Shark Fail

Story Sent in by Richard:

I was on vacation on my own in a small coastal city in Florida when I met Talia at a beach bar. She was also there on her own and I struck up a conversation with her. We took a short walk up and down a pier, kissed, exchanged information, and made plans to meet up for breakfast the next morning.

We had a good breakfast, then decided to hit the beach together. We jumped into the water, swam around a bit in chest-high water, and all seemed fine until she surfaced, pointed, and yelled, "Shark!"

Instinctively, I grabbed her arm and yanked her towards the shore. "Ow!" she yelled, "Get off! You're hurting me!"

You're welcome for attempting to save you from a shark. When we finally made it to shallower water, she wrenched away from me and yelled, "What's wrong with you? You really hurt my wrist!"

I said, "You saw a shark. I meant to pull you out of the water. Should I have just swam away and saved myself?"

She said, "I was kidding! There was no shark! And now my wrist hurts, asshole!"

I glanced at the water. There was no immediate sign of a shark, and I was forced to conclude that her explanation was probably accurate. She rubbed her wrist and repeated, "My wrist hurts, asshole!"

"Why would you scare me half to death? That's like screaming 'fire' in a movie theater!"

She said, "We're not in a movie theater, genius! My wrist really hurts! I think you broke it!"

"I'm sorry if I hurt you, but I'm sure I didn't break it. Let me take a look."

She jerked away, yelled, "No!" then grabbed her towel and ran up the beach, cradling her wrist the whole way.

I went back in the water for a little bit longer, then packed up my own stuff, walked back up the beach, and took off.


  1. I think the OP is the bad date. Why would you think you could haul an able-bodied person out of the water by her wrist faster than she could swim/walk on her own? Yanking someone out of the path of a shark that was lunging directly at them would be helpful, but if it's just a fin in the distance, then just get your own damn self out and only yank the other person if they seem to need help. Stupid joke, but even stupider reaction

  2. She points to a purported shark, and his first instinct is to help someone else instead of saving himself. Yeah. Bad on you, OP. Bad on you.

  3. His heart may have been in the right place, but his approach was incredibly unhelpful. If someone sniffs the air and says, "Hey, I smell smoke!" and you react by shoving them out of a second-story window to 'save them from the flames', that's stupid, no matter how nice you may have intended to be.

  4. I think they're BOTH bad dates - Talia for yelling "shark" (which is not really that funny and I can't see how that would end well) and the OP for his illogical overreaction. I mean seriously, if it WAS a real shark dragging her by her wrist and pulling her would only slow both of you down even more due to water resistance than if you both swam to shore individually. There's no merit badge for "good intentions" - if you want to help somebody, do it RIGHT or go home.

    Fortunately, Talia deserved the hurt wrist since it was all just a joke in the first place, but as Beth pointed out, you have a remarkably unhelpful way of helping people, so it's something to consider for the future..

  5. wtfudge?! and then she'd have fussed at him when they got to shore for leaving her in the water with a shark. looks like OP was in a no-win situation either way, but i'm with jmg on this.

  6. @R: If he wanted to be gallant, I think the thing to do would have been to place himself between his date and open water, letting her head directly for land while he followed her more slowly, keeping watch. The drag-her-by-the-wrist plan not only slows them both down, it puts him on the shore side of them while she's being dragged through the water on the open-water side like bait.

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  8. A selfish person would have rushed to shore to save himself. If he started to rush in and saw that she was frozen stiff from fright, he'd have to either continue to think of himself or run back out to try to help her. I think this guy would have done the latter. Team OP all the way.

  9. Let's tally it up: Talia made a dumb and potentially harmful joke, OP reacted in a well-meaning and potentially harmful way. Not a fantastic start, but they're both about even at that point.

    Then Talia snatches the title of worse date by overreacting to what had up until then been basically a misunderstanding. She comes off worse here, if perhaps not by too much.

  10. Everyone who is saying the OP "didn't do it right", I would like to point out that he honestly thought there was a shark in the vicinity and probably wasn't going too sit around thinking "Hmmm, now what would be the best way to escape? Dragging her by her wrist and pulling her would only slow both of us down even more due to water resistance than if we both swim to shore individually... Hmmm...". His first instinct was to run like hell from the danger and try to help his date at the same time.

  11. The OP was completely out of line. Proper dating etiquette demands that the male on the date in case of a suspected shark attack should carefully evaluate the situation before taking action. First the size and species of the shark should be determined, this may take some time as it involves locating the shark and comparing its characteristics to other sharks (wikipedia could be very useful). Once the type of shark is known attention to local conditions such as tide, water temperature and time of the shark's last meal should be accounted for. In the event of an actual attack, further consideration should be given to the time of year - for instance if the date is Feb. 14th the shark bite might simply be a love nip, Oct. 31th might be an attempt to just scare you, and late July may simply be a promotion for 'Shark Week' on the Discovery Channel. Only then should a man consider his date's amount of blood loss, flailing about and being dragged away from shore as a possible sign that intervention is warranted.

  12. What's not been covered is: Since his assumption was that it WAS a real shark that she saw, his pulling her by the wrist should have ben met with little to no resistance, since SHE should have been quickly headed in the same direction, to safety.

    Since she knew she was joking, she stood fast and caused the wrist pull to inflict pain.

    Team OP.

    Sorry BethRD -- The "shoving someone out a window" analogy for smelling smoke does not equate.

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  14. Baku, that's EXACTLY what he should have done. That's what I've ALWAYS done in crisis situations, from things ranging from a knife-scuffle to losing all my cash in the most remote tribal regions of China. (This is why also why life tends to be good to me - because I deal with problems in a rational and efficient manner.) "Wasting" a few moments to plan saves a WHOLE lot of time (and pain) afterwards because you can react in the most pragmatic way possible instead of just doing things willy-nilly like an idiot. Indeed, the ability to think rather than react instinctively is what separates human beings from animals, and while I give the OP full marks for gallantry, I also look down on him for his trigger-happy panic reaction.

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