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The curse of the '80s: Never-ending bad dates



Andrew McCarthy and Molly Ringwald in Pretty in PinkSome things from the '80s come and go and remain stuck in time, never to repeat themselves. The overuse of AquaNet. Parachute pants. Feathered hair. Other phenomenons stick with us like a bad tattoo. I'm thinking specifically of the curse of the "Bad Date."

I remember the first really bad date I ever had. It was like yesterday. Technically, it was 1984. I was working the grill at the McDonalds in the nearby mall, and for some reason, a girl I'd never seen before was giving me the oddest smile. I thought maybe it was because I was dressed head to toe in a polyester suit that smelled like Filet O' Fish. But no. She gave one of the cashiers a note, telling me where to meet her when I got off work.

Can you imagine that? Picking up a hot girl while I'm wearing the Golden Arches and a trucker's hat with the Hamburglar on it? We made plans to go see a new movie, a little comedy called Ghostbusters. Yeah, yeah. Some people out there know the story.

The minute she saw me in NORMAL clothes, her interest was diminished. This girl either had an addiction to McNuggets and coveted my employee discount on greasy eats or I had zero style sense back when I was 16. But while waiting in line for tickets, I dropped an f-bomb for some long-forgotten reason and her eyes lit up with fire. She barely said a word to me afterward. Every minute of watching Ghostbusters began to feel like an hour. In the span of 90 minutes, I went from being her fast-food hero to something subhuman.

When I dropped her off, she gave me the words I'd hear again from time to time in my dating adventures: "If I never see you again, have a nice life."

Yeah. She slimed me.

To this day, watching Ghostbusters is the emotional equivalent of putting a family pet to sleep.

Turns out that one bad date wouldn't even come close to the ones I've suffered through in the last two years ... or the cinematic bad dates of the '80s. Feel free to add your own stories and movie suggestions. In the meantime, here are five bad date moments that make me feel better about the Ghostbusters every day.

PRETTY IN PINK: What was going on in Andrew McCarthy's head? Who in their right mind asks out Molly Ringwald and then drags her to a party at James Spader's house? (Spader's the king -- on or off screen.)

HANNAH AND HER SISTERS: Woody Allen is set up with more bad dates in 2 hours that I could squeeze into two lifetimes. But when he describes his date with punk rocker Dianne Wiest as "about as much fun as a Nuerenberg Trial," that's poetry. (Of course, they end up married in the end.)

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY: Billy Crystal retells the story of freaking out when he discovers his date when to Michigan State, because it reminded him of his ex-wife, who went to Northwestern. "They both Big 10 schools." (At least he got lucky at the end of the night.)

BLIND DATE: Nobody can top the misery Bruce Willis suffers through during his night with Kim Basinger. "Are we talking a loss of inhibitions here, or does she pee on the floor?" (And yes, they end up together anyway. I hate Hollywood.)

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: "Bad dates." (Poor monkey.)

[Last modified: Saturday, December 11, 2010 11:14am]


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