The 4 Worst Dates I've Ever Been On

Photographed by Rachel Cabitt.
I used to look at dating in New York as a pure numbers game. I figured that the more men I met up with for drinks, the sooner I'd find myself in a relationship. So I said yes to everyone, and stacked my calendars full of drink dates, walking dates, coffee dates, and dinner dates. In 2015, my mother and I deduced that I'd averaged two meet-ups a week, meaning that I'd gone on well over 60 dates in that year alone.
The benefit of this is that I've now become so desensitized to the prospect of meeting a potential romantic partner that I'm no longer nervous ahead of a first meeting. This also means that I never truly get excited by a first date — which some friends say is sad, but I just see as a recalibration. Now I know that if I'm excited for a second date, then the person in question must be extra special.
There have been some pitfalls to my mass-meeting agenda, however — mainly that I've gone on some pretty heinous first dates with men I might not have agreed to go out with had I not been so obsessed with the prospect of falling in love. But, since I strive to remain optimistic, I try to learn something from every horrible experience I've had. They couldn't have been for nothing — right?
Ahead, read the worst, wildest, craziest first dates I've ever been on — and what I took away from each experience. My overarching takeaway? Not every meeting is going to lead to your prince charming. But every date is a chance for a great party story.
After being raised on a steady diet of Disney movies, I expected to meet someone and fall passionately in love — but wound up collapsing under the pressures of modern dating. Luckily, I eventually realized that there's no "right" way to date, and that I need to find happiness within myself, no partner needed. It’s Not You is where I write to calm the voices in my head — and hear from all of you. Follow me on Twitter, on Instagram, or email me at maria.delrusso@refinery29.com.