be impressed by his apparent flexibility or both impressed and seperately astounded at his temerity.

  2. Breaking up with him was the biggest mistake of Kelly's life

  3. Love the new blog format almost as much as I love you, my dear friend. That sound creepy when left as a comment on a blog.
    I almost spit out my coffee upon reading that he put his head in your lap. WTF?! Who does that?

  4. I've been cringing since I read about the 30 second hug and I'm still having a hard time shaking it off to write this comment. Wow. And I've even heard some of these details before!

    Good moral to the story. Good writing, too. Even if it was an awful ambush date, I just like the way you write about your nights in detail.

    Can't wait for the "PHENOMENAL STORY!!!!!!!!!!" you've teased on twitter!

  5. HE PUT HIS HEAD IN YOUR LAP? I almost fell out of my chair when I read that....ahahahaha.

  6. I wish there were a "Like" button under Xavier's comment.

  7. First off, you 100% should have told him to stop (at least if it was as inappropriate as it sounds). He will probably go on to ambush date/borderline sexually assault other unsuspecting victims.

    Also, isn't he probably going to see this? I guess that takes care of the issue I just raised above

  8. I know, in hindsight, I should have said something... but like I said, I was like a deer in headlights.

  9. I've totally been there with the whole "deer in headlights feeling." Something similar happened to me on a shared cab ride not too long ago, and I was so taken aback that I definitely froze and didn't know what to say.

    I can not believe he put. his. head. in. your. lap.

    Actually wait, after reading the rest of this, I totally can. Sigh.

    Forwarding this to my two favorite guys as a cautionary tale.

  10. Wow, this is insane. I would have seriously started yelling "STOP TOUCHING ME!" and made a scene, because that's how I roll. Ugh, WHAT A CREEPER.

  11. I hope he reads this and realizes he's THAT GUY in hopes that he changes his creeper behavior... you know, to protect any of his future unsuspecting victims...

    I also double "like" Xavier's comment. Kelly doesn't know what she's missing!

  12. Katie, you were too nice! We need to stand up for ourselves from time-to-time!


    You can't make this shit up. You should write a Tucker Max - style book. I'd buy it.

  14. At first I thought you needed the green light for this post. As I started to read it, I was gobsmacked. What a creep. I hope he reads this post and then seeks professional help.

  15. I know in situations like this its sometimes so hard, despite how obvious it is, to actually open your mouth and say something. You don't want to be a flat out bitch ,even though it would be acceptable...and you kind of hope it'll all just cease and desist.

    This guy clearly is clueless on dating and is also still seriously hung up on his ex. He needs to get over her stat before he even attempts to go out with someone again. He's still very much in relationship mode where he's with a girl and doesn't remember that when dating you need to have some serious boundaries while your trying to get to know someone.

    I applaud you for being so tolerant...I dont think I could have been.

  16. Screw the head in the lap, the fingers in the hair bullshit is intensely offensive!

  17. Maybe his creepy behavior is why his girlfriend broke up with him. He shouldn't have touched you AT ALL.

  18. Running your fingers through someone else's hair, in addition to being creepy, is also awkward when seated across from them. It only makes sense if you are cuddling and their head is close to you.

    I would've thought he was coming in to get a smudge of dirt off my face.

  19. As someone decidedly not of the huggy variety -- seriously, not even my own sister can hug me without getting a scream -- I would have been done, done and D-O-N-E after the 30-second hug. But the head in the lap? The fingers through the hair? Agree with everyone else: creepy. Majorly creepy.

    You're a kind soul to meet up with these chaps -- and a brave one, too.

  20. Ewwwwwwwwwwwww! This made me cringe the whole time I was reading it, culminating with me gasping/laughing when he put his head in your lap.

    What. The. Fuck!!!!!

    I would have had a hard time saying something too, but I probably would have found an excuse to get the hell out of there sooner than you did.

  21. Like a stun gun. :P How absolutely terrifying. I don't like being touched by strangers.

  22. omigod I have definitely been there before. I hope That Guy reads this post and learns a couple of things!

  23. Fuck that noise. I say go full tilt in the other direction. Go bat shit nuts on the motherfucker.

    Start by talking about all the stuffed animals you own. Mr Zebra, Mr Toad with the missing leg after you threw him at your landlord because he was complaining about all the dead flowers on your porch. Mr Lion with the dildo tied to his tail. And Mr Carebear with the heart patch torn out because you wanted to show him the pain of having your heart broken after he promised you he would never let you down.

