My Friend, the Washcloth

Story Sent in by Ian:

Amanda and I met online and after exchanging several messages, I asked her if she wanted to meet in person. She ignored that question and went on to address everything else in my message except for that.

Perhaps she hadn't seen it. I replied to her subsequent message and again asked her, in the context of other information, if she wanted to meet in person. Again, she ignored the query in her reply. Finally, I wrote her a message with the single phrase, "Would you like to meet up, sometime?"

She wrote back: "Fine."

I wrote her again, to hash out the particulars. She seemed unenthusiastic about the entire thing, but I figured that if she didn't want to meet up, then she wouldn't be going along with the idea. Besides, why be on a dating site if you're not going to actually go out with people?

The night of the date, I went out to the restaurant where we had arranged to meet, and I was surprised to find her there with another girl. They had been sitting next to each other in a booth when I arrived.

The girl introduced herself, "I'm Colleen. Amanda's friend."

"Hi Colleen," I said, "Nice to meet you. What are you doing here?"

She took Amanda's hand and said, "I'm just moral support. Have a seat!"

I turned my attention to Amanda, who had thus far not said anything. "Is Colleen going to be with us the whole time?"

Colleen asked me, "Is that a problem? I'm not going to interfere with anything. Amanda just asked me to come along."

Amanda whispered, "Please, Ian. Just for a little bit. I'm just really nervous. It's my first time meeting someone from online."

Ah. Now it made more sense. It was still strange, but I was able to understand her intentions better. I sat down, we ordered drinks, and I started the conversation… and for the most part, kept it going.

Colleen kept a tight hold on Amanda's hand, and also had a habit of laughing after everything I said, regardless of humor content. I'd say, "…and that's how I got my first graphic design gig," and Colleen would make this donkey laugh, like, "Heeeeeee…" followed by a short snort. I laughed at it, myself the first few times that I heard it.

Not long after we ordered dinner, Amanda, who had barely said a word,  whispered into Colleen's ear, and Colleen turned to me and said, "Excuse us." The two left the table and headed for the bathroom.

Amanda came back alone, but she had something clenched tightly in her fist. It looked like a rag, or

"A washcloth," she said, noting my gaze, "I'm trying to do it without Colleen."

"Do what?"

"Stay here. At dinner. I needed her for support, but now I can pretend she's here with this washcloth. Don't get too excited. She's watching, and she has 911 on speed dial in case you try anything."

The best response I could think of was, "Separate checks?"

"If that's how it's done," she replied.

After dinner, I looked forward to going home, so we left the restaurant (no sign of Colleen) and we walked outside together. I said, "Nice meeting you," to Amanda.

Amanda, still with the washcloth clutched in her hand, nodded, then said, "Wait with me, for just a minute? Colleen's getting the car."


We stood in silence for two awkward minutes. Colleen pulled up to the curb in a car with the windows rolled down. She yelled to Amanda, "Are you okay? I've got 911 on speed dial!"

Amanda bolted for the car as if I had just tried to force myself upon her. "No, I'm not okay!" she said, trying the passenger door. Apparently, it was locked. Amanda screamed, "I'm not okay! Open the door! Open the door! Open it now!"

Colleen pounded on her power lock and the door opened. Amanda threw herself in and Colleen floored it away from me. It was a real head-scratcher, and I welcomed never hearing from either of them again.


  1. It was a real head scratcher... except for the part where OP insisted to go out with someone who clearly showed no interest. Other than that, yeah - a mystery for the ages.

  2. I actually feel bad for Amanda. It's obvious that this girl has some issues with social interactions, and even going on the date was probably a huge step for her.

  3. Dang agoraphobics! You would think she'd have mentioned that or having social anxiety disorder beforehand.

  4. Sounds like somebody has a bad case of PTSD, and having a friend who was just as ready to hit the "panic" button as she was, probably didn't help.

  5. Yeah, Churro- how dare someone on a dating site suggest a date. The nerve!

    I think Amanda would be better served in getting through her social anxiety by seeing a therapist, not a first date. But kudos to her for trying, I guess?

  6. "She ignored that question"
    "Again, she ignored the query"
    "She wrote back: "Fine.""
    "She seemed unenthusiastic about the entire thing"

    Hmmm.. definitely a head scratcher.

    Agnes I don't think Churro's saying that there's anything wrong with asking someone out on a dating site, but clearly, evidently, unmistakably, undoubtedly, obviously Amanda shouldn't have been that someone.

  7. Clearly, evidently, unmistakably, undoubtedly, obviously I agree with Sawyer. Please say Happy Birthday to Mark Twain for me, by the way.

  8. Normally, I would say that Amanda is a horrible human being who does online dating simply for the ego rush of being courted by men, without any genuine intention of following through. I've met several women like that in my years of dating - some enjoy being courted in person, some only through email, but the one thing they have in common is vanity and a complete disrespect for other people's time. I usually just play along till I can find their emotional vulnerabilities and then push those buttons hard, because it's funny and has poetic irony.

    That said, I don't think Amanda is one of those people. In fact she deserves our compassion for one important reason - she TRIED. Despite her issues, she made a legitimate effort to overcome them, and that bit with the washcloth even touched my cynical, cynical heart. So I agree with Churro: we should cut Amanda some slack.

  9. Poor Amanda. A little paranoia goes a long way for her. And Ian is a little rusty on reading his signals. Good luck to them both.

  10. The way Amanda's friend was reacting, I suspect Amanda was date-raped at some point and hasn't quite learned to cope with that yet. She tried, but she was SO not ready. A few more months in therapy might help, and her next date should be a group date with friends, so that she can get the whole "safety in numbers" feeling without being obvious about it.

    But then, I'm neither a psychic nor a psychologist, so maybe she was just plain paranoid.


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