It’s 6 p.m. a Friday night at a half decent restaurant. You’re freshly shaven, your makeup is perfectly applied, and you actually had to cut the tags off of the outfit you’re wearing when you sit down across from the sober version of the Tinder profile you swiped right on. After the first drink, it quickly becomes apparent that this is going to be the worst hour and a half since The Bachelor finale when Ben picked Lauren B. over JoJo (I’m still not over it.) We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, yours truly has suffered through this exact scenario on multiple occasions and my experience has gained me some wisdom that I will now bestow unto you in the hopes of making your night with a knock off Zac Efron slightly more bearable.
It’s important to remember that this information only applies to guys that are physically safe for you to remain within five feet of. I don’t care if you met on an app or your church’s bake sale when you were seven years old, if at any point you get the impression that his mug shot could be plastered across the 11 p.m. news and eventually featured in a Dateline special, you have my permission to do your best impression of an Olympic sprinter in Rio and get the hell out of there. With that being said, let’s continue.
Once you’ve established your safety, the next thing you should be concerned with is your alcohol consumption. I probably don’t have to go into much detail here. Assuming he’s picking up the bill, you don’t want to be that girl that orders the whole drink menu twice, however, use your best judgement and order whatever will turn the solid 5 sitting across from you into a borderline 7.
At this point, there should be some form of mild conversation taking place. The key is to talk about something you actually like. Let’s be honest, you’re still probably counting down the minutes left until it’s socially acceptable to call it a night, but I can promise you that listening to him talk about his Pokémon collection or his five-year recreational marijuana business plan (true story) will only make the night drag on. Instead see if you can shift gears and bring up a recent concert or other event you went to, something you can easily discuss until your dinner (or a second drink) arrives. I’m not saying tell him your life story, but don’t sit there listening to his.
The food’s on the table, the conversation has naturally slowed and you’re actually feeling like you’re gonna make it out alive when he asks what you want to do next. Try not to let your immediate reaction slip out. Internally, of course, let out a few tears or even a laugh, as long as it doesn’t translate to you choking on a bite of whatever you’re shoveling into your mouth.
Make sure to quickly say whichever BS excuse is the most fitting. My personal favorites include, “I really wish I could but I promised my friends we’d go out tonight!” or “Sorry, but I really need to get home so I can take care of my dog.” In reality, you live in a dorm and your dog (if you even have one) is three hours away at home with your parents. Doesn’t matter, Fido’s gotta pee. If you’re feeling particularly honest, there’s always the ol’ period excuse. Uncomfortable to say, but guaranteed 100 times more uncomfortable to hear (especially when the recipient is a male).
Now that that’s out of the way, you’re almost in the clear. You’ve skillfully dodged dessert and even went for the fake wallet grab before bashfully thanking him and saying “you didn’t have to do that!” You stand up to leave the restaurant, silently praising yourself for taking your own car and meeting there (try not to think of what the 25 minute drive back to your place could’ve looked like if you hadn’t).
“Well, uh, this is it,” he says in an awkward attempt to get a kiss out of you.
Yes, yes it is, like the verrrrry end of it, he just doesn’t know that yet. This final piece may be a lie but say it and you’re home free: “Thank you, I had a great time!” and if he dares to suggest you do it again sometime, smile and say “absolutely” before turning away and blocking his number. .