Dear Luv Doc,
I have profiles on several dating services, and I end up going on dates on a regular basis, but I have one problem: I can’t ever find an easy way to leave when the date isn’t going well. I always sit there too long and then blurt out a horrible, awkward excuse and then leave. I hate hurting people’s feelings, but I can’t just sit there all night. I know that if I feel bad about it, my date must feel even worse. How do I make a graceful exit?
Unless you’re a ballerina, I suggest a hoverboard. A. Your exit will look like a scene out of a Spike Lee Joint. B. The minute your date sees the hoverboard, he or she is going to breathe a sigh of relief for having dodged a huge bullet. C. I don’t even need to list a C, do I? Zipping out of a date on a hoverboard exempts you from having to say anything at all. Just lean forward and feel the wind sweep through your hair. O.K., “wind” might be a bit of an overstatement. Maybe “light breeze” … or more accurately still, the barely noticeable Aeolian force produced by the tepid pant of a late-stage emphysema patient. I know I am getting bogged down in the particulars here, but suffice it to say that hushed whir of a hoverboard in retreat will silently scream what your mouth could not.
I have a friend who decided she should always carry a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Lycra skin suit in her bag on first dates so that if things started going badly, she could pop off to the restroom and re-emerge as Donatello. I think we can all universally acknowledge the genius of that idea. After all, Donatello is the nerdiest of what is arguably one of the nerdiest superhero combos in the history of superhero combos. Dropping Donatello’s name in a conversation about TMNT is like Robert Plant dropping a Tolkien reference into “Ramble On.” It presaged his hook-up with Patty Griffin by about 30 years. See kids? In the end you might end up with the nerdy girl you’ve always wanted, even if you do eventually ditch her to road-dog it with your bluegrass band.
The skin suit has a few drawbacks. Anyone who’s worn one knows that putting one on in a public restroom is pretty much the definition of unhygienic. Also, if you actually do go to the restroom before putting on a skin suit, you’re going to need to make extra sure you tidy up any possible residual leakage. Skins suits are rather unforgiving in that regard. And, just for the record, I may or may not be speaking from emotionally scarring personal experience.
All that said, I realize that I haven’t been of much practical help with your dilemma. Like you, I hate hurting people’s feelings, even though I am a bit of a bull in a china shop in that regard. I think conventional wisdom is that you cook up some ready-made excuse prior to the date. Of course, you will need to show some restraint with your fabulism. For instance, “I told a friend I would help her put together some IKEA furniture” would probably be preferable to “I need to study my playbook before my tryout with the Cowboys.” Actually, scratch that. No one would willingly offer to help someone put together IKEA furniture, but you get the idea. Something with a modicum of plausibility.
Then there’s my friend Cat’s method: “I just leave,” she says. She calls it the “Irish Tinder Exit.” I am not sure the Irish even have Tinder, but if they do, I hope they also have IKEA.