You know that condescending look people in relationships give single people right before they dispense dating advice? I get that a lot. It’s usually followed by something like, “If you want to find someone, then you need to leave Eugene.” The advice-givers tend to presuppose that I have a burning desire to mate for life, though I suppose the advice works for recreational dating, too. I’m torn. I know plenty of people who have met their dates and mates in Eugene. But I’ve also gone on way too many bad dates in this town. Since I actually like writing for the <i>Eugene Weekly</i>, which sort of presupposes I live in Eugene, fleeing the city is not going to rescue me from the seemingly shallow pool that singles in this city have to dip into for dates. Instead, I have developed a keen sense of humor, and that essential self-preserving attitude of “it’s not me; it’s you” that keeps me sane. This sense of humor helps when I tell my editor, “Hey, I’m going to talk about bad dates to raise money for Planned Parenthood.” And he says, “Are you going to talk about that guy and the grand jury thing?” I think I might keep that one off the record, actually. On paper, most of my dates are fine fellows. Upstanding citizens. Professionals. In person, not so much. But I am learning to recognize the warning signs. One of my horse trainers once told me that when he buys a horse, he will give it two red flags, but not three. It can be too old and a biter, but it can’t also kick. This philosophy can be applied to dating. For example: I met a nice man online. Cute in photos. He could spell. These were all good signs. We agreed to meet in person. I walked into the restaurant and thought, “Oh, he is cute.” Then I thought, “Oh dear, is that his fedora on the table?” That was my first red flag. The second red flag was raised when we ordered. I got whiskey and fries. He looked horrified and got herbal tea. But I persevered. Unfortunately, so did he. To cut a long story short, the red flags began to fly, fast and furious, until I finally used the “My dog is in the car waiting for me” excuse. He wanted to meet the dog. “I love golden retrievers,” he assured me. Well, that’s great, seeing as I have a pit bull. The evening ended with me wrestling 80 pounds of loudly barking dog into my Subaru while the fedora-wearing swain, undaunted, shouted offers of swing dancing lessons at my departing back. Because you see, I warned him that my pup doesn’t like hats. I warned him she loves to be scratched and cuddled but hates when people lean over her and pat her on the head. As it turns out, some men just can’t leave their hat on the table where it belongs and, figuring that just because a dog wags her tail, it’s ok to plonk on a fedora, lean over and bonk the bitch on the head. There are more bad dating stories where this came from. It’s Not Me, It’s You: Stories from the Dark Side of Dating is 8:30 pm Friday, Feb. 10, at Cozmic Pizza on 199 W. 8th. $15 at the door or $13 in advance from CozmicPizza.com. The evening will be hosted by the hilarious anthropology professor Phil Scher and will feature the bad dates of writers Camilla Mortensen, Curt Hopkins, Jimmy Radosta and Dante Zuñiga-West, and of standup comics Leigh Anne Jasheway, Seth Milstein, Ashly Reiss and Chris Castles. Ticket holders are entered for door prizes and proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon.