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Do What You Gotta Do by Sara Wilcox

Okay, here's a bad date: I met this guy at a frat party right when I moved to Philadelphia for college. As in, right when I moved to the West Philly ghetto from the middle-upper-class suburbs of NJ where I grew up under the constant surveillance of my repressive parents. So there I am, assuming this dude is a Penn student like me, and I decide to go out with him the next day. He picks me up in his vehicle -- "car" would be an overstatement -- and hands me a shoebox with the trashiest pair of stiletto boots I'd ever seen up to that point and tells me to change into them, which I do, to indulge him.

As we drive west, deeper and deeper into West Philly, I start to wonder if this guy really is a Penn student. This hunch becomes a definite assessment when he starts lamenting about the "three strikes" law because he's two down since he recently got out of jail for aggravated assault for the second time.

At this point we're at some diner, deep in the hood, and I've long since decided that I need to stay on his good side for the sake of survival. I'm nodding along in agreement to everything he says, all the while imagining how my parents will deal with my death as well as their incompetence as parents for ever having let their moronic daughter out of their sight.

"Date-from-hell" finishes his grilled cheese sandwich, hands me the bill (no joke), and next thing I know we're driving to his house -- "crack house" is more like it. He gets out of the car and proceeds to the door, like I'm supposed to follow him. My common sense has finally kicked in, and I decide that if I must die tonight, it will not be in a crack house.

I remain on the sidewalk and tell him that I want to go home. He shoots a look at me and goes inside. That's it. There I am -- a moronic white girl with the life experience of a wombat, standing alone in front of a crack house in the West Philly ghetto at 2 a.m. Then, like I'm in a movie, a Cadillac slowly rolls up, stops in front of me, and the window begins to go down. As my life flashes before my eyes, "date-from-hell" emerges from the crack house and tells me he'll drive me home.

Nothing could have made me happier at this point than to jump right back into crackhead-convict's car. What's more, he actually did drive me home. Granted, I had to make him believe that I only wanted to go back to my place because I had a big new bed and a stash of "toys" that I wanted to break in. I did what I had to do.

We got back to campus, and as we're walking to the freshmen dorms I crossed my fingers and prayed that the security guard for the dorm was awake for a change. My prayers were answered -- guests weren't permitted after 3 a.m., and I had just made the cut-off. All's well that ends well, except I never did get my damn shoes back.

Tell us the story of your breakup and/or date from hell and we will publish it and pay you ($100 for 500-2000 words).

E-mail story to
[email protected]
Or mail to:
San Diego Reader/Dumped
Box 85803
San Diego, CA 92186

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Okay, here's a bad date: I met this guy at a frat party right when I moved to Philadelphia for college. As in, right when I moved to the West Philly ghetto from the middle-upper-class suburbs of NJ where I grew up under the constant surveillance of my repressive parents. So there I am, assuming this dude is a Penn student like me, and I decide to go out with him the next day. He picks me up in his vehicle -- "car" would be an overstatement -- and hands me a shoebox with the trashiest pair of stiletto boots I'd ever seen up to that point and tells me to change into them, which I do, to indulge him.

As we drive west, deeper and deeper into West Philly, I start to wonder if this guy really is a Penn student. This hunch becomes a definite assessment when he starts lamenting about the "three strikes" law because he's two down since he recently got out of jail for aggravated assault for the second time.

At this point we're at some diner, deep in the hood, and I've long since decided that I need to stay on his good side for the sake of survival. I'm nodding along in agreement to everything he says, all the while imagining how my parents will deal with my death as well as their incompetence as parents for ever having let their moronic daughter out of their sight.

"Date-from-hell" finishes his grilled cheese sandwich, hands me the bill (no joke), and next thing I know we're driving to his house -- "crack house" is more like it. He gets out of the car and proceeds to the door, like I'm supposed to follow him. My common sense has finally kicked in, and I decide that if I must die tonight, it will not be in a crack house.

I remain on the sidewalk and tell him that I want to go home. He shoots a look at me and goes inside. That's it. There I am -- a moronic white girl with the life experience of a wombat, standing alone in front of a crack house in the West Philly ghetto at 2 a.m. Then, like I'm in a movie, a Cadillac slowly rolls up, stops in front of me, and the window begins to go down. As my life flashes before my eyes, "date-from-hell" emerges from the crack house and tells me he'll drive me home.

Nothing could have made me happier at this point than to jump right back into crackhead-convict's car. What's more, he actually did drive me home. Granted, I had to make him believe that I only wanted to go back to my place because I had a big new bed and a stash of "toys" that I wanted to break in. I did what I had to do.

We got back to campus, and as we're walking to the freshmen dorms I crossed my fingers and prayed that the security guard for the dorm was awake for a change. My prayers were answered -- guests weren't permitted after 3 a.m., and I had just made the cut-off. All's well that ends well, except I never did get my damn shoes back.

Tell us the story of your breakup and/or date from hell and we will publish it and pay you ($100 for 500-2000 words).

E-mail story to
[email protected]
Or mail to:
San Diego Reader/Dumped
Box 85803
San Diego, CA 92186

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