I clearly remember the morning before my most awkward date, almost as clearly as I remember the sinking feeling of not knowing what to say or do as it happened. My apartment smelled faintly of lavender lotion, warm air filtered in through our second story windows, and my roommate and I had started the morning off slowly, sipping coffee and relishing in the quiet Saturday morning stillness.

I can’t recall her plans for the day now, probably homework or hanging out with her then boyfriend (now husband). Me? I had plans. Newly single, living on my own for the first time, I was grabbing college life by the horns and was headed out on a date.

We’re going to call him Hank. He was a year older than me, and we knew each other from a college church group. We had plenty of mutual friends, and he came “highly recommended.” Our plans for that fateful day were simple.

He’d pick me up about 11:30 a.m., we’d grab lunch at the salad buffet and go from there.

Right on cue, Hank knocked on the door.

I noticed right away. Half of his face was shaven, and the other half was slightly hairy, which made him look sort of like a hairy Phantom of the Opera.

I didn’t know what to do. Do you point out the flaw and risk seeming pretentious and self-absorbed? Ignore it and hope he figured out the other half by date two?

Hank solved my conundrum by explaining before I even had a chance to ask. But that didn’t make things any less awkward.

Hank: “I’m sure you noticed my face?”

Me: “Oh, yeah … what happened?”

Hank: “Oh, I ran out of battery power on the way over here, I’ll show you when we get in the car.”

Me: “…”

Apparently, Hank, pressed for time, had decided to use a battery-operated razor on the way to pick me up. The batteries died a few miles from my house and he, one, didn’t have time to finish and, two, as I soon found out, didn’t have time to clean up all the hair from the front seat.

Yep, that was awkward.

The date continued to go downhill from there. Like planned, we ate at the salad buffet, but I was told many times during lunch about all the unhealthy options available — salad dressing bacon, cheese and olives. I looked down at my plate and found all four staring back at me.

The real kicker came when we somehow started talking about my dream to live and work in Kenya. Somehow, Hank felt that was his clue to start talking about how he believes sexually transmitted diseases come from rabbits. At this point, I just wanted to get home, and though a teetotaler at the time, I was debating breaking into my roommate’s stash of white zinfandel.

We went out one more time — I had a two date rule unless something creepy happened. And since it seemed Hank was just having a terrible day, I gave it another go. We went to the zoo and unfortunately, STDs came up again, and I knew it was over.

When he asked me out to the roller rink a week later, I politely declined.

Want to see hear about more awkward dates? Reporter Natalie Feulner and photographer Gabor Degre combed the streets of Bangor in search of the best awkward date stories. Check out Degre’s video at bangordailynews.com.

Natalie Feulner is a journalist and “semi-crunchy” cloth diapering momma to a rambunctious toddler named after a county in California. She drinks too much tea and loves to climb rocks but not at the...