with Lynne and Leslie

“Dates From Hell” and why I’m glad I don’t have to date anymore

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here!

I look at that above title and think that it might sound a little smug, like “Ha ha, single people! I got me a man! Suck it and go hug your 30 cats!” If you know me, however, and know of my dating history, or have read my amusing recollections of some of the ridiculous things I got myself into as a single lady, you know that’s not smugness. It’s relief. I was so bad at dating that if that had been my NFL career, somebody would have forced me to retire, because I sucked.

Watching Investigation Discovery’s new true crime series “Dates From Hell” not only confirms my relief at not being out there, but makes me super happy that I never got kidnapped or abducted or, in the case of at least one gentleman on the show, lured by a failed male filmmaker pretending to be a hot girl into an attempted murder based on one of his scripts. Dating requires a certain amount of bravery, of putting your trust in someone you don’t know,  even if  it’s just for the length of a dinner. “Dates From Hell” basically says “You can’t trust anyone! Not that person on the other side of that dating profile, or the girl flirting with you from across the bar, or even your co-worker you’ve known for years. Because you have never been to his basement. Where there might be heads in a freezer.”

Which is not to say, however, that the folks on the episodes I watched didn’t make some critical dating errors that old pros like me have down, although I admit that a few times I violated them. And every moment that I did, I was uncomfortable thinking “I am gonna be a head in a basement.” On one show, an American tourist accepts a drink from a cute Italian artist and then an invitation back to his apartment to see his terrace in Rome. This resonated with me, because while visiting Venice my great-Aunt Martha tried to get me to accept the coffee invitation of our waiter, and I was like “Are you trying to get me on a Lifetime movie called ‘Coffee Date With Death: The Leslie Streeter Story?’ I don’t know him!”

Anyway, the woman leaves the bar without telling the friend that she was traveling with where she was going, in a city she’d never been in. Bad idea. And then she went to a stranger’s home. Even worse. Of course, none of that gives the guy permission to try to sexually assault her, and in no way was she “asking for it,” because who in the world would ask to be sexually assaulted? Is that on a to-do list? Shut up. And the guy who answered the ad from the fake lady did not, of course, deserve to be dragged into a garage and beaten up by a guy pretending to be a hot blond. He just wanted a date. But…public places, people. Meet in a public place. If you do that a few times and then decide they probably aren’t mass murderers, then maybe you can go to their homes. During the day.

Like I said, I didn’t even adhere to my own rules all of the time. I once met a Match.com guy at his house – fortunately, neither of us were remotely attracted to each other and had an awkward dinner nearby before saying quick goodbyes and jetting off into the sunset alone and with my head attached. And I admit to making out with a cute Irish guy on a weekend trip to South Beach, in a situation where he could have turned out to have been a rapist, on some sort of Interpol list or an international car thief. (He turned out to be just a very drunk Irish guy.)

The vulnerability of dating, of meeting new people, is bad enough without thinking that every profile or offered drink is masking a trip to starring in your very own “Dateline NBC” episode…as the victim. So…single people….be smart. But don’t watch this show. Picking a profile photo is scary enough.

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