Kissing Frogs

Guest Blogger-Julie Mulhern

Hi all! I’m Charly, Rebecca’s assistant. We thought it’d be fun to do a ‘Romance: The Good, the Bad, and the Disastrous’ theme with guest bloggers throughout the summer months. Every Monday and Thursday, we’ll have a guest blogger talk about fun stuff like horrible dates, good dates, etc. Some bloggers will have a contest, and some won’t – it’s totally up to them. If there is a contest, I’ll randomly draw a winner from the post comments, send the winner’s email address to the guest blogger, and they’ll take it from there. Rebecca will jump in and blog when she can. For now, enjoy as we play!

Julie Mulhern - photo credit Larry Levenson

Photo credit Larry Levenson

In the mid-nineties I was in my mid-twenties, and I was, to put it mildly, tired of kissing frogs.

As most women can attest, frogs don’t always look like frogs. So, I instigated a weed-out policy, three simple rules applied on the first date.

Manners were important. Did he open my car door? Did he eat like a gentleman or a pig at a trough? The thought process was that I wanted a man whose mamma had raised him right.

I looked at his shoes. I like shoes. A lot. If his were run-down and in need of replacement, he probably wasn’t going to support my shoe habit. Deal-killer.

Finally, when he picked me up, had he taken the time to clean his car? I was stepping into his space for the first time. If it was filled with flotsam and jetsam—wrappers and cans and discarded mail—he wasn’t thinking long-term. And if he was, did I want to be with a man who kept a sea of White Castle wrappers on his floorboards?

It was springtime and the weather was balmy. My date and I dined al fresco at a restaurant on the Country Club Plaza and watched teenagers dressed for prom pass by on the sidewalk. Beautiful young women tottered on high heels. Handsome young men looked miserable in rented tuxes. The kids looked so…hopeful.

My date and I lingered over drinks and talked about our own proms (probably a short discussion, since I can’t remember my date or where the dance was—and not because of drinking—it was just that forgettable).

After dinner, we went to a party hosted by one of my customers (I was a banker at the time). My date earned points for going with me, since he knew no one there. We stayed long enough not to be rude, long enough for me to chat with my customer and sip a diet soda, long enough for “John” to have another drink, long enough to step out onto the balcony and admire the view.

We left and climbed into John’s immaculate BMW. Or was it an Acura? I’ve forgotten. But the next part of the evening I remember well—perhaps from the adrenaline jolt that accompanies seeing police lights in the rearview mirror.

John pulled over and a police officer peered through the window. “Sir, would you step out of the car?”

“What’s the problem, Officer?”

Did I mention that John was a lawyer?

“Please step out of the car.”

John stepped out of the car.

John recited the alphabet.

John left out “W.”

John failed additional tests and was loaded into the back of the police car.

“How much have you had to drink tonight?” the officer asked me.

“A glass of wine with dinner. That was several hours ago.”

The officer instructed me to follow him to the police station in John’s immaculate BMW (or Acura).

I sat in the waiting room for hours. In case you haven’t spent hours in a police station ‘round midnight, interesting people are there–people who probably have bad table manners, definitely have bad shoes, and most likely haven’t cleaned out their cars since they bought them (if they bought them). Many of them don’t smell good.

Finally, an officer came out to the waiting room and sat next to me. “Do you have any cash on you?” she asked.

“Thirty dollars.” At the time, thirty dollars would get me a cab ride from anywhere in the city to home. I always had thirty dollars when I went on a date.

“Mr. Doe needs to make bail.” She quoted me a four-figure sum.

“Can’t he give you a credit card?”

“Mr. Doe is carrying an American Express card. We only take Visa or MasterCard. Do you have a Visa or MasterCard?”

Call me heartless, but I was disinclined to charge $1,000 on my Visa (already groaning under the weight of my shoe habit). “Um, no. This is our first date.” And that cab money home was looking better and better.

The officer stared at me. “You’re kidding.”

I shook my head.

“What are you going to do for your next date? Rob a bank?”

At the time, it wasn’t funny.

Working through an intermediary, John communicated that he kept a MasterCard in his dresser. I was to go to his house, rifle through his belongings and return with plastic the police would accept.

