Learning from the dating school of hard knocks

Let Inga Tell You. Look for La Jolla resident Inga's lighthearted looks at life every other week in The La Jolla Light.
Let Inga Tell You. Look for La Jolla resident Inga's lighthearted looks at life every other week in The La Jolla Light.

I was interested to read in a local newspaper recently about a website where people can vent about disastrous dates. Where were these people 28 years ago when I needed them? I was engaged to my first husband at 19 and totally clueless about dating when I was divorced at 35. But I can say with some certainty that I learned more from my first date as a newly single woman than I did from the next 30.

A woman friend invited me to a cocktail party at her downtown San Diego condo. Well, midway through, a good-looking guy (Mistake 1), who in retrospect was already a bit sloshed (Mistake 2) invited me to go to a “fundraiser” with him after the party. This sounded innocent enough (Mistake 3) and I accepted (Mistakes 4-7).

So off we went in his car (Mistake 8 ) and I wondered when we got there why there were three police cars in front of this house. When we went in (Mistake 9), I discovered that this was a fundraiser for an organization trying to legalize marijuana. My date kept disappearing into a bedroom with some other people, from which he would emerge incredibly bright-eyed and cheery. I also couldn’t help but notice that he consumed incredible quantities of alcohol – some 15 drinks.

Several times I suggested that I was ready to go home, but he said he wasn’t ready yet and I didn’t want to be rude. (I have long since concluded that if we treated our spouses even a quarter as nicely as the jerks we subsequently date, divorce would be virtually unheard of in America.) It never occurred to me to just call a cab and leave (Inexplicably Idiotic Mistake 10).

At 2 a.m., I finally 


that we leave. In my opinion, he was far too drunk to drive so I insisted on driving his incredibly expensive sports car even though I was never too good on stick shifts. He was so out of it he let me. Fortunately, there’s not a lot of traffic at 2 a.m. and I finally maneuvered this vehicle into my driveway. I invited him in for coffee (Mega-mistake 11) since he was in no shape to drive while I pondered what to do with him.

While I was making coffee, I glanced into the living room and there he was, snorting what I am sure must be cocaine off my coffee table – right next to “The Runaway Bunny!” I told him I was calling a cab and he was to vacate himself from my home immediately. I suddenly realized that he was going to have no idea where he left his car, so I thoughtfully put a note in his shirt pocket saying “You left your car at …”  (Mistake 13; I should have had it towed to Tijuana.)

On his way out the door, he stopped by my refrigerator and grabbed an open bottle of wine that he drank on the curb in front of my house until the cab came. He didn’t come to pick up his car for three days. When he did, I was polite (Mistake 14) and said, “I see you’ve recovered.” He looked at me blankly and said, “Who are you?”

* Look for La Jolla resident Inga’s lighthearted looks at life every other week in The La Jolla Light. Reach her at




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