    Then you talk about that one time you stalked your ex's new fiance because you thought she was wearing that pair of earring you "lost" at his place but you swear you going back to get only to find out (the hard way, wink and smile when you say this) that her earrings were blue and yours were green. Ask him if knows how to make a voodoo doll as you make stabby motions with the little plastic sword into your hand. (this is after you seductively lick the cherry off with your tongue)

    Ask him if he likes it rough, and does he know, that while being choked, the body, when starved for air, releases the same endorphins as an orgasm. Just stare at him after this, and wait for his response, no matter how long it takes.

    Then tell him you are into role playing and wonders if he can make the same noise a wildebeest in heat and wouldn't mind "stepping" on your back to simulate a wild stampede because it reminds you of that time, when you were younger, you use to masturbate to the scene in the Lion King with Mufasa got trampled. (Lions are really sexy aren't they?)

    Then suggest you guys go someplace with less eyes and ears prying.

    You gotta fight fire with fire.

  24. Wow. That's really all I can think to say.

  25. Vince is amazing. That is all.

  26. Jesus-
    That sounds uncomfortable- but I must say I was abruptly introduced to "hugging" in college. Always hugging- the dude back-pat, closed fist. I always would go for a handshake- DENIED. I looked like an idiot. The hugs lasted 5 seconds maybe 7, any more than that WEIRD. Body language- I pick up negative a hell of a lot more then positive (i guess more experience with negative). Perhaps the dude has AssBurgers? That would explain a lot. Well, kudos on the politeness, and the bitch route not taken...

  27. I was unbelievably uncomfortable just reading this. You are a nicer woman that I am because there is NO way I wouldn't have said something to him. I've been in a situation nowhere near as bad as that and I flat out told him that it was a hands off gathering. At least you got a really great PSA blog post out of this horrible experience.

  28. At least you got a really great PSA blog post out of this horrible experience.

    Am I the only one who finds statements like this and ones like "oh well that's the hazard of blogging" kind of strange? Is this what blogging is about? Letting people make fools of themselves so you can turn around and flog them on a blog? This is no different than the Mean Girls burn book. Only they were in high school.

    The dude obviously was smarting from being dumped. He though he found a compadre in Katie, who has been public about her own heartbreak. Yeah, he's socially awkward and behaved in a way that wasn't appropriate. But hasn't anybody here done really stupid things after getting the boot? Katie, has all of your behavior since your relationship with E. ended been appropriate? Are you the queen of social decorum? Haven't you done things that you look back on and wished you hadn't done?

    IDK. I think this post is mean-spirited. Compassion and humility go a long way. It doesn't matter if he gave permission to have this written or not. You're kicking a person when they're down.

    I don't understand why posts like this are considered acceptable and funny, but comments that depict Katie in a similar manner are considered hateful.

  29. If you don't like it, don't read it.

  30. Note to self: don't go on a date with Janine.

    That being said, perhaps Janine should ask Katie to set her with this dude. I mean the dude obviously needs someone as "understanding" as Janine, so hey, it could work!

  31. I have been here a couple of times; it's not fun. They guys were labeled in my phone as Name Creepy Boob Grazer and Sexual Harassment Boy.

  32. @Janine -- Hey, if this guy was willing to go out with Katie, knowing she was a blogger, and not tell her he would rather not be blogged about, it's fair game.

    Katie - I've had about three ambush dates in my life. One of which I denied any knowledge that he had attempted that afterwards, then quickly kicked him out of my life.

    The other then proceeded to tell me how he knew from the moment he met me that I was the woman of his dreams.

    The last basically proposed to me five minutes after I fled the scene by messaging me on Facebook.

  33. Maybe an ambush date, maybe a dude who is in some kind of messed up emotional state and lost himself. Still, either way, ugh.

    Mainly though, I am writing to say that this is one of the things that makes me think less of many girls. They will sit there and politely take unwanted fondling and such when they could easily politely (or not) say something and/or push the guy's hand away. Some guys are dense about body language (or don't care) and many jackasses, drunks, social inepts are just encouraged by anything other than a direct negative response. I understand it is an awkward situation, but girls need to learn to have some balls once in a while.

  34. wow ~ that's just crazy creepy. I may have let the arm thing go, but the second he tried to put his hand in my hair I would have let him had it.

    You're a much better woman than I to not have told him what exactly he could do with that hand. Yuck.

    Then again, I also would have called him out on never letting me answer a question (in a highly sarcastic and snarky way, of course)

  35. I cackled out loud at Anon 4:32's comment. Janine should totally date That Guy. I don't care how hurt he was from getting dumped. You don't touch people you don't know, and not like that. He lost any entitlement to "understanding" when he started acting like a complete fucking child molester.