So I drove the immaculate BMW (or Acura) to John’s immaculate house, turned on lights until I located his bedroom, opened his dresser drawer (filled with boxer shorts and a lifetime’s supply of condoms) and found his credit card. I returned to the police department, handed over the card and asked them to call me a cab.

The police officer looked apologetic. “Mr. Doe is not allowed to drive.”

It was three in the morning. Surely the gin he’d been drinking had worn off. Besides, he hadn’t been that impaired. If he’d seemed at all drunk, I wouldn’t have gotten in the car with him in the first place. “Pardon?”

“People arrested for DUIs can’t drive away from the police station. You’ll have to drive.”

I was tired. My contacts felt as if they’d been glued to my eyes. I wanted to curl up in my bed and sleep until Monday morning. I plunked myself back into one of the uncomfortable molded plastic chairs in the waiting room and waited.

Thirty minutes later, John appeared. He didn’t say much.

A police officer followed us outside to John’s immaculate BMW (or Acura) and I climbed behind the wheel.

I drove myself home, parked, and handed John his keys.

The man with a drawer full of condoms glanced at my apartment building and a slow grin lit his face. “Should I come up?”

That question was the impetus for the fourth rule in my lexicon: “Don’t date idiots.”


Julie Mulhern has been married for twenty years to a man with impeccable table manners, Cole Haan loafers and a clean car. She is the author of the Country Club Murders, a 1970s set mystery series. Book two, Guaranteed to Bleed, releases on October 13th. She also writes the Haunting series, historicals that mix turn of the century New Orleans, voodoo, murder, and romance. The first book, A Haunting Desire, was a 2014 Golden Heart© finalist and was released July 28th.



Trula took a deep, bracing breath of humid air then looked up at her house. Eulie Echo sat hunched on the front stoop looking like a pile of abandoned rags. Only her bony hands, moving back and forth, smoothing a thin layer of brick dust onto each step, gave her away. In the last moments of purple light, her wrinkled skin looked as dark as India ink, and the feathers and chicken bones tied in her hair rattled like black magic.

“The gentlemen will be here soon, Eulie. Are you almost finished?”

“Evil spirits walkin’ the streets tonight, Miz Trula.” Eulie’s head bobbed with each word. Her sightless eyes settled on something beyond Trula’s shoulder.

A slight breeze ruffled the thick air and Trula shivered. The blind woman was seldom wrong. “I know. I sense them, too.”

~ Excerpt from Haunting Desire


AHauntingDesire2A Haunting Desire:

Murder in the streets. And passion in the shadows…

New Orleans, 1902

A killer walks the streets of New Orleans, eviscerating men and leaving them in the streets, and for madam Trula Boudreaux, it’s bad for business. Trula needs help but she’s not prepared for Zeke Barnes, the charming would-be savior who darkens her doorway-or the yearning he awakens. For while Trula knows well the delights of lust, she avoids love at all costs…

Investigating the killer was one thing, but Zeke can’t help but be enchanted by the gorgeous mystery woman who runs an exclusive brothel. Caught between his duty to protect the city and his clear-as-day desire for Trula, Zeke sets about capturing Trula’s heart-or at least a place in her bed. But with every moment Trula resists, Zeke falls into greater danger.

For his investigation into the haunted city and madam doesn’t just risk his heart but both their lives.

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What are your dating rules? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of A Haunting Desire.

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106 thoughts on “Kissing Frogs”

  1. Mary Preston says:

    I at least wait for the Mister to be out of the house before I invite my date over.

    (I couldn’t resist.)

    1. Probably a good plan! 😉

  2. Laura Lovejoy Brunk says:

    No dating rules. After soo long together it’s all we’ve pretty much done it all….giggles

    1. No giggling that night. It’s funny now…

  3. Lori H says:

    I don’t remember my dating rules although I do remember I set my standards high after one loser I dated my first year in college. After dumping him I met my hubby and we’ve been married 22 years 🙂

    1. Hurray for high standards and HURRAY for 22 years. Congratulations!!!

  4. Joan says:

    I’m happily married but, if I were dating now I would have to have known this guy for a long time . He would be my friend before a date .

