Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

How Do You Get Out of a Bad First Date?

DEAR NATALIE: I recently started dating again after spending two years rebuilding myself following a pretty awful breakup. I've never done the online dating thing, but that seems to be how people meet each other now. I connected with someone on an app, chatted a bit and decided that it was best to meet in person so I could get to know the real him. He seemed perfectly fine in his profile, so imagine my surprise when I showed up for our drink and he had the worst oral hygiene of almost anyone I've ever met in my life. (Brown teeth, going black at the gums. One front tooth either completely missing or mostly broken off.) 

I went through with the drink in the interest of politeness, and he turned out to be a self-absorbed bore. Long story semi-short, lots of folks have told me I should have left quickly and not wasted my time, but I stuck around to be nice. 

My question is this: How do you politely extricate yourself from such a situation? I knew within 10 minutes that he was someone I didn't want to be friends with, but spent the next 50 minutes listening to him talk about himself because I had no idea how to leave without being rude. -- FLOSSER FOR LIFE

DEAR FLOSSER FOR LIFE: This reminds me of a "Broad City" episode where Abbi takes a fake phone call in the middle of a date from her "doctor" concerning "test results." Turns out, that's a great way to excuse yourself from a table, no questions asked. But, in reality, is it fair to ditch someone mid-date? There really are two ways to play this unfortunate situation should it happen in the future. One: You can be blunt. "I'm sorry, but instead of wasting your time and mine, I feel as though I should just be honest in saying that I really don't see this going anywhere. I hope you have a great rest of your night, and thanks for meeting." Then throw some cash on the bar to cover both your drinks (you are ducking out early) and run. Run like the wind. Or you can wait it out until you have both finished your drinks (you by mostly gulping) and say that while you had a nice time, you are heading out to meet friends and are already running late. 

He may respond and say something like, "Why would you plan to meet friends when you knew we were meeting?" to which you could reply, "I just thought of this as an introduction, not a date. I'm sorry if you had a different impression." And then run. Run like the wind. In either case, invest in good sneakers and meet somewhere very public. And the wild card option? Just meet men the old-fashioned way. Bump your cart into theirs at Whole Foods and live happily ever after. 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to nbencivenga@post-gazette.com or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)