Making the decision to spend an hour or two with a total stranger is always a gamble. It’s impossible to get to know someone’s inner workings over drinks, so we’re often advised to give someone a second chance if the first date is a little awkward. But sometimes, people do such absurd things that you know the whole ‘give it some time!’ thing isn’t going to happen. I’ve been on more than my fair share of unfortunate first dates, here are the moments when I started planning my escape route.
Related-ish: Making Dating Lemons into Lemonade
When he starts mansplaining simple tasks.
I was staying with a friend for a few weeks, and mentioned that I had to make space for my stuff in her fridge. The guy went on to explain some strategies for how to properly organize frozen food to me. If you’re a grown woman and have a job to pay rent, you definitely don’t need a man telling to you how to organize your kitchen. I cringed imagining how this would play out over the course of time: mansplaining taxes, bank statements, or how to clean a bathroom.
He tries to continue the date – in a strange location.
Standing outside of a pho restaurant where we had lunch, a guy asked me if I wanted to go for a walk in the nearest grocery store. The date had been notably boring, and this invitation was no exception. I made an excuse about driving a friend home from work and fled to the safety of my car.
When his grand dinner plans turn out to be an exaggeration.
Once a man told me he was going to make us dinner, because he loved to cook. When I got to his apartment it turned out that by ‘cook’ he meant ‘microwave day old pasta.’ He claimed he’d already had dinner so he watched TV while I ate the mediocre ravioli. I know men are often guilty of telling women what they want to hear, but I’d much rather date someone who’s honest about their love of drinking beer on the couch than pretending to be a master chef.
When he can’t get through the night without waking you up in a terror.
Once I was sleeping over at a guy’s apartment, and I woke up in the middle of the night to maniacal laughter from the other room. He sounded like a hyena. Turns out he couldn’t sleep, so he decided to watch “The Wolf of Wall Street” and couldn’t contain his enthusiasm for the scene with Leo on quaaludes. I lay awake, reminiscing about my own silent apartment.
When he decides to educate you on the proper treatment of women.
After telling a date that I sometimes write about misogyny, he asked for an example. I told him about one of my recent blog posts and the male behavior that inspired it, and he went on to tell me how women always overreact to the totally normal ways men treat them. I decided to cut this one short before finding out what other types of poor behavior he thought were acceptable social norms.
When he questions the validity of your education.
On a date at a sushi restaurant, the guy asked me what I’d majored in in college. I told him about my degree in writing and literary theory, and he asked me if literary theory was a ‘real thing.’ When I gave him a basic explanation, he said it sounded like a fake discipline. Neither of us even pretended we were going to go for a next date when we said goodbye in the parking lot.
When his ‘hobbies’ are incredibly boring.
After ordering dinner, I asked this guy about how he spent his free time. He paused for about thirty seconds, thinking, and then said that he’d been trying to make his own refried beans. He went on to tell me the process of making refried beans. In excruciating detail.
When he’s a little too open about his problems.
One night, I told my date I wouldn’t be drinking because I’d been feeling sick. He replied that was fine with him, he was also trying to cut back. Instead of stopping at that, he told me that he’d gotten worried because he was drinking so much that his skin and eyes were turning yellow with jaundice. Sure, we all have times when we’ve overindulged, but the image of sickly skin on someone you’re contemplating sleeping with certainly didn’t make him more attractive.
When his honesty is overwhelming.
On a Tinder date, a guy told me that all he really wants is to sleep with young girls, and then said I was at the older end of his spectrum. I’m 25, and he was over thirty. Without me asking for elaboration, he went on to say that I was at the older end of his spectrum (I’m 25 – he was over thirty) but that he’d feel creepy just walking around NYU looking for girls to bang. I’d argue that he was already verging into creepy with this entire statement.
When he asks you about your ‘grooming habits’ in public.
At a quiet bar, within earshot of numerous people, a date asked me how I ‘dealt with’ my hair down there. He didn’t seem to understand the incredulous look I gave him, and started asking more specific questions, even offering to trim it for me if I didn’t keep it up regularly. I left before he got the chance to see it for himself.
When he gets a little too into his dating history.
It can be good to get your cards out on the table when it comes to your dating history, but it’s easy to cross the line into TMI. Once a guy from OkCupid told me a very elaborate story about how him and his ex girlfriend both wanted to have a threesome, but couldn’t find an interested third party. I couldn’t tell if this was supposed to be a turn on or if he really just had no filter.