Five Ways to Escape Your Terrible Date

But no one goes on dates anymore so who gives a shit? Listen, I like the word date. It points to something old-fashioned, super dreamy and evokes major swoons from my round brown belly.

I didn’t go on an actual date until I was 21 years old. This hard femme tropical storm puffed out her chest, shoulders straight back and with a super huge grin on her face, looked me in the eyes and said, “Hey, I want to do a thing with you. Will you do this thing with me, please?” The earth gave out under me as I answered, “OHMYGD, yes!” The difference between an intentional request for your presence and a vague text message about going to do a thing a lot of other people are going to too so it really doesn’t matter if you show up because the person who invited you will be surrounded by everyone they know, is huge — like Sabado Gigante huge. Ever since that first time, I’ve been a sucker for going on actual, bonafide, True Life: motherf*cking dates. They happen and will happen forever, fuck the internet. We can’t let the patriarchy and technology and the systematic oppression of all our souls steal the beautiful, simple joy of going on a date.


found this. can’t stop. what. hai, foxy lady.

But I’m not so love-delusioned that I can sit here and say that all dates are good dates. Once upon a time, I wrote a post about some things maybe not to do on a queer lady date. The suggestions in that piece came from going out intentionally with a bunch of different people aka going on mad dates. From those very special moments, I answered the following:


Should I just go to the bathroom and never come out? Should I fake a heart attack? Tell them I got my period and it’s just such a beautiful MESS that I need to stop and worship? Maybe my super just texted me and I’m getting evicted because of feral cats. etc. I started keeping a mostly non-literal list of how to peace the f*ck out. I share list with you sweet, weirdos.

5. Cry

Crying is the most sure fire way to end a date. Srsly, your date will probs jump up from the table and run faster than you can say, “I’m still not over my ex.” But let’s say your date is a super queer, a gentle-weirdo from the land of chivalry and this human offers you a tissue and a back rub and somehow you’re still not feelin’ it. What then? WHAT THEN? That’s when you throw in some nose-blowing, push out some more tears, and come up with an excuse that doesn’t make sense. Here are some examples:

  • “I’m sorry, Wednesdays are just really hard for me.”
  • “You know I don’t normally cry on dates. I just like feel so overwhelmed by the beauty of the universe and like how shiny the forks on this table are and your face reminds me of a dream I had once when I was a kid about angels and those angels were in an outfield, and want to feel my heart beat?”
  • Explain nothing and see how long it takes them to bounce while you sip more wine to keep the tears flowing.
I'm sorry. I just really hate cats.

I’m sorry. I just really hate cats.

4. Fake An Allergic Reaction

I originally had a few bullet points of specific ways to fake an allergy. But then I started feeling guilty and weird, like what if someone took my suggestions too far and they died and then it would be my fault and insert crazy amounts of New York Puerto Rican Anxiety and boom you have this sentence. Also, I have a wicked shellfish allergy so I know how real parts of the allergy-struggle are and feel.

But still tho, an allergic reaction is the Get Out of Jail Free card for a wak ass date. Here are some Google search terms from my original allergy-faking content: all the hot sauce, niacin thrush, how to travel with lobster tails, make myself sweat, Visine, and Mr. Softee food poisoning.



3. Plan Ahead

My straight homegirls talk about their pre-date plans all the time. “Girl, I’ll text you once I’m on the date and then like 20 minutes later call me. If it’s going good, I won’t pick up. If it’s going bad, I will. I’ll tell him my cousin’s giving birth and I’m the godmother. So I gotta go.”

