We've all seen the episode from Sex and the City where one of the women (Charlotte?) gets out of a bad date by having another one of the women call her to say that "Something bad happened". While this is a fine idea, it leaves too much room for error for me to be satisfied. What if your friend forgets to call? What if you're a terrible actor/actress? What if your date asks follow-up questions? What if your date offers to help? There are phone apps like Bad Date Rescue that leave less room for human error, but that requires you to either keep your phone on the table (which is pretty rude) or to hear it ringing from your purse in a bar or restaurant (unlikely).
In my opinion, the best way to use an excuse to end a date is to come up with the excuse before the date goes sour. If possible, these excuses should worked into the first few minutes of the date when you realize there's no chemistry. By working an excuse into conversation early, it seem more legitimate than if you spring it on them at the last minute (planning is important) and you don't have to stress over coming up with an excuse while you're pretending to listen to your date's awful conversation. Also, if you decide that you don't want to ditch the date (perhaps you were a little too judgmental about his choice of footwear and he seems like really a great man), you can use your aforementioned excuse as a means of showing them that you're interested. "You know, I could stay for an extra drink, my overweight dog isn't going to starve to death!"
However, some of these excuses, should only be used when you are sure you never want to see your date again, since using the words "explosive diarrhea" (#2, #3 or #5) and flipping out on them (#10) will convince them that you're crazy.
EXCUSES FOR LEAVING A DATE EARLY
- Volunteer commitment--Tell your date that you have a volunteer commitment that you need to attend. If you don't volunteer, you should. Not only is it a nice thing to do, but you'll have an excuse to get out of bad dates. Soup kitchens, women's shelters, youth centers and animal shelters are usually looking for volunteers.
- Not feeling well--You might not want to go as far as my mother suggested and tell him you just got your period or have explosive diarrhea (or maybe you do), but mentioning that you have been feeling under the weather is the perfect out. It shows that you're a martyr and were willing to meet him while feeling like crap. This excuse will work best of someone who is a germaphobe--cough in their direction or ask them to see if your throat is red to send them running.
- You're a parent--This is the best excuse in the book. Kids offer a multitude of excuses--you have to get home for the babysitter, your kid is sick with explosive diarrhea, you need to tuck them in and kiss their adorable forehead goodnight, etc. Be creative, people without kids won't get it and people with kids will pretend that they're a good parent too and understand your plight.
- Homework--The perfect excuse for a student. The catch here is when your date says something about the fact that you already imbibed 2 beers. The appropriate response here (since you're not interested in them anyway) is a smug guffaw followed by saying, "Pfft, puh-lease, I do everything better after 2 beers!" and stagger off.
- You have a pet--Similar to #3, being a pet parent is a good excuse to leave a date early. Anywhere you can insert the words "explosive diarrhea" will make it easy to leave without protest...unless you're dating a vet, doctor or someone with a scat fetish.
- Early morning--Whether it's an early meeting you have a prepare for or a 6am spinning class, having to be up at the ass-crack of dawn is a tried and true excuse for leaving a date. This will also weed out the whiners, who will pipe up with, "Nooo, stay for just one more driiiink. Come onnn, it's soooo earlyyyy!"
- Late errand--Use store closing times as a good excuse for needing to leave a date early. Be sure that you pick a provision that isn't sold at 7-11's or other 24 hour stores though. Good examples of things you need at a specialty store include: portfolio pockets (for that fictional early meeting in #6), grain free pet food (for your hungry dog in #5), an obnoxiously specific type of pen (for your homework in #4), soy formula (for your sick and lactose intolerant child in #3), a menstrual cup from the crunchy hippie section of Whole Foods (for your period in #2) or PlayDoh (for the children you volunteer with in #1).
- Be on call--It's always a good idea to tell dates that you're busy with work. If you like them, it shows that you are ambitious and can multitask. If you don't like them, it's a good excuse to leave a date. Mention to your date that you're expecting an email from work. Be smart though, do the math and pick a country whose working hours will fall within your date time (think: Asian countries and states in the Pacific Standard Time).
- You're on a diet--Tell your date you're on a diet and you can't drink or eat anymore because you've gone over your allotted calories for the day. Bonus points if you break our your iPhone, log into My Fitness Pal and show them exactly what you've eaten.
- Turn them into a jerk--This is especially easy if the person is actually a jerk or a borderline jerk. Start taking offense to things they're saying until finally you can't take it any longer and storm off in a fit of rage.
Telling the truth, that you don't feel any chemistry or you're just not into them, is also an option, but let's face it, that's difficult to do in person and is more easily articulated in a text message the following day. Hopefully one of these excuses will save you suffering an extra hour or two on future bad dates. Do you have any other excuses to add to the list???