During the first disc of the game, the team finds themselves in a theme park, and Cloud goes on a date with one of four characters. Behind the scenes, the game keeps a running record of who you've spoken to most often (and in what order), and the "winner" gets treated to a date with the mopey protagonist. The odds are naturally weighted to Aerith, but you do have the option to treat her terribly, which leaves you free to spend an evening with Tifa. You can even go out with the spunky jailbait Yuffie, if you're really intent on being put on a list. Infamously, there is a fourth option for your carnival date: Barret Wallace.
At first it seems really progressive for a game released in 1997 to give the option to go on a same-sex date. But soon it becomes clear that this is clearly considered an easter egg to be played for laughs. Nobody at the Golden Saucer takes you seriously when you're on a date with Barret. When you're with Aerith, you win a contest as the 1000th couple of the night, but if you arrive with Barret, you're immediately dismissed.
You actually skip a full three-minute sequence when you go out with Barret. In any other instance, you're chosen to be the leads in a play, with Cloud as the hero and his date as the damsel in distress. But the Gold Saucer evidently doesn't consider Cloud and Barret to be a concievable couple, so they boot you out the door.
Barret seems ashamed of himself the whole night, and at one point questions why he's even there in lieu of one of the gang's females. Then, out of nowhere, Barret accuses Cloud of lusting after his daughter.
To be clear, Marlene is five years old at the time, and Barret thinks he has reason to believe that Cloud might be a cradle-robber.
The whole ordeal ends with Barret shooting his gun in the air to drown out fireworks. It uh, might be a metaphor?
At one point in the story, we find out that Red XIII hates his father because he abandoned his hometown during a raid. During his sole character piece, it is unveiled that Red's dad actually fought against the raid to his last moments, and was turned to stone by poison arrows. Shortly after this discovery, tears are seen dropping from the petrified figure.
WAIT. Hold up. Red XIII's father is still alive, and he's been frozen in sentient agony all this time? You might think there's no hope for Red's dad, but the solution is in the game -- when you get petrified in battle, all you have to do is use a Soft. All it would take is a few Gil to revive a hero.
Vincent "Emo Before Emo" Valentine had a similar revelation. Turns out Lucrecia, the lady he fancied, ran off with the bestiality enthusiast Hojo; in between the horrific Mengele-esque experiments, Hojo managed to father a child with Lucrecia and perform further "research" on it. When Vince complained that these actions were an affront to God, Nature and Neil deGrasse Tyson, Hojo shot Vince and then started using him as a new test subject. Dude just can't help himself.
As a result, Vince got a nasty case of Vampirism, and that baby test subject -- who grew up to be Sephiroth -- tried to commit genocide. And Vince's lost love? Lucrecia became immortal and imprisoned in a Crystal Pillar of Materia.
Before finding Lucrecia in her now-eternal state, Vince chose to rest for thirty years in a coffin for no apparent reason other than "it's probs what a vampire would do," and proceeded to sleep through a prequel and an entire town being burned to the ground. When he finally awakes during the events of FFVII, Vincent finds Lucrecia in her cave, alive and imprisoned in crystal -- and leaves her there.
When a minor character in Final Fantasy XIII turned into crystal, Snow actually tried to chip her out and take her with him, and he has the living disability of being in FFXIII. What's your excuse, Vince? The love of your life is forever encased in crystal, and you do nothing. Red XIII, you're no better.
Leaving someone alone for all time is exceedingly cruel. The least they could do is set them up with Netflix or something.