The sparks were flying, until my date blew up the electrics in my house

I felt blessed to have a funny and attractive man cooking for me in my tiny kitchen.

Until the explosion. 

I was close to deleting Hinge on the day Pete messaged me last summer. By way of introduction, he said he knew my friend Pip, who posed next to me in one of my photos.

Burned by one too many boring dates with finance bros and recruiters, I asked Pip for a testimonial before agreeing to meet up with him. ‘This is iconic,’ she replied. ‘He’s one of my besties. 10/10 legend.’ And just like that, we were off. 

After half an hour of making small talk over cocktails in Clapham, Pete revealed we’d already met, claiming to remember my ‘eyes’ despite last looking into them aged 17 on the Ayia Napa strip in 2014. The coincidence of it thrilled me – it felt like fate was finally doing its job.

‘Only took seven years but the persistence paid off,’ he messaged afterwards. ‘It’s such a great story.’   

Vague memories of teenage Pete re-emerged in my mind after that. Tall, dressed in a neon paint covered t-shirt given to him by a club promoter, asking if I was single in the middle of a lively but grimy dance floor.

On paper, present-day Pete is perfect. He has the type of curls mothers clip off their baby’s heads and keep in scrap books. He cycles everywhere, grows his own chillies and actually reads the books you recommend. Without nerves or hesitation, he gives you compliments like ‘beautiful’ and ‘impressive’ and has inexplicably sexy hands.   

But dating during the summer of 2021 wasn’t easy.

When I was in London, he was on holiday in Cornwall. When he was in London, I was with friends in Spain. Between night shifts, nights out and Covid isolation, I was exhausted trying to coordinate our diaries.

So, when we found a date that worked, we decided on a night at mine and Pete offered to cook spaghetti vongole: my favourite meal.

He was busy chopping chillies, onion and garlic while expressing horror at my lack of high-quality kitchen essentials (rock salt and extra virgin olive oil) when suddenly there was a loud bang. 

Green light erupted from the hob, I shrieked, and Pete calmy concluded: ‘Oh, I think that was a clam.’

I was almost certain clams didn’t have mysterious explosive qualities – but I didn’t want to back seat chef and went to check my phone instead. It was on 2% and I reached for my charger, conscious I needed to set an alarm for my 6am start for work. 

I flicked the socket on, nothing. I tried to turn my bedside lamp on, nothing. I pivoted back towards the kitchen to tell Pete the power was gone. And that’s when I saw it: the frazzled wires and melted cable.

It wasn’t an electromagnetic clam at all – he’d tripped the power and almost caused an electrical fire by leaving the cord of my toaster hanging over the stove’s open flame. 

Shrugging off near-disaster and my rapidly building meltdown, Pete merrily suggested: ‘Shall we eat?’

Sat at the table twirling forkfuls of spaghetti vongole into our mouths in the dark, I internally screamed at my situation. How the f**k I was going to get to the office on time without an alarm? I couldn’t work from home without Wi-Fi or a functioning laptop. Where would I go? To a friend’s? Should I just stay with Pete? 

Our small talk was stagnant, the tension palpable and as soon as the plates were clear we ran to the fuse box downstairs.

None of the switches in the electrics cupboard by the front door had tripped and, with the go-to solution off the table, my exhausted brain started to tell me a night alone with a pizza would have been much, much easier than this.    

At 10pm I rang the flat below me to see if their power worked (it did). I rang my housemate’s boyfriend who was an engineer. I sent frenzied messages to our handy man who had, obviously, clocked off for the night.

Mentally, I cursed Pete, who was wafting around on the landing, chuckling on the phone to his dad while sourcing advice as I furiously panicked.   

After almost an hour without progress, suddenly I realised: if the flat downstairs had their own independent fuse box away from the mains, then we must have one too.

I yanked open the coat cupboard in my hallway and threw hoodies and jackets on the floor behind me to expose the all-important switches.   

Striding up to the fuse box, Pete flicked the tripped switch triumphantly. ‘Haha! I’m the hero,’ he grinned as my charger pinged into action. He thought it was cute that he’d ‘saved the day’ – I wanted to head butt him for stealing the glory.  

While Pete’s calm demeanour throughout should have soothed my panic, it only left me feeling alone in solving the problem.

The moment the toaster combusted, the spark between us was gone.

But he stayed the night because the trains had stopped, and I slept on my back with my arms crossed like I was going down a water slide.

We fizzled out through lacklustre messages after that and the next time I saw Pete was a chance encounter two months later at the London Marathon where we were both supporting friends; but I was done believing that fate was pushing us together this time.  

A dating app devotee, Pete inevitably popped up on Hinge again where I saw he was using this story as his ‘biggest date fail’ – something we can both agree on.

But Pip was right, anyone would be lucky to date him – just, for the love of God, keep him away from your electrical appliances.

So, How Did It Go?

So, How Did It Go? is a weekly series that will make you cringe with second-hand embarrassment or ooze with jealousy as people share their worst and best date stories.

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