OK, I give up. I met a guy online. He said I was very pretty (and I actually look like my pictures). We talked several times, and had lots in common, so I took a train to where he lives and he drove us to a baseball game. Let me be clear: At no time did it seem he wasn’t enjoying himself. We laughed and flirted. He even mentioned a second date. Then it happened. In the eighth inning, after we’d each had four beers, he went to the bathroom. The ninth inning starts, and he’s not back. The game ends. He’s still gone. He left this voicemail on my phone: “Hey, I’m across the street at a bar called...” I call him a few times. No answer. So, I text him, “What kind of person leaves a woman stranded at a baseball game?!” He responds, “A bad one.” Sigh. I’m always attracting losers. What the hell did I do to deserve this one?
                                  —Stunned


    At baseball games, a lot of people cut out early to beat the rush. Maybe this guy drank so much that he did that — and then, at the bar, remembered, “Oh, crap, I was on a date!”
    What kind of person leaves a woman stranded at a baseball game? “A bad one,” sure. Beyond that, my guess? A thrifty drunk. Maybe he needs to be hammered to feel OK on a date, or maybe his one true love is a girl named Bud. At stadium prices, eight beers (assuming he bought yours) could approach 60 bucks. And maybe because he was only halfway to Hammertown, and you’re a near-stranger from the Internet, he found it easier to exercise casual cruelty. The devil on one shoulder said, “Can’t wait till this night’s over and I dump her off at the train station!” The devil on the other snapped, “Why wait? To hell with her, we’re going to the bar!”
    There’s an ideal time to find out a guy’s all “Every day’s an alcoholiday for me!” and it isn’t when he’s your ride back to the train. On a first date, you should always have a getaway car. First dates should be short, easy on the wallet, and local — a couple hours for coffee or drinks as opposed to dinner or a deep-sea fishing trip.
    Any woman can trip over a man with problems. When you do, do you keep him? That’s a problem. If you’re drawn to men with problems, that’s a problem. If you just aren’t paying attention, you have to start. People usually give you clues as to who they really are — in conversation and online. Do your best to spot them, but don’t take it personally when dates turn out to be duds.
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