  36. Really obvious question that no one has asked yet:

    Why not just GTFO as soon as you felt uncomfortable and weirded out?

    1. Make an excuse.
    2. Leave.

    Its not rocket science.

  37. @anon at 6:07 pm -- I agree with you. I've been in these situations several times, not even necessarily on an ambush date, once it was the office postal guy. (I'll smile at anybody because I just smile a lot; attracts the crazies like flies.) There have always been men who've witnessed it and told me "just to tell him to stop."

    Most of the time, I've been worried about hurting someone's feelings or offending (though why I should take responsibility for their feelings when they're the ones being overly aggressive without any encouragement...rabbit trail). I think the problem is some women don't want to be confrontational. But there has to be a polite way to tell someone "I'm not interested. Please stop." or in the case of the office dude "your behavior makes me uncomfortable."

  38. haha funny post.

    katie - this is off topic, but i'm wondering if you would reccomend and around how many emails do you get a day on there?

  39. @Everyone criticizing me for not saying something to this guy:

    If you were on the Metro and someone started having a seizure, what would you do?

    It's really easy to sit at your computer screen and say, "I'd find a pillow to put behind their head so they wouldn't hurt themselves, and I'd call 911 and tell the operator to stop the train."

    But when you're ACTUALLY in that situation, is that really true? I'd like to think I'd spring to action, but I can't tell you for a fact that that would be true.

    People freeze when faced with the unexpected. Sometimes it just happens.

  40. You were probably hoping he was just having a few moments of weirdness and then he'd be normal. At least that's what I'd be hoping.

  41. Sooooo pissed. I just wrote out this long comment and when I went to post it, it gave me an error message. LAME!

    Anyway... Katie, I agree with you. It doesn't sound like saying something along the lines of "Can you please stop touching me; you're making me uncomfortable" would be that difficult, but it is SO awkward, at least for me. I hate dealing with that shit. I'm more likely to just think "it'll be over soon, I'll never see them again.." Though as I said before, I would have found an excuse to get out of there asap.

    Your seizure analogy reminds me of when I was a lifeguard trained in CPR. While worrying about kids drowning on my watch was scary enough, I would also get nervous that while out in public, someone would suddenly need CPR, and if no one moved, I'd feel obligated to do it. That petrified me! And that's life or death, so since this is only a social situation, I totally get where you are coming from. And it really sucks when people PUT you in that situation!!

    Which brings me to another point. He contacted Katie, he arranged the meeting... he brought this on himself. He knew she was a blogger. Hell, he even could have known some of the things that bother her already if he'd read the blog at all.

    I mean, hey, I guess I'm not that nice.

    Have you heard from him at all??

  42. Anonymous because it doesn't matter who I amMay 9, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    I've been a regular reader of this blog for a while and I just don't like the direction that it is going anymore. This post is a great example of it, everyone is having a laugh at the expense of some random guy because he acted socially awkward. I mostly don't like the commenters, who do nothing but praise and enable Katie. I used to see a dissenting opinion on things in this blog but that no longer seems to be the case. If you are just going to filter all the comments that are positive and ignore the negative ones, this blog becomes nothing but a self serving prophecy for your own ego.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not a hater as most will point out, but I just don't care for what this blog has become and I don't think I want to read it anymore. And it's comments like "If you don't like it, don't read it." that you'll throw back at me, but I would like to think you're not that self absorbed to just dismiss your critics.

    I hope you actually listen to this post instead of ignoring it or deleting it. You have the potential to be a good blogger, but I feel like it's just gotten worse, not better.

  43. What would you prefer, Anonymous?

    Not sure what you're talking about re: "direction" because I have ALWAYS written about my dates with socially awkward weirdos:

    The Homeland Security guy

    The lawyer

    The unemployee

    The IT guy

    The management analyst

    The survey data analyst

    Not sure what you want from me, but frankly, I think Lilly had it right: "He lost any entitlement to 'understanding' when he started acting like a complete fucking child molester."

  44. Also, read this:

    Entitlement issues

    That pretty well sums it up.

  45. I really liked that entry on entitlement. Summed it all up very nicely.

  46. I hope you didn't take my comment wrong, I wasn't criticizing you at all. It was actually a compliment that you were nicer than I would have been in such a situation.

    My apologies if you misinterpreted what I meant (i have an innate ability to always stick my foot in my mouth)

  47. 1. I just peed myself.
    2. I'm so sorry you had to deal with the hand raping of That Guy
    3. Brilliant P.S.A.

  48. Wow. Just wow. You are waaay too nice, and he clearly is insecure and needs a lot of dating guidance. xoxo


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