Sex + Dating

A Practical Guide to Bailing on a Horrible Date


You’re at the restaurant, the bottle of wine has just arrived, but the excruciating conversation and utter lack of chemistry with your date make you wish you were drinking a jug of Drano instead of a mid-priced malbec. You’re on a bad date and there’s no escape -- or so you think.

There are actually a few reputable ways you can bail on a horrible date without horribly offending anyone or sacrificing your sense of decency. They require the intuitiveness of a Brosnan-era Bond and the reflexes of a cat, but they're all quite doable.

Sean Cooley/Thrillist

1. Cry diarrhea

Please note: this involves absolutely no amount of fecal matter on or near the eyeballs -- it’s just a name. The fact is, claiming nausea is the oldest trick in the book; anybody who’s anybody will feign sickness to get out of a test, dinner party, or date. However, feigning diarrhea is believable because... well... diarrhea is really embarrassing.

Not only will your date believe you, but it’ll successfully block the notion of anything remotely sexual for the rest of the evening. Plus, what kind of person wants to push on with a date when they know you could shit your pants at any given time?


2. The preemptive emergency

This one involves a buddy, so if you’ve got a friend who owes you a favor... time to call in that favor. It takes about 20 minutes to know how a date is going to go, so if you’ve got an 8pm meetup at a fancy restaurant, tell your friend to call at 8:20. Politely excuse yourself and answer the call, making sure to stay within sight of your date.

If it’s going terribly, react to the phone call as if you’ve just been told the worst news in the world. If you can muster up a few tears, do so -- extra points if you crumble to the floor like the husk of a man you're pretending to be. Tearfully tell your date the “bad news,” leave money for dinner, and GTFO. If the date’s going well, simply spout out a few numbers or genuine-sounding stats to make it seem like you’re the only person at your company who can solve a crisis.


3. The forgotten EpiPen

You’re going to flag down a waiter, and you’re going to calmly ask them if there is a certain ingredient in a dish you know contains said ingredient: peanuts, cumin, or gluten. Once your "fears" are confirmed, you’re going to calmly excuse yourself and walk to the bathroom.

After a minute, you’ll come back to the table, jokingly inquire if your date has an EpiPen, and then begrudgingly reveal that you’re about to have an incredibly bad allergic reaction because you left your EpiPen at home. Not wanting to expose your date to the life-threatening situation at hand, you’ll insist on them staying behind while you take a cab to the nearest hospital. Once you’re in your cab, you go home... or to a better restaurant.


4. The other woman (or man!)

Every man should have an emergency safe word that he can text a female friend in the event of an awful date. This safe word can set a series of motions into effect to ensure the date you’re on can end abruptly and never reconvene. Let’s say you have a female friend named Kathy.

Kathy knows that when she receives a text that says “babadook” followed by an address, she is to walk into the restaurant you’re in, slap you across the face, and call you a lying cheater. The date will quickly see that this woman, who’s aggressively slapping you and throwing glass after glass of wine in your face, is your wife. Please note: this method will not salvage your reputation, so it’s best you reserve it as a last resort.


5. The fire drill

We highly advise against pulling any tricks on America’s best and bravest, but there are some dates that warrant the fines, the embarrassment, and the potential jail time involved in pulling a fire drill when there’s no such fire to speak of. What kind of date would cause such a defiant and bold act?

When all else fails: she doesn’t care about diarrhea, your friend forgot to call you about an emergency, she carries around a spare EpiPen, and she wants to have a threesome with the “other woman.” When there’s nothing left to lose, you pull the fire alarm and hope to God she doesn’t notice you’ve started a full-on sprint into a taxi cab while everyone in the restaurant waits outside.

6. Try honesty

Just kidding. What are you, a sociopath?

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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist and once bailed on a horrible date with horrible diarrhea.