The world of dating isn’t always easy. Swiping, small talk, splitting bills, and generally trying to navigate love (or maybe lust) – while obvs playing it totally cool – can be a complete minefield.
But what happens when you’re on a date you really want to leave? We’re not talking about the times you feel endangered or threatened, just the dates where there’s absolutely no chemistry – or you’ve got different views on Brexit.
How and when do you get up and go? And is there a polite way of doing it, or is it best to bolt and apologise later? Here, nine people (anonymously) share the best, the worst and the frankly downright ridiculous ways they put an end to a date.
The One With The Toilet Escape
“I met a guy on Tinder, but we never arranged to meet. Months later, he tracked me down on Instagram and slid into my DMs – he wanted to go out for a meal, so I agreed. This was around Christmas, and he warned me he was going out for a drink with friends beforehand.
“When I turned up he was drunk and gave me a total backhanded compliment, saying I looked more attractive in person than he thought I would be. He was a jerk. The date lasted 10 minutes – I said I needed the loo and ran away.”
The One With The Wine ‘Accident’
“I agreed to go on a date, but when I met her she was racist. She was rude to the – what she called – ‘ethnic’ staff at the restaurant, and absolutely gushing to the white staff. I called her up on it and she just shrugged, so I was keen to leave. I decided to spill wine all over myself.
“It was a new pink shirt with a polka dot collar and cuffs, too. I said I lived locally and I’d go get changed and be back in a bit – then never returned. It was the coward’s way out and I know that, but the freedom I felt when I’d left the place was intense.”
The One With The Family Emergency
“I met a guy online who looked very attractive – he obviously went to the gym. After a few days of flirtatious chatting, I agreed to go for a drink with him. But when I walked into the bar, I could see immediately that he’d lied about his height and was about 10 years older than any of his pictures.
“I tried to be polite and stayed to order a drink, but within minutes I had to leave. He was so full on – making bad jokes and talking about threesomes. Thank God my friend text me at that moment, so I lied and said it was my sister texting about a major family emergency. It took me about 30 seconds to say the words, grab my coat and get out the door.”
The One With The Convenient Nap
“It has to go down in one of the worst dates in history. It was a Tinder date and we met at a pub. He was already drunk and just being ridiculous, so I went to the toilet to plan my exit. I needn’t have bothered, because when I returned to the table he had fallen asleep slumped over his beer.
“No excuse needed, so I just legged it. My friends still laugh so much about it. He even text me the next day saying he didn’t know what happened to me and wanted to see me again! Oh, the joys of online dating.”
The One With The Gym Class
“It was a first date. He didn’t live in London but he came in for work, so one Sunday we decided to meet in a coffee shop. He was going to work there for a few hours, and said I could pop by whenever.
“The chat on the phone beforehand had been amazing, but when I got there it was so awkward. After 10 minutes, I realised it was never going to go anywhere. I told him I had to go to a gym class and would message him when I was done, then left. I text him an hour later saying I wouldn’t be coming back.”
The One With The Bench Fall
“He was a member of staff in my halls of residence at university, and he suggested a moonlit walk in the woods. I was expecting romance, but it was an absolute horror date. We got into a huge conversation about how he was an alcoholic (but no one else knew) and he worshipped Margaret Thatcher.
“Then he went in for a snog. Unfortunately, his tipsiness and my reluctance to kiss resulted in the bench we were sitting on overturning. I’m afraid I made a run for it at that point, leaving him on the floor.”
The One With The Failed Window Escape
“One of my friends was on a date once where she tried to escape through the bathroom window of the pub they were in – the date was going terribly. Unfortunately the window didn’t open, so she was stuck in there. She had to go back, face her date and continue for another hour or so before summoning the courage to say she had to leave.”
The One With The Wrong Way Home
“On my terrible date, he cancelled my food order and told the waiter I’d eat a different meal because he liked it more. Throughout the evening he just didn’t get the hint that it was going badly.
“But I stayed for the duration because I couldn’t find a way to leave. Then, at the end as we were heading home, he mentioned the route he was taking – same Tube line and direction as me! I deliberately lied and said I lived somewhere else – I took the train in the wrong direction for a few stops then doubled back on myself.”
The One With Brutal Honesty
“I went on a date with a woman whose photo didn’t match what came through the door. I didn’t want to be accused of being shallow, so I stayed for one glass of wine. When she asked if I wanted another, I just said: ‘You seem nice but I’m not feeling it’ and walked out. She looked shocked by my honesty, but by that point I was nearing the end of my dating app subscription and totally over dating for the sake of it.”