When Is It Ok to Call a Date Bad?

Man with a CocktailSomeone who is very positive might claim that they can find something good about every date they’ve ever been on. That person is destined to someday end up on a date that leaves them handcuffed naked in a freight car filled with pigs bound for Tijuana, Mexico. That, for the record, would usually qualify as a bad date.

It is often hard to evaluate dates while they are happening, or right after, but usually by the next day it’s pretty clear if you have been a participant in a truly bad date. It’s ok to call some dates bad, really. It might not even mean that you never again go on a date with the person with whom you had the bad date—it might just be a bad night that you can both laugh about and move on.

What sort of bad dates involve police?

If there were police involved in your date, it was probably a bad date. It usually means that you got arrested, your date got arrested, you both got arrested, or one or both of you were victims of a crime.

Getting arrested on a date is bad for two reasons. First, it proves that either you or your date is a criminal. Second, it proves that either you or your date is not terribly good at being a criminal. Maybe you’re dating the kind of rebellious soul who would be impressed with a successful “dine and dash,” but nobody is impressed with the guy who got caught.

Being the victim of a crime is never fun, but it’s especially crushing on a first date. You’re trying to establish a comfort level with a new person and next thing you know you’re getting your purse snatched or your wallet lifted, or worse. Nobody is at their best when they realize that they’ve been ripped off and it’s hard to look tough, heroic, or sexy when you’re filling out a police report.

What sort of bad dates involve medical attention?

When we talk about medical issues on a date, it’s all about severity. Some might say a little bruising and some muscular soreness might be the sign of a really good date, not a bad one, but that’s a matter of personal preference. Generally speaking, if you need to call the paramedics or go to the hospital, your date isn’t going so well.

If you or your date suddenly comes down with a serious illness while in the middle of a date, the date is going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons. Think about the last time you were going through bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, and high fever—can you think of one positive thing about that time? You definitely don’t want your date thinking of you every time they have gastrointestinal issues for the rest of their life.

Accidents are not much better. If you have the best date of your life, the food is perfect, the wine is superb, the conversation is lively, and the connection is real, it’s still going to be a bad date if it ends in a car accident that puts you both in a coma for 27 years. Even tripping while walking down the stairs in high heels and breaking an ankle can move a date into the “bad date” category, especially if it happens early.

What sort of bad dates involve too much alcohol?

Alcohol has the unique ability to make a date wonderful or make a date awful, depending on how much you drink and what kind of mood it puts you in. A few drinks to lower the inhibitions might have you and your date getting much more amorous rather quickly. A dozen hard drinks might have you pointing out every flaw in your date’s body, face, and personality right before you drag them off to Vegas and marry them.

Some people tend to get mean when they’re drunk. This makes for an unpleasant, and often short, date. Others tend to get sloppy and affectionate, which can be almost as bad. Of course, the worst is when they really can’t hold their liquor and end up vomiting on you—that will move any date into the Bad Date Hall of Fame very quickly.

What sort of bad dates involve other factors?

Some bad dates are just destined to be bad. Maybe you took your date to the best crab place in town only to discover that she had an unknown allergy to shellfish. Maybe the band was playing the song that reminded your date of his ex and sent him into a murderous rage. Maybe you went to see the worst movie in the history of the film industry.

Sometimes things happen that are completely beyond your control on a date. The aforementioned car accident would be one of them, as would a natural disaster or power outage. Maybe if you’re really slick you could make the best of these situations. For most of us mortals, however, these situations just mean it’s going to be a bad date.

If you look at it objectively, there really are a lot more ways for a date to go badly than to go well. Some of that is offset by the fact that we want the date to go well, so perhaps we view the date through rose-colored glasses. Still, some circumstances leave you no choice but to file an experience under “bad dates” in your mind and then shake it off and move on to the next, hopefully better, one.