Five sure-fire signs you’re on a bad date

Bad First Dates


The Internet lit up last month when Toronto resident Anne Thériault took to Twitter to live tweet a terrible first date that she was observing at a coffee shop.

The guy was described as a pretentious writer type, who spent the entire time talking about himself, making comments about the “body” of the coffee they were drinking and casually mentioning that he knew of a better coffee spot where they don’t “over-roast their beans.”

After he failed to ask his date any questions about herself, she did what most of us would do: faked a text from her mom and made a swift exit.

Although Thériault’s comments were hilarious and on-point (who hasn’t been on a date like the one she described?) What she witnessed isn’t uncommon in the least. In the age of online dating, where the decision to go out with someone is often as simple as swiping right on your phone, truly terrible dates happen all the time. In fact, there’s probably one happening as we speak.

So, what exactly makes for a bad first date? After consulting with my social network, I’ve come up with the five signals that make the perfect recipe for a terrible first date.

1. When dinner and drinks turn into bizarre confession hour

A key indicator is if your date manages to alienate you right from the get-go. The easiest way to make this happen? By admitting to a series of bizarre personal facts. For example, Madeline from Philadelphia said that she knew she was on a bad date when her companion for the evening revealed over dinner that he “quit his job to work for the city doing rat collection.”

In the case of Alana in Vancouver, she knew her date was a goner when the guy showed up wearing a “red, ratty and baggy wool sweater, grey jogging pants with a pair of frayed jean cutoffs layered atop. I am serious!” Her date then explained proudly, “I found my outfit in a dumpster right before I came here!”

2. Their restaurant etiquette is off

When it comes to dating and food, there are certain basic etiquette rules that should be followed. Failure to do so can result in a disastrous dating experience. For example, if you invite someone to a restaurant, it’s good form to order something from said restaurant. There should also be a clause that says, “thou shall not unexpectedly serenade your date.” One of my worst dates involves going out with a guy who, instead of ordering food – “I’m kind of broke right now, so I’m just going to have water,” he said – decided to loudly serenade me with one of his obscenity-filled freestyle raps in the middle of a crowded restaurant. It took all of my willpower not to slink under the table.

3. Your date spends the entire time talking about themselves

As Theriault’s tweets point out, a good way to ensure that the first date is the last date, is to talk about yourself and only yourself. First dates are all about getting to know each other to see if there’s any romantic potential. This is nearly impossible to accomplish when your date spends the entire time bragging about their accomplishments (“I was the most popular guy at my fraternity, so naturally I had a lot of one night stands”) and recanting their last golfing trip to Arizona in agonizing detail. A few years ago I went on a date with a guy who spent 40 minutes talking about his passion for CrossFit without allowing me a word in edgewise. How do I know this? I timed him. Don’t be this guy.

4. Their family unexpectedly gets involved in your date

Nothing immediately sours a date like realizing the person you’re meeting looks absolutely nothing like their photos. When Arianne in Toronto asked her date why he didn’t look like the photos he’d posted, he apologized and admitted that he’d actually used photos of his sons. Ah yes, the old online dating photo bait and switch – a sure-fire way to make sure the first date doesn’t lead to the second. However, if that story doesn’t make you want to bang your head against a wall, Megan in Texas says that on a first date a guy once requested that she “pose as his girlfriend” in order to make his ex-wife – who was stopping by to drop off his kids for a custody visit – jealous.

5. Your date rubs a piece of meat on your arm

No, this isn’t some kind of euphemism. This happened to April in Texas when, as she describes, her date “used a pork-chop as a loofah.” The evening already wasn’t going very well when her date asked her if she was having a good time, she was honest. He vowed to her that he could make the date better.

“He then took a piece of pork chop out of his to-go box, wiped it down my bare arm and said, “That’s right. I just rubbed meat on your arm,” she says.

When asked for her worst date moment, April is clear, “When you must remove the pork sauce from your arm and you realize you’re not on a TV show about bad dates – this is real life.” A story that proves when it comes to dating nightmares, the truth is almost always stranger than fiction.