The story I’m about to share is entirely true. It’s not my finest moments and unfortunately, I wish I could say things turned out differently. Looking back, I wish things had turned out differently.


I had been a member of a fairly popular dating site for a while. I’ve had my fair share of connections and many (read: all) of them didn’t amount to anything—sometimes lewd comments, no chemistry between either party; or there wasn’t any interest in pursuing anything more than a few email exchanges. I was ready to throw in the towel and give up on online dating.


That is, until I came home to a rather long message from a fellow writer. We connected and exchanged lengthy emails about our lives, what we liked to write about, or favorite books and films. To sum it up, it seemed like my luck was turning around. This guy was interesting, cute, and we shared in the same interests. Score!


We decided that there was some kind of chemistry between us and that we should meet and see where it took us. So, we arranged to meet at a mall and we would go to the movie. There was a film coming out that we both wanted to see. Now, I know a movie isn’t a good first date activity, but it was still early in the afternoon and if things went well, we could have gone out to do something else.


I got to the mall before he did and I was waiting in my car for him to text me to let me know he was there. About fifteen minutes after waiting, I got a text from him saying that he was running late and that he would be there in ten minutes. I was a little annoyed and understandably so. In my head, I’m already getting signals that this wasn’t going to turn out well. If he can’t be on time to meet for the first time, how interested is he in really meeting me?


I bite my tongue and said that I would wait for him inside by the fountains, and I told him what I was wearing so that he could find me. He said okay and I went inside. About ten minutes later, he approached me and I hesitated for a minute because he didn’t look like his picture. The real him wasn’t off putting or anything, but he just wasn’t what I had expected. No big deal though. He asked if we could stop at the food court for a bite before we went to the movies. I said okay, but I wasn’t very hungry so I just got some tea.


We chatted while he scarfed down a couple burgers and that’s where it turned south. One of my biggest pet peeves is poor table manners and this guy had the worst I had ever seen. He talked with his mouth full and chewed with his mouth open. Now for some people it may not sound like anything serious, but for me…? It made me very uncomfortable and slightly disgusted. When he was done eating, he let out a huge belch without covering his mouth and he didn’t say ‘excuse me’.


I ended the date there. I came up with some lame excuse to get out of there and I didn’t look back. In retrospect, I probably could have looked past the poor table manners. We did have good conversation and we did share the same interests. Needless to say, there are some things that you are unwilling to compromise on and for me, table manners is one of them.