This might sound like a plot-line from some wak ass sitcom but I’ve heard the stories; it seems to work. But, planning ahead isn’t just for zany teevee shows or straight girls — we can do it too. When in doubt, get a friend to text/call your phone, answer it, and then tell the person across from you that things with your pet guinea pig, Lady Marmalade, have taken a turn for the worst. It’s now or never if you want to have final words with her, the one true lady in your life. Then bolt. This Fake Me Outta Here app might even help if no one will help you stoop so low.


oh no! not lady marmalade

2. Pull Up Your Big Queer Panties and Own Your Exit

It doesn’t matter if you’re chilln together on a couch, eating at a pizza shop in the Bronx, protesting with a social justice organization in Oakland, or on a “we’re going on a date but it’s not a date” date — you must own your exit.

big queer panties = google search win

big queer panties = google search win

Polite is good for people’s grandma’s, accidentally walking into a wedding procession, and when encountering an awesomely ugly baby, but being polite as a way to not be legit with someone is no bueno. If you’re not interested because you don’t find someone attractive, keep that to yourself but if someone is being rude/sexist/racist and all the other things that offend your good-natured love of the world: feel free to let it out. Someone’s trying to school you on white privilege because they’re white and obvs know best: put that shit in check. Someone’s trying to tell you that “fat chicks” just aren’t as attractive as other people: shut that sh*t down. And so on.

This isn’t even just about first dates or meeting up with someone you don’t know, there are totally moments with people who seemed fine like four weeks ago and are now just totally killing your vibe. Don’t have a reality TV moment, going all “prostitution whore” flipping tables and whatnot, but speak your truth. Trust, not every foxy loverboi is gonna have the same politics as you do and you’d be surprised or probs not surprised how easy it is to become entangled with an asshole.


get it? lol

1. Just Sit Your Ass Down and Stay Right Where You Are

Wait, but what about “owning your exit?” Word, so that’s for extreme situations.

But for the most part, like when someone is just not your style or something equally as whatever, sitting, eating, and nodding is just fine. The more I head out into the world to see people, the more I realize how much time and effort it actually takes, especially in NYC, just to chill. Someone hauled their ass from an outer borough or from the comfort of their very own weirdo-cave to see you. Sit your ass down, give them the respect they deserve and listen to stories about how they love taking shots of Henny, look at 58 thousand IG pics of them and their cat/dog/ferret. Do not get wasted. Everyone deserves at least an hour for showing up.

Power through on the strength of what’s good for the karma of the universe and keep your eyes on the prize. In this case the prize might be a half-eaten pint of Half Baked ice cream or the last 4 episodes of Broad City,  you can make it!


the world is yours, weirdos.

Bonus: Always give your dates an end time that all parties are aware of. Lingering dates are on some bullshit unless everything is magical. Again this is for an actual date, anything super casual or mad whatever, is pretty much an Engage at Your Own Risk type of thing, boo.

Tell me things. Make me laugh. Give me and the world more ridiculous tips. Share all of the knowledge.  All of it. I love you all times eight million thousand infinity.

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Gabrielle Rivera is an awesomely queer Bronx bred, writer, spoken word artist and director. Her short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies such as the Lambda Award winning Portland Queer: Tales from the Rose City and The Best of Panic! En Vivo from the East Village. Her short film "Spanish Girls are Beautiful" follows a group of young Latina and Caucasian girls who like girls as they hook up, smoke up and try to figure sh*t out. She also freelances for while working in the film and television industry. Gabrielle is currently working on her first novel while bouncing around NYC performing spoken word and trying to stick it to the man.

gabby has written 102 articles for us.


  1. I once ended a lingering date that I wasn’t feeling by actually saying, “I’m sorry, but I really want to be home with my cats right now.”

  2. In reference to number 3, I have been the caller, many times. I’ve been so many different variations of sake family members with fake emergencies but that’s friendship I guess.

    I once went out with a white girl that wanted to “experience a black girl” so bad and once she went into detail about that, I looked her directly in the eyes, grabbed my stuff and left without sating a word. When she tried to call, my best friend answered and told her that I moved to Thailand. It was effective.

    • Oh noooo! I had something similar happen to me, she earnestly felt that cracker was the same as all the racial slurs used against people of color because *wait for it* she went to school in Staten Island. She later said my experiences didn’t count because I grew up with social mobility that allowed me to experience “ultimate class privilege,” she also send some bullshit about “reverse racism.” I looked into her blue eyes confused and I knew it was the beginning of the end of that date.

