Online Dating Horror Stories

Internet dating has become an extremely popular way to meet people, and has indeed brought a lot of lonely folks together. But not every date turns out like an eHarmony ad. So in observance of Valentine's Day, we consulted readers, friends, a few experts, and a number of sites (notably Craigslist Personals) to gather the funniest, strangest, and most horrific online dating stories we could find. Lonely people, broken hearts, false claims, dashed expectations, doctored photos, bailouts, and no-shows--it's all part of the online dating experience, and we unearthed a little of everything.

"Beth" from Portland, Oregon, posted this note at an online dating site:

Online dating can produce some of the worst dates ever. The last guy I went out with brought a sock puppet--a sock puppet--on our date and tried to talk to me with it. To be cute, I think. But it freaked me out. Seriously. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but no sock puppets, please.

The old mid-date disappearing act has taken on a whole new utility in the age of Internet dating. Exhibit A comes from "Jill" in the San Francisco Bay Area, who posted the following on Craigslist:

I get an ad from a guy roughly my age who has a hot bike, and some pics showing he's fairly attractive. We e-mail back and forth a bit, he says he's definitely looking for the same thing, and finally we agree to meet at a coffee shop. The only thing I recognized was the bike. He resembled his pics the way Stuart Little resembles Mickey Mouse. His teeth were black, absolutely disgusting, and he had a cyst beside his left eye. He had to be 10 to 15 years older than me.... Not only that, but I got the distinct impression that he personally knew where a few bodies were buried.

I couldn't help it. I gaped. Then I couldn't look at him at all. I flipped the pages of the magazine I had brought in case of a no-show and glanced at him periodically, wondering how the [expletive removed] was I going to extricate myself from this. So he says he's going to get a coffee. And goes inside. That was his first mistake. Leaving my coffee and magazine, and barely taking time to snatch up my purse, I put my cell phone to my ear like I had just received an emergency call and literally hauled ass down the street to my car before he came back out. Karma says I am going to pay for that. Fine.

Caroline Presno, dating expert and author of Profiling Your Date: A Smart Woman's Guide to Evaluating a Man, says online daters are sometimes perceived as unable to meet people the old-fashioned way, and so are somehow "damaged goods." She recounts this example:

An attractive, 30-year-old female teacher was really looking forward to her first meeting with an attorney she had been e-mailing for a while. But on the date, before the waitress even brought the water, the guy said, "So let's get down to it, what's wrong with you?"

Jayne Hitchcock, a cybercrime expert from York, Maine, tells us she's now engaged to a fellow she met on True.com while doing research for her book, Net Crimes & Misdemeanors. But, she says, she had to kiss a few frogs before finally finding her prince.

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