    1. I would hate to date again. *shudder* Hurray for happy marriages!!!

  5. Ezinwanyi says:

    My dating rules came from my dad and mom. “No False advertising!”.
    My dad said when he got with my mom, she cooked most of the time because they were broke college freshman and couldn’t eat out a lot, she was a fashionista and she kept a spotless apartment. When they got married, she still cooked everyday, worked full-time and clean the house. So after almost a year, if the dishes wasn’t washed or the living room wasn’t spotless, my dad would tell my mom she was getting lazy.
    My mom told me that somehow she built up this Superwoman image in my dad’s mind that he thought cooking, cleaning, working full-time and still doing wifely duties nightly was a piece of cake. When she asked for help, he was confused because she had always done all of that before. It wasn’t till they started talking to other married friends that my dad saw that he had unrealistic expectations.

    My dad has passed away 8 years today–but I still remember that My dad won’t eat leftovers. My dad doesn’t like to eat out because he said nobody’s food compared to his wife’s cooking. He wants a fresh meal EVERY night. My dad won’t touch dishes, vacuum, duster, laundry or clean the tub because inside the house was the wife’s purview. But he would do yard work or fix plumbing or car. When my mom is out of town for more than 3 days, he calls her to please come home because “the house is falling apart”.

    When I met my now husband, I went out of my way to NOT do extra. I didn’t shave my legs a lot. I wore minimal make up, lipgloss and mascara unless we were going out to a fancy place. I wore my hair in Afro–no weaves or extensions. He didn’t always pay for dinner nor open my doors. He didn’t call everyday etc. He was very conservative and I was more liberal. But we have been together for 15 years and married for twelve of them. I still only shave my legs 6x a year. The only thing that has changed is that I have put on weight and don’t wear sexy clothes like I used. After 3 kids, I can’t shed weight like I used to but I can do better and I will do better.

    But we are okay because he is who he said he was as am I…though this current political climate is cause of plenty debates at night 😀

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. I am blessed to still have both my parents and can’t imagine life without them.

      God bless and congratulations on twelve years of marriage.

      As for the baby weight…pish. Who cares?

      1. Ezinwanyi says:

        Thanks and I wanted to say I appreciated this blog today. It was nice!!

  6. I am so sorry for your loss. I am blessed to still have both my parents and can’t imagine life without them.

    God bless and congratulations on twelve years of marriage.

    As for the baby weight…pish. Who cares?

  7. Wow. What a story! At least you got that out of such a terrible date.

    1. I haven’t been to jail since. Touch wood!

  8. ROFL! My worst first (and last) date involved a friend of a friend, so I was trying to be nice. It was excruciatingly boring, but after dinner and a movie, he suggested we go to his apartment to see his black mollies. This was the ’70s, and I thought, “Well, at least we’re going to do some good drugs.” They were fish! I sat on the sofa, learning back against the arm, knees drawn up in front of me so he couldn’t get close. He pounced! I shoved him in the floor and demanded to be taken home.

    1. Black mollies…What exactly did you think you’d be doing???

  9. Erika Kelly says:

    What a story, Julie! I think you’re an awfully good person for sticking with that guy all the way to the ride home. It might’ve been easy to leave him in jail!

    I didn’t have any rules–but I did hear over and over again that my standards were too high. And I always wondered what that meant exactly. Why on earth would I want to lower my standards when we’re talking about the man I’m going to have children with?! Spend the rest of my life with?!

    1. Agreed. This summer my unsupervised teenagers developed a Kardashian habit. When I would come for lunch, it was on. They explained that one of the girls…Kortney?…hadn’t married Scott because she didn’t know if she could count on him.

      I looked at my daughters for a minute then said, “But she had children with him?”

      “Yeah, I guess that was kinda dumb.”

      You think?

      Hurray for high standards!

  10. Great set of criteria–well thought out. I apologize for how hard I’m laughing. I;m sure it wasn’t funny at the time. 🙂

    1. I know what you’re doing. You’re sitting at your desk imagining me in the waiting room for jail. Stop it. Go write another hilarious book instead.

