It was years ago, but I still remember one of the worst dates I ever went on. It was partly my fault for agreeing in the first place, as I wasn’t terribly attracted to this guy, but he was oddly sweet in his own creepy way and we had some things (if not much) in common, so I figured he was worth a shot.

I was wrong.

After months of him not so subtly dropping signs of his interest in me, and my overwhelming pity slowly converting any rational thought in my head to a resounding “Why not?” I agreed to a date.

He wanted to take me to dinner and then a movie. This would have been fine, except that we both had food allergies and they conflicted with each other. This meant that even if we did decide to date, kissing could turn deadly very quickly, or we’d both need to drastically change diets. So, to begin with, everything about this was a terrible plan.

We stuck to the movie idea, because then if we weren’t getting along, we could just ignore each other. Ignoring him during the movie was not an option.

This is because he was screaming. He was screaming like a tiny little girl who had just gotten scared by a giant tiger. He screamed every time a gun was fired. Since we had agreed on the film together by watching some trailers, I couldn’t understand this. He knew it was a movie about people with guns shooting other people with other guns. This was not a surprise twist.

After a while, people started leaving the theater. I was tempted to do so myself, but I figured there was a reason he was responding this way. I asked him if he was okay or if he needed to leave. I told him it would be okay if we left. I wouldn’t hold it against him. He happily responded that he was fine and having a good time. He even said the movie was very well done. Okay. So, was he just being a jerk? Was this a nervous tick I had somehow not noticed over the year or so of knowing him? I did my best to just go on watching the movie.

Once it was thankfully, finally over, I asked him if there was something I should know. Had he been in a war zone at some point? Was there some other trauma or problem? We could talk about it. We could work through this together and find him help if he wanted it. I was more than happy to be there for him in his time of need, or just move on at least knowing what it was.

His response? “I’m just like that about violence. Everyone should be.”

So we left. My friend had shown up at this point, to make it less date-like if I was unhappy. She was willing to vanish if I gave her the word. I opted to let her stay. He thought he was going to get both of us at once. This was not okay.

By the end of the evening, he drove me home and walked me to the door. We stood there awkwardly for a moment before I blurted out that, no, I didn’t want to go out with him again. We didn’t have enough in common and he really wasn’t my type. I think I even added that I shouldn’t be his either.

He leaned in. I said, “No, seriously.” He kept creeping in towards my face.

I asked him why he thought I would kiss him goodnight or ever date him again. He responded by telling me that he was sure I’d change my mind. He winked and everything.

I ran inside and slammed the door. I felt bad about it, until I saw him the next day. He was happily announcing how well our “first date” went. I didn’t argue. My friends knew the truth and he was allowed his fantasies. Eventually I transferred to a different college anyway.

To this day, he still calls me every once in a while to see if I’ve changed my mind yet.