On a first date, there are plenty of things that can go right. Equally, there are many things that can go oh-so-wrong.
In an insightful Reddit thread, waiting staff have opened up about the most cringeworthy first dates they’ve witnessed - dates where pretty much everything went pear-shaped.
From the guy who chatted constantly to his date while swiping right on Tinder, to the woman who was so “horrendous” that a man asked a waiter to phone him and help him escape, here are their stories...
1. The Slow Chewer
“I work in an Italian restaurant. A few years ago I waited on a guy and girl who met for the first time upon arriving at the restaurant. There were awkward pleasantries exchanged at the door and then they were seated.
“When I was taking their order, the guy asked if we had soup because he had mouth surgery a few days prior and chewing food was still a little rough. We didn’t have soup, so I explained that the “softest” food on the menu was gnocchi. He ordered the house gnocchi and proceeded to cut each tiny dumpling into four or more pieces and slowly chew each piece.
“He ate that entire dish over a three hour period and the girl stuck it out for the whole thing. She looked miserable and I’m pretty sure they never saw each other again.”
2. The Guy Who Couldn’t Care Less
“I was working in a small restaurant with two floors. A woman and a man came in and I had a table for them upstairs. It looked like they had a first date because they were asking those ‘getting to know each other’ questions.
“After ordering food the woman had to go to the toilet, which is downstairs. As she walked to the stairs, the food arrived. She walked down, tripped and fell all the way down knocking her head on the ground. Two colleagues immediately rushed over to her to see how she was doing. She was unconscious and bleeding from her head so they called an ambulance.
“I went to the man who had already started eating and told him his partner had fallen down the stairs and that she was unconscious and that an ambulance was on the way. He walked to the stairs, looked down and walked back to his table to finish his food. Later the ambulance arrived and I asked him if he wanted to go with her to the hospital and he said ‘no’ while finishing her food as well. It was so awkward he just sat there for another 45 minutes eating, drinking, paid the bill and left.”
3. The Incredibly Awkward Turtle
“I used to work at a little shitty diner place, definitely not the type of place to bring a first date. There was this guy who’d come in every Friday with a different girl. He was a very good looking dude and was alway super polite and very nice to me, but he was super awkward.
“The girls would look kind of skeptical as they walked in (probably because of the crappy diner scene). Every week, about halfway through the meal, like clockwork, the girls would develop these ‘get me outta here’ faces. That’s when I would bring the check. They always boxed up their food and left right away.
“I had the chance to talk to one of them while he was in the restroom. Apparently he wasn’t harmful, there was just something off about him that the girls didn’t like.”
4. The Talkative Tinder Swiper
“Served a couple a few months ago. Every time I walked over, he would always be the one talking, and she would just be sitting there not having a good time. At the end I asked if it was one bill or separate and she immediately piped up ‘SEPARATE’. I go and take his payment, and as I hand over the debit machine to the girl, I see the guy take his phone out and start swiping through Tinder.”
5. The Self-Absorbed Date
“Once witnessed a date where the dude talked about how special he was and how his mind wasn’t like other people’s for the entire date. The girl was politely nodding along and every time she tried to get a word in, he’d cut her off. Absolutely brutal.”
6. The Interrogation
“Had an obvious first date where the lady was grilling the guy on how much money he makes and he didn’t really want to answer. It was awkward serving steak and salad during an interrogation.”
7. The No-Show
“I worked at a cafe and it was a small local chain so there were two other locations in the city. This guy sits down for about an hour and comes up to the counter and asks if we can call around to the other locations to see if this girl was there because they had a date planned and he was sure she must have just gone to the wrong location.
“We called to the other two locations and they said they never saw anyone fitting that description. The guy stuck around for another couple of hours, buying two more drinks and a sandwich, just waiting until we finally closed for the night. I felt so awful for him! He seemed so crushed.”
8. The Escape Artist
“I was bartending in NY and watched this couple that had met on Tinder have their first date sitting at my bar. The girl was a complete maniac. Kept bringing up the fact that the dude she was with could be a psychopath and could murder her (he had given no indication of this) and went on Tinder while he was still sitting beside her at the bar.
“[She] kept telling him he was lucky that she agreed to meet him at all and she didn’t think he’d be this boring. She ordered about 5 or 6 LITs and several shots, he literally just had 2 beers. She made him pay for everything.
“My favourite part of this shit show was that he excused himself to go to the bathroom and left through the fire escape. Absolutely brilliant.”
9. The Emergency Phone Call
“I work at a fairly nice Italian restaurant, where we do a lot of business. One night a man who I was not even serving came up to me while I was punching an order in on the computer and handed me $20 and a napkin with a phone number on it.
“He proceeded to tell me: ‘I am on the worst date of my life, this woman is horrendous and I have to get out of here. Take this $20 and please go to the nearest phone and call me and tell me that I have to get home right away. I don’t care what excuse you make up, I just gotta get the hell out of here.’
“Initially I thought he was kidding until two minutes later the guy who was serving him came up to me to tell me how wicked this woman was and how he could tell the guy didn’t want to be there. I promptly called that guy as soon as I had a free minute. One of my shining achievements as a server.”
10. The Tear-Jerking Tip
“I was serving a young couple and the power imbalance was phenomenal. She was the daughter of one of the board members and the entire staff knew her (read: her father’s) club account was major money. And the gent, well he wasn’t a member, and certainly looked like he was just the average broke college student. He was wearing plain but nice clothes and she was dressed to the nines in fashion.
“The date seemed to go smoothly enough, nothing out of the ordinary. Until she gets up and leaves the table before I have brought out the bill. I bring the bill to the counter (knowing it is well over $300 worth of food and drinks, all things SHE insisted on ordering. He solemnly goes to pull out his wallet and starts tearing up apologising that he won’t be able to tip. I mean, I’ve never had a customer cry over not being able to tip. And he further explained he was a server too and that she didn’t know he wasn’t rich and she left because he had told her about his scholarship.
“I was flabbergasted. And kindly reminded him that at this country club we do not take credit cards nor cash, we only charge to accounts. And so her father got a hefty bill - rest assured he signed a handsome tip to me in her name.”
11. The Guy Who Hates Kids
“I once had a guy come sit at my bar who was waiting for his blind date. He orders a couple of drinks to calm his nerves. Well, he probably should have slowed it down to keep his mouth from working faster than his brain... Anywho...
“She shows up and is waaaaaay out of his league. She is absolutely beautiful. She orders a drink and they start talking. I come back to check on them and I hear him talking about how much he hates children. He was saying things like how he hopes he never has any, and that he will never be stuck taking care of them, and how he wishes that kids couldn’t be taken into public places so that he wouldn’t have to be around them.
“She looked him dead in the eye and said: ‘Well I have a daughter, and I love her very much.’ She grabbed her purse and walked out on him.”