    2. Susan Stokes says:

      Very Good Book Material;) Julie.He probably Thought,he’ll be Sleeping at Your House!! Manners,must be Dressed Well.. I get The Chemistry Thing,So That is Most Important as Well…Intelligent,FUN… READER My S.O. Is all the above… The Real
      Test… My Daughter… I was married(GreatGuy)… Definitely TBR “A Haunting Desire” Before That, “Guaranteed Too Bleed” Wonderful Group!!! Good to see S.M.Boyer…

      1. Thanks for stopping by, Susan!

  11. I loved your post! I had the same rules for dating: good manners, clean car, polished shoes. (If they cared so little about themselves, why should they care about me?)
    Never had a date I had to go to jail with, but I did have one who’d previously been there. My dad did some detective work and quashed what could have been a disastrous relationship.

    1. I love suspicious fathers! Thanks for stopping by, Nancy!

  12. Nan Dixon says:

    I so love that dating story.
    Almost as much as I loved A Haunting Desire. I just finished it this weekend. Congratulations on another fabulous book!

    No dating rules – since I haven’t done that for years and years and years!

    1. Thanks, Nan! I think we can be GLAD we haven’t dated for years and years…

  13. Amy DeLuca says:

    Oh my God- that was so hilarious!! And well written (of course.) Your husband sounds like a dream, and A Haunting Desire sounds amazing- can’t wait to read it!!

    1. Thanks, Amy. It was one of the longest nights of my life. And, while it was my worst FIRST date, it was not my WORST date. That is a story that requires wine.

  14. You’re nicer than I am, Julie. I wouldn’t have stayed. I’d have let him rot in there. 😉

    1. Either soft in the heart or soft in the head. The verdict is still out…

  15. Phoebe Fox says:

    OH, what a terrible dating story! I thought I had had some bad ones. I might have to steal this material… 🙂

    1. Phoebe – that was my worst first date not my worst date. That is a story that requires wine.

  16. Oh Julie!
    Loved the post. Laughed all the way through. And the last line was the kicker. Thanks for sharing one of the worst nights of your life. I’m glad you didn’t kiss the toad.
    my best
    who has already read your book, A Haunting Desire and loved it.

    1. Jo-Ann, I kissed plenty of toads. Just not that one.

      Thanks for your kind words about A Haunting Desire!

  17. Good story, Julie. I’ve been married so long, I’ve forgotten my rules. But good manners still matter.

    1. Indeed, they do. Thank you for stopping by, Bourne!

  18. Julie, nice post, nightmare of a date. Nicely done. I look forward to reading more if your work. You’re already one of my favorites.

    1. Thank you, Nancy! Likewise!!

    2. Thank youm Nancy! Likewise!!

  19. Shew…that was funny. I’d probably done the same thing you did and stuck it out, being too dang polite not too. But, Lordy, that would have been the end of John.

    My worst date was a blind date with an ‘oily bohunk’ *Sixteen Candles anyone?* with over gelled hair and a truck with no seat belts because he thought they ruined the overall “look”.

    Another date, I had the passenger door open ready to jump out before he’d even stopped the car to avoid a goodnight kiss. Lol

    1. Good night kisses. There’s a mine field…. Thanks for stopping by, Laura!

  20. Thanks for the great morning laugh to go with my coffee (or tea :)) I grinned when the officer asked if you were going to rob a bank on your next date-priceless!!
    My number 1 rule when I dated was whether the guy had a sense of humor or not. Can’t stand being around downers 🙂 life’s too short for that stuff.
    One guy I went out with, slightly older, okay, ten years older, spent the entire night complaining about his hemorrhoids! I kid you not.
    I can say however that I did eventually meet the perfect-for-me man and we’ve been married thirty-one happy years, so there is hope 🙂

    1. Hemorrhoids? Seriously? And you didn’t marry him? Thanks for stopping by!

  21. Julie,
    I share your love of shoes and I can’t imagine this happening to you! I’ve been married so long I don’t remember rules for dating.