      I told my sister about the date and she says, “I’m too black for that shit and you are too, I’m glad you got out of there.”

      Since then, *sadly* there are been instances where I had thought to myself “I’m to black for this!” and “I’m to gay for this!” when it comes to heterosexist bullshit.

      • I had a white girl tell me she was into slave/master kink and that she had “jungle fever”. It was a hookup kind of thing, my shirt was halfway off and my pants were at my knees but I hobbled my ass out of that dorm room so fast. My best friend told this one I randomly contracted Ebola so I couldn’t come to the phone. Gotta love my bestie

        • wtf kinda shit is that tho? like where were you raised that it’s ok to say that to someone? i’m glad you hobbled the hell away from that one.


  3. i love you forever, sexyfunnysmartkind person. please keep writing your words on the internet for us to read.

  4. The movie Hitch makes me think faking an allergic reaction might backfire spectacularly.

    Plan a date for late in the evening and pull the “gotta go to bed, early meeting” line. It has worked… on me.

  5. when the silence just got too awkward once I leaned forwards and said ‘it’s time for me to face the music’ and left

  6. I think I never used an excuse before, like, I’ve always sat it down for a reasonably polite amount of hours and then introduce my exit saying “it’s late”, “I should be going” or something of the sort. Boring, I know.

    But I had the #3 done to me, on one of my first ever dates with a girl actually, her friend called to ask how it was going and it was so blatant she admitted it to me afterwards, but it was going well so she didn’t leave!

  7. I once went out on this date with a bitty from OKC. We met at my favorite dive, got to talking about crazy tatts, and she tells me that her best friend’s craziest tatt could out-do mine.

    As it turns out, her BFF had a portrait of HITLER tattoed on her pasty white thigh. Yeah. So after I worked my ass off tryna understand why she’d be friends w someone who had HITLER TATTOED ON HER THIGH (“he was a great strategist!” no gonna cut it bb), I finally owned my exit after she insisted that reverse racism exists.

  8. “Owning your exit” is actually something I’ve been teaching myself to do even before the “dating” part, as in on OKC.
    I get messages from people who earnest are doing their best to impress me and are being really sweet, so I feel like I should at least give them an answer… And it usually ends up being “sorry but see, I took a quick look at your match questions and if you answer that “a woman has an obligation to keep her legs shaved” / “there are some circumstances under which someone should feel obligated to have sex” / “i would be uncomfortable knowing you’ve had a sexual encounter with someone of the same sex” / other things I find to be terribly offensive and you seem to think are okay enough for you to publicly display them on the internet, I don’t think we should meet because contrary to what you seem to believe (probably based on my pictures mostly), we would not get along and certainly would not be a good match.”
    Ugh. Oh well. -_-

    • My personal favorite is when people who answered no to, “Would you ever date someone who was bisexual” message me. I’m never sure if they just didn’t even read the basics of my profile, they don’t believe my stated identity, or if I’m supposed to be flattered that they deemed me a worthy bisexual.

    • UGH! I don’t shave my legs, so anyone who says “yes” to that question…I wanna slap them. Especially because we are queer women! Shouldn’t you know better than that by now?! If the question said “I PREFER to shave my legs,” or “I PREFER my partner shaves his/her/their legs,” that’s fine. But obligated?! Christ. I put that as a mandatory no to weed out all the mothafuckas.

  9. I love old fashioned dates! I haven’t had one is ages. Oh well. So much nicer than the is-this-a-date-non-date-friends?-ugh-confusion that is so common these days.

    • I was on this really awesome date, you know – one of those where you don’t realize it’s almost 2am and have we really spent this whole time talking, kind of awesome. Anyway, towards the end of the night this guy walks up to us and asks, “are you two on a date?” and I blurted out, “No.” I don’t even know why. *facepalm*

      • first of all, fuck that guy and his intrusive voyeuristic bullshit question. second of all, i feel your pain.

