Credit: Dont Fret

We asked readers to submit their least romantic stories for our Valentine’s Day issue. To read the other tales of woe and regret, see the rest of our (almost) romance-free ode to Valentine’s Day.

I was talking to a guy online who seemed to be pretty cool. I decided I wanted to see what he was like in person, so we met for coffee. Instead of the six-foot-tall, lanky guy I was expecting to see, I met up with a five-foot-four guy. (Guys, a tip: don’t lie about your height. It just makes you seem ridiculous.) I had the first that’s-kind-of-weird gut reaction, but hey, maybe he was self-conscious about his height. I decided to let it go.

We got in line for coffee and it was immediately apparent that it was not going to work out. Instead of the playful banter I had been expecting, this poor guy needed to take a pause after every couple of words. I wanted to ask him if he had ever had a speech therapist. I kept wanting to give him encouraging smiles: You can get through this sentence! Go you! It was agonizing.

After I had told him a little about my life and my chosen career path, he started to look at me with this very peculiar smile. I asked him what was up, and he replied, “I mean, I don’t want to tell you I love you”—longest pause I’ve ever felt—”but you’re pretty cool.”


After that, it was time to take myself home. I let him know, and thanked him for the coffee. He insisted on walking me to the el, and as we got up close to the stop, he gave me a tight hug, and as I tried to let go, he said, “Man, I just want to kiss you right now.” I smiled and mumbled something about “maybe next time,” because I was basically in shock and trying not to laugh. (Bad on me, I know).

He contacted me every day for three days, wanting to know when he could see me again, saying he had tickets to a show, saying that was the best date he had been on. I basically ignored it all. Finally, the evening of the third day, I got a phone call from him, which I ignored.

Three minutes later, my phone buzzed. I had a voicemail. It went something like this: “Dear Elyse, I hope you know that I am suicidal because of you. You made me believe that I was falling in love with you, and instead, you threw me into the abyss. I have never been as close to anyone else as I was to you, and that’s why this hurts so much more. I want to kill myself right now. I hope you know that you are an evil person. You are just evil. Thanks.”

After a couple of panicked phone calls to the suicide hotline, I texted him the number and said, “I’m sorry. Please don’t ever contact me again.” He replied that he had “already called” (oh boy) and that he wasn’t a bad person. And neither was I if I had just made a mistake. I never saw him again.

To this day, whenever I make fun of my friends, they tell me that I’ve thrown them into the abyss. I just hope none of my female friends meet up with him there.