    1. Shoes, shoes, shoes! Who cares about bad dates when there are shoes? Thanks for stopping by, Carla!

  22. Sarah Andre says:

    Oh. My. F’in. GOD. You literally win for the all-time worst first date. I was GLUED to this page! Poor Julie. I say make him the villain in the next Country Club Murders series! Just swap the order of his first and last names.

    1. Sarah – not my worst date…just my worst FIRST date! I kissed several frogs on my way to marital bliss.

  23. My experience was milder- a member of a high school football team- my dad was coach. He took me out- it was nice, nothing spectacular. His car broke down at my house and he and my dad spent hours outside fixing it. I think they had more together than we had!

    1. LOL! At least someone had a bonding moment!

  24. Jeannie Hall says:

    So sorry that happened to you, Julie! Sure makes for a great story now, though! 🙂

    1. It’s a sad truth. The worse the situation, the funnier it is later.

  25. Pat Amsden says:

    It’s amazing how the worst things in life provide the best stories. You had me ROFL with yours. Fortunately you’ve managed to find a keeper.

    1. No kidding, Pat. I thank my lucky stars every day!

  26. Janna MacGregor says:

    He should have given you a gift certificate to Hall’s to make up for it.

    1. No kidding! I would have spent it on shoes!!!!

  27. My advice is don’t date a man who kills o’possums during the date to pay for gas.

    Yes, it was that bad.

  28. Diane Kratz says:

    Could have been worse, he could have been a serial killer with a shoe fetish! Love it!

    1. True…although no one with a shoe fetish could be all bad…

  29. Love this story! My date rules always included to watch how my date interacted with the servers. On a first date, people always try to be on their best behavior. If they were rude to the servers, I figured they were hiding their true jerk personality from me. 🙂

  30. Margaret Madigan says:

    This is hilarious, and I can clearly picture you sitting in that police station wishing more than anything to be anywhere else. I imagine your good manners are what kept you there. I’m coming up on my 25th anniversary in October, so if I ever had any dating rules, they’re long forgotten after that much marriage.

    1. Before cell-phones or e-readers sitting. Me and some rather smelly people staring at each other and the walls.

  31. Carrie Padgett says:

    What an awful/great story, Julie! I’ve been married so long, I don’t remember any rules. Show up was probably all I had back then. I’m glad to be out of the dating world, as I’m sure you are as well!

  32. OMG! I do believe I’d move the 4th rule into first place. It’s been so long since I dated, I can’t even think what rules I might have. But Don’t Date Idiots seems a good place to start.

    1. Agreed! Thank so much for stopping by!

  33. Alice says:

    Oh, Julie. Oh, my. I give you huge marks for not disemboweling the cavone.

    My dating rule was “No younger men.” Why? A sinfully handsome younger man who liked the chase but got bored very fast in relationships dumped me on my college graduation night. *eyeroll*

    1. You were better off without him!

  34. Shelly Chalmers says:

    Julie, after an evening like that in the police station, what an awful experience…but perfect fodder for fiction!

    I didn’t really have dating rules. I married the first guy I dated, and 12 years later we’re still happy, so it couldn’t have been all bad. 😉 Our dates were sometimes adventures, like the Valentine’s day he planned down to the minute…only for his car battery to die and strand us, but never any police.

    Great story. 🙂

    1. Glad you avoided the police and kissing tons ‘o frogs. Thanks for stopping by!

  35. Alan Cupp says:

    Wow, you’re much more understanding than I would have been. Makes for a good story though. My only dating rule for the last 23 years is that I only date my wife. 🙂

  36. Melissa Keir says:

    Wow… what a funny first date (and last with him). Can you just imagine if that hadn’t happened?

    My worst first date was with my first husband. I didn’t really want to be seen at a big nice restaurant with him (nervous and way too young) so we ended up at McDonalds eating in the car. At least we got to talk and know each other and didn’t spend a fortune. But I should have certainly rethought seeing him again.

