I had a mortifying accident on a date and it's ruined my love life

DEAR JANE: I had a mortifying accident on a first date – now I’m too scared to ever go out with a guy again

  • In her latest agony aunt column, best-selling author Jane Green gives advice to a woman who is still struggling with feelings of shame over a date mishap 
  • She also shares wisdom with a 22-year-old who is terrified about her future 
  • Do you have a question for Jane? Email [email protected] or ask it below
  • READ MORE: My son’s nanny wants to quit because I don’t fly her first class

Dear Jane,

Back in 2021, I went on what was my first date in two years and something so mortifying happened that I haven’t been able to go out with another guy since.

I’ve never been very confident and after I broke up with my ex-boyfriend back in 2017, it took me a while to even get the courage to join a dating app. Even after I set up a profile, the idea of actually going out with someone was terrifying to me.

Eventually though, I met a guy who I seemed to really click with and I agreed to go out with him for dinner.

The date started off great! He was charming, funny, kind, and very handsome.

But while we were having drinks, my stomach started to feel a bit uncomfortable… I don’t know it was the nerves or something I’d eaten but I kept having to excuse myself to go to the bathroom, which wasn’t exactly the most romantic way to kick off the evening.

Dear Jane, I had an embarrassing incident happen on a first date – and it’s left me so ashamed I’m too afraid to go out with anyone again 

Eventually my stomach settled – and I finally felt like things were going well. He walked me home at the end of the date after a few drinks and some dinner, and as we got to my front door, he went to give me a hug. 

Maybe it was the pressure of the hug, the relief that I’d survived the date… but I farted.

Really loudly. So loudly that there was no way of hiding where it had come from or what it was. The sound still echoes in my ears four years later.

I was so, so horrified. I just stuttered something at him and ran inside where I basically broke down in tears of shame. 

He texted me the next day saying what a wonderful time he’d had, but there was no way I could reply. All of these thoughts were swimming through my head about what he really must have thought about me.

International best-selling author Jane Green offers sage advice on DailyMail.com readers’ most burning issues in her Dear Jane agony aunt column

I felt disgusting and so horrifyingly hideous.

To cut a long story short, I haven’t been able to go on a date since. Every time I even think about re-joining an app or letting a friend set me up, my mind goes back to that moment. That horrifying moment. And I’m so overcome with shame that I shut down.

I know that I need to do something to get over this feeling, but I just don’t know where to start. I haven’t been able to tell anyone about that night because I’m just so embarrassed.

Please help.


Broken Wind

Dear Broken Wind,

I am bemused and so sorry that you have not been on a date since 2021 as a result of your embarrassment over something that all humans do.

I understand how unfeminine some women find basic bodily functions – and how mortifying it can be to have someone witness it, particularly someone you are attracted to. 

You don’t say how old you are in your letter, but I am assuming you are young, for these things feel much bigger when we are young, before we encounter a myriad of embarrassing situations that help us get over it, and, in fact, help us find the humor in it.

I’m sure that you have been around people who have unwittingly farted in front of you, and I’m quite certain that whatever you thought in the moment, it passed very quickly and you didn’t really give it very much thought after that at all. We are far more focused on our own behaviors than anyone else.

The best way of helping you get over this is to ask you to imagine putting yourself in the shoes of your date, or indeed anyone who has been around someone else who inadvertently farted. 

Imagine how you feel as the observer: you might be slightly embarrassed on their behalf, but nothing like the levels of shame you have felt for far too long.

I would also start telling friends and asking for their own embarrassing stories. You will soon see that we have all had this happen, and it is entirely human. 

Now you need to put it behind you (ahem), fart harder and more often, and start living a full life again.

Dear Jane,

I graduated from college this past summer, and while all of my friends went off to pursue careers or masters or internships, I am still totally clueless about what I want to do with my life.

Everyone keeps telling me that this moment in my life is the start of my future – and it makes me feel like any decision I make now is going to set me down a path that I’ll be on forever, and that’s terrifying.

I’ve never felt a natural draw toward any kind of career, and I have no idea how to go about finding the industry or the job that’s right for me. 

But I’m now at a point where I feel like I’ve already wasted so much time, I’m panicking and just thinking about grabbing at any job that comes up. Could I be a banker? Sure, I guess. Maybe I should work at an advertising agency? Ok, fine.

But nothing truly appeals to me. And yet the idea of being totally directionless forever is even scarier.

My parents keep pushing me to do… something? Anything? But if this decision is going to define the rest of my life, surely I should make it with full confidence that it’s what I want to do?

Any suggestion on how I find my life’s purpose?


Blowing in the Wind

Dear Blowing in the Wind,

Wouldn’t life be so easy if we all grew up knowing exactly what we wanted to do? Yet it is something of a misnomer, and more and more young people are doing more generalized degrees, graduating in exactly the same boat as you, with no clue as to what they are going to do for a career.

Dear Jane’s Sunday service

There are many things I wish I had known when I was younger, not least that it is okay to be uncomfortable in life, that learning to live in the discomfort can bring far more peace than constantly trying to fight it. 

It is part of human nature to want to know how life is going to turn out, but enjoying the journey, rather than focusing on the destination, is crucial to a life filled with contentment.

The good news is, our twenties are for figuring out these hard parts of life. With few responsibilities, now is the time to experiment and try out different jobs, until you find the one that fits. 

The truth is that most of us fall into our careers without any set plan, we try a few things until we find the work that we enjoy, that suits us, that we are good at.

It may be helpful to ask yourself some questions along the lines of: What do you enjoy doing? What do you dislike doing? What are you naturally good at? What are you not good at? What gives you energy? What takes energy away?

It may also be helpful to ask questions of trusted friends and family: What do you see as my gifts? Where and how do you think I can best add value in the workplace? Knowing me as you do, where do you see me thriving, and why?

Personal inventories are powerful tools, and we often dismiss our greatest gifts or take them for granted.

It may also be helpful for you to meet with a career advisor. They can take a full assessment of your skills and personality, and give you an idea of what kind of work might be a good fit for you.

Other than that, you don’t need to worry about finding your life’s purpose just yet. 

Try things on, keep moving forward, don’t let mistakes or failures prevent you from trying something else, and give yourself time to not only find the right thing, but to relax in the knowledge that this is all part of the journey. 

Every job you have will lead to the next step, even though it might not be apparent at the time. 

Even mistakes have a habit of sending us to the places we may not realize we are supposed to be. Wishing you the best of luck.

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