Five Creative Ways to Exit a Nightmare Date

Not All Dates Have Happy Endings

By Kady Ruth Ashcraft ·

Dating is fun if you’re, say, a sadist. But it's something most of us slog through, hoping against hope to make a real and lasting connection (or, on occasion, at least a sexual one). That's largely because there’s always the risk that the date is bad. And not just bad, but terrible—sometimes, so terrible you feel the need to make an emergency exit. 

To be clear, we're not talking about dates where you feel unsafe or in danger. Those are very serious situations, and in those cases, there are secret codes like “angel shots” you can order at the bar so the bartender knows you’re in a bad position; some bars even have signs in the bathrooms of numbers you can text if you need to make an exit for your safety. 

Rather, these are exit strategies for when your date is harmless, but petulant. Maybe they’ve been incredibly rude to the waiter the whole night. Or maybe they've slowly revealed to you their favorite deep state conspiracy theory. Regardless, these dates don't deserve a proper goodbye, so here are some surefire ways to get out of there fast.

Exit Strategy: The Classic
Execution: Have a friend send you a text midway through the date. Decide ahead of time what you’ll tell the date that the message says. It could be that your friend is locked out of their apartment or they are far away but left a candle lit at their place. Dip out of the date and go prevent that house fire. Smokey would be proud.
When to Use It: You aren’t sure how the date is going to go, so the incoming text gives you an opportunity to leave if need be. But if you want to stay, you can just brush off the danger of house fires. Which might even impress your date.

Exit Strategy: The Impromptu Sickness 
Execution: Excuse yourself to the restroom and take a bit longer than you usually would. Upon return, hold your stomach and go immediately for your bag. Drop cash on the table (or not, depending on how bad the date is) and exit the restaurant/bar. Clean exit for a (pretend) messy reason. Feel free to add in groans and/or cover your mouth.
When to Use It: There’s no redemption after this move. It’s dramatic and will take all of your acting chops. You must commit and know that your date will think you’re maybe insane/dead. That’s the risk you have to take.

Exit Strategy: The Jordan Peele
Execution: If you’re at an event with said nightmare date, or anywhere with a large open space, you can easily employ the Jordan Peele strategy. This simply involves wandering away from your date, aka GET OUT, hence the name. Say you’re going to get a beer, find the bathroom, look for an outlet. Then just simply don’t return. It's easy!
When to Use It: Again, best to employ at a place where they cannot see the exit you are walking out of, like a big concert or outdoor festival. This way there’s no risk in them following you. Also, it’s best to turn off your phone so you can say it died if you need to cover for your behavior later.

Exit Strategy: The Oh Shit
Execution: Suddenly, you remember something you must be doing that is more important than this date. Practice your shocked face and add a slight jolt: "Oh shit!" You have a deadline at midnight. You promised a friend you’d be at their show tonight. There’s no time to explain because you’re already racing against the clock. It’s like a less romantic Cinderella story!
When to Use It: This works particularly well if you’re a freelancer, at some sort of vaguely work-related event or outing. There’s always some ominous deadline approaching.

Exit Strategy: The Cramp
Execution: Similar to the Impromptu Sickness, this involves faking ill. But say you aren’t eating anything on the date and you’re on a date that involves physical activity. First of all, sounds terrible; second of all, just fake a cramp! No one can deny you. Tumble over. Hold your leg in pain. Call an Uber while you’re down on the ground.
When to Use It: Again, when you’re on an outdoor activity date. Rock climbing. Frisbee-ing. Row boating through Central Park. If you feel the date is headed south, start complaining early on about feeling lightheaded or tired. Lay the groundwork.

Exit Strategy: The Truth
Execution: Just throw your literal or figurative napkin down on the table, get up and tell them the date is over…
When to Use It: When you’re feeling like a bold motherfucker.

Kady Ruth Ashcraft

Kady Ruth Ashcraft is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and Amtrak Princess. Follow her on twitter @kadyrabbit and tweet her pictures of your pets.

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