    1. McDonald’s? I have no words.

  37. Sharon Wray says:

    I know it’s a tragic first date story, but I laughed so hard I spit out my soda.
    I don’t have a first date story because I married the first man I dated. And the night we met was amazing. Of course, when you’re 16 and have just met a cute 20 year old who thinks you’re his age, everything is amazing. 🙂

    1. I love that story, Sharon! Thanks for sharing!

  38. Marsha Bachmeier says:

    He has to be a non-smoker. That’s the only immediate deal breaker. Other than that, I don’t really have any dating rules. If I like the guy, I like him. If not, well… that’s the end of that. I may have preferences in regards to certain things, but none are make it or break it.

    Luckily, my worst first date wasn’t too terrible. No police stations for me. 😉

  39. Cindy Brown says:

    Oh my. I think I dated this guy, too.

  40. martha lawson says:

    I’ve been married so long, I can’t remember!! But I did enjoy reading about your dating disaster.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Martha. It’s funny now. At the time, not so funny…

  41. Gwen Duzenberry says:

    Loved your worst date story, Julie, and am looking forward to reading A Haunting Desire.

    1. Thanks, Gwen! Sadly this is not my worst story – just my worst first date story! The WORST story requires wine for the telling…

  42. My favorite line: “What are you going to do for your next date? Rob a bank?” Hilarious. I can’t wait to read A HAUNTING DESIRE. Love New Orleans, love historical mystery-romances. Great post, Julie!

    1. Obviously there was no second date…thanks for stopping by!

  43. Oh my gosh, Julie! This is the funniest post. But what a disastrous first date! I’m sharing. Congrats on your book, too.

  44. Rachel Jackson says:

    What a story, Julie! My worst is not quite that bad. Once, a guy I was dating invited me over to his parents’ house around dinnertime (this was in high school), and once dinner was ready, told me to wait in his room and watch some TV while they ate. (Did I mention I knew his family well and had eaten dinner with them several times before?) Withholding food is not the way to my heart…

    1. I would imagine not…Last date?

    1. No rules? Either very brave or a lover of chaos!!! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  45. Oh. My. Goodness. Now, I’ve had some doozies of dates, but I have never ended up at the police station. I would say my dating rule is never date someone more interested in staring at your chest than in having a conversation. 🙂

    1. That, Jenna, is an excellent rule! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  46. Dawn Frazier says:

    Loved the story! That had me laughing. I don’t remember my dating rules, other than don’t date jerks. Lol. I’ve been married for 10 years.

    1. Don’t date jerks! Hear that teenage daughters? Excellent advice!

  47. Oh, wow. I can’t even…no wonder you became a writer! This has GOT to end up in a book (You can rival Jenny Crusie!). Makes my first blind date not so bad now. We went to see Fatal Attraction.

    And, end social life now. Thanks for making me laugh, Julie (really hope you intended to!) LOL

    BTW: can’t wait to read A HAUNTING DESIRE! It’s next up on my TBR list!

    1. I did intend for you to laugh. I laugh. Of course, it took several years before it was funny but…

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Anna!

  48. Madonna says:

    After the day I had, I needed a good laugh. Thanks, Julie. The only rule I had was my date had to be a non-smoker. My worst frog date taught me I needed more rules such as the car he drove couldn’t have ripped seats and look like something off the Rent-A-Wreck lot. I was dressed in a long black dress to attend a formal party. He arrived and once I saw his car, I offered to drive. My other rule was to date someone who knew the city. Frogman didn’t have a clue how to get to the party and had us driving around for over an hour. The other rule I added was he had to have common sense. When we finally arrived, even though I tried to make the best of the evening, he had the nerve to call me a snob. Needless to say, we never dated again.

    1. Well of course not! Ripped upholstery???

  49. Wow! That’s one heck of a story, Julie! But at least a tale like that (or parts of it) might one day be used as fodder for a novel 🙂

  50. Hahaha. Wow. I had a very specific set of rules after a certain guy broke my heart repeatedly.

    I never call twice. I don’t chase. I don’t accept last minute plans. If someone bails on me with no notice, I will forever be washing my hair whenever they want to go out and if they call, I don’t answer the phone.

    1. All excellent rules. Thanks for stopping by!

  51. Charly says:

    UPDATE: The giveaway winner is Veronica Forand. CONGRATS! Your info has be sent to Julie.