They say no good deed goes unpunished, and I agree. I’ve seen plenty of evidence in my own life: For example, one time, I baked a pie for my then-boyfriend, and his two best friends. They were coming over to watch the Oscars, and I said, “Oh, great! I’ll make a pie.”
“Great!” he said.
My then-boyfriend and his friends planned a boys’ afternoon out. They’d have their afternoon out, then pick up food for dinner. Tacos? Pizza? Chinese? We decided on pizza. We’d all reconvene later at my place for pizza, pie, and Oscars.
But then they arrived, all three of them, having picked up individual pizzas for themselves, and having forgotten to get one for me. This may – may – have been forgivable, if they’d made an appropriate apology, and offered to run out in that moment to pick me something up. But no. The boyfriend’s friends shrugged and said, “Oh, crap. Sorry.” When they finished their pizzas – each man offered me a sliver of their own – they left all the garbage of their takeout food strewn across the kitchen table. It sat there even as they waved goodbye, and escorted themselves out. I turned to my boyfriend, desperate for some acknowledgement of how absurd his friends’ behavior had been. He just shrugged, though, like boys will be boys, and turned back toward the TV.
This happened five years ago. And I do beg your pardon if this makes me seem bitter, but in truth: I still become enraged when I remember it. Oh. And did I break up with the boyfriend soon after Pizza-Pie-Gate? Indeed I did. It’s like, seriously: How could I not?
This stuff happens all the time, these punished good deeds, everything about you that’s sweetly well-intentioned. And never more so than in the dating world. We want to put our best foot forward. But sometimes we get so obsessed with doing so – we wax! we tweeze! we dye! we sweat! – that, actually, we don’t wind up looking our best, so much as we wind up looking … ridiculous. Ever so slightly deranged. Included below, a list of pre-date preparations gone terribly wrong. Those occasions when, in trying to put that best foot forward, we wind up shooting ourselves in it. And along with these incidents I’ve included some helpful tips on how to cover them up. Just so you never have to suffer the same embarrassments.
1. A waxing accident. Years ago, I met a man named Mark through a friend of mine named Todd. Todd told me, “You should date my friend Mark. He’s bizarre. You’re bizarre. I think it could be a match.” Weeks later, I met Mark at a Halloween party. From what I could tell from across the room, Mark was not only bizarre – he’d come dressed as a massive human tampon – but also terribly attractive. We eventually got to talking, and as we talked, Mark showed himself to be funny and charming as well as bizarre and terribly attractive. In short, I felt I’d fallen in love. As the conversation drew to a close, Mark asked me on date, and I swear to you: I had to work actively not to mount his tampon costume then and there, in lieu of saying yes.
I was more excited about this date then I’d been about anything in a long time, and the day before it happened, decided it might be a good idea – for the first time in my life – to get, not only my lip waxed, but my chin waxed as well. I wanted to be flawless and hair-free for my future-perfect-boyfriend Mark.
Suffice it to say that the lady who performed this waxing did so with toddler-like grace, and wound up removing, not only the hair on my chin, but an inch-long strip of skin as well.
The solution: When I was out with Mark later that night, the inch-long gash on my chin staring him square in the eye, I thought it best to address the situation head on.
“You’re probably wondering about the gash on my chin,” I said. “It’s really embarrassing, but I got it into my head I wanted to bake a pie the other day, and I was walking with this knife to go and trim the pie-crust, and I fell – I’m so, like, totally a klutz! – and wound up stabbing myself in the chin!”
What I can say is this: I thought being engaged in the baking process would make me more alluring than mentioning the facial hair I’m always having to contend with. And when, years later, Pizza-Pie-Gate went down, it occurred to me it was probably my just desserts (pun intended) for having lied to Mark all those years before.
2. A bad dye job: A few years back, not long after the Pizza-Pie-Gate breakup, I was feeling sad and lonely, and so I was a little more excited then I would otherwise have been, when this guy I knew from my local coffee shop, Will, asked me on a date. Will was always going on about how much he liked my red hair, so a few days prior to our date, I decided to give the color a spruce up. (Because c’mon: I’m not really a redhead. But these are secrets we keep to ourselves. And by “ourselves,” I mean the people who read our stories on the internet.) I was broke at the time, though, so I decided to dye my own hair, from out of the box.
It came out looking insane: What once was a fading auburn – what was supposed to become a delicious strawberry blond – was now orange. Horrible orange. We’re talking, like, the comedian Carrot Top at his absolute worst.
The solution: My only saving grace was that it was December. December of 2010. If you see any photo of me from that period you notice I’m wearing the same royal blue, knit cap. I wore it non-stop for four weeks, at which point the color had faded enough (and I’d saved enough money) to be able to get it corrected by a professional. I had to sacrifice sleeping with Will, though, because I’m being serious when I say: I did not take that hat off. Not in public. At the end of our date, I claimed to be freezing, and feeling unwell. And that was that. I went, “Brr! I’m so, so cold. I hate to have to go, but I think I’m coming down with something.”
3. Intense itching from pubic shaving. So this one isn’t mine, it’s my friend Jeremy’s. Long story short, Jeremy scored himself a date a few years back, with a friend of a friend named Jennifer. They went out, and it was wonderful. They went out a second and third time, and it was even more wonderful. As their fourth date rolled around, Jeremy figured that this was the night they’d finally get to sleep together. In preparation, he shaved off all his pubic hair. He’d never done this before, but something about Jennifer communicated that she was the type of gal a guy ought to shave his balls for. So he did.
By the time dinner rolled around, his entire genital region was so itchy and inflamed, he wondered whether he’d even be able to make it through the meal, let alone manage any intercourse.
The Solution: So Jeremy took a gamble. He reached across the table for Jennifer’s hand, looked deep into her eyes.
“Listen,” he said. “I was really hoping to sleep with you tonight. In fact, I went ahead and shaved my pubes, but now I have many ingrown hairs, and it looks disgusting down there, and I can barely sit still, it’s itching so bad. Anyway, I just really hope you’ll wait for them to grow back, ‘til I’m normal again, and then maybe consider having sex with me.”
Well, Jeremy’s ploy worked. Not only did Jennifer agree to hold out until his pubic hair grew back, she recently agreed to be his wife. Score one for honestly! At least where your pubic hair is are concerned.