  10. once i did the call-to-provide-an-exit thing for a friend and pretended i was having a crisis and the date told her “she’ll be fine” and made her stay, which is TERRIFYING never do that shit y’all

    • How did this backfire?? a CRISIS is a CRISIS you know…. eek that would have been excruciating…

  11. On my very best OKC date, the girl: got drunk, refused to acknowledge my request to not be groped, called her friend (while we were trapped in the car together) to tell her how hot I was, talked about what we should do on our NEXT date, and then whined and pouted when I said no several times to staying the night with her.
    That was a treat.
    The next day I was sent a vagina picture and deleted my account. YAY INTERNET!

    • Wow, congratulations. That’s actually one of the more extreme Internet dating horror stories that I’ve heard/read yet. And that was your best OKC date… which means there are worse. I don’t suppose you’d want to unburden yourself of details of the absolute worst one to those of us who morosely enjoy being regaled with tales of such disastrous train wrecks, would you? Only kidding. I very much realize that there are some things that should be locked away and never spoken of ever again. Seriously hoping you have better luck in the future. But also, thanks. That was quite entertaining, along with the Hitler-tattooed date that someone else posted about. Takes all kinds to make a world, I guess.

    • Oh. My. God. I didn’t realize people sent VAG-PICS as well!! What the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck…who actually wants to see those??

      • For real. I had this chick I had been talking to on OKC for a short time send me a topless pic and I was ok with that, but then she sends me a vag pic (and at first I couldn’t even tell what I was looking at) and I’m like uhhhh now this is awkward…

        • That is amazing & hilarious. Thank goodness I’m way too old for that s***. I still love hearing about it though. Boundlessly entertaining, I must say.

        • The Georgia O’Keefe thing – brilliant, very cute. Maybe she’ll be able to take the hint as to what you’re actually looking for & clean up her act a little, (if she personally wants to, that is).

        • Of course, you could also send her a pic of Estelle’s new album if you’re feeling cheeky, (pun fully intended). (Sorry, couldn’t post a copy of it myself in time, but go look it up if you’re interested.)

  12. Sitting it out… ugh I feel like this isnt always the best idea. I once felt bad because I could tell she was really into me and I just wasnt feeling it so I sat it out. Then when I used the line ” OMG Totally forgot I have this crazy paper due so I should get going home” She literally jumped on me and tried kissing me. It got awkward. Fast.

    Moral: If you aren’t into it, just be honest. you can always salvage a friendship from it and laugh at it years later about how awkward that kissing moment was.

    • Agreed. I’m all for respectful, grown-up honesty in these situations. I know it has its detractors, but almost a decade ago now the book He’s Just Not That Into You came out. I could think of quite a few people (gay or straight) back then who I thought could really use the advice in that book. But to be frank, that advice is classic; a lot of people now could use it. It literally teaches the clueless to be a bit more polite and mature about handling the end of a bad date (or relationship) in a respectful manner. I say if the advice gets put to good practical (& successful) use then it wasn’t a “bad” date after all, just one that wasn’t meant to end in any sort of life-altering (or even casual) romantic connection – and one that could result in a beautiful friendship instead, as you mentioned.

  13. you mean there’s still such a thing as ‘dates’ and not these weird OKC meetups that my dates refer to as ‘hangouts’ and then i can’t tell if i’ve been friendzoned or not?

    or do i just have no game?

    • I hate unspecific “hangouts”! Because I’m a crushmonster, they always lead to confusing feelings. I have been in that position of wondering if I’ve been friendzoned. Even though I hate that term it definitely applies.

        • Yeah, I feel for the both of you. I had this problem back in my 20s. I hated the whole notion of “the game” of dating and often wished that both parties could cut through the horseshit,get to the point, and just be real with each other, (without delving into things like unhappy pasts or other things that could be considered to be obviously TMI – at least for a first date). I find it thoroughly possible for this type of lighthearted attitude and sense of mutual understanding to keep expectations realistic and the mood from getting too awkward while not killing any potential romance or chance for a genuine connection to form. Good luck to both of you from here on out; I really hope that you each find someone genuine & decent to connect with, (if that is indeed what you’re each looking for).

        • Okay, I think you two helped me realize something after 10-12 years. In my mid-20s, (before I was essentially bounced out of a fully active life by a chronic illness & various family traumas), I made a couple of small attempts to make other 20-something friends in the local gay community. (I’d done that exclusively online before, but when I realized that I probably wasn’t moving anywhere else that I might as well try here.) I went about it in a manner that I thought was as straightforward as possible, using words like “friends” & phrases like “hang out” – not once did the words “date,” “court,” or, hell, even “woo” leave my lips – and yet I had on each of these couple of occasions the other girl wondering if I was sending her mixed signals and trying to figure out what I meant by the phrase by “hang out.” I was totally confused by their reactions and definitely had some frustrated “What, am I not speaking freaking English here?” moments. I felt like I was getting accused of leading them on when I had honestly thought that I was being perfectly straightforward. (This would be the cutting the horseshit thing that I mentioned before.) But I think I finally understand what on Earth happened all those years ago. These women may simply (& legitimately) have gotten all turned around by a precedent that had already been established in the local community regarding what a girl meant by the simple phrase “We should hang out sometime.” And this would’ve been a precedent that I had been unaware of. (I was used to dealing with women who were much more direct.) Okay, I really hope the 30-somethings have gotten their acts together, (not to brush them all with the same stroke or anything). Wow. Just woooooooooooow.

  14. I haven’t always enjoyed being in a medical field that involves me taking call shifts, but it has been the perfect bad date escape hatch many times. Not that I’m actually on call, I just bribe a co-worker to call me from the hospital. Yay escape options!

  15. I miss going on dates. Ah, the LDR lifestyle. -.- I never really had the phone a friend option so I’d set my phone to timer/alarm and make it a really weird tone thing so if the date was going weird I’d pretend to answer and be like ‘sorry, gotta go the cousin is w.e’ but if the date was good I would pretend to text someone to shut it off. Dates are also a way of broadening our imagination. =p But dates. I miss them.

  16. Wait, I’m confused. While on one of my “dates”, we hung out at a coffee shop, the conversation flowed, no awkward silences. It was kinda chilly out, so I excused myself for a bit to grab my sweater out of my car. When I walked back, she was on her phone, talking to her “friend”. Then she said she had to go “help her move”. But then right away said that she had a great time and wanted to see me again. This whole time I thought the date went well.

    No wonder I’m single.

  17. Once I went to the Desperate and Dateless ball on Valentine’s Day and was computer matched with probably the least compatible person they could find. My solution? Wait until we were in the middle of a crowd and they turned away for a second and then run for it!

  18. I’m so glad I’ve only been on a couple of dates in my life because yikes. Granted they were the kind that could have done with an end time as they went onnn. I own my exits from many situations so I think that’d be me. Although Wednesday’s are really hard for me is the best line. The. Best.
    In support of the non date friends thing…that’s how it all began with the missus, 8 years ago. We go on dates now….we got this thing backwards I know.

  19. Number 3 also works if you wanna get away from a potential ex situation. We’ve done “Ok, go into the LGBTQ common room and I’ll call you, if my ex is in there, say you’ll come find me, if she isn’t, I’ll come find you.”
    It works really well unless the ex comes in 5 minutes later :p

  20. “Someone hauled their ass from an outer borough or from the comfort of their very own weirdo-cave to see you. Sit your ass down, give them the respect they deserve…”

    I love how respect for others is always a point you make in your writing Gabby — the world needs more of this. Bravo.

  21. I was on a awks date/hangout once and we were watching a movie, and she skipped the sex scenes (ironically making things more awks than if we’d just watched them)

    suffice to say I phoned a friend and the rest is history

  22. So, I’ve never actually done this dating thing before. In college it was mostly get drunk, have sex, THEN talk about things. I’m going on a date tonight and things are getting weird in my mind grapes. For instance, I just cut my bangs with dull ass office scissors…any advice out there for baby queers playing grown up?

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