Learn English through Stories: First Date Disaster



Here you will find a short story with audio. This is a fantastic way for you to learn English in a natural way while learning some cool vocabulary.

Be sure to download the full lesson (link at the bottom of the page).


First Date Disaster (by Lane from ToFluency)

“You can do this!” Joe said to his reflection in the mirror. He had been giving himself a pep talk for the past 15 minutes and was running out of time to catch Mary before she left work for the day. He took a deep breath, wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans, and walked out of the bathroom towards Mary’s cubicle. He was so nervous that his heart felt like it was beating out of his chest. He couldn’t stop clenching and unclenching his fists. He approached Mary’s desk slowly and they locked eyes.

“H-h-hello, Mary,” Joe stuttered.
“Hey, Joe,” Mary said passively.

Joe had rehearsed this moment a million times. Mary was his dream girl. He had been wanting to ask her out since the first time he laid eyes on her and this was his chance! He opened his mouth to speak and before he could get the words out, his vision blurred and the room suddenly seemed upside down.

BAM, THUD. Everything went black.

Joe vaguely heard Mary’s voice say, “Oh my god, are you alright?” He slowly opened his eyes and was looking at the ceiling. There was a small crowd of people stood around him. He realized that in the midst of working up the courage to ask Mary on a date, he had fainted. Based on the pain he felt in his back, he probably hit the floor pretty hard too.

Feeling slightly delirious from his fall, Joe blurted out in front of all of his coworkers, “Mary, will you go on a date with me tonight?” Mary laughed and said, “Sure! You can pick me up at 7.”

Joe didn’t know whether she agreed to go on a date with him to spare him any further embarrassment or because she she actually wanted to go. Either way, he was excited!

He went home, changed his clothes, combed his hair, got in his car, and left to pick up Mary. He arrived at her house and knocked on the door. She opened the door and Joe said, “Wow, Mary! You look gorgeous!” Mary said, “Thanks. Do you know that your shirt is inside out?” Joe’s face flushed bright red. He awkwardly said, “Oh, yeah! I wore it this way on purpose. It’s a new trend in Europe.” It was obviously a lie made up on the spot. Mary laughed out loud and said, “I like it!”

Joe drove them to a restaurant called The Fat Pig. They sat at a table and ordered drinks. Joe explained, “This restaurant is the BEST place to come for any type of meat! They have pork, chicken, and beef, all cooked to perfection! Every single dish includes meat and they are all delicious.” Mary looked extremely uncomfortable. Joe gave her a quizzical look and Mary said softly, “I’m a vegetarian.” Joe couldn’t believe it! He had messed up again! If he hadn’t been so nervous, he would have remembered to ask Mary what kind of food she likes. If he had asked Mary what kind of food she likes, they wouldn’t have been sitting in a restaurant that does not cater to vegetarians!

Joe started blurting out apologies, but Mary stopped him and said, “Let’s just go get ice cream for dinner instead!” So, they left the restaurant, got ice cream cones and sat down on a bench by the river. Joe was finally able to relax and they ended up talking and laughing for hours. The first date turned into a second date and two years later, they got married! Mary still teases Joe about their disastrous first date. However, Mary said at their wedding, “If he hadn’t fainted when he asked me on our first date, I probably wouldn’t have agreed to go on the date! I thought it was funny and sweet that he was so nervous, so I decided to give him a chance! If he hadn’t taken me to a non-vegetarian restaurant, we wouldn’t have sat by the river with ice cream and gotten to know each other so well! Everything happens for a reason.” So despite a rough start, Mary and Joe ended up very happy together. Everything does happen for a reason!

Language Analysis

He had been giving himself a pep talk for the past 15 minutes and was running out of time to catch Mary before she left work for the day.

Subject + had + past participle of “to be” + gerund … for + duration of time
I had been doing nothing for the past couple of hours.
She had been swimming in the lake by herself for over an hour.
We had been laughing at our friend